Albany, NY - We're in a Rodeway Motel tonight, about to begin a massive "Last Day Off of Tour" bash with Murder by Death that features a drinking competition known as "Wizard Staff," which they've been explaining to us over the last week. In the game, each beer can you finish gets duct taped to the bottom of the beer you're currently drinking, so that after an hour or three, everyone's walking around with tall aluminum pikes of Miller Lite cans...and shit just gets ridiculous. No one can piss before they become a Level 3 wizard, and the first to Level 10 gets to make a rule that everyone has to follow for the rest of the game. (The second player to Level 10 has to fight the first player.) Level 15 brings invisibility and I believe Level 20 makes you immortal. I'm still shaking a cold so I'm probably just on documentation duty tonight, unfortunately.
We've got six shows left, and even just typing that pains me. This has been the most fun month of my life for sure and trying to go back to everyday Baltimore is going to be like the feeling ten seconds after you get hit in the nuts, drawn out for weeks. I'll be curled in the fetal position in the bathtub if anyone needs me...
With that said, this past week has been the oddest leg of the tour. We played Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ on Tuesday, and even though the show sold out over a week beforehand, the crowd was completely lifeless, even for Murder by Death. They were the least pumped 200 people in New Jersey to be at that show. We felt pretty bad after our set until we watched MbD and the crowd didn't even call out for an encore at the end. (Which they didn't play.) No one could figure it out, but we were all a little peeved by it. Nonetheless, we got a banging free meal out of it and stayed that night with one of the founders of Eyeball Records, which put out the first two My Chemical Romance and Thursday albums (along with MbD's first two albums).
Southpaw in Brooklyn was solid on Thursday with 250 or so paid, and we all got multi-track recordings of our sets, which was especially awesome because we all felt like we played the best set of tour that night. We haven't heard it yet but parts of it might end up on a 10" EP we have coming out in January/February.
We played 10 Pearl Street in Northhampton, MA on Thursday and it was decent, despite a cold, miserable rain that kept all but 70 or 80 folks away. We stayed in an old gabled house with a chick who kicked my ass RBI Baseball.
Burlington, VT on Friday was a fantastic surprise. None of us knew what to expect, though we knew it was going to smell like patchouli. The club - Higher Grounds - spared no expense for us, giving each band it's own dressing room with balconies that overlooked the room we were playing, multiple cases of beer and our hospitality coordinator in case we needed anything else. After load-in, we splurged on some local cheese and wine for the dressing room, then went downtown to check out the scene. I was pretty awed by what we found - it was definitely hippy-ish, but the town reflected the better parts of that stereotype. Everyone we met was really nice and laid-back, and homeless-looking college kids played guitars all over the Christmas-light-bedecked main street (which was closed off to traffic). The whole town sits right on the shores of Lake Champlain and when you're coming toward downtown from the east, it looks like you're going to drive right into as it looms huge and sparkling beyond the city lights. The end result was like Hippy Summercamp that never ends. After soundcheck, the club rolled out an amazing dinner spread, including a Salisbury-steakish veggie loaf and pumpkin cheesecake. We didn't play a particularly inspiring set - perhaps due to a bit much wine and cheese intake before showtime - but I didn't get the feeling much of the crowd was up for being rocked that night. We sold a miserable $31 of merch. Ups and downs.
We got up early yesterday to get to Boston in time to do some sightseeing. After scuttling around aimlessly for an hour, we found Boston Common and hopped out into a slight drizzle and driving wind. Zach and I found The Freedom Trail and followed it as far south as Fanueil Hall before the skies finally cracked wide open and the rains poured down...30 minutes before load-in. We trudged 20-some blocks back to the van and found Billy and Rod equally drenched and equally miserable. The show that night was at Cafe 939 on the campus of the Berklee College of Music, and we found out upon loading in that the show was sold-out and we only had 2 guest lists spots, after we already had 7 people en route to the show with the promise that they'd be allowed in free. (And tickets had gone up to $15 since it was the day of the show. And, as the ultimate kicker, it was a dry show.) Making matters even weirder was the fact that the entire staff was students - being talked down to by a 19-year-old soundman is a harsh lesson in humility. At least the crowd seemed to dig the shit out of it and we sold a bunch of CDs and I got the most fantastic roasted vegetable panini out of it. We drove down to the Rhode Island coast that night to stay with a friend of Rod's and wound up staying in a Hogwarts-looking boarding school where the friend teaches art composition. In the morning, we found surfers riding the waves on the Atlantic shore in 40-degree weather.
Six more shows, beginning with Buffalo tomorrow. We're going to Niagra Falls on Tuesday before heading to Pittsburgh, then Columbus, OH; Chicago; Ann Arbor, MI; and Cleveland before finally making it back home this time next week. Better go enjoy it while it lasts!