Road Blog: Thursday October 19, 2023 - Memphis, TN
October 19, 2023
Our day started with breakfast at the IHOP in Tuscaloosa. If you know me, you know I’ve never had a bad meal at an Ihop. This time they got the poached eggs right – nice and runny. It was a perfectly good meal. A final coffee and a little flirting with the waitresses and we jetted across the street to Lowe’s to get some hardware to fix my self-destructing guitar stand. Jacob and I went in, grabbed a wing nut, a bag of locking washers, and a few bolts (just in case) and from there we pointed the van north for the beginning of our three-night journey home. I fixed the guitar stand in route while Gabriel was driving and we rocked out to some L'Rain, Robbie Fulks, Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers, then heading into Memphis, Lucero (of course) and Jason Ringenberg.
Our AirBnb was a complicated puzzle of keypad gates and doors, elevators, hallways, stairs, parking permits, and rollaway beds. It’s also bright pink with a giant leather princess chair and neon signs that say “hellogorgerous” and “You’re Like…Beautiful.” Jake’s taking the retro art-deco couch, Gabriel’s got the bedroom, and I’m taking the rollaway. It was shaping up to be a long night. We wasted no time and headed out for some Memphis BBQ.
The Cozy Corner BBQ is a cinder block and corrugated metal structure down a lonely city road just off downtown Memphis. We ordered various incarnations and quantities of ribs and ate like kings for a few minutes. I’d eaten and Rendezvous Ribs many years ago with TrooperGirl22 and we didn’t love it. These were great and I’d go back again for sure.
From there we drove over to Growlers, our venue for the night. It was the dojo where Elvis practiced karate for a time, and it’s still owned by the same sensei and has a lot of the same décor. Bryson, the promoter for the show, had a pretty amazing set of photos he showed me of Elvis and his sensei, and one of Chuck Conners and Bruce Lee in the building. It’s a great room with a sizeable stage in the corner and a bar along two walls. We loaded in, met the staff, including our sound engineer Jay, and sound-checked. It sounded awesome. We talked to the other band a bit, The Eastwoods, and opener Orion Overstreet who went on a little after eight. The crowd was sparse, and it wasn’t the winner show we were hoping for. We’ve started a version of the Drive-By Truckers’ song “Decoration Day” called “Explanation Day” with each verse citing lines we’ve heard about empty clubs. “It’s explanation day… all the bars are slow today…” “There’s a festival in town today…” “It’s always quiet this time of years…” “It was packed last Saturday…” “Archers of Loaf are playing their reunion show on the next block…” “There’s a street festival and everyone’s tired…” We’ve heard `em all. Anyhow, Orion was wonderful – singing her operatic folk music with an acoustic guitar and a banjo.
After us The Eastwoods went on and we really dug those guys. They reminded me of Dirty South-era Drive-By Truckers and had some other cowpunk, alt-country, and southern rock influences too. Guitarist Connor plays a mean slide that adds a cool element to their sound, and singer Kyle leads the rodeo through the set. Their stuff sits perfectly with a good chunk of my record collection. We had a good chat afterwards and vowed to play together again, hoping for a better result.
We loaded out, licked our wounds, and scurried back to our AirBnB, where a healthy rat was running around between cars as we walked in. There was some feasting on leftovers (us, not the rat), and a quick nightcap before crashing out. “Let’s check out this rollaway.” Crack-clunk-bang. Crooked, tilty and rickety. Missing 2 of the wheels, so it rocked front to back. The end legs wouldn’t lock into the brackets. Unsleepable. I set up the one in the storage closet, which was much more stable, and slept in there. Honestly…I’ve slept on worse beds for sure. It was weird sleeping in a prison cell isolation unit-like dark room with absolutely nothing in it, but I got a few hours.
Not too much exciting to write about today. The travel was routine and show was a drag for the most part. They’re not all winners, and it’s not all hookers, drugs, and parties, folks. We’re glad we met The Eastwoods and here’s to a better show next time. We loved the room and wouldn’t even rule out a return there.
Today we’re off to our favoritest road city Lexington, Kentucky. Can’t wait to see my brother NP Presley and hear his new band and hang with our many friends there. We are due for a winner, so let’s do this Lexington! Xx