Smile Politely

On the road with Spandrels, part one

Editor’s Note: Spandrels have set out on an eight date tour, and they provide us with an update about how things are going. Here’s part one of their Tour Diary, written by Christine Pallon.

All photos provided by Spandrels.

Day one: Friday, March 16th in Urbana, Illinois

We kicked off our tour at the Canopy Club with our friends in Motes and Fiona Kimble, and we were particularly stoked to debut our new merch table setup, pictured above in all its glory.

Our Canopy show was the perfect way to kick off our tour — lots of familiar faces, great bands, and good vibes. Motes kicked the show off with a stellar set that moved Casey to tears, and after we played, Fiona Kimble and her band of incredibly talented musicians played a phenomenal set, as always.

For this show, we knew we wanted to play with our good friends in Motes (fun fact: Elizabeth Majerus from Motes once told us that we were the cutest band in C-U!), but we couldn’t decide on a second local band to add to the bill. But once we saw Fiona Kimble cover Angel Olsen on the first night of the Great Cover Up, we knew she was the perfect fit for our show. By the end of the night, we had sold a few tapes and shirts, played a set we were all proud of, and got lots of hugs from friends. We all headed home for one last night of sleep in our own beds before hitting the road for over a week.

Day two: Saturday, March 17th in Cleveland, OH

We finished loading up the van around 11 a.m. on a rainy Saturday morning. We had to get a van topper to fit all of our sleeping bags and air mattresses, and we quickly realized that we were going to get a lot of practice putting that thing on the top of the car over the course of our tour. Around noon, we all piled into Car-rie Vanstein and settled in for a six and a half hour drive to Cleveland.

A little under halfway there, the check engine light came on. After a brief moment of fear, we realized it was probably nothing severe and decided to get the oil changed the next morning on our way out of Cleveland. The rest of the drive was fairly uneventful: we listened to a lot of CDs, ate peanut butter and avocado sandwiches on day-old Jimmy John’s bread, and looked at a lot of memes.

We rolled into Cleveland that night and loaded in at Euclid Tavern. We immediately met the sound guy, Ty, who was a big, soft-spoken dude with long curly hair. Isaac, Isabel, and Casey got Indian food next door, but I wasn’t hungry yet so I decided to wait. It turned out that we could each get a free meal at the venue, so I ended up making a good decision. I decided on tater tots topped with pimento mac and cheese.

The show was fun if not a bit weird — it was St. Patrick’s Day so folks were already drunk by 9 p.m., and a lot of people had already moved on from the bar by the time we took the stage. I felt good about our set though, and the people who were around to hear us seemed to really dig it (including Ty and one of the bartenders). Out of the local bands we played with, I dug Floorvveed the most. Their music was fun and you could tell they all really enjoyed beyond on stage together.

By the night’s end, we still didn’t have a place to stay and began weighing our motel options. Ty saved the day, though, and offered to put us up in his home. We made our way over there after the show and realized he owned the cutest dog in the world, Arrow. We all got some much needed puppy therapy and chatted with Ty and his lovely girlfriend before getting to sleep.

Day three: Sunday, March 19th in Philadelphia, PA

We woke up early to pack up the van topper and head to an oil change place on our way out of Cleveland. The guy said our check engine light wasn’t anything to worry about, and it ended up turning off shortly after we were there, which was a major relief. We got back on the road after a quick pitstop at Denny’s where Isabel tried, in vain, to win Hello Kitty headphones out of a claw machine. After this crushing defeat, we climbed back in the car for our six hour drive to Philly.

It was a beautiful, sunny day in Pennsylvania and the drive was overall uneventful. I, personally, was very eager for the Philly show. It was one of the hardest shows on the tour to book, and at some points I wasn’t sure it was going to come together. But we eventually put together an absolutely STACKED five-band bill with bands I really love. Our friend Bryan, who used to live in C-U, offered to supply the P.A. for the gig and run sound.

The venue, No Face Studios, was located in a warehouse in West Philly. You have to go in through the loading docks, up a flight of stairs, and down a long hallway to get to the show space, which is the owner Raylo’s screen printing studio. No Face Studios is an incredible space especially since Raylo has only been doing shows there since the start of the year, and we were really blown away by what she’s put together! There was a cool mural on the wall next to where we played and really cute Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling.

URSULA had to drop before the show started due to illness, which was a bummer because I love that band, but it didn’t mess things up too much because it still ended up being a four-band bill. After Florry played a solo set, we played a fun set to a super enthusiastic crowd. One of the other bands, Great Weights, were losing their minds during our set and came up to us after to tell us how much they enjoyed it. I can’t stress enough how much it means to see a group of people genuinely enjoy our music, and we were definitely able to feed off of that energy and play a super fun set.

After us, Susie Derkins played a short but incredibly sweet set. Sam from Susie is someone I’ve known over the internet for a little while now, so it was so exciting to get to see her band play and stay at her lovely home for the night!

Great Weights closed out the show with one of the best sets I’ve seen in years. Their music feels so vital and powerful, and I can’t wait to try to bring them to C-U for a show soon. After the show, both of our bands resolved to become internet friends and play another show together as soon as possible.

I had been really stressed about our Philly show since I was the one who booked it, but it went really well (and Bryan did an excellent sound job) and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

After the show, we grabbed Middle Eastern food at Makkah Market and headed to Sam’s place. Sam has the cutest cat in the world, Simba, who is a big, cuddly orange goofball. I’ve been a fan of him for quite some time now via the internet, so getting to hang out with him might have been the highlight of an already-amazing night. Once we ate our food and got our Simba snuggles in, we all got to bed at a decent hour ahead of our five-hour drive to Boston the next day.

Stay tuned for part two of this Tour Diary from Spandrels, coming next week.

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