Road Blog: Friday October 13, 2023 - Little Rock, AR
Friday, October 13, 2023
North Little Rock, Arkansas
Before leaving the Ramada Inn in Effingham, Illinois, we each meandered, in our own separate times, to the lobby for the free hotel breakfast of eggs from a plastic bag, grainy weird sausage, coffee and orange juice. The lady who was making sure the bag of eggs was heated thoroughly was overly apologetic that they didn’t have any peanut butter for my bagel, but spent a good few minutes selling me on the Cinnamon Toast Crunch flavored peanut butter spread that’s on the shelves at WalMart right by the peanut butter. Her sister-in-law made some pumpkin spice cupcakes and my new friend thought it was an opportunity lost not using the CTC spread on them.
I took the wheel as we headed south through Illinois. A bald eagle swooped down and snagged a big piece of roadkill on the side of the northbound lanes and flew away with it in its talons. I thought it was a squirrel or a bunny, but Gabriel thought it was bigger, maybe a cat or something. Historically when we’ve seen bald eagles on tour it’s been a good omen, most recently when the Mackinac Bridge opened back up in time for us to make our gig in Marquette, right after we saw one in Mackinaw City. We crossed the Mississippi River into Missouri at noon, no signs of Jim or Huck, but the river was lower than I’ve ever seen it. The sprawling cotton fields were being harvested and semis hauling giant pink and yellow bails were everywhere. At 1:30 we crossed into Arkansas and headed west towards Little Rock. The drive was uneventful save for some digestive events that required stops at various truck stops, as I work to get off these meds I’m on for my extracted tooth. After a brief stopover at our dive motel and a call home to check in on TrooperGirl22 we headed towards the venue. We listened to Constantines, #Valley Lodge, Stiff Little Fingers, R.E.M. and Scorpions.
North Little Rock is a small city that sits on the north bank of the Arkansas River directly above Little Rock proper. The Four Quarter Bar sits on Main Street in the Argenta Arts District, an old, eclectic neighborhood and entertainment area. There is a street festival this weekend, so there were tons of people around and parking was a challenge. We met Conan, the owner, who welcomed us to town and showed us around a bit, and Jayson, and Jason, the sound engineer and engineer-in-training with similar names. It’s a cool, old building with the sizeable stage in the front corner and a bar in the opposite corner. There’s a balcony with chairs and couches where you can hang or watch the bands, and a patio out back if it gets too loud. We ordered food and pints, and it was for sure the best meal we’ve had on this run yet (not offense, Ramada Inn bag-o-eggs). My pulled pork chimichanga with Cholula and sour-cream sauce on top was right on.
We went on around 9:30 to a fairly packed house of festival goers, happy hour stragglers, and a big wedding party looking to keep the libations flowing. The sound was great and people were into it, but we collectively agreed later that we just weren’t on fire. Maybe it was the travel or we just haven’t found our tour tour legs yet, but we were missing a little spring in our step.
Near the end of our first set a stream of floral-print moo moos, over-sized sunglasses, and red, permed wigs came in – the Mrs. Roper Romp, celebrating the Three’s Company character. It was a pretty impressive flow of Mrs. Roepers and they were in a great mood and many rocked out with us during our second set. An old pal of mine from the virtual world of Twitter introduced himself, Mike Mozely. We’d had a few, mostly guitar-geek, interactions and he just happened to wander into the bar and see we were playing, having abandoned the platform some time ago. It was a crazy coincidence, and we had a really ice chat, sharing some stories about rock and roll and our friends around the country, like Jeff Brower back in Atlanta.
After our set we mingled a bit, sold some merch, then did the usual tear down, load-out, Load the van, tip Bubba the bartender, and hit the road back to the motel. We watched a little South Park and had a nightcap before crashing out around two. Conan, Bubba, Jayson, Jason, Mike, and all the Helen Roepers – THANK YOU for making our firs show in Arkansas memorable! Can’t wait to come back!
We’re a little fried from a couple long drives and long sets, and we’ve got another one today as we head down to Fort Worth, Texas to play Lola's with our buds Bottlecap Mountain and Broke String Burnett. We’re gonna get Jacob JakeE some IHOP in his belly so he can get us down there. There’s something special in-store at Lola’s tonight folks – you don’t wanna miss it if you’re a Bottlecaps/Tucos fan. See ya in Texas!!!!