Road Blog: Saturday June 17, 2023 - Circleville, OH
June 17, 2023
We left our AirBnb in Ashland, Kentucky around noon, crossed the Ohio River into Ohio, and started working our way northwest. We stopped in Portsmouth, Ohio for some good BBQ at Ollie’s Burgers & BBQ, where I played Slayer on the jukebox to see how that would be received by the locals between the Miley Cyrus and Kenny Cheasney selections. It was barely audible and I don’t think anyone even noticed. We then spent an hour or so downtown bopping around. First stop was Haskins House Records where I picked up Wings Greatest Hits and a couple other goodies and had a good chat with the owners. He offered to have us play a set in the back right there and then, but schlepping all that gear in the hot, southern-Ohio sun didn’t sound like the best idea, so we instead agreed to keep in touch and maybe work that out another time. We hit a couple antique stores, and other than an octopus necklace, left empty-handed. On the way out of town we did a drive-by of the massive, super long murals along the river, and those were worth seeing. Jake was worried they were going to be all patriotic, American Pride, red-white-blue, but they were much more historically focused and quite impressive in quality and size.
Next stop was Apollo Records in Chillicothe, about an hour north. The owner was a nice dude and we chatted about venues in the region. I picked up a Charley Pride album I’ve been searching for for a few years now, so I was excited about that – and they’re now carrying our records, so stop on in and pick one up! It’s a great store!
We had a couple more hours to kill before we could get into our crash pad near the bar and load-in so we walked around downtown Circleville for a while. For a small town in rural Ohio, we were impressed to see so many of the businesses embracing Pride Month with rainbows everywhere and inclusive, supportive messages painted on doors, windows, and signs. We stopped into The Hippie Hut Guitars & Things and talked to the dude there for a bit, then bellied up at Gibby's Sports Bar for a pint. I picked up where we left off at the BBQ joint and played the Sex Pistols’ “Pretty Vacant” as a social experiment, and it was cranked pretty good. The older, day-drinking crowd maybe raised the slightest, annoyed eyebrow, our awesome bartender Lacey was unphased, and I quietly hoped that Johnny Rotten would be proud.
Tootles Pumpkin Inn sits near the far end of the downtown strip in Circleville, across from a giant mural and next to a small festival lot where there was a new-country band playing covers and food trucks. The pumpkin thing comes from a massive pumpkin festival they have there every October. Tootle’s is a joint I’ve been after for some time, since my pal JD told me about it years ago. I made sure to text him and tell him how much we liked it and appreciated the tip! Ashley, the owner, is a sweetheart and a great human, and we felt immediately at home. There’s a bar room and a band room, separated by partially closed curtains. The stage is against the front wall of the side room and there are benches, couches, and chairs. We casually set up, did a sound check, and sent Jacob into the festival to get us dinner from Taesty's food truck, saving us 2/3 of the $5/person entry fee. The chicken was awesome, with a lemon-flower rub, and I made sure to get enough for later.
We went on around 9:30 and played two sets. The crowd wasn’t immense, with the festival and the county fair going on, but we still played to as many people as we’d played to combined on the previous two nights, and they were listening and attentive. Our friend Dawn and her friend Elizabeth came down from the Cleveland area and made a day-long party of it, and we met a bunch of other friendly locals too. We wrapped up around midnight, had a nightcap while we packed up and loaded out, chatted with Ashley some more, and retreated to our apartment for some late-night fried chicken and some much-needed sleep after a long, adventurous day.
This morning we were up and at `em by 9am, hitting Scioto Valley Coffee on the way out of town for caffeine and breakfast. We bypassed Columbus, which was nice, and worked our way northeast until we hit I-75, across the Maumee River, through Toledo, into Michigan, and back at Gabriel Doman’s. We listened to the new Foo Fighters and Ben Fold’s records, The GTVs, Cher’s Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves album, and Judas Priest – Hell Bent for Leather while gulping down the new Fantasy Mix flavors of Hi-Chews, a new van favorite. We loved playing at Tootle’s and hope to come back before long. Ashley and Kelcey are amazing, and it’s a fun room.
That’s a wrap for spring `23 and we’re off `til Canada in September. We’ll be finishing the writing of the new record and enjoying some home time in the meantime. Thanks also to the Westside Bowl and THE LOUD for the shows this weekend – here’s to better luck next time!
Thanks for reading. Be good to each-other. See ya out there. Xx