Road Blog: Saturday February 19, 2022 - Lansing, MI
February 19, 2022
We checked out of the angry motel in Alma and headed into the frozen morning towards the small town for some food at the Alma's Main Cafe. We made it just in time to get breakfast. Gabriel and Jacob got skillets and I got a Colorado omelette with a side of their “award winning” chili. Food was good and the setting was cozy and townie, just how we like it. Bellies full of food and coffee we headed south on US127 towards Lansing with Jake taking his first shift behind the wheel of the van (he was toggling between a B- and an A- most of the day), and me riding shotgun. We didn’t listen to music but chatted about politics, last night’s shenanigans, and rock and roll. Massive herds of whitetail deer were in the fields along the way.
First stop in Lansing was Elderly music, one of the premiere guitar stores in the Midwest. We browsed the entire store twice. I sent TrooperGirl22 a couple photos of me with my credit card out next to a sweet Matchless Amplifiers combo and then a used Gibson Flying V and she failed to see the humor and did not return words of encouragement. We left empty handed, to her relief.
From there we went to the Reo Town neighborhood where our pals The Wild Honey Collective were playing at a craft beer festival. We had a couple beers, alternating coffees, and watched the School of Rock kids jam a couple great Nirvana covers before the TWHC played a great set. I enjoyed watching them and got a case of the feels thinking back on our tour together in October, singing my harmony parts along while they played. A few doors up, other festival activities were commencing near The Record Lounge. I talked to the owner Heather, who I haven’t seen in a few years. It was great to get caught up. I left with an original pressing of Judas Priest – Unleashed in the East and she’s now got copies of our last two records in the bins. Lansing pals should stop in and pick one up!
We crossed over to East Lansing to visit the other local record store – Flat Black and Circular. I have a couple buddies there too who always seem to engage in interesting conversation. We compared upcoming show notes and I left with an original pressing of Dio – Sacred Heart. We met up with the local contingent at the People's Kitchen, a restaurant and bar where Dani Elle works. We got some appetizers and enjoyed a couple pints while visiting and killing time. Always great to hang with Adam Aymor and Tommy Plural and swap war stories and gear analysis.
Finally, after a long, cold day, it was time to head to the venue. We loaded into The Avenue Cafe and started getting set up when TrooperGirl22 and former Tucos bassist Patrick “Patty Two Shoes” O’Harris arrived. We dined on Ruckus Ramen, which is a must when in town, and took our time dialing in our sound. A few other friends and local musicians were in attendance, and it’s always so great to see these people I love in what I consider to be Michigan’s strongest music scene.
We went on to a great room at 10pm and played a really fun set. It was the first time with Jake that we didn’t have to play all night, so we blasted `em off one after another, and got off stage. The Plurals went on after us and played what I thought was one of the best sets I’ve seen from them. Sound was awesome, they were tight and loose in all the right spots, and the setlist was heavy on melody and hooks.
As the staff yelled “Last Call!” and “We’re Closing!” in five-minute increments, we packed up, loaded out, settled our tab, and said our goodbyes. Jake headed back to Ann Arbor with his wife Rosie, who was in town for the show and some other socializing, and Gabe and I headed towards Detroit, with me taking my first shift at the wheel this year. Gabe put on a Bob Wills anthology (perfect choice) and the drive was smooth and uneventful. We pulled into my place at 2am and unloaded guitars and some essentials. TrooperGirl was still up. Gabe headed home and I washed up and checked my phone for the first time in several hours before crashing out.
Our first weekend run with Jake went well, despite the arctic weather and the impact that it had on Friday’s show. We got some great stage time in, made some new friends, and raised some hell with some old ones. Ears are ringing this morning, but I’m glad I don’t have to load or unload gear in the snow and cold. These winter runs are challenging. Next road trip is back up north in late March. Stay healthy. Thanks for reading. xx