Road Blog: Thursday June 01, 2023 - Cleveland, OH
June 1st, 2023
Jacob and I played a long, four-hour show solo and duo-acoustic in Farmington Hills on Wednesday night, outside in the blazing sun and heat. That left us a bit wiped out on Thursday, but there was work to do so we headed over to Gabriel’s, loaded up the van, and headed south towards Ohio. The drive was uneventful as I dozed a bit on the back bench. We played Alien Crime Syndicate, Eyelids (coming to Detroit with our pals Model Citizen in three weeks!) and Andrew Cohen & Light Coma. We pulled into our dive motel south of the city around 5:30 and had about an hour to chill before heading towards the venue, and when I say chill, it was friggin’ freezing in that room. I met Peepers, the resident black homeless cat who owns the sidewalks of the Motel 6. He’s friendly, fixed, and available if anyone is interested. I told him about our Sweet Cheetah Publicity Covers for a Cause / Hater Kitty Army benefit for his friends in Detroit and he seemed unamused, but was otherwise cordial.
Last night was our second Happy Dog show in eight months. Happy Dog is a gourmet hot dog and tater tots joint with a well-stocked bar and a stage that supports original local and touring rock and roll bands. The people are friendly and there’s a booth with an abstract enhanced photo of Paul Westerberg over it that’s become our base over the years. We finished up our dogs and local IPAs and my pall Scott Goldy arrived. Scott is a big `ol teddy bear of a dude I met many years ago but hadn’t seen since the before times. He’s a staunch supporter or original, live rock and a roll, a Taco Bell connoisseur, and all around good dude. It wasn't long before our other friends Tad, then a little later Dan arrived and joined us for catch-ups and beers.
The Super Babes are two women – Ann and Bridget – dressed in rainbow onesies who completely rock. Ann’s strat made a huge sound and Bridget pounds the drums with conviction. They play well written and efficient tunes that I’d describe as part Ramones and part Runaways. Great pop sensibilities, dynamics, harmonies, and feel. It was a great set! We played second, a but rushed to get on and a curtailed set that led to some sound issues on stage, but we plowed through and did our best. We audibled in “Dead Ringer” for Tad and I somehow remembered the guitar solo, but I blew the second verse of the instrumental) “DTW” while standing on the giant subwoofer in front of the stage and played over the first dropout in “Rats in the Suburbs” (new tune) so I got the stink eye from behind the drums.
After us my old pal Doug McKean and his band The Stuntmen played a fantastic set of catchy rock and roll. Doug is a hell of a songwriter – last time he played acoustic and his songs worked great in that context too, but it was nice to see him with some real volume behind him. His band is topnotch, great tone, great players, and it all added up to a swell time. Afterwards I stressed to Doug that he needs to get these guys into a studio and capture that shit!
After the show we chit-chatted around, sold a little merch, packed up and loaded out. Gabriel got us back to the motel with only one or two wrong turns (not your fault Karen Jacobsen - The GPS Girl). As we rounded the loop just south of downtown we saw the Terminal Tower (the second tallest building in Cleveland and Ohio) drenched in lights the colors of the rainbow to celebrate the kickoff of Pride Month. Love to all of our LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers out there! Back at the chateau it was some microwaved leftover tater tots and a little South Park, then I was out.
This morning I walked to the lobby to get some of that premiere Motel 6 coffee and met the other resident cat Percy. Percy belongs to the front-desk clerk and wasn’t as welcoming as Peepers. I told him also about our Hater Kitty benefit, and also that my mom has a cat named Percy (who actually donated to the charity too) and Cleveland Percy just walked away. These cats have attitudes. I also said hello to the lady who is apparently living in her car and allowed to park at the motel next to our van as she smoked a cigarette and met the day.
Jake’s phone just blared a Casio-style version of the riff from “Bad to the Bone” at earth-shattering volume but he’s already back asleep as I wrap this up and do my best to not talk myself out of going for a run. There’s no sidewalks or anything around here, just highway, so I guess I’ll walk up to the Pilot Super Center for some orange juice or something while I wait for the boys to stir. Thanks for the dogs and the rock Cleveland, see ya next time! We’re off to Louisville tonight for a couple sets at the Highland Taproom Grill. Hey Kentucky!!! Xx