When we last left you, the band was stuck in Atlanta, waiting for the snow to clear.... (Read entry #1 here)
The snow was so bad in Atlanta, we had to wait until Thursday, the day of our show in Gainesville, just to leave. The van barely made it out of the driveway, only after our friends Lauren and Cregg helped push us out. Once we made it out of the city though, the roads became less and less of a snowmageddon.
By the time we made it down to Macon, the roads were completely bare. It was almost as if snow had not even fallen in those areas. The drive from Atlanta to Gainesville was our longest yet, a solid 5 and a half hours, and by the time we rolled into Gainesville around 6, we only had an hour or so to head to the venue.
The Backstage Lounge was really cool, with a big stage and awesome sound system and lights. We met up with our good friends The Private Life of David Reed there and made some new friends in the band Star City Meltdown from Tennessee.
We hung out at the bar with David Reed and Co, and it was great just catching up and sharing road stories. By 2 a.m., we had said our goodbyes and headed towards our next stop Winter Park.
Hotel from hell
Unfortunately, we were so tired after leaving that we couldn't drive the remaining 2 hours and we came to stay at a Days Inn in Ocala. We had thought, OK, 44 bucks a night isn't bad so we will take it. We should have know that something was wrong with the place, especially when they put us in a room furthest from the lobby.
"Your car locks, don't it?" said the woman at the counter.
"You'll be fine then"
WOW. So we finally got into the room and went to bed around 3am. I wake up at 5 and look over and Jayna is shivering in bed. We had turned on the heater in the room but it was only putting out cold air. Patrick was passed out from his $7 bottle of ABC brand spiced rum and couldn't feel the difference, but Jayna and I were freezing.
I called the front office and the woman sent the security guard to our room to check it out. After seeing for himself that the air wasn't hot or even warm he said, "Let me check the room next door and we can move you in there."
This was already after we were all in our pajamas and Patrick was passed out, our suitcases and guitars strewn about the room. We DID NOT want to move.
He came back after 10 minutes and told us the heater in the next room was weaker than this one. "Would you guys want more blankets?"
I said yes and he told us it would be a minute because he had to go up to the front office and get a key to unlock a locker with blankets in it.
Another 20 minutes go by and he shows back up. I snatch up the blankets and he apologizes for it being so cold. Then we sleep, me dressed in just about every hoodie I own and 4 blankets on top.
I wake up sweating at 12:03pm. Our late check-out was supposed to be at Noon. I guess no shower for me then. That's when I find out the toilet is broken as well, a good $44 well spent then…
Our GPS takes us through some backroads in the middle of Florida, and somehow we end up in Winter Park. We have some time to kill before heading to my friend Landon's house who we are staying with, so we venture off to Guitar Center for more instrument lust and play. One thing is for certain, we are definitely getting the Roland SPD-S in the future.
Landon is a high school friend of mine who is going to school in Winter Park after being in the military for a few years. After sleeping in the icebox of the hotel the previous night, Landon's toasty apartment was a welcome feeling of comfort.
The Orlando shows went great. We met a ton of of new friends and fans, and a few more pages got added to our mailing list, which is really exciting for next time we come back in town. Promoting on the UCF campus was great because it allowed us to be totally open with new people, and the last night when we played at Natura Cafe, we saw the results of our promoting when people turned up that we had given fliers to.
Psychic Capital of the World
We left the next day with a day off, and it was at this time that Jayna decided she needed to go to a place in Florida called Cassadaga (yes, the same one the bright eyes album and Tom Petty song were both named after). She had been researching this place for the past week and found out that it was a town full of psychics and mediums.
Jayna has this problem where every time we travel out of town, she has to find a psychic and get a reading. It didn't matter if we went to New York, Philly, LA, whatever, she had to get a reading. This time, she had come across the mother load. This place has been named the "Psychic Capital of the World".
We got to the town and it was deserted, save for a few tourists walking out of a gift shop. We went in to the building they had just come out of and looked around, looking at photo albums of "Orb Tours" where you go around the town late at night taking photos and these spirit orbs show up on your film.
It wasn't until 2 hours of walking around that Jayna finally decided to get a reading, but by then all the mediums were closed for business. In the gift center there was a list of mediums she could call that were open after hours.
She finally decided on one, who apparently only lived a block away. After dropping her off, we waited for an hour on the guy's porch. It got dark really quick, but by the time Jayna left, she looked awestruck.
"He knows everything" she said. Though she was reluctant to tell us much. From what Jayna told us, the medium told her that he was the very same one that gave the readings to the members of Bright Eyes. After making the album, the band had sent him free tickets to their concert at the Jacksonville House of Blues. Jayna swears she will never need to go to another psychic again.
Jacksonville & Savannah
Our stay in Jacksonville was brief, but we were glad to see our friend Heather, who had moved there from Chapin, SC. It felt amazing to arrive late that night and her parents have pizza waiting on us. That's true hospitality. Unfortunately, the next morning Heather had left for school before we got up, though we left her with a CD, Poster and Tshirt as a thanks.
We headed to Savannah early in the day, intent on handing out a ton of fliers before the show that night at The Sentient Bean, but also to make our appointment at SCADradio, the radio station of the college there. We set up early in the studio and did an hours worth of playing and interviewing.
We were really thankful to Emilio and Jaime for hosting us. Afterwards we found the venue, with easy parking across the street, and checked in.
From there we had a few hours until we needed to officially load in and we walked through the downtown area handing out fliers. Everyone seemed very receptive to having new music, and we even found a few people who had actually just tuned into the radio broadcast.
Everyone there seems to be walking their dog, and not just a regular dog, but a beautiful dog. No mutts here, just pedigree canines that looked like they came out of a Kennel Club contest.
We set up the sound for the show that night and it went well. New fans were coming up to us saying they loved the sound and bought CDs. The icing on the cake was the food at The Sentient Bean.
Amazing, and after having nothing to eat the entire day, their black bean quesadilla had no equal in deliciousness. When arriving in town, we were afraid we wouldn't have enough gas money to get to Charleston for the next day, but after some kind people bought CDs and threw in some extra for the road, we had another full tank to get us there.
We arrived in Charleston late after our Savannah show, and while the van had made it there alright, it had lost a hubcap along the way (somewhere near I-95).
Our friend Natalie was wide awake waiting on us to get there, and we promptly passed out in her living room atop the air mattresses.
When we woke up we headed out to downtown Charleston to see about our show on the College of Charleston campus. Students were bustling in and out of buildings, hurrying to class and it reminded me a lot of the USC campus.
Parking was nonexistent but luckily my brother had lent me his garage pass to park. YES, another parking garage. Same result as the last one too. This time though we were lucky enough to park on a lower level before the ceiling started getting lower and lower.
We spread out and handed out fliers up all around the Communications building and up and down King St. After we ran out we grabbed a bite to eat before heading back to the venue to set up.
The room itself was on the third story of the communications building. Inside the room was wall to wall objects found in communications, including a Theramin that we had fun playing with before and after our set. As my cousin's band "Brother" began to set up, anxious fans began to
gather in the lobby outside. By the time they began, a crowd of 30 people had entered the room, some of them sitting directly in front of the band, others standing huddled near the back and more peering through the doorway.
The band began their with a four part harmony, all accapella, as if it were a hymn, right before going into their first number.
They captivated the crowd with their mix of organic folk in a church revival atmosphere. We came on to play next and people started to dance around, interesting for an acoustic show.
By mid set we felt like the floor was going to give way there were so many people moving around. I can't imagine what those people would be like at a full band show…
Road to Myrtle Beach
The next day we set off for the Oasis on James Island, about 15 minutes outside of downtown. The recently renovated the place and it is in the process of undergoing a new name change as well. I really dug the mercy area and the large stage and sound system. It will definitely be a good place to come back and play full band.
Myrtle Beach the next day was great.
It's always a pleasure to come back to where Jayna and I grew up, and it seemed like all of our friends had showed up to the venue to welcome us home.
I can remember playing at Fresh Brewed Coffeehouse years ago, when it first opened.
Since then they've changed the layout of the place, added in more sound system equipment and made it into a truly unique listening room.
We had been wanting to come back to Fresh Brewed and play acoustic for a while because we knew it was perfectly suited just for that, and that night we got our chance.
The local on the bill, Charles Grace, did not disappoint with promotion as there with a good 50 people filling into the small club. As we played through each song, the cheers and applause of our fans and friends echoed throughout, and we were really surprised but how well received we were.
As i've said before, people outside of Myrtle Beach like to shun the music scene there, saying one doesn't exist, but what we experienced that night was definitely a sign of the opposite.
Somehow afterwards, Jayna's friends convinced us all to head to Time Out! since they served alcohol after 2 a.m. We obliged and entered to be bar to find out a drag show was going on. Needless to say, we had a great time partying at the bar with Jayna's friends until about 3 or 4 before heading out.
Wrapping up the tour
Waking up, we headed to Florence for the next show, but by the time we got there, Jayna had realized she left her debit card, our Flipcam, her ID and money back in Myrtle Beach. Luckily, her awesome parents drove to Florence to catch our second set at Aroma Underground and bring her belongings back. Great people working at the place as well.
Finally, we made it up to Charlotte's Snug Harbor. By the time we got there, being on the road had just caught up to us. We were exhausted.
We stopped by next door at this diner called the Penguin, which Patrick had said was pretty good. The burger was pretty good, but they were having some sort of electric issue with the lights dimmer switch, and so the whole dining room looked like one of those hospital wards in a horror movie where the lights keep flickering. I think Patrick nearly had an epileptic seizure or something…
Getting back to the venue, the local band had just arrived and we talked with them for a while before soundchecking out equipment on stage.
It was a cold night, and by the time we went on only a few more people had walked in. We played the set, and one girl liked it so much than halfway through she bought us all drinks. Cheers to that.
Snug Harbor is also the only venue I know that will give 2 cases of beer to each band. With Jayna not drinking beer, that left 24 cans between me and Patrick. While I had my two (driving home that night), Patrick felt the need to indulge in his share of 10.
By the time the local band had started, our friend Zach had shown up from work. It was great to see him again, and while he didn't get to see us play, we definitely got catching up, especially during an epic conversation between us and the local band about aliens, one of my favorite subjects to talk about.
We left just to drive 30 minutes outside of Charlotte, near where Zach lives so we could hit up one last Denny's before going to sleep in our own beds. Luckily they've just built a brand new one attached to a gas station, complete with flat screen tvs and a bar (not an alcohol one though).
It was just built in October and after out experience at a Denny's in Orlando, this one was super clean. It was sad say goodbye to Zach but we will definitely be back in Charlotte soon so we weren't too worried. This whole time, Patrick snoozed in the van, his cheap beer induced coma removing him from the world (it's what he wants). We finally got back to Columbia around 3 and passed out. Then we slept in our own warm beds like we'd never wake up.
Altogether the tour proved successful. We didn't lose any money (a plus), and we only came away from it minus one hubcap (and maybe some treadless tires..) Still, it's already been a few days back in reality and I already want to leave again. There's nothing like being out on the road and living out of your suitcase. We learned a lot of good lessons on the road for those 3 weeks, such as
1. Bring chains for your tires
2. Expect a show to get postponed if there is snow
3. Just put yourself out there. Meet new people and network. Tell people about the band and about where you are playing. The worst thing they can say is they aren't interested, then move on to the next person.
4. If you play early and get a chance to play a set later, do it. 9 times out of 10 it will be for a whole other group of people who hadn't heard you play before. This worked in Orlando, and we ended up selling 5 more CDs (i.e. a full tank of gas)
5. Take a risk. If the friend you are staying with tells you he is going on that night to party downtown, do it. You'd be surprised who you'd meet.
6. Play every set like it's a full blown out show that might be your last. Even though it was an acoustic tour, we still promoted it and played it like it was full band. People expect consistency in quality, and what they got was a memorable performance each time.
7. Sometimes the smallest towns have the greatest fans. You'd be surprised.
8. Always bring a spare guitar/strings.
9. PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMOTE. Most of the time Facebook/Online promotion just isn't enough. Personally handing out fliers and introducing yourself can draw people in with the right personality. Then all you have to do is give them a reason to stay.
10. And Lastly, always thank the owners/managers of the venues personally. Even when only 10 people show up in the place, being genuine, honest and friendly to the people working at the club can go a long way into getting you booked again.
That's all for now. Make sure to keep an eye out on our youtube site for more videos of the tour and updates on what we have planned for the Spring. We head back out on the road in July!
Blake, Jayna, Patrick
Death of Paris