Road Blog: Saturday October 21, 2023 - Akron, OH
October 21, 2023
We left our dive motel in Georgetown, Kentucky a bit worse for the wear, but in high spirits after the much needed great show in Lexington the night before. We had breakfast at the adjacent Waffle House, or the “Awful Waffle,” as it’s called if you’re in the know. It had been a while. The food wasn’t bad but the place was filthy – every surface was sticky – the floor, the counter, the laminated-placemat menus, the cups and mugs. Anyhow, it went down ok and we were soon on our way north with me at the wheel, Gabriel at shotgun, and Jacob in the back. They were both out pretty quick so I put on Juliana Hatfield’s Only Everything album, popped Fantasty-flavored HI-CHEWs every 15 minutes to keep me awake, and drove over the Ohio River, Cincinnati, and above the Sweet Tea Line for the first time in a week and a half. We’ve had blue, sunny skies since we crossed the Sweet Tea line into Missouri last Friday, and like clockwork, they turned grey and rainy when we crossed back over yesterday. The boys woke up around Columbus and it wasn’t long before we were checking into our dive motel north of Akron. The clerk tried to pull some “You can’t get the member price on two rooms” horse shit on me but I wasn’t having it, having done that in the 100s of times before. He acquiesced and we settled in for an hour or two.
Dinner options were limited so we ended up at this sports bar and grill called On Tap Medina I had a turkey and swiss on a pretzel bun that wasn’t bad, and we watched Iowa win over Minnesota in the final seconds of the game. 20 minutes down the road and we were loaded into Buzzbin. This venue used to be in Canton, Ohio, and we played there a few years ago. Our pal Scott was on the sidewalk to greet us and inside we were happy to see Dawn and Elizabeth and say hello to Brian Lisik and his band. It’s on older building in the Kennmore neighborhood of Akron, a long room with a bar on the left side and a tall stage against the front. They had the Replacements’ Saturday Night Live poster hanging and played cool 80s punk for house music.
There was a local headliner booked to play the show but they unexpectedly cancelled, as we found out via a Facebook post at 3am the night before. When you’re a touring band in a new city and the local headliner cancels, it’s pretty much a kiss of death, so we knew we were now heading into a slow night. Brian Lisik and Hard Legs bassist wasn’t able to make the show but they showed up to play anyway, which we were very grateful for. They have some smart tunes with good hooks and Brian is a solid singer. Their guitarist Rob plays a Dr. Z amp, like me, and we bonded over tone for a bit. We’ll be crossing paths with them again sometime, and while they sounded great, I’ll be looking forward to seeing them with a bassist!
We played after them and did or best to rock the joint despite the barren landscape. We always try to never phone it in, if there’s three people there or 300. We felt like we played pretty well and it sounded ok. The microphone I was using had a windscreen (the grill-like ball at the end) that was frayed and torn and mid-set it caught the edge of my nostril as I sang a line and pulled away. That hurt like holy hell and I was seeing stars for a second, but the show goes on. After the set we sold a little merch, which we’re always grateful for, mingled a bit with our friends and the owner, Julia, who was dressed like Uma Thurman from Kill Bill, had a nightcap, loaded out and headed back to our motel.
Back in our room I heated up my leftover macaroni & cheese from dinner and left it in a little too long melting the Styrofoam a bit. Oh well, down the hatch. Probably not going to be what kills me. We watched a little Harold and Kumar and crashed out around 2am. This morning I went out to load up the guitars (we always bring the guitars into our room overnight) and had to back the van out a little to open the back doors. Hmm, that’s odd – says the rear passenger door is open. Yup, the side door to the van was wide open all night, leaving our gear exposed for anyone to help themselves. Holy Christ that could have been a disaster, and I was so grateful nothing was gone. I was sitting back there on the drive back from the bar, so I guess it’s on me. That’s a first, and hopefully a last. We grabbed a quick breakfast at McDonalds and now we’re on the Ohio Turnpike heading back towards Michigan.
And that’s a wrap on our October tour. Pretty typical in the end, with the first 2/3 being pretty solid but three of the last four shows not being great. We drove through 10 states, crossed the Mississippi River twice, played 10 shows in 10 days, ate some incredible food, saw some great friends and made a few more, saw some armadillo road kills, a giant bald eagle, the Alamo, Dealy Plaza, and the Lorraine Motel. We’re very much looking forward to getting home to our homes, wives, beds, and lives. But here’s to rock and roll. It ain’t always pretty but we ain’t done yet. Thanks for reading. Xx