Road Blog: Friday October 21, 2022 - Marion, IL
October 21, 2022
We left our AirBnB in Mississippi around 10:30am under sunny, warm skies and headed towards Oxford, Mississippi in search of breakfast. We pulled into the Beacon restaurant, which seemed like a home run, but they’d just stopped serving breakfast a few minutes before, so we headed west, through the same town square where Jacob bought a book and Gabriel and I saw Slim Jim Phantom after we had a $6 top-shelf whiskey in the blues bar the afternoon prior, to the iHop on the west side of town. I’ve always maintained that I’ve never had a bad meal at an IHOP, and under duress I can still say that, but this was pushing it. It wasn't...bad, but it wasn't....good.
Gabriel drove us through Mississippi, south of Memphis, across the Mississippi River, into Arkansas, into Missouri, then across the Mississippi River again, across the Sweet Tea Line into Illinois, and finally into Marion, where we checked into our hotel. It was a nice 76f out, and just as we’d been accused – we brought the cold weather into the south, and as soon as we crossed the Sweet Tea Line back into Yankee country it was warm again.
Now, in this band, if someone has a hankerin’ for something specific to see, or do, or eat, we generally roll with it. To be fair, that someone is usually me, and tonight it was my weird adoration for Taco John's, a regional taco chain that falls somewhere south of Taco Bell and north of a convenience strore. Well, I can tell you that Taco Bell has fallen hard from favor in my eyes after a consistent lack of quality of product and service in the last couple years. TrooperGirl22 and I have been staunch advocates, but we just can’t anymore after too many shitty experiences. Anyhow, I was excited to come back to Marion where there is a Taco John's and get me some of that fast-food goodness.
It couldn’t have gone worse. Every single order we placed came out wrong. Gabe’s, mine, Jakes… the customer before us and the one after us, everything was wrong. The poor kid at the register just saw “quesadilla” and couldn’t discern between cheese, beef, chicken, whatever, so he seemed to just pick at random. Order chips and cheese with a combo and get charged extra for the cheese….but it’s part of the combo, no? Um, you ordered Ole’s. Um, no I did not. OK let’s spend 8 minutes to give you that $1.15 refund….and STILL give you the goddamn oles. Not to mention the fact that it took a good 20+ minutes to get our incorrect orders. Complete disaster. The next dude walked up and said “that’s not my order” and I said “that’s what you think, buddy…” and it was, but it was wrong. The woman after him got her to-go bag and said “This feels a little light” and sure enough, it was about half there. Gabe looked like he got bit by a hornet, a wasp, and a bee all in the same spot and declared NEVER again, which I thought was harsh, and Jake couldn’t stop laughing at the endless debacle. Jesus, I just want to enjoy some regional fast food and it was a disaster. It took Gabe well over an hour to get over it. The struggle is real, folks.
From there we pulled into John Brown's on the Square, a joint we played in May and were thrilled to return to on this run. We loaded in, saw our pal Boyd who lives near there, and set up and soundchecked. We had some good conversation with John and his wife, and Boyd too. We went on at 9pm to a great crowd and played a good 90+ minute set before taking a break and then playing again until about 12:15. What a night – great crowd, hootin’ and hollerin’, a real genuine love for live, original music at this bar in this town. John, like Bo in Tuscaloosa, really gets it, and bleeds rock and roll, and it’s working, and it's appreciated. It was a fantastic night. Right before we left we had a little huddle with John and it got a bit emotional all around as we shared a moment that I know will stick with us for a long time.
Back at the hotel we had a nightcap and warmed up the last of my pizza from Water Valley. Jake called his wife, who’s birthday is today, and we all crashed out around 2am. Today we’ll drive to Cincinnati, Ohio where we’ll play Fretboard Brewing Company tonight from 7:30-9pm, opening for Cage Willis. Then the plan is to drive home afterwards, putting us back in Michigan around 3-4am. It’s a daunting task, that late drive, but there aren’t any rooms in Cincy that work for us, probably because of the Bengals game, and once you get an hour or two north, why not just get it done and sleep in your own bed? The plan could change, but that’s were we’re sitting at the moment.
Marion was awesome, thanks JB & everyone! This whole run has been great, and it’s hard to believe there’s just one show left. Cleveland and Baltimore seem like months ago. See ya tonight Cincy! Xx