Road Blog: Thursday October 13, 2022 - Cleveland, OH
October 13, 2022
We left my place around 3pm, navigating through a quagmire of construction until we finally hit I75 and crossed into Ohio. I dozed a bit on and off as we listened to Jellyfish , The Hex Girls (an EP Gabriel bought in Iowa City a couple weeks ago) , and The Go-Gos, and stirred a bit to take the toll ticket from Gabe as we headed onto the Ohio Turnpike east towards Cleveland. It was a fairly uneventful drive under dark cloudy skies, but it was great to be on the road again.
We arrived in Cleveland around 4:45, checked into our AirBnB, and chilled out for a little bit before heading up to the venue. Our AirBnB was in Lakewood, just a couple miles away from The Happy Dog, so very convenient. I took the bedroom in the back, which was as cold as an igloo, Gabe took the middle bedroom, and Jacob took the fold-out couch.
The Happy Dog is a gourmet hot dog restaurant/corner bar/music venue on Detroit Avenue on Cleveland’s west side. We’ve played there twice before, local musicians hold it in high regard, and it was great to get back. The stage sits up against the front window, the round bar takes up the center of the floor, and there is a booth with an embellished/artistically-enhanced photo of Paul Westerberg hanging over it. We ordered hot dogs and tots and a round of Lone Stars. I got a beef frank with chorizo chili, grilled peppers and onions, and cheddar cheese. The played the entirety of The Replacements Don’t Tell a Soul and Let it Be albums while we ate and set up.
Our friend Tad came in with a pal of his. We met Tad at The Happy Dog one of the earlier times we played there and he’s been a mainstay at our northern Ohio shows ever since. We had a great chat and I cleared up a couple questions he had about the lyrics in some of my songs. Dawn and Dan came in, from Geneva, Ohio, about an hour to the northeast, and then my pal Doug McKean came in. I’ve known Doug from my old Clashback days when we did a couple shows with his Pogues tribute band (long before tribute bands were fashionable) called The Boys from the County Hell. He’s a hell of a songwriter and a good dude. We got caught up a bit and I introduced him to the boys.
Doug went on a little after 9pm to a respectable and appreciative crowd. He played a fantastic set of original songs, old and new, and some that I recognized. He’s an accomplished musician, and he owned the stage, and that’s not an easy thing for a guy and an acoustic guitar to do. It was great to see him play again. We went on next and played a short set that wasn’t our best. My head wasn’t in it and I was forgetting lyrics and skipped an entire verse of “Downriver Song” altogether somehow. The boys didn’t miss a beat and bailed me right out, pros that they are. We’ve only played that song 1000 times. Doug came up and we did “Johnny Come Lately” which is a Steve Earle song that The Pogues backed him up on, so that was a lot of fun.
After us the Duo Decibel System went on. They are a two piece that we’ve played with a few times in Cleveland over the years. Melanie and John are great people and it’s always nice to see them and get caught up. Their style has changed a bit since we last played together at The Grog Shop 6 years back. They’ve incorporated some percussive beats and piped in bass and taken a more techno angle at times. They’ve adapted well and it’s cool to see them going in a different direction and expanding their game. They played really well and it was a fun set.
After the show we did a round of shots with Doug, packed up, loaded out, and said goodbye to all our friends. My own personal debacle of a performance aside, it was a decent start to the tour. Back at the AirBB we finished off our leftover tots and crashed out around 1am.
I rolled over around 6:30am and my igloo of a bedroom was now as hot as Hades itself thanks to the space heater I cranked before crashing out. My mouth felt like a bag of sawdust and there wasn’t a glass of water in sight. I squeaked out another 45 minutes of sleep before getting up, getting some water, making some coffee, and taking a shower. The boys followed suit and we packed up and headed out. We met Doug for breakfast at a great little diner called Fresh Start in Twinsburg, about 45 minutes east of Cleveland (thanks man!) and I got the “loaded skillet” that had peppers and sausage gravy over home fries with a couple over easy eggs. It was awesome!
We’re on I-80 now, heading east towards Pennsylvania and Maryland where we’ll play at State Fare in Catonsville tonight, just outside of Baltimore. It’s the longest drive of the tour and I’ll be taking the wheel at the next stop. The Silverites are opening tonight and things kick off around 8pm – can’t wait – it’s gonna be a burner! See ya there!! Xx