Hey, better late than never, right? Check out GNAGM at the Red Herring tonight with Some Say Leland and You and Yourn.
July 10th — Lee Harvey's, Dallas, Texas
Off the bone barbecue did not disappoint, and it was a great way to begin our weekend in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. After we were filled to the brim, we headed over to the venue — an outdoor-seating bar in Dallas called Lee Harvey's. We found the name of the place a bit peculiar, too. This was the first of three shows we would be playing with a delightful seven-piece folk act from Fort Worth called The Theater Fire. Unfortunately between the outdoor stage and the chit-chattery bar our songs were a bit lost. We received some positive feedback but we were still feeling a bit out of place. Theater Fire's set fit right in, and they assured us we would be more at home in Denton and Fort Worth. Not long after the show, it was Yoga time.
July 11 — J&J's, Denton, Texas
After traveling back to Fort Worth the night before to stay with James, a multi-instrumentalist for the Theater Fire (and an important figure later on in our weekend), we spent most of the day lounging around. The Texas sun was relentless, and because of it there aren't many people out during the day in Fort Worth. We eventually made our way to Denton and explored the quiet college town before heading into J&J‘s, a cozy pizza parlor on the square. They take care of you in the south, and we enjoyed free pizza and Schlitz in the basement of the restaurant. This was also where performances took place, and the space was indeed a great fit for us. We played in near-darkness so our video projections could shine brightly, and the brick walls reverberated our songs just right. The basement was nearly filled with a kind and receptive crowd. Definitely our sort of place. The commute to James' place did take a bit longer on the way back, as one of the Theater Fire folks ran out of gas. Oops.
July 12 — The Chat Room in Fort Worth, Texas
The night we met James of the Theater Fire, he told us that he was into experimenting with bowing different instruments (pianos, guitars etc.) with homemade bows made of fishing line strung across his ceiling. He told us that he was into improvisation and had a nice home recording studio, so the entire weekend we were pretty adamant about recording some sort of drone song that could include bowing the vibraphone like on our song "Ocean in View". On Sunday afternoon after an unsuccessful attempt at finding rare instruments at a Texas flea market, and after taking us to an Indian foods market we promised him we would never tell anyone about, we got to record an improvised song with him. James set E-bows on an Autoharp to create a drone chord, I used an upright bass bow on my guitar, and Pat used mallets and bows on his vibraphone. (picture included) James set up microphones and did a great job recording what came out, and we titled it I-3 (name chosen by aimlessly moving a finger around a random page in a random book and stopping on a random word) The song was originally 26 minutes long, but we cut it down to 11 minutes in the mixing process, and it's now up on our Myspace if anyone would like to hear it. Now onto the show. This would be our last show with The Theater Fire, and we were told by a lot of people that their Fort Worth show would bring out lots of people because they are kind of the hometown heroes in Fort Worth. By the time the show started, the place was completely packed. We played first, and were ecstatic about how responsive and into our music the rowdy bar crowd was. Lots of people told us that we had to come back, and we most definitely will be. Texans are probably the most welcoming people we've ever met, and we felt right at home after we played. After us, a marching band (literally) called Mount Righteous played, and they were quite original and great to watch. The Theater Fire played last, and the crowd, us included, completely loved it. The singer/guitar player Curtis closed out the night with a solo song about testicles. Sweet.
July 13/14 — Austin, Texas
We were originally supposed to be playing in Denton on the 13th, but due to an illness at the house putting on the show, they had to cancel. We made the best of the situation and decided to head to Austin a day early and try to see some more of the city, as we didn't get to see much the first time we played there. Our good friend Marshall who put together our Conroe show lives in Austin, so we called him up. We checked out his house, which happens to be attached to Premier Studios, which is owned and operated by Bruce Robison, famous for writing some of the Dixie Chicks and George Strait's hit songs. Needless to stay it was pretty incredible to see that studio with all of the gold and platinum albums lining the wall. Apparently, the Austin music scene is so awesome and tightly knit, that on any random night you could go to a random house party and Explosions in the Sky or any other amazing Austin band will just be hanging out/playing with their friends. We had our fingers crossed when Marshall took us to a friend's small get together in the ‘burbs, but no luck. Still a really fun night, even without a show.
Tacos. Breakfast Tacos. I can't for the life of me remember what the name of the place was that we got them, but oh lord, they were incredible. If you're in Austin, look for the place that sells them for 80 cents. You won't be disappointed. We hung around Marshall's neighborhood for most of the day, in and out of the local vintage stores and record shops while Marshall explained to us all of the fantastic reasons we should move to Austin. I still cannot find a copy of Led Zeppelin IV on vinyl. That night we played in an incredible art/music/community venue called Space 12 right on the edge of town. I was a little bummed during our set because just prior to playing, Marshall made me read the most depressing comic book (graphic novel?) of all time. I'll spare you the details, but I did NOT see it coming. The show was great; we made new friends, and got to play with Alex Dupree and the Trapdoor Band. Quite an excellent night of music, followed by a late night diner with all of our new Austin friends.
July 15 — Universe City in Norman, Oklahoma.
We had heard of the red soil of Oklahoma before, but I guess we underestimated how red it actually is. Driving through the hills, there are spots of completely uncovered soil that give you the surreal feeling of driving on Mars. Universe City was quite a unique place to see, and by the time the show started, it got downright strange. Apparently, our music/projections combination is INCREDIBLE to people who may or may not have taken some form of hallucinogenic substance prior to watching us. We know this because we spent the rest of the night hearing about it. All of the people there were VERY into our set. So into it, that they made it a little difficult to go to sleep that night. We did however have a good conversation with a guy known simply as "Redfeather," he was a good guy. It turned out to be a very memorable show for multiple reasons, and at the end of the night we kindly said "NO" when propositioned for a sale of said hallucinogenic substances.
July 16 — Manhattan, KS
Leaving the Martian soil of Oklahoma behind, we embarked on a gorgeous drive through Kansas. We were headed towards Manhattan, Kansas, for a show at another supposedly haunted house. (Alongside Lansing Michigan, Lexington Kentucky and Winthrop Massachusetts.) We filled ourselves with gumbo and performed a mellow set in the backyard of the house, projecting video onto a white garage that stood behind us. We spent the rest of the evening avoiding paranormal activity.
July 17 — Kansas City, MO
We quickly found ourselves at our final show of the tour, in one of our favorite Midwestern cities. Kansas City is the home to so many of our good friends and it is such a pleasure to come home to. The show was hosted by a past tour mate, Austin Swearengin (myspace.com/apswearengin) and a potential future tour mate Doby Watson (myspace.com/dobywatson). Like ourselves, these folks release their tunes through Orchid Collective (orchidcollective.com). Filling out the bill was Ben Laatsch (myspace.com/benlaatsch), all the way from San Diego. Lovely people playing lovely music made this a phenomenal homecoming show. After a lengthy evening we each spent the morning beefing up our used wooden elephant figurine collection while rummaging through a garage sale (see photo). It felt good to be in the Midwest and on our way home.
July 18 Home!
The previous summer, we embarked on a tour of the East Coast and Midwest that was roughly the same length as this summer (around 6000 miles total between our East Coast and Southern tours), and we were pleasantly surprised at how well it went. This summer, however, we were unsure about how a tour of Texas/the South would go, because we didn't know anyone down there, nor did we know of many musicians who had toured down there and had come back in high spirits about it. But after meeting so many wonderful people and having so much fun, we've basically decided that Texas is the best state in the Union. The people were incredibly nice, generous, and welcoming. Texas/Louisiana can expect Hurricane GNAGM to come through again very soon. We consider it a complete tour success! Now it's time to see how we go over in Chicago. We'll be playing in Champaign a few times in August in September with some great bands like Some Say Leland and Sharon Van Etten, so we'd love to see our hometown folks again before the school year gets to crazy!