Road Blog: Saturday April 22, 2023 - Lexington, KY
April 22, 2023
We left out AirBB outside of Charleston, had a friendly goodbye with our hosts Libby and Al, cranked Cheap Trick - In Color, and had dinner at this little diner called Dwight's in Nitro, West Virginia. Jacob is the designated Restaurant Coordinator since he joined the band and he’s batting about .990, which is a very respectable average. Food was great, the boys got some gravy covered eggs and biscuits that looked amazing, but my standard eggs & hash fare was great too. Before heading west, we stopped at Sullivan's Records in Charleston to see what was left over from Record Store day and I was able to get the live Black Rebel Motorcycle Club from my friend John, and impulsively bought UFO’s best-of compilation, as I was caught up in the spirit of the holiday. Gabriel Doman drove us through the mountains and into Kentucky as the skies toggled between blue and sunny and garden-variety showers. It’s a really beautiful drive – West Virginia and Kentucky are both amazingly scenic states. I did my best to stay awake but did doze a bit from the passenger seat. Jake was out cold for most of the journey.
We checked into to our dive motel in Winchester, Kentucky outside of Lexington and settled in for a couple of hours of The Simpsons reruns before heading into the city. First stop was POPS Resale where I was after the Dolly Parton 2xLP – the lone straggler from my RSD list. They said they should have one, but it wasn’t in the bins, so I left empty handed. He’s a really nice dude and we’ve got many friends in common, some of which I’ve seen very recently (Gretta, Leila, Chris) so I passed along their hellos on the way out.
Our plan was to again try for dinner at Pies & Pints, this time in Lexington. Remember, we tried the night before in Charleston but the wait was too long. We padded our timing with an extra hour tonight, but as we approached the restaurant, traffic got insane and there were women in droves heading from every direction over to Rupp Area, as we quickly learned Lizzo was in town. Parking was non-existent, at least for less than $20, so we got out of that quagmire of humanity and headed to the next pizza joint Google could find: Rise Up Pizza. It’s in the corner of a giant old Greyhound bus station that’s been converted into an arts-food-crafts-shops center. We ordered pies, walked around a bit, scarfed them down, and headed out. My sausage and banana pepper pie was really good – hit the spot, and it was cool checking that place out.
We parked next to The Green Lantern and headed across the street to Devilish Current Brewing Co. for a beer while we waited to load in. The bartender had spent some time in Michigan so we had some good conversation while I texted NP Presley about the show and my Record Store Day comrades about our hauls. Over at The Lantern it was all hugs as a whole bunch of friendly and familiar faces welcomed us back to what is one of our top cities. Chandler Tex Dynamite, Ben Aubrey, Dick Hornito... A face from back home emerged from the shadows wearing his Tucos’ skulls jersey – Tim made the trek down from Detroit and was capping off a weekend with us – what a dude! And before long my pal Jake (sans my bud D'Arcy who was rocking out with Lizzo) and a couple pals arrived, and Chris and Leila from Vibrolas – two close friends from Somerset, an hour + south.
Ben Aubry went on first. Ben lives on and runs a goat farm down in Danville (well, from where I sit, Trinity runs it, but… ?? ) and I’ve been a fan since he played in Paper Bridges. Amazing voice and great songs. We’ve been fortunate to see a couple great singer/songwriters on this run. I told Ben that TrooperGirl22 follows the goings on at the farm on Instagram and one day she has to meet Trinity and see the farm. Next up were the Low-Grade Mortals. They were great – loud, fast rock and roll with great songs. Main dude Brad played a Danelectro through a killer sounding Ampeg half stack and they ended with covers of The Replacements and The Damned. Awesome.
We played third to a great room and it was easily our best set of this run. We’re still fumbling around that post-bridge build up in “Make Out King” (sorry Ian) , but hell, it’s only a song we’ve been playing for 12 years. It happens. We’ll hash that out at practice this week. The new stuff is going over well, Leila shouted out that we are honorary Kentuckians, so that made me happy, and we ended with an audience participation sing-along with our tune “Hey Kentucky,” which is always a closer there.
NP Presley & The CEB went on around midnight to a great crowd and played what was one of the best sets I’ve seen from them. Nate’s got a new focus, and it shows – the energy and attention and conviction is top notch. Leah sings amazing, Tex rules on the Les Paul, and it was everything you’d want. It was cool to see Nate strap on an acoustic for a few songs too! They left it all up there and everyone was spent by the time they were done.
We got one last round, packed up, said our goodbyes, loaded out, and designated driver Jake got us back to our dive motel safely and quickly just shy of 3am. We engulfed what was left of my pizza and crashed out. I woke up around 7:45am not feeling great from that final round, after a nightmare that my friend Joe from Marquette (the same Joe referenced in our song "Christmas Dance") was running from the FBI for being a part of an illegal pet tropical fish ring. Tommy Lee Jones played the part of the FBI guy and just missed Joe at every turn. Now, Joe and I have gotten into some trouble in our day, that’s for sure, but we never dealt in illegal tropical fish – we’re not friggin’ monsters. Anyhow, I shook that off (maybe Becky can relay the message to Joey to walk the straight line for a bit), and started working on the blog before a shower and taking the guitars out to the van.
As is usually the case, I drove home, probably on a count of my penchant for speed and lawlessness. Our usual homeward-bound McDonalds breakfast, the ceremonial Gabriel fighting with the automated ordering system, and we were back on the road. We stopped at The Party Source in Bellevue, KY and stocked up on some whiskey that’s a bit less pricey down there, crossed the Ohio River back above the Sweet Tea Line, and made it back to Gabe’s a little after 4pm.
Lexington once again did not disappoint. What a great night a great capper to the run. Thanks for reading. See ya in June. Xx