Rumsfeld has resigned, KFed got served, and the Democrats have stolen America from its stalwart defenders: a lot has happened since (and arguably because) the Parenthetical Girls have left for tour. In the controlled environs of our cartoonishly over-packed Plymouth (six scarves among us, thank you very much), things remain strikingly static.
We're trying something new out for this tour. Simul-blogging. Let's act like we coined that one. Today's entries come from your friends and my band mates Matthew "Cornwall" Carlson, and Rachael "Leanne" Jensen. We've had surprising little luck with internet access, so these are a few days old, but hopefully we won't fall too far behind.
I've never driven so much in my life without driving. Being the only one in this musical group without a valid driver's license, I've been passenger for roughly 50 hours within the last 5 days. Bandmates are under the impression that I've somehow won in this scenario, but it's not the truth. The monotony is never broken save by my homespun car diversions; such as writing words in as many fonts as I can, keeping books, tending to my cuticles, and relying heavily on my ability to sleep anywhere, anytime, in any way. But it's not so bad. At least the pre-tour toil is over, nothing now but the faint tenderness of a stress-induced glandular bloat in the armpit area.
The day we left I spent morning to early evening cleaning my borderline ferally tenanted bedroom for my subletter Sam, and frantically packing for unpredictable Eastern elements. Two jumpers, 4 dresses, 1 pant, 6 shirts, 4 tights, 3 jackets. That night we played as a local band in our hometown Holocene. My priorities were aligned towards saying good-bye to all of the friends that I had been regretfully neglecting for the last month due to my total lack of down-time, but despite my head-space not being fully dedicated to "musicianship", we played a decent show.
The next day Eddy, Zac, and I met Matt and ex-pat Brenna in Seattle. At the Paradox were were warmly met with appetizers, poodle, Xiu Xiu with their brigade of stuffed mascots, Longstreth band, & Grouper Liz. It was an intimidating wall of performers to contend with for our first show, but I feel like whatever incompetence I felt was won over by the sheer enjoyment of spectating the event. By the time Xiu Xiu finished up with their devastating(in a good way) set, I felt like we hadn't even played that night. And oh God, Dirty Projectors with their voices.
That night we stayed the first of two nights in Edmonds, WA where we got to meet the great folks who made Matt Carlson, and who essentially made this tour possible with the kind loan of their Plymouth Voyager. Thank you Carlsons, for your Breakfasts, car emergency kits, and travel bag of Halloween candy.
We watched Borat at the Alderwood Mall during the day, and that evening was a private birthday party at a space called Art Works.
Jenny, I've never met a person who decided to turn 30 before their time, or who decided their age at all for that matter. For this I commend you. We played a special Morrissey cover song that night for Jenny, who has lyrics from this song tattooed on her body, but we flubbed it on account of only having practiced it only once, which is too bad because it's a good song.
Night two at the Carlson's- woke at 5:30 AM for the 19 or so hour drive to what we thought was the reasonable goal of Bismarck, ND on our route to Minneapolis. I slept through a lot of this honestly, but was stimulated during most of our daylight hours in the state of Montana. Aside from it being ridiculously beautiful, a lot of my more vivid childhood memories were made in MT. First and last attempt at water skiing (hated it, ill-fitting wet suit), a near death experience on a 4-wheeler, first "F" word heard in a movie, and first and last taste of chaw at the hands of heathen 2nd cousins. By 2 AM, we were still 100 miles away from Bismarck, and being the first to acknowledge defeat, we pulled off for lodging which we found in the form of the maroon-carpeted haven MOTEL. Just MOTEL.
Another day of full driving, and we were in Minneapolis at the Hexagon bar, where they have both Meat Raffles and a covert clientele of Minneapolis hip kids. We played after the great Best Briends Forever, which is a hard act to follow on the enthusiasm front. I felt like a sad old dog in contrast to their exuberance, but Minneapolis was still very kind to us. Jess took us to a cafe in the morning where they call out your name like they know you when your order comes up.
Chicago, I thought you would hate us or just not even show up, but instead you were one of the best audiences ever. I loved Chicago, and the hospitality of Nathan and Jen was unsurpassed. If I could give you (Chicago) any constructive criticism, it would be to stop putting the sauce on the top of your pizza, it's just not reasonable.
blog. this is a blog. a parenthetical girls blog that is a tour blog? what is a blog? you are a blog? is it true that blogging is an activity that someone could possibly do on a band tour? the truth about a blog is something that can be elusive at times, for several different reasons. Has Websters defined blog yet?
There was a rock concert in Portland, Oregon. I, Matthew Thomas Carlson, was at the time under the influence of a malevolent pre-tour cold that threatened to change the way I thought about playing rock concerts on a band tour. My greatest fear was that the cold would never decide to pack up its bags and depart from the confines of my physical body. But luckily my obsessive consumption of generic Wall-borne (which is itself a generic version of Air-borne) won out over the cold and Portland was the only night I felt like utter shit.
Thoughts inside of my brain during the show in Portland:
"I can't believe I'm going to be doing this every night for 3 1/2 weeks."
"These earplugs are making it hard for me to accurately judge the balance of sound."
"Heinrich Himmler is probably going to be at our show in Rhode Island."
A scrambled half-assed morning of trying to get ready, sans breakfast. Brenna and I made what turned into a 4 hour rain-soaked drive to Seattle, where we were re-united with world champion trickster David Horvitz and the entire touring ensemble of the band Xiu Xiu. The element of the drive that I enjoyed the most was that by the time we got to Seattle I felt fully qualified to give an oral news bulletin about current national and world events. Now, I'm completely positve that right now you're saying to yourself: "That's ridiculous. There are trained professionals who spend their entire lives working to be excellent radio news reporters and they still struggle to do a competent job reciting the facts. What makes you think that you could just jump in and do it from listening to the radio for 4 hours?" Well, the truth is that I'm a fast learner. And I've actually never failed at a single thing I've attempted in my entire life.
Now, I'm really not sure what your opinion about Birthday Parties are. What do you think? Do you predict that one day birthday parties will cease to be cool? That they could potentially damage someone's family? I don't really care what you think, but we did play at a birthday party on Saturday night. I was pretty scared the entire time we were there because someone told me we were going to be the first band they had ever seen live, and I felt like that was a lot of pressure and that our performance could potentially determine their opinion about live music for the rest of their life. After the show they told me that we were "Aiight."
Only 2 things happened on Sunday. I can't tell you what they are becuase they've now become band secrets. I guess I can say that it was a long day. Zac told me that he didn't want me to talk about either of the things that happened while we drove to North Dakota. Why were we going to North Dakota? Well, have you ever heard of "Motel" in Dickinson? For me, personally, it's always been a big dream of mine to make a trek out there to check it out and see if it lives up to the hype. Before we got there I got scared that the state of Montana was actually a conscious being that had swallowed us like a piece of a chicken wing. When we woke up Eddie commented to me that walking out of a rural North Dakota motel in the early morning felt exactly the way that walking out of a rural North Dakota motel in the early morning should feel. I'm pretty sure I agreed with him, but honestly I can't trust my own feelings most of the time these days.
Monday was a fucking piece of shit day. I hated every fucking second of that drive to Minneapolis and I wanted to punch Zac, Eddie, and Rachael in the face each for different individual reasons. By the time we got to the venue I had actually decided in my head that I was probablly gonna quit the tour and go back to Dickinson and just hang for a while. But the second I walked into the Hexagon Bar in Minneapolis everything changed. They had the Seahawks Monday Night game on plasma screens, giant German-style mugs of beer for $1.65, and open pool tables. This is me in my element. I can never relate to the rest of the band with their "dapper" aesthetic preferences towards drinking establishments and their general aura of corporate culture and white-collar crime. Did you know I'm the only one in the band that uses a Macintosh computer?
Topics of conversation from the drive to Chicago:
Most surreal things you could see on the freeway. (see my other blog.)
Ranking the world's bodies of water.
Different concievable circumstances which could lead to a situation in which every car on the freeway was shooting firearms at each other out the windows.
The Isreali-Palestinian conflict.
The most standard worthless musician arguements.
Our show in Chicago was last night and it was quite possibly the nicest, most enjoyable, good-sounding and well-recieved concert we've ever played together, complete with an awkward encore from a Chicago audience that supposedly never request encores on principle. This, combined with news of the likely Democratic takeover of both branches of congress, alleviated the depressed state I had been in from hearing news of the mediocre reviews our recently completed Christmas EP received. ("One star. Definately not their best work." -Indietorrents. What do they know about Christmas music, anyway?)
This morning we kind of had to rush out, but we did find time to snap a couple of quick pics of us in front of Chicago.
Right now we're frantically trying to reach Ann Arbor, Michigan. We forgot that we lose an hour thanks to the retards that invented time zones.
More entries in the Archives