Road Blog: Friday July 22, 2022 - Bellaire, MI
July 22, 2022
July and August are historically quiet months for The Tucos. We’ll do the occasional one-off but usually not a road trip. This year we checked one off the list that I’ve been trying to crack for a while – Short's Brewing Company in Bellaire, Michigan. Bellaire is a tiny little town in the northern Lower Peninsula, northeast of Traverse City. Short’s is one of the best breweries in the state, and their pub in Bellaire hosts live music and has a great reputation of treating bands well. The great beer and food along with the beautiful landscape and setting help too. This trip is a little different because TrooperGirl22 is in tow, as we’ve got family and friends coming out and plans on the west side of the state on Sunday so we’re driving separately from the van.
We picked up Jacob at noon in Ann Arbor and hit the road. Traffic is notoriously terrible on Friday afternoons heading north in Michigan. We hit some bad congestion on and off but made it to our hotel around 4PM. Gabriel and his wife Angela arrived about a half hour later. We had just enough time to shake the drive off before we had to head over to the venue for load-in. Short’s is a big brewery, all beautiful wood, and the social centerpiece of the one-block downtown. There is an indoor stage but last weekend they moved the music to a big stage in the park across the street, under a sort of pavilion-like A-frame structure, but mostly open-air, facing west.
We ordered sandwiches and had a pint but had little time to eat before we had to set up and get ready to play. The stage is big and comfortable with plenty of room to maneuver. Keith, our sound engineer and main contact, dialed us in quickly and we went on just a couple minutes after 7. We weren’t sure what to expect – this was the town square after all, not our usual audience of heathens, rapscallions, and renegades. We’re not exactly playing Journey covers up there. But we did our thing and people seemed to dig it and no one ran for the hills. There was a momentary evening sprinkle during the first set but I think it was welcome in the steamy, summer heat. We took a 15-minute break, said hi to some friends, and played again until 9:30. My dad was there, first time he’d seen us in quite a while, and my sister and her husband Greg too. We had lots of dear friends who made the trip too – we love you all and it was awesome to see everyone! As always, I wish there was more time to hang, but there was work to do.
As we were getting close to the end, everyone left their seats and walked toward the stage. “Now this is starting to feel like a concert!” I thought to myself, happy but surprised that they’d collectively decided to come up and rock out. Then I realized that a summer downpour had erupted from the sky with little notice and they were all just trying to stay dry under the A-frame pavilion. We played our last few songs to the close-proximity crowd while the employees and our friends and family did what they could to get our gear cases and merch out of the rain. It was a fun ending and the rain let up after a few minutes.
We spent some time socializing before tearing down and loading up the van. Jake, Troopergirl22, and I went to Mammoth Distilling with our friends Jeffery and Kellie for a couple needed whiskeys after a long night of nothing but beer, then we moved the party back to the hotel where the girls talked and Jeff and I debated the history, merits, and rankings of the early heavy metal bands over more whiskey. We brought the water-logged merch in and TG22 dried off the CDs and hung up the wet display shirts, saint that she is. In her absence we’d likely just open up the bins tonight to some nasty mold and wet stink. I ate half the Short’s White Pepper Sandwich I’d ordered but never got to earlier and it was amazing. We crashed out around 2am or so, wiped out.
This morning we’re getting caught up on internet happenings, drinking in-room coffee, and watching Seinfeld and The Office reruns. It feels amazing to be up north, and I always forget just how nice it is up here until I’m actually here. We’ll spend the day bopping around the region, getting something to eat, hitting a record store or two, and working our way over to The Workshop Brewing Company where we’ll play tonight from 8-10pm. Thanks to EVERYONE who came out last night (and pretty much everyone had to travel to get there). It was so awesome to see you all, some of whom I haven’t seen in years. See you tonight in TC! Xx