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QRD #29, January 2006
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If Thousands interview
Kobi interview
Plumerai interview
Timothy Renner interview
Torch Marauder interview
Bill Horist interview
Erin O’Brien interview
Nadav Carmel interview
Memories of Piggy
Plumerai Tour Diary
The Day She Carried Me
Four Pieces by Patricia Russo
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Plumerai Tour Diary
by Martin Newman of Plumerai

Plucking Tour Pt.  I

Sunday June 19th 2005 - PreTour Shebang Cambridge, MA

We’re about to go on tour and Saturday was spent running to all the shops to get last needed items, such as cables, picks, etc.…  So through all of that we never really got to finish some projects such as the mixing of the free CD we’re going to give away at shows and through our mailing list.  It’s a new song “blueskies” and we thought it would be great to have a CD that Kerry sings on, seeing as how our official release that we’re touring for has old news on the mic.  One of the greatest improvements to our live sound is Kerry’s voice and it would be a shame if people that saw us play would get a CD and think that it was her voice on the disc.  So that leaves today as the only day to get that mixed and duped before we leave tomorrow.  After a short rehearsal to make sure we all really know the tunes, James and I go back to my place and he spends the rest of the day mixing the song in our “studio.”  He finishes mixing (or at least he’s done all that he’s going to get done in one day) so we watch Family Guy and then I drop him off at his apartment.

Monday June 20th 2005 - CB’s Gallery (Alchemy) NYC

It’s about noon when we pile our gear and luggage into the mini-van we’ll be touring in and head out to drop our new bassist Nathan Padwarthan’s car off at the garage.  Before hitting the highway, we make an entirely too creepy to describe stop at CVS (ex: I pay for two waters and the cashier is distracted by non-white customers that she’s keeping an eye on... then she gives me change and instead of giving a receipt says, “It’s $13.49... hmm, maybe I should have rung that up.”). 
The advantages of taking I-93 to I-95 into NY is that you don’t have to be concerned with missing your exit.  We opted for the more complex, but shorter route.  Following Mapquest directions can sometimes be slightly confusing and for a brief moment we’re concerned that we may be headed the wrong way. 
We arrive in NYC around 4pm and have to make our way to Penn Station to meet up with our merch-messiah Truddie.  This happens an hour later.  I have to hop out of the van and search on foot for her because we can’t seem to find her in the van, even though we’re on the same street.  We asked her to pack light and to her that means 3 suitcases... truly my time spent as WorldWide Ramp Agent/Super is beneficial in this situation.  We won’t have to leave anything behind, although in a way I wish we did.  Too much crap to load and unload.
We head out to CB’s Gallery for our show.  However the Mapquest directions we had were directions to someplace that wasn’t CB’s Gallery... I’m still not quite sure what the hell that was about.  Thanks to Kerry we play a game of NH/NW on the way.  Luckily we were familiar enough with the city to know our directions were bogus and we found the venue based on familiarity with Manhattan.
There’s an early show @ CB’s Gallery when we arrive so we go in search of food.  Myself and Truddie separate from the rest to get Chinese at the Yummy House while the others hit up a Pizza Joint that they’ll be paying for later.
We meet back up at CB’s and load our gear in.  We’re playing the long running goth-dark-music night Alchemy.  I’m starting to realize that the only qualification for being goth is having the right outfit.  Musically none of the other groups were very gothy.  Not that they were trying to be, but they definitely weren’t... they were mostly just rock and a little bit retro-ish in that 80’s garage rock kind of way... and to an extent a Jethro Tull kind of way too.  Althea who seems to be in charge of things was very delightful, I’m not big on chit-chat, especially with people I don’t know; I’m hoping people don’t perceive this as me being a rooster-prick.  Our show goes... well, it goes okay with the exception of a backing track for a new song that we’re doing temporarily titled “Spy Song”, that was mostly a train wreck.  We were fumigated with fog machine, which was a bit funny and unexpected for such a small venue.  After our set we watch the other two bands before loading back up and heading to Brooklyn where we’re staying with an old friend of Nathan’s for the night.  The sleeping arrangements were hilarious and probably creepy for our host when she awoke in the morning.  James and Nathan were asleep on the floor while Myself, Kerry and Truddie slept sitting up side by side on the couch.  ZZZZzzzzzzzzzz.

June 21st The Manhattan Room, Philadelphia, PA

We hit the road early so that our host could get to work on time.  Which was fine by me because it’s uncomfortable to be hanging out at a stranger’s house regardless of how cool they are, especially when you need to shower and brush your teeth.  We show up at the hotel we’re staying at in Mount Laurel, NJ and aren’t able to check in for another 2 hours so we head off to the local Wal-Mart and run amok for a few.  Genius or not.  We photograph Nathan in front of the large Red sign for the RAGSHOP and print it up in Wal-Mart and then purchase a trucker hat to put the photo in.  A brilliant idea.  Other purchases include a WWF Championship Belt.  What kind of shop is the Ragshop?  We don’t know... not sure if we want to.  Back to the hotel for a shower and a power nap before heading into Philadelphia.
I’ve never liked Philly.  But it has been years since I’ve been and I was willing to give it another chance.   VERDICT = I hate philly.  We went to South Street but couldn’t find a thing to do, so we just got eats at Johnny Rockets.  They gave Truddie a balloon.  The Manhattan Room was very hospitable, but the part of town it was in really blew.  I must commend the panhandlers here though; they always want to work for the money by carrying something or telling a joke, doing a trick instead of just asking for handouts.  I’m thinking the opening band Ghost Tales thought the same thing about the neighborhood surrounding the venue and said screw that and kept on driving because they never showed up.  Instead we go on early and play to the headliners friends and the neighborhood drunks that have been at the bar and playing pool since we arrived around 8pm.  The show wasn’t too bad playing wise, but it was by far not the best night we’ve had.  Nathan is tall and he bashed his noggin on the suspended PA speakers as he rocked out to a song, all the while some movie was being displayed behind us as special lighting effects although every time I looked at it, it seemed to be on the credits... which was funny when the credits started to roll during our last song.  Stellarscope were cool folk, it’s a pity the show was kind of a bust.  Kerry and Truddie are hounded for photos by a local photographer that came to the show.  We head back to the hotel for sleep and wind up watching the end of Space Balls on the tele.  On a side note: Puppet Karaoke goes on at this bar... Puppet Karaoke.  Unfortunately not tonight... but the possibilities are endless with that concept.

June 22nd Staccato’s - Washington DC

We’re up early and watching Classic Springer as everybody gets ready.  Then we have to wait for Truddie to dye her hair so we settle in for the Maury Povich show.  Finally we get out of the hotel and onto the road and stop for a truck stop breakfast.  We arrive in DC and find the venue.  Kind of a happening part of town it seems, even if it is a bit on the outskirts.  We have much time to kill so we go to Georgetown for a bit of shopping and lunch at the News Café Italian Restaurant.  You know what sucks?  Parking spots that are only parking spots between the hours of blah and blah.  We get back to the van and find a $100 ticket under the wipers.  Two more hours to kill so we do a bit of seeing sites such at the capitol building and the WWII monument before heading back to the venue and searching for parking.  Parking's impossible so we unload our stuff onto the sidewalk and James drives off to find a parking spot, we see him almost an hour later.
There’s some folk singer at the venue for an early show.  He was rather annoying because 1.) he kept telling really long winded stories about what each song was about, 2.) he wouldn’t stop playing.  The venue was really small and we had to lug all of our equipment upstairs to get it out of the way.  And then bring it back down stairs to be put on the stage.  Off Transmission is playing with us and they (especially Blake) are a riot.  During The Blackout’s soundcheck he shouts across the room for a friend to do the Robot and the singer for the Blackout hears and says, “I don’t know how to do the Robot,” to which he shouts back a reply of “It’s not all about you”.   Most of the crowd was Blackout’s so a lot of people left after their set... but the show was probably the best of the tour so far and was great fun.  After the gig, we hang out front with Off Transmission for a bit before following Blake to his apartment outside of the city for the night.  It’s really late and Blake needs to get to sleep so he can get get to work at 8am.

June 23rd - Day Off/ Travel Day

Around 9am we start to wake.  We need to get up and meet Blake at noon when he gets off for lunch.  When I go to the restroom I notice that Blake is still sound asleep.  So Nathan tries calling him on the phone because going in and giving him a shake seems a bit weird, that proves to be fruitless and eventually Blake wakes up on his own and gets to work.  As everyone wakes, Truddie decides to take an hour-long online math test for her class; Nathan busts out the World Champion Belt to pass on to Off Transmission.  Nathan has an idea to pass this belt along from band to band and have them register it to keep track of what bands the WWF belt falls into the hands of.  We watch Shaun of The Dead and most of Cannibal the Musical while we wait.  Blake still makes his noon lunch and takes us to a strip-mall for breakfast... a big breakfast.
It’s a long drive from DC to Fayetteville, NC where we’re crashing at my parents’ house for our NC stay.  We were in stop and go traffic between DC and Richmond and that really sucked.  Finally arrived in Fayetteville around 10pm and got settled in and slept.  But not before I had to ban Curve from the stereo for being played too much and not before Kerry and I discover the joy of Rock Scissor Papering ourselves until our arms were mostly numb and swollen.

June 24 - Bickett’s Gallery - Raleigh, NC

First things first, Kerry has never ever ever been to Waffle House.  She has no idea about being Scattered or Smothered or Covered and she definitely has no GRITs experience.  So we changed all of that with a trip to Waffle House.  Afterwards we went back home and picked up Truddie and headed out.
We are retarded.  We drove from Fayetteville to Raleigh NC by way of South of the Border, SC.  Which in retrospect was not worth the drive although we did get some fun photos.
We arrived in Raleigh and went directly to a Laundromat and did some warshing.  While we waited we went down to Cup-A-Joe’s for a break and there was a man sitting in spandex spread eagle at the bottom of the stairs.  What they hell....  Does he think we want to see his spandex-smushed-balls before having a latte?  After laundry was done we met up with Brian John Mitchell aka Remora at the Rockford for dinner.  He succeeded in offending our merch-messiah a minimum of three times.  James was scolded by the staff for moving a table and they wouldn’t provide Truddie with ketchup.
Off to the venue, it was locked when we arrived so I went with Brian to pick up his bandmate and equipment.
The show went well and was good fun despite the low turnout.  This local improv looper opened the show Phasmatodea, during his last song some guy in a Hawaiian shirt started to sing along to the ambient sounds with words he made up for the tunes.  Hilarious.
Remora was good fun.  Despite the seriousness of the music I always find them entertaining and funny as did Nathan, especially the Fourth of July song.  This is the second time we’ve played with Remora and it was much better with the addition of the bass.
This was a small crowd but they were a good crowd.  Some old friends such as members of burMONTER (mine and James’s old band), Alex (who remixed “Intangible”), etc. 
Good show, sold some merch.
We try to find food after the show, but Denny’s was packed, eventually we wind up at the IHOP on Hillsborough Street which was packed as well but no lines at the door.  Truddie convinces with little effort some emo boys to let her get her picture taken with them... in reality she despises the emo which makes this all the more fun.  I’m sure they were just happy to have a member of the opposite sex talk to them... well at least 2 of them.
We drive an hour and a half back to my parent’s house.  Kerry and I spend another two hours abusing ourselves with extreme Rock Scissor Paper and Asshole and a combination of the two.  [ Rock Beats Scissors Beats Paper Beats Rocks.....but in our game paper also wipes asshole and there’s a Fonz Trump Thumb]

June 25th The Outback Lodge - Charlottesville, VA

We get up and travel north to Charlottesville, VA for The Dawning at The Outback Lodge.  We arrive at the Holiday Inn we’re staying at and there’s a wedding reception of sorts going on.  Up to our room for nap and showers again.  We wind up watching most of Smoky and the Bandit and something about Twisted Sister and the singers family.  Oddly enough usually when I go on tour I usually need much more me time and I’m hating everyone around me.  This time around that wasn’t the case.  Granted it’s only been a week but it usually takes less time than that for me to need mini-vacations.  So it’s a good sign to me that we’re still enjoying ourselves. 
Tonight is another Goth Night.  The Dawning with female fronted dark pop locals In Tenebris who really really impressed Nathan.  Synthetic Nightmare from Richmond opened up, nice guys but it took them way too much time to setup and soundcheck only to play a set that lasted ¼ of the time it took to set up.  The night was fun and who knew they gothed out in Virginia, they kept wanting to fog us.  But I think we’ve been fogged enough in NY for the entire week.  As a side note there’s a guy that frequents this bar who likes to heckle.  Synthetic Nightmares got the brunt of it... the guy shouts, “I’ve got asthma mother fuckers!” when they start their fog machine. 
This was probably the best show on the tour as far as performance goes and sound for that matter, the first venue we’ve played that had a professional and competent sound person.  That just doesn’t exist in most rock clubs.  After some drinks we headed back to the hotel to relax and wound up passing out until morning.

June 26th -  Day Off/Travel Day VA to MA

We head out of Charlottesville and stop at a chinese buffet on the way out of town.  Then drive to Mass.  On the Jersey TP our merch girl bares buns to some people in a silver Subaru because they kept staring.  Later they tried to retaliate with middle fingers... but that's all that needs to be said.  Thanks to rock, scissor, paper we all know that “ASS BEATS FINGER” we had to write this on a sheet of paper and show it to them.  I mean seriously that’s like the part in CKY2K when the guy wipes his arse and then rubs the toilet paper and poop on the guy’s face... and the guy who’s trying to talk him out of anything drastic told him he could retaliate by putting jelly on the perpetrators face while he was sleeping.
Nonsense.  Traffic outside of NY thru Connecticut took approximately 5 hours of stop and go.  Usually it takes maybe 45 minutes.  We arrive back in Boston at 5am.  I have to go into work at 8:30 obviously I didn’t make it until noon.

June 27th - Great Scott’s - Allston (Boston), MA

After arriving home from VA and then getting up for work, we re-convene at 7pm to go to Great Scott’s.  We load in and have to wait for the soundguy to show up which won’t be for another hour and a half.  Statue Park is already there and it would be cool to talk for a bit, but we’re starving and tired... really tired, so we head across the street for food.  We’ve played here on a few occasions and it was usually one of the better places in town.  It seems that it’s slipping.  The mohawked sound guy wasn’t working and the one that was didn’t seem to know what to do with non-traditional rock bands.  There wasn’t much promotion by any of the other groups and we were out of town the week prior so outside of the flyers we put up a week and a half ago there wasn’t much word put out about the show.  This morning I heard headliners Bella Lea cancelled, so the fact that the only other local on the bill didn’t promote outside of the web, I was a little apprehensive about turnout.  Once things got going it seemed to be going well though.  The second band had to cancel their show after they got set up because of their reliance on a laptop that wouldn’t boot up.  Hopefully they can get that sorted and finish their tour of the US.  After they tear down and we set up, we tear thru our entire set one song after another.  The sound was bad on stage, hopefully it was ok off stage, nobody mentioned it and it seemed we impressed a few people who bought merch and asked for Kerry’s autograph. 
First tour leg is fin. 

[Notes: in between tour legs Kerry leaves the band, Goddakk is Martin's side-project]

Plucking Tour Pt.  II

September 23rd - Nightlight - Chapel Hill, NC

Goddakk and Remora were supposed to hit the stage at the Nightlight in Chapel Hill, NC.  That however was cancelled due to the sound system at this venue being destroyed two night prior.  Instead I went to some record shops... wound up chit-chatting with the clerk about Gogol Bordello for a bit when I made an attempt to buy a Manu Chao CD.  She was appalled to find that not 1 but at least 4 people I coerced into going to their show at the Paradise didn’t enjoy it.  Later met up with Remora (Brian John Mitchell & Pete Aldrich) for Mexican dinner and a trip to Toys-R-Us (which happened to be selling Distortion Pedals for 50% off).  That night I was supposed to stay over at Brian’s place and leave early AM for Virginia.  I couldn’t sleep... at all.  So I snuck out of the house around 1am and drove to St. Petersburg and then slept in the van. 

Sept.  24th - Walls of Sound Festival, Fredericksburg VA @ Central Station

After waking up in the parking lot of some rest area I drove the next hour and a half up to Fredericksburg, pulled over for eats and waited for James and Nathan (the rest of Plumerai) to arrive from Boston.  Around noon we meet up, drop off the rental van and move gear and luggage from that van to our van.  Then off to the venue to drop the gear off.  The place was next door to an auto-shop... whatever was going on over there it was hilarious... for 15 minutes straight you could hear the employees cackling and laughing hysterically. 
Things were still being set up at Central Station so we head off to the hotel to check in and then right back to the venue to catch Remora’s set who were opening the shindig.
Weird that the sound company didn’t have a boom mic stand... so Brian had to McGyver a boom out of a bar stool, a pedal case and a regular mic stand.  Highlight of his set was the song based on the riff from Nintendo’s Mike Tyson - Punch Out.  After Remora played we went for food and then came back as the main stage act was finishing up and the next side-stage act was getting started.  This band Skydive... the vocalist was walking off-stage and the stairs collapsed resulting in him doing a face-plant into the carpeted floor.  Plumerai - set up for the 3rd slot on the side stage as the main stage act was playing and then tore through a set.  Playing songs we haven’t done live since Kathryn was in the band such as our Christmas song “Another Journey By Steamboat”.  We were really well received and sold as many CD’s at this particular show as we did on our entire tour last June.  Met some people who were at the Charlottesville show, Grayland (they were playing later), and someone that had burMONTER’s CD, which was pretty amusing.
Received many compliments despite doing our set vocals free (Kerry left the band the previous Monday) some people even suggested that we remain vocal-less... but I think they were fans of Mogwai... I’m not really, so we’re going to continue the search.
Unfortunately like many indie shows... there were more band members than paying audience members... this was Fredericksburg, VA though so I wasn’t expecting a turnout like you’d get in Boston.  But it was still a good show and got to see some good bands like A Place To Bury Strangers & Ceremony & I got to hear some good ones like The Offering from the other room.  Spend most of the night watching Pete from Remora drink... he’s probably one of the funniest people I’ve encountered in a long while.

Sept.  25th - Gothstock 2005 @ Webster Theater - Hartford, CT

We are up and out of our hotel by 8am and on the road by 9:15.  Nothing too exciting about the trip... it was a long 7.5 hours to Hartford, CT.  Especially the bonus 40 minutes stuck in traffic on the George Washington Bridge in NYc.  We pull up to the Webster Theater... a place where later in the month bands like Exodus, Gwar, Misfits, and Buckethead are headlining (just so you know what kind of town this is).  Various goths are hanging out front.  After loading our gear in and checking out a few bands it’s become obvious that goth in 2005 is totally not the same as goth in the 80’s or 90’s.  Goth in 2005 is the same as metal in 1990’s and 2000’s.  Every band had the chugga-chugga and the only thing that made them goth were their outfits.  We mull around until 7.30pm listening to some of the other acts and people watching.  Some high school girl tried to sell us a CD of one of the opening bands (something about a circus and dead squirrels).  Nu Metal... she even offered to hug us if we bought one.  I don’t think any of us wanted a CD or a hug from this girl so we passed.  It was still a fun show.  We were using provided backline so tear down and set up was easy... not to mention the guitars were running through a Marshall stack which was funny all on it’s own.  I was a bit curious on how our music... especially vocal-less was going to go over with the metal... I mean goth crowd.  There were no boos and there was applause.  Got some compliments from members of other band (maybe Bella Morte... cuz I know they were setting up... don’t know if it was them though) that it was great cuz we were doing music you don’t see in the scene anymore... we’ll start a goth-revolution in Hartford, CT.  I’m sure of it.  The sound-woman gave us her CD and told us if we needed a singer give her a call.
After our set we packed up grabbed our merch and high-tailed it back to Boston so we would have time to sleep before work.  Monday morning.  But not before we stopped and took photos around the corner of me with an accordion at Adolph’s Sausage & Meat Shop.

Plucking Tour Pt.  III

November  16 - The Spot, Case Western University - Cleveland, OH

For starters this tour was kind of thrown together based on this one show that was going to finance the remainder of the dates.  Our previous vocalist dragged her feet and then finally quit 4 days before we hit the road for the Walls of Soundfest… so immediately after WOS and Goth Stock we thought, “Hell we should do a tour and not just drive out to Cleveland and back to Boston again for one date.”  That said, it was kind of cutting it close, having to book dates in late September/early October for mid-November.  Not much planning or time to promote properly.  To top it off we had just started working with our new vocalist, Elizabeth Ezell.  So we rehearsed three times over 2 and a half weeks and now we’re about to embark on a four day mini-tour.  It will be Elizabeth’s first time on stage as not only our lead vocalist but as a vocalist in general.  So needless to say, things could be interesting.
I’m one of the biggest procrastinators, hence I woke up at 4:30am showered, pack all my bags, and hopped in the van and rushed across town, hitting every red light, to James’s apartment.  We loaded up the van and then rushed back across town to pick up Nathan from the garage he was leaving his car in and then swung by to get Elizabeth on the way to the Mass Pike.   Unlike our previous east coast tour, the distances between dates are much longer.  10 hours from Boston to Cleveland.  We were all very much subdued and there was snow in the forecast. But luckily for us, not until we arrive.
We check into our hotel and get freshened up before heading across the street to probably one of the most ill-conceived restaurants ever, Damon’s.   Imagine a place where there are four gigantic television screens on various TV channels and each table has a speaker that they can choose which station to hear over dinner conversation.  Top that off with probably some of the worst food I’ve eaten.   We swing by CVS and then to the hotel to get cleaned up and finally make our way to Case Western. 
This show was how most university shows are, pleasant.  We were playing a stage in a student rec. center.  We were offered free food and drink. (not to mention the payment which would finance the rest of the tour), given free shirts and the staff were pleasant.  Professional sound paid for by the university, which was a big bonus considering this was our first show with the new line-up.   Autumn Thieves were supposed to headline this gig but they were detained at the border on their way from Toronto so we decide to play a little later and throw in a few songs I was hoping to not have to play the next four days.  The show itself went off rather well, the crowd was “intimate” but they were enthusiastic, met at least one person that saw us at Walls of Soundfest and we sold some merch which is always a nice way to end a set.
By the time we started packing up, it has started to snow a bit harder.  10hours of driving, 4 hours of waiting around and 45 minutes of playing amounted to us heading straight back to the hotel and passing out until 7am the next morning.

November 17th - Stacatto’s - Washington, DC

It was white out when we awoke.  We got ready and packed up the van then headed across the street to the Eat-n-Park for breakfast.  Ohio is like the south of the north, nothing but dyed blonde waitresses that were about 70 years old that have probably been working the same job since their 20’s, most of the patrons wore jeans and sweatshirts and the hairstyles were really from another era…possibly late 70’s or early 80’s.  We had our breakfast and then piled back into the van for an 8 hour drive to DC.  This time it was a bit more scenic as we passed through western Pennsylvania.  We didn’t really have time to stop anywhere since our show in DC was starting somewhat early, at 8:30pm.  Still tired from the previous day we slept and were mostly quiet on the trip.  Although we did find time to decorate a picture of Bronson Assyoyo (sports favorite and apparently singer songwriter) with crayons taken from the Eat-n-Park.  The snow had also let up at the PA border.
We arrived in DC and went indirectly to our hotel.   We attempted to rest and freshen up but fearing DC rush-hour traffic we left early to give us some leeway.  Unfortunately for us, the hotel never changed the clocks to daylight savings and we wind up leaving one hour earlier than we anticipated.   There was no traffic needless to say so we had to find a way to kill time before heading to Staccato’s .   James discovers Crooked Beat a CD shop from Raleigh, NC that for some reason is now in DC.   We take a peak and James chit-chats with the owner about days past.  Afterwards we head over to a fairly sketchy Italian restaurant.  We were diverted from Ethiopian for some reason?   The place had horrible service, not so hot food…but it had plenty of character.  Being run by two older Italian guys, random men in suits popped in to have some words and then leave.  Our waiter took a long time to come over because he was counting huge stacks of money on the bar that he had pulled out of a brown paper bag.  Smells fishy. 
After the show James runs a couple CDs over to Crooked Beat and then we wait in the van outside the venue for someone to let us in.  The show was at best a practice show, we did play for a couple (literally) fans that we’ve met at the WOS fest (again).  The show went fairly well as far as our playing.  The stage was really crowded…when we played here in June the bands somehow pulled their strength’s together to lug the piano off-stage…this time we had to use it for a keyboard stand and slide the guitar pedals under it so that there would be room to stand on stage.  Apparently the headlining band didn’t draw any better than we did so the bar was really empty, which made for an easy get away.  We head back to the hotel to find busloads of pre-teens and teens on a fieldtrip checking in all around us.  The chatter was quite unbearable.  Elizabeth and I head across the street to a subway for a late night snack and when we return to the hotel James and Nathan are pretty much asleep or half-way there.  Since we don’t have a long drive the following day, Elizabeth and I partake in some gin and jack (separately) before falling asleep.

November 18th - The Bourbon Room - Fredericksburg, VA

We’re up and out of the hotel by 11am.  Since we only have a 45 minute drive to Fredericksburg and given our past experience there isn’t an hour worth of stuff to do there, we head back into DC and do a bit of sight-seeing.  Heading to the Smithsonian, a really really bad Chinese Restaurant and then a really long hike back to Crooked Beat so James and Elizabeth can make some purchases.  We take a train back toward where we parked the van and I must commend DC metro employees for being as friendly and helpful as they are, the metro really puts into light how pathetic Boston’s T is.  I thought it was just America as a whole were behind the times with public transit.  While that is still true…..some of us (i.e. Boston) are still in the dark ages.  We hit the road for what was supposed to be a 45 minute trip to Fredericksburg, VA.   But due to 5mph stop and go traffic, it takes us approximately 2 hours to reach our destination.
The Bourbon Room is in a quaint part of town, down the street from where we played WOS fest.  Tonight we’re playing with Grayland from Richmond and our good friend Remora from Raleigh so I’m looking forward to tonight’s show.   After grabbing a bite to eat we show up at the venue and load our stuff up stairs next to the stage and wait for anybody that has a clue on what’s going on tonight to show up.  That doesn’t really happen, the guy that booked the venue has other business to attend to that evening but was at least thoughtful enough to swing by and say hi.  None of the employees of the bar knew what was going on or even anything about the equipment.  So we wait a little longer.  Brian (aka Remora) shows up and after a Long Island Ice-T decides he wants to eat.  James sets up some equipment while Brian, Nathan and myself run across the street to get Chinese.   When we return James has already set up all of Plumerai’s gear and Brian eats a bit before setting up his pedals.   During this time we learn that while there are PA speakers and a PA powered head here, this venue lacks cables to run from the PA to the speakers and also lacks a microphone and also the only mic stand they have was some sort of Frankenstand that was pieced together from different mic stands and duct     tape.  I can tell already this show is going to be amazing.   We finally scrounge enough gear to have a working PA and Grayland shows up.  Remora starts his set shortly after and pull off probably one of the better Remora shows I’ve seen him do.  He even got to thank someone for thinking his music made their nipples hard.  James and I join Brian onstage for one of his songs “Guilt Jersey” and for a cover of Cranes’ “Starblood”.  Afterwards we switch out pedal boards, James discovers that his snare is broken but there isn’t really much he can do about that now so we settle in and bust right into the Plumerai set.  Lots of flubs and the PA never was loud enough for Elizabeth to hear herself, let alone anybody else hearing her.  After our set we meet another guy that has seen us at WOS (recurring theme with this tour…and to think a former band-member had insisted we not play that show due to hurricane season being in full effect).  Grayland set up and play some sweet ethereal, shoegazey dream-pop.  A fitting backdrop to Elizabeth being wooed by a man with a trenchcoat, eyeliner and goatee.  Rumor has it he was somewhat forward and slightly aggressive.   Lucky her.  Overall it wasn’t a great show but it wasn’t the kind that made you feel like crap when it was over either.
After the show Remora and Plumerai make an attempt to find food.  We follow a sign to Ihop but the Ihop is nowhere to be found.  Nathan even sticks his head out of the passenger window to ask some people on the street, to which they reply “ihop closed whiteboy” (which is extra funny since he is the furthest thing from a whiteboy in the van).  Eventually we find a Denny’s and run into the booker for tonight’s show there.  We eat we bid adieu we drive 4 really long hours to North Carolina.

November 19th - King’s Barcade - Raleigh, NC

It’s 7am by the time we arrive at my parents place in Fayetteville, NC.  We all immediately find a place to sleep and pass out.  A few hours later we wake, get ready and make the hour drive into Raleigh, NC.   Nathan had really wanted to do laundry, so we find a Laundromat in the 5 points area so he could get some warshing done and James could make a trip to 2112 to buy parts for his snare.  Afterwards we went to Third Place to relax while we waited for Nathan.  It became apparent that we would need to give  more time to laundry, so James, Elizabeth and I went to a couple of CD shops on Hillsborough St. to kill time.  We started to head back toward the Laundromat when Nathan called to be picked up so it worked nicely.  We picked him up and went to the Rockford for dinner.  We went to the Rockford last tour for dinner and was scolded for moving the tables…this time around, there was a little confusion concerning fire hazards and our table’s proximity to other tables.  It was resolved and a long time friend of mine, Jana was our waitress. It was cool to see her for a bit, I seldom get the chance anymore.  After eating we go to King’s and load in.  We have to wait while Captured By Robots set up (for those not in the know, it’s a bunch of robots and this guy that plays guitar and sings…very entertaining, Star Trek: The Next Generation themed). So we engage in a game of fusball.  Eventually we get to set up and we wait for a different soundperson to show up to do our soundcheck.  That was apparently a bit of miscommunication which results in us not getting a soundcheck.   Brian from Remora shows up as does Jennifer from burMONTER and Lee & Stacy from Animus Mundi (tribal lullabies).  We chit chat a bit before our set.  The show goes pretty well although it had a shaky start due to the lack of a soundcheck.   Half-way thru the set, Jennifer and Brian and James and I (formerly known as burMONTER) play 13 layers of heaven… which goes off ok for not having played the song since 1999 or 2000 (which happened on the same stage at King’s for some “music festival”).  After the show I go next door with Jennifer, Brian, Lee, and Nathan to get a light snack and to escape Jazz Fusion of Savage Nights.  Later learn the saxamaphone player for this band would be the second douche of the tour to try and get Elizabeth to go home with them (i.e. complete stranger).  He became really creepy after being turned down…putting on his coat and standing in a place that he could keep an eye on her.  We watch Captured By Robots, which is a really good show but probably moreso if you like metal.  After the show we drive the hour back to my parents house and crash. 

November 20th - The Long Road Home

We get up early enough to get a rental van and transfer the equipment from one vehicle to the other…and then hit the road by 10ish.   We make a stop in Newton Grove so that we can inflict a waffle house experience on Elizabeth.  In that regard we hit the jackpot.  The cook was missing his front teeth, the waitress looked like she had filled the gaps in her grill with candycorn, she also had  a lovely moustache and sand “she’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes”, someone not at our table lets out one of the most powerful farts I’ve had the pleasure of being in the same room as…not the smell but the blast.  It was mostly unbearable, I had to join Nathan for a trip to the convenience store in order to escape. I missed having to shake hands with the waitress…..but can’t say I was too sad about it.  The ride to Boston was long and uneventful and for the first time we encountered almost zero traffic around NYC.  Tired, long four days but was well worth it and much preferable to sitting at a desk day after day.