Road Blog: Sunday June 12, 2022 - Syracuse, NY
June 12, 2022
We checked out of our dive motel in Colonie, NY, outside Albany, and grabbed a basic but fantastic breakfast at the Colonie Diner. It reminded me of the Pumpkin and Honey Bunny diner in Pulp Fiction, but without Amanda Plummer yelling at me to anti-up. We had an uneventful drive to Syracuse and listened to the Power Chord Hour podcast interview with John Doe, which was fantastic. Anthony came to our show in Buffalo on Thursday and it was a bit of a full-circle moment, but more importantly just a great interview and in-depth conversation with JD about songwriting, touring with X and his solo band, and his new album. I did the podcast myself a few weeks ago so I wasn’t surprised that it was great. I suggest you check out both interviews on Spotify or your podcast vehicle of choice. I’ll put links in the contents.
We checked into our dive motel in East Syracuse and chilled at the hotel for a couple hours as it started raining like holy hell. We watched the second half of Stripes and the first ¾ of Airplane before heading into town. We grabbed dinner at a joint called Beer Belly Deli & Pub in a cool little neighborhood that seemed to be near the university. We had a pint, and I got a good cobb salad and some fries. From there we headed to The Sound Garden downtown, near the venue, and that is a great store (thanks for the tip, Geoff from Buffalo!). I picked up a couple things, nothing crazy - a WAR album for TrooperGirl22 and a $1 copy of Emmylou Harris’ first record that needs a little TLC but will hopefully play fine.
We had some time to kill and it had stopped raining and was turning into a beautiful night so we went over to a city park on the shore of Onondaga Lake, a huge lake on the north side of the city. We had a couple moments with a momma woodchuck and her baby, and several families of geese, none of which were too concerned about us. It was a beautiful sunset and a beautiful scene and nice, brief respite from the rock and roll craziness.
We loaded into Al's Wine & Whiskey Lounge and casually set up our gear and merch. It’s a long, narrow bar with a stage against the big windows facing the street, a long bar along the left side, and a back room with a couple pool tables. There are stools all over the place and some nice leather couches too. I think it was probably a cigar bar at one point because every now and again you’d smell that distinct fragrance. The bartenders (Dan and ?) were cool and helped me choose something new from the hundreds of whiskeys they had available. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so much whiskey. They promised us it would get crowded, and they were right. By 10pm there was a good crowd. As we did in Fairport, Jake played a few songs solo-acoustic, then I did, then he came back up and played bass on a few before I switched over to electric. The bar was crowded and rowdy, lots of people coming and going, and a select few up front watching us intently. Couldn’t ask for more on a Sunday night.
We played until 1am with a short break, tore down, and loaded out. I had one last one and we hit the road. We topped off the truck on the way back to the dive motel for $4.99.9 a gallon, polished off the leftover fries, watched the South Park episode with Van Halen, and crashed out around 3am. Last time The Tucos played Syracuse it was brutal – we were in a beer-themed restaurant in a giant mall and it was rough. Last night was great, and it’s nice to know we have a home here now.
This morning we were on the road by 9:30am with a large McDonalds coffee in hand and Ozzy’s Diary of a Madman on the stereo. We hit Buffalo at 11:30 and stopped at Mighty Taco, a regional fast-food chain that was strongly suggested (again) by my pal Geoff and his cousin. I had to pee like a Russian racehorse, so I ran in and opened the door to the men’s room (a single) only to find a dude sitting there with his trousers around his ankles looking at me with a blanks tare like I’d just walked in on him dropping a grumpy in a public can, and I was all “dude - how about locking the door?” in my head, but just apologized, closed the door and used the (vacant) ladies room instead.
Jake was happy with the extensive vegetarian options and I was impressed with the unique offerings, many including bleu cheese and some interesting combinations. They f’d up my order – no cheese on my meat and cheese tacos – they literally had ONLY meat on the tortilla (plus the sour cream I had added). Nothing else. My “Banderito” burrito was supposed to have fajita steak but it had beans instead. The tacos were lacking but the burrito was awesome, super great. Wrong, but really good. We were starving and in a hurry to get home so I wasn’t up for making a stink, but c’mon Mighty Taco. Let’s do better next time, `eh?
After lunch we topped off the gas tank for a bargain $4.79.9 a gallon and hit the Peace Bridge and Canadian customs. There was a slow-moving line of a few cars, but they let us in without any deliberation. We flew through Ontario as quickly as possible – it’s pretty boring between Hamilton and Windsor. They let us back into the USA without fanfare and we’re home now, tired but feeling good about the weekend.
Out thoughts are with our man Gabriel, but word is he’s on the mend and we’re gonna resume Tucos ops as a trio this week. Jacob and I did our best to represent as a duo, and given the lack of preparation, we’re both happy with the shows. As always, we met a lot of cool people, had fun playing, saw some beautiful country, and ate some great food. That’s all for now. We’re opening for Cracker in two weeks at The Magic Bag and back on the road in late July so watch this space for other news and happenings. Thanks to Jake for sticking with me like a champ through this, thanks for reading, and be safe out there. Xx