Wednesday Kansas City: Jill’s house
As we pulled in to Jill’s place we thought to ourselves, “This neighborhood looks kinda familiar.” Later on when one of the guests arrived (Chrissy) we were able to confirm that 3 years ago we played this SAME BLOCK when we played Chrissy’s house on our first ever 20-Tours. (For those of you in the dark, a “20-tour” is a fan-hosted show we play acoustically at somebody’s house (or maybe a nearby park or something) and we typically play about 20 songs, for around 20 people, for a 20-day tour).
So anyway, what are the chances that two different 20-Tour hosts—completely unrelated—from Kansas City, hosting 3 years apart, would live on the same freaking block? Seriously, this is not rhetorical, if you are a science-type, I want you to provide me with some percentage-likelihood’s here.
Had a fantastic first show of the tour here at Jill’s. Her friend Krissy co-hosted, and the two of them did a great job setting up a nice backyard vibe. Set back from the porch there sat a very photogenic tool-shed that we all gathered around for a group photo. I’m pretty sure it’s our facebook cover photo now.
Standout moments from the show: Bonesaw initiating a somewhat un-flattering game of “Each-band-member-intentionally-messes-up-during-the-following-song-and-audience-judges-which-messup-was-the-best-and-most-harmful-to-the-tune”. Kind of an odd idea, and a game we’ve never played before on PURPOSE, but the results were funny. I decided to use my mess-up immediately by playing a completely different beat and tempo (the song was “I Wanna go Home”), and Smell followed suit with some very distracting and loud off-beat cowbelling. Bonesaw waited a while until after the bridge, when he dropped the key a half-step which made for a decidedly confusing experience and inspired a repellent reaction from the crowd, akin the wrong sides of magnets trying to deal with each other. Sean saved his for the very end of the song, when he played a horrible final note of dissonance. When polled, the audience agreed that Bonesaw’s half-step key change was the worst (best?).
Another great moment: Jill and Krissy dueting a couple songs mid-set and as an encore, Jill on guitar and vocals and Krissy on a drum. It’s rare that hosts play a song during the set, so this was a wonderful treat. Well done, ya’ll two!
Also great to see some KC standby’s out that night, like Taylor, Ashleigh, Chelsea, and of course former 20-Tour host and fellow neighborhooder Chrissy Frische.
Checked into a most-excellent Wyndham for three nights near Chicago. Special thanks to our travel agent Dan Hernandez for setting us up here. Man, Wyndham Wingate’s are the best. We got a lot of Days Inn’s on this tour too, though, which are in the Wyndham family (and so under the purview of Dan and his connections), and I think I’ve finally hit upon the difference in quality between a Wingate and a Days Inn. I’m not saying this to complain, Dan, I hope you know that. I’m just a hotel connoisseur and I pride myself on being able to speak articulately on the subject. So here it is, summed up: Days Inns aren’t bad, but they’re sort of like the Civic to the Wingate’s Accord. They seem to earnestly yearn for acceptance with a self-conscious, “Hey guys, look at me, I can do hotel stuff too!”
Anyway, we had a great stay in Chicago at that Wingate. Thursday we were off, so I went with Sean and Bonesaw to see “Captain America”, who is a bad-ass, but like a Days Inn, has always struck me as a Civic in Superman’s more impressive Accord universe.
The following evening we headed downtown to hang out a bit before our electric show(one of only two this tour) at the Elbo Room. In our wanderings we found a sweet toy store with an amazing offering of puppets for sale. I bought a very versatile and expressive chicken puppet that will soon be getting a lot of gigs under “Full Service Films” (Red Team-Blue Team Productions).
The show at the Elbo Room went pretty hard. I’d been spending a few days deep in a Guns n Roses YouTube wormhole watching live footage from 87-92, so my tank was pretty full with high-octane rock fuel for this electric gig. I channeled my inner Steven Adler and punished those drums as best I could.
Adam, promoter for the Elbo room, as always treated us like Kings, and in fact he brought in a film crew to document the night, as he is trying to ramp things up at his club and show the Chicago scene that this room (new lights, sound system, promotional efforts, even refurnished Green room) is legit. It was an honor that he chose our performance to be representative of the room’s new cool-factor. He even filmed myself and a bunch of friends after the show being loud and partyish in the green room. He said it was the first time it’s really been used and he wanted to show how fun it could be. We were happy to oblige!
Chicago always comes out for FS. Dustin, the Adams’s, Dave Garbe, Ian, Lauren (thanks for the necklackes!), Nneka, Aubrey and Andy, Shelby, Cousin Will, Jim, Jon Adams, Ryan, etc….(who’d I miss? Don’t be afraid to call me out)….you guys are certainly the core and we thank you for always being there. Paul and Dorian, too!
Standout moment: I wasn’t fully aware of what was going on when it actually happened, and I’m still not sure I really get it, but I’m pretty sure Bonesaw invited somebody up to the stage and presented them with a bowling trophy? Can anybody confirm and explain this?
After a rough night’s sleep (thanks, beer) we woke up and headed out to a public park clubhouse to play a surprise party that Nicole organized for her husband Don (and also for her brother Adam. Gosh….wait….his name was Adam, right? And it was her brother, right? I’m so ashamed). Balloons, cakes, a really high-level potato salad, and lots of friends and family (“kids from 1 to 92”, as they say).
When we finished our set, Don told us we had officially secured “number 1 favorite band” status in his book, which is always a nice thing to here. Nicole, you and your sister and family did a spectacular job with this event, you should be very proud. We can all only hope for such a loving partner in our lives. Don is a lucky man.
Next morning. Time to head out to Andy and Senoa’s show for our Chicago finale. The rain moved us inside, but after some slight re-arranging of the living room, we were confident we had created the perfect indoor 20-Tour vibe. Add to that Senoa’s chili, a local beer called “A Little Crazy”, a bunch of dogs, several rowdy Chicagoans, and some Jack Daniels for myself, and you’ve got one for the ages, folks. We broke mid-set to take 10 minutes and write a song dedicated to the show and the hosts (something we don’t always do, but have done before), and emerged with an incredibly stupid tune in the style of KISS (as requested by a fan known as “Sixthman Alex”) that touched on—among other things—Senoa’s chili and its potential for a dangerous fart-box scenario, what with 30 or so people crammed in a small living room.
From a living to a garage, we play it all. Ryan and Timea had us over for their second 20-Tour hosting, which (did you know this?) grants them automatic and immediate entry into the Full Service Fansaw Hall of Fame! Well done, guys! The first time they hosted, we were all out on some property they’d recently purchased, but this time we came to their house and set up in their garage. (It’s not often our stage is flanked by an ATV four-wheeler and a large snow-blower, but, like I said…we have a very loose concept of “stage”).
Best moment of the show? Ryan’s wife Timea, a student of the bass guitar, replacing Sean on our song “Revisited” has to be the winner. Kick-ass job, Timea. But in a close second-place, I’d have to put my post-show snowball-pegging of Smellman, captured incredibly by Bonesaw in this photo.
If there were a level beyond FS Fansaw Hall of Famer, Ryan and Timea would surely be inducted, and for the following reason; they sent us home with samples of a home-made wine they recently bottled bearing the name “Sunsplash”—a reference to a song from our 2009 album “The Earth Still Wants You”. Sunsplash is a Strawberry Rhubarb concoction that we hope to serve at the 2014 Full Service Circus this coming October. Thanks Ryan and Timea!
Swift Creek Farms, South Carolina
It was a long drive (deep to right field) from Chicago to South Carolina, but mostly painless thanks to a good book (Jonathon Lethem’s “Fortress of Solitude”) and Guns n Roses YouTube clips. It was late when we pulled into my sister-in-law’s dad’s house on a farm in South Carolina. We pretty much let ourselves into the guest house and passed out.
But when we woke up….wow. This property was paradise. Horses, gardens, a pool, tennis, basketball, archery, a pond, an off-site campground reachable by bike or Mule, the works. My brother Tyler was unfortunately on an assignment for the New York Times (in Chicago, of all places), but my three nieces and one nephew were all there in full spring break mode. Which, because they are between the ages of 5 and 12, is all pool, movies, archery, s’mores, campfires, and in the case of my and Bonesaw’s nephew Mackey, 45 games of basketball a day. (Kid never stops. And I’m through going easy on him, because he can play. He’s half my size but in the last year he’s developed a serious head-fake that I ALWAYS bite on. The games got so intense that we actually both drew blood on each other).
My sister-in-law Jen’s father Mike, and his wife Tina, invited several of their friends over and we set up in front of the pool for a twilight set. After the concert we all headed out to the campsite for s’mores by the campfire and eventually into the teepee for some games of “7 Beep Beep”. Every played that? You go in a circle saying 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on until somebody gets to a number that either has “7” in it (like 17) or is a multiple OF 7 (like 42). The goal is to get to 100. It’s way harder than it sounds. But we did it. Mostly thanks to the kids, who are fresh off their memorization of multiplication tables in school.
Not a far drive to Charleston, SC the next day for our show hosted by Matt Appleman at his venue the Brick House, so we arrived with plenty of time to visit Sean’s brother, sister-in-law, and nieces and nephews. Those kids are so sweet. The oldest girl, Austyn (8), melted my heart when, after our show at the Brick House, she came up to me and whispered “you have such a BEAUTIFUL voice”. Her words meant even more to me in light of the fact that our show was not very well attended, despite the tireless promoting efforts of Matt and the Brick House. We simply don’t have much of a following in Charleston, and for that we are sorry, Matt. But we had fun nonetheless, because of Sean’s family, our old friend Anna, fellow rugged traveler Dave Cardonick, and of course the great people at the Brick House, from Matt all the way to the monitor guy, an older dude with big hands who I was told could play a mean bass guitar. Thanks, too, to the owner Chris, who is fighting hard to create a venue that the people of Charleston can be proud of and excited about, but who is also having a tough time with permitting requirements and noise complaints. Keep on, Chris!
On to Charlotte, NC! One of Full Service’s favorite spots in America, in fact. Why? Great fans (Marino, Will, Jules, Scott, Beth, Lindsay, Jesicca, etc) and great yoga. An assortment of band members typically head over to Yoga One when we roll into Charlotte to attend class with legendary Yogi Lindsay Crisp. This time it was just me and Bonesaw (Sean hurt his back the day before, playing wiffle ball with my nephew, and Smell went off to a salvation army store in hopes of finding a hunting knife. He found one). We always do the hot yoga when we visit, which never gets easier, really. Hot Yoga is a b***h. We got through it but spent the rest of the day trying to guzzle enough water to adequately replace what we’d lost in sweat. I don’t think I ever caught up.
Anyway, later that evening we headed over to the Radke’s neighborhood to play what turned out to be our biggest 20-Tour show of the tour. Marino had a BIG crew come out to see us, and we rewarded his efforts with a Radke party theme song. Something about his “living in suburbia” but being able to throw “parties that are superbia”. Quite silly, really, but well-received I think.
Marino and Kim have a very kind family and group of friends. To their two kids Caswell and Z-Man, thank you so much for your help with the merch and the equipment. Stay in school! To Kim, it’s not every Easter the four of us get personalized Easter baskets, so thank you for that. Those snacks and towels came in handy in the Whale. And to everyone that came and rocked that neighborhood clubhouse with us, we are definitely coming back to your zip code and doing this again.
West Virginia! Our first time here. Add it to the list, Bonesaw. And man, this one was out in the country, that’s for sure, and I mean that in the best possible way. It feels good to travel way off the grid, and Jessie and Darren hosted us with bottomless hospitality and enthusiasm. Easter egg hunt for the kiddos, Whale-coloring contest, gluten-free options, local beers, a campfire, and an excited and attentive group of family and friends. And Darren, without those signs on the way to the house, I’m not sure we ever would have made it, because google maps has not made it here yet. (Nor has AT&T for that matter).
There was some serious buzz among the audience after the show that we’d likely be seeing a lot of West Virginians at this year’s Full Service Circus, and I hope this happens. You guys have that Circus-style energy. We need you! And congratulations to the dude (what was your name? It was crazy, like “Sweezil” or something) who won Bonesaw’s “Heavy Metal Trivia” game.
Will Scroggin hosted one of the first 20-Tour shows three years ago almost to the day, so with his show on this year’s tour he obviously earned himself a spot in the FS Fansaw Hall of Fame. Atlanta is home to many standout fansaws, in fact. Nick, Emily, Dusty, Kevin, Vanessa, Brian. And we made some more this warm night in Will and Nick’s backyard. I can’t remember all of your names, but I remember we had a good time. I also remember a tasty cupcake I ate. That thing was yummy. It was so yummy, in fact, I had to make sure that the locusts and tiny red spiders falling on me from the trees above, and the multi-colored flames from the tiki torches surrounded the stage were not figments of my imagination that I owed to the baked good, but were in fact actual and real-life.
Will, you are a good dude. You surround yourself with good people, too, and it was our pleasure to have been introduced to so many new folks at this show. Big Mo! Manny and….damn, dude…what was your name? Brian? And what was the name of that dude who helped us load out all our gear? Also, Niko and his girlfriend.
Perhaps the standout moment of this night, though, was when a guy and his girlfriend (again, the name’s escape me. I blame the cupcake) came up to us after the set and told us they had originally become fans back around 2006 or 2007, when we covered and uploaded to YouTube a cover of the Mastodon song “Blood and Thunder”. They were big-time Mastodon fans and our video popped up in that realm, they said, and ever since then they’d been following us. This was their first live Full Service experience. Isn’t that crazy? All because of that Mastodon cover we uploaded to YouTube all those years ago. Great to meet you guys.
Well, it was a quick tour, but packed with action. Stay tuned for the VIDEO RECAP coming hopefully sometime this weekend. Thanks to all the hosts and all the guests! Interested in hosting a show yourself? Email Bonesaw at firstname.lastname@example.org and he’ll put you on the list.