Road Blog: Friday September 23, 2022 - Iowa City, IA
September 23, 2022
Iowa City, Iowa
We left Indianapolis around 10:30 and headed west towards Illinois. Gabriel was driving, Jacob was in the back seat, and I was navigating, with Karen Jacobsen - The GPS Girl. It was cloudy and there were intermittent, short rain showers, and it was colder than we’ve seen since springtime. We listened to Mission of Burma, Joe Walsh, Belle & Sebasitan, and Husker Du . We stopped for gas and lunch at a Circle K gas station somewhere in rural Illinois and filled up on torpedoes, microwaved chicken sandwiches, pumpkin seeds, and nutter butters. We crossed the Mississippi River into Iowa around 2pm, looked over the edge for Huck and Jim but didn’t see them, veered left around Davenport, stopped at the World's Largest Truck Stop in Wolcott, and arrived at our hotel in a suburb of Iowa City.
We had enough time to chill for a bit so Jake researched dinner options while I did some computer work. We gathered up Gabe and headed into town around 5:15 and parked our truck next to the venue. We’ve played Iowa City a few times now and I’ve grown a bit attached to it. It feels very Midwest and reminds me of a less uptight Ann Arbor in a lot of ways. Historically I’ve had a block of downtime before the show where I’d walk around campus and see some sights, but we didn’t have that kind of time yesterday. We got diner at Short's Burger & Shine, which is a bar and grill that specializes in (yep) burgers and fancy mixed drinks. I got a smashed double with bacon, guacamole and provolone and it was really good. The boys seemed pleased too, as we watched the young freshmen milling around, drinking waters, trying to be cool, and making plans for Friday night that oddly did not seem to involve going to a dive bar to see some older dudes from Detroit rock out.
We stopped into the Record Collector which is their downtown record store we always hit. Both Gabe and Jake, a few minutes apart, held up the Machine Gun Kelly record and told me I should buy it, purposefully instigating my hidden rage and disdain with rye grins. I’d rather get a root canal than hear that record and left empty handed. Gabe bought a couple things and we walked over to the venue.
Elrays Live&Dive is a Nashville style joint with a couple different stages and different things going on each of them throughout the night. As we walked in I heard a familiar voice and was surprised to see who was on the downstairs stage. You see, several years ago, let’s say 2016ish, we were on tour somewhere – no idea where, could have been Iowa or Missouri or who knows. We were gassing up the van and this lady walked over and asked Patty Patrick L. O'Harris if we were in a band. She gave him a CD – Joe and Vicki Price. It was a chance encounter, but we rocked out their music and enjoyed it! Fast forward to 2018 and we were loading into a show in Kansas City and who was playing the slot before us? Joe and Vicki. We said hi and had a laugh. Here we are in 2022, and who’s mid-set as we load in in Iowa City? Yep – crazy coincidence. We didn’t get to say hi last night because out sets overlapped, but Hi Joe & Vicki! Good to see you guys out there still at it!
We had a fairly brutal load-in up a long flight of stairs to the upstairs stage, but were grateful for the assistance of the two sound engineers (names escape me, sorry dudes). It’s a nice bigger room with a stage at the opposite end, a bar along the side, and hightops along the other. We set up and sound checked and everything was dialed in nicely. Our pal Daryl from Decatur showed up with a couple friends, one wearing a Cheap Trick shirt (sorry again, I’m horrible with names), which I approved of, and we had a nice chat about Cheap Trick and Iowa and other goings on. I also said hello to Justin Holt and his band, who are in town from Nashville for the weekend and playing the downstairs stage. Super nice dudes who caught part of our set before they had to soundcheck.
We went on at 9pm to a small to medium audience that fluctuated between almost empty to respectable and almost crowded at times. We played well and had great sound, which was fun. I completely blew the first half of “Huckleberry” as I was daydreaming about the burger I was digesting. Rookie mistake. The boys held it together and I fell back in before the first chorus. We ended at 10:30, tore down, sold some merch, and watched Justin and his band for a few songs before we loaded out, down those stairs, and into the alley where we were sandwiched in between a white cargo van and Mr. Elray’s car. One of his guys moved the car up, and after I failed, Gabe was able to jockey us out and back onto the street.
We made a quick stop at the Kum and Go near the hotel and I got a bag of crunchy Cheetos that I did not need and a pint of milk. Back in the room we had a nightcap, I finished my burrito from Thursday (that's 3 meals outta that) and crashed out around 1:30.
This morning hit me hard. After a solid 7 hours sleep I felt like death incarnate. Jake and I went down to the breakfast bar and the Quaker instant Maple & Brown Sugar oatmeal didn’t help. I’m rebounding after a shower and a couple ibuprofens, and it looks like I might just pull through, but I’m glad it’s my turn to drive after the show tonight, which means I have to (get to) take it easy.
Big Thanks to Bret (Mr Elray), and everyone at Elray’s – you guys are amazing. Cheers to Daryl and his friends, Joe and Vicki, and Justin Holt. We’ll see you all out there! Now we’re up to Wausau, Wisconsin for a show at the Polack Inn with Edison Hollow and CASHED. See ya there! Xx