Smile Politely

On the road with Carly Beth, part one

Carly Beth kicked off their tour last week, and they are reporting back for us as a part of our Tour Diaries series. Stay tuned for the second part after they finish things up this week.

Editor’s Note: While some edits are made on this type of piece, we like to leave them alone as much as possible. It’s kinda better that way, anyhow.

DAY ONE: Wednesday, May 29th, Champaign, IL

We kicked off our tour at Casa de Sasha in Champaign. We had already booked this show for our friends in Honey Cutt, and the timing of our tape release worked out perfectly for it to also be our tour kickoff. The nature of this tour meant that we didn’t really “hit the road” until Friday night, since we all had to work on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. So this first show didn’t quite feel like a “real” tour kickoff, since we all had two more full days of work ahead of us. 

C-U local Belle opened things up with a lovely solo set, and we had a much  better turnout than expected. Booking a C-U show in the summer can be difficult, and booking one on a weeknight in the summer can be even more difficult. But we had a great crowd filled with a lot of new faces, and everyone seemed to have a great time. It felt great to play a familiar, comfortable space for our tour kickoff, and it really got things started on a high note for us. We sold some tapes and shirts, had a great time catching up with our pals in Honey Cutt, and we were all home by 10 p.m. — the ideal way to kick off a tour and celebrate a tape release. — Christine Pallon

DAY TWO: Thursday, May 30th, Springfield, IL

Our second show was at Bread Stretchers in Springfield, Illinois. All three of us were super excited to play there for the first time and catch up with old friends. We left Champaign straight after work and made a necessary pit stop at Taco Bell on our way out. When we got to the show, the space was immediately full as Jess Knight kicked things off with a solo set. Something that was really striking was how many new and young faces were in the crowd. Springfield has always set a great example of what a healthy all ages DIY scene can be.

Dexter, an awesome solo act whose voice reminded me of Dolores O’Riordan from the Cranberries, played next, followed up by Blushe. Blushe is a newer hard hitting punk band that we were super excited to see again. Isabel and I were chatting as we set up about how we didn’t feel as nervous for this set because we felt so comfortable and at home in the space and with the people around us. We all had so much fun playing and were super happy with our set! I think that level of comfort helped us play our best. I’m still a little shy to look at the crowd while playing, even with drums, but it seemed like lots of people were bopping around to our songs. It was great!

No Cash Value closed out the night with their last set ever and brought a super fun energy to finish things off. We left for home with really high spirits and excitement for the rest of tour! — Kamila Glowacki

DAY THREE: Friday, May 31st, Chicago, IL

Friday night we played at Flood House in Chicago. None of us had ever played or attended a show there, so we didn’t really know what to expect. We loaded our gear into the basement of the house and quickly learned how it got its name — the house drum kit was sitting on a rug in the middle of a big puddle. We solved the issue quickly and easily by shifting everything forward and out of the water, and carried on with setting up for the show. Some great friends of ours were there, which made it feel super welcoming.

Jen Hill kicked off the gig with a great solo set playing a beautiful fixed-up secondhand guitar. It felt like the barrier between performers and audience was so thin, as if we were all just hanging out in a basement with old and new friends sharing music and chatting. The vibe was super comfortable and easygoing. We played second, which rocked. On tour our favorite slot to play is definitely in between two great local musicians. I wasn’t as nervous for this set as I usually am, which is a testament to how great the venue and crowd was. It felt like even if we screwed up, we could just laugh and keep going, and the crowd would laugh with us.

Big Surf Wave Pool closed out the gig with a fun set that had me smiling and dancing throughout. After we all packed up, we realized the whole lineup was exclusively made up of Tauruses (except me, a Leo). We left feeling like the stars had aligned to create a perfect show.

We stayed with some of my family and got to hang out with their amazingly sweet cats, which rejuvenated us and left us ready to tackle the rest of our tour! — Isabel Skimore

All photos by Carly Beth

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