Road Blog: Sunday October 10, 2021 - New Hope, PA
Sunday, October 11, 2021
New Hope, PA
We left the Pride Motel & Cottages in Maine jut after 9am in an overcast drizzle. As I returned the key I asked our lovely host, a wonderful older Indonesian (possibly incorrect assumption based on regional art in the rec room) lady, if she’d like to meet the band, and she came out and gave us coffee and fresh apples from the trees on the property as she wished us well and told us to make sure to get #7 next time so we’d have more room. I was driving, Tommy was navigating and DJ, Dani and Nich slept in the back. We hit the New Hampshire border, then maybe clipped the corner of Vermont, into New York and then into Connecticut. The soundtrack was Gram Parsons, Cheap Trick, Drive-By Truckers, and more. It was a dreary day, but spirits were high as the first half of the run was behind us and each show had been good in its own way. There’ve been some bumps, but we’ve recovered well and soldiered on.
At an interstate service plaza I compared Nich’s waking delirium state to that of an annoyed and confused infant with a similar expression in the doorway of a dilapidated minivan we passed in the parking lot, then bought him a $2 scratch-off as a proverbial olive branch. “It was a loser. I’m still mad.” He quipped as he tossed the ticket aside, crossed his arms, and slept through the next two states. We crossed into New Jersey just west of New York City and hit some traffic and rain that was annoying, then some construction to make the circle complete. We stopped just northeast of the Pennsylvania border for gas and liquor, then crossed the Delaware River into New Hope and parked behind the venue.
We checked out the room and walked over to an adjacent bar where some friends were celebrating the last day of bachelorhood of one Tony Goggles, a character I’d get to know well in the coming hours. Tim from Honah Lee (who I know only virtually), Jamie from Alpha Rabbit, and a few other less-familiar-to-me faces were there, then my pal Joseph Wolf came in, who I haven’t seen in five years and there were smiles and hugs all around. We were pretty strung out from the drive, kinda zombie-like, a little sticky and weary, but started feeling human again as we ate some sandwiches and washed them down with IPAs.
New Hope is a cool little borough on the Delaware river with a little main-street of old buildings dating back to the 1800s now populated with restaurants and other businesses. The rain had stopped but the air was wet and humid but cool enough to be comfortable. I stopped into a really cool looking old place called Karla's and enjoyed a rye and a few minutes alone, which is always a nice commodity as a tour drags on. Jamie and I wrangled around the vehicles behind the bar making sure the other band had room and loaded in our gear as the bachelor party filtered in from the other restaurant and things started to get rowdy. Tony Goggles and I traded friendly barbs steeped with venom that could catch the wrong person off-guard, but I kept right up with him and perpetuated the banter step for step. He and I were gonna get along ok!
John And Peter's is a dive bar right in the middle of the New Hope Strip. There’s a bar on a ½ level above the music room, a small stage completely surrounded by booths, and a back patio/parking area for smokers and patrons to hang out. It’s a rock venue, so we were a little out of our element genre-wise, but we all come from that scene so we were very comfortable and ready to roll.
The first band was The Great Dying from Oxford, Mississippi. They are a two piece with guitars and harmonies. The songs are a bit country and a bit delta. I heard hints of Tyler Childers from time to time, but just great songs and great playing, so I knew I’d be leaving with a copy. We went on second. A band like ours isn’t an easy task for the soundguy at a venue like this. We’ve got multiple stringed instruments but only a couple electrics, and no drums. It was touch and go, and we probably didn’t make it any easier, but by the time we started, it was dialed in nicely. I played a couple songs, then the band came up and rocked out for another 40 minutes. Jake from Alpha Rabbit came up and played on our last three songs, and I called the dudes from The Great Dying up to help on the choruses of “Dead Flowers.”
After us Alpha Rabbit came up and played. When The Tucos played with them in Philadelphia in 2016 it was their third show and I thought they were great then. They’re seasoned and refined now, playing and rotating instruments with awesome precision, and firing on all cylinders. Love their sound and their songs, and they move around like rock starts and it’s a super fun show – one of my favorites! I got some good time in with Dim (Joe) and we talked their new record, my lap-steel, and my new Aerosmith pin, and how the last verse of "Draw the Line" is his favorite Aerosmith moment.
After the show we talked to the other bands and some locals, many of whom were just on this side of inebriated. There was a doo-wop sing-along out back led by Jake and Danielle that went from Billy Joel to the Beach Boys to The Beatles and into some other directions too. Every song started awesome, then fell apart about 25 seconds in, near the end of the first chorus, and collapsed into laughter. It was super fun and no one wanted to leave. But it was time, so Nich got Jamie’s information and we drove back across the Delaware into New Jersey to her house about 35 minutes away. Talk was light we each shut up and rocked out when BOC's "Burnin' for You" came on. We brought our new bottle in for a nightcap and had that intention but within about 20 minutes we were each horizontal and completely out around 2:30am.
This morning I woke around 8:30, getting 6 solid hours of good sleep – easily the most rest I’ve had on this tour, so I am grateful for that. There’s a rabbit enclosure adjacent to the area that Tommy, Dani and I were sleeping in and the little dude was working on a construction project while we slept, but it was no bother and I easily fell back asleep once I realized it wasn’t Tommy sleepwalking and figured out what was going on.
There’s hot coffee on the stove, Nich is sleeping, Dani and Tommy are talking to Jamie and her room mate Nikki while I’m tap tap tapping away at this laptop. Last night was easily the most punk rock show of this tour. We rolled with the changes, revved it up a notch, and had a blast taking it to that level. I think I’ll be back in New Hope some day for sure.
Tonight we’re playing Chamber 43 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. I think it’s a record store/Vintage store type of thing. Same sort of situation – we’re in-between a couple bands, Erotic Novels: Band and ChrisBatten Andthe Woods. The tour is going well. Morale is high. The shows have been awesome. We can’t wait to get up there and play again. Thanks for reading! See ya tonight NBNJ!!!! xx