2018 March/April tour diary: dive bar magic & car trouble

So off we went on Friday for Scranton. One delay was us being stuck behind a horseback rider who was texting. Don’t text and horse, guys. Picked everyone up and Nick Messitte was feeling like death. Scranton was the Irish Wolf and a big bill of six bands in a benefit show for the family of a local musician who had passed named Theresa. There was a lot of love for her in the room and we were thankful to have been asked to play, even though we didn’t know her. Some awesome stuff from the other bands, too. We especially enjoyed Mr. Softee (shades of Mission of Burma) and Kali Ma and the Garland of Arms (grunge and making a new record right now), and our friends in Doghouse Charlie, who played with us a while back at Greenpoint Gallery. Crashed at a hotel nearby, a luxury usually, but with Nick M. sick and it being the start of the tour, we figured it would help us out later on.

Horseback rider texting

Most of the repertoire we’re playing is from ‘music for outcasts’ but we are also playing a few songs that we’ll be recording later this month, mostly in the Americana mode, and our new single “Reminiscence Over Diner Spoons.”

Somewhere in PA, we went over the queen mother of all potholes. We didn’t think anything of us until, after Ethiopian food in Baltimore, we saw that the front, right wheel was messed up and the rim bent. We called AAA, they found us a tire store that was supposedly still open, and we went there, slowly and carefully. It wasn’t open. We found another one, called, and went further, slowly and carefully. They were open and the guys were at the end of their shift and already opening beers. Dude was excited that we were a band and he had played some drums at some point, too. He put the spare on, switched the front right and rear left, and told us it was no problem to go as fast as we wanted on the highway. We were pretty sure that was not the case and kept to 60mph tops. (For the record, driving back to up to NYC from Baltimore on a donut was not smart. We would not do that next time.)

Mr. Softee plays in Scranton

Got to Bar 1919, a proper dive, and loaded in and Pete Mancini opened the night on a solo set. We hit for our first set and had a good time and more people started drifting into the bar and sitting down to listen. We took a break, came back, played some more and people were still listening. So we added two songs to the set. Then we drove back to NYC on our donut tire, to crash for a little while.

1919 Bar entryway

The bartender Chris told us that Sally came down and that she only comes down when she likes what she hears. I slowly realized that she lives on the third floor, that she’s the owner, and that she doesn’t like all the bands that play at her bar so this was an honor.

Woke up yesterday, called a bunch of places that were closed for Easter or for Sunday, and around the 12th call, got saved. Westchester Wheel & Tire in the Bronx hooked us up; they had us on the road in about 45 minutes with fixed wheels and two lightly used tires.

This slowed us down

Drove to Boston and set up on a quiet night at Plough & Stars. Not many people there but when people are listening, it’s gratifying to play, and people were listening that night. Our friend Ryan Lee Crosby, a wonderful bluesman, was there, too. We had a fun set, playing a little mellower than usual and being goofy on the mic between song, from tiredness as much as anything else.


Today, we drove to western New York on our off day and are crashing in Utica. Tonight, we ate at a Chinese buffet in a strip mall that featured the following businesses: “Herb” Philipson’s, Peter’s Cornucopia, Tuesday Morning, Sloppy Joe’s Pizza, and Nicky Doodle’s. We’re off to Rochester tomorrow to play at Abilene’s a definite favorite venue of ours; Burlington Wednesday for a late-night set at Radio Bean, another awesome venue; and Philly Thursday to play with some friends in SB Deluxe and the Valkyrians (the latter acoustic).