Introdution/reminder: Destroy Nate Allen is a husband and wife interactive, singalong, folk-punk duo compised of Nate and Tessa Allen. It is on tour with Tyler Hentschel, the principle member of Portland tantrum folky noise makers Insomniac Folklore.
We joined our friend Justin for some Chinese food, after our show in Casper, Wyoming; It was almost closing time so we asked if it was still OK if we ordered since they closed at 9 pm. They assured us we were fine. After our meal, we asked the staff if we could hang out a little longer since Justin wanted to interview us for his blog. The said yes and soon they all disappeared into the kitchen. About 30 minutes later they brought us all little cups of green jello, then they quietly disappeared again. This whole time we had yet to pay our bill and we could of very easily just walked out the front door. Finally we saw one of the cooks walking through the dining room and we flagged him down to pay for our dinner, a little over two hours after closing time. We then proceeded to our friend Chris's house, to catch some sleep. Right before we went to bed he took me down in his basement to show me his impressive collection of poisonous Hobo Spiders. Turns out the house has a pretty bad infestation, and he caught well over 50 spiders in the last month or so. He told me hobo spiders don't climb stairs very often but that I should still make sure all our bags we're closed and off the floor just to be safe. Yikes!
In Rapid City, South Dakota we were originally scheduled to play the grand opening of a few all-ages venues with Hellbastard—the U.K. band who apparently founded the genre known as “Crust.” As the date approached, I was having trouble getting details and when the promoter finally wrote back about a week out he said the show was canceled. Thank God for Twitter! As soon as we got the email I sent out a tweet, and when I woke up in the morning our show has been re-booked at The Staging Grounds, a basement DIY space. We rolled into Rapid City, and this served us well. The show itself was small but did Rapid City contained a few surprises—the promoter actually made us dinner, which was very needed, and we played with a punk band called Don't Touch Me, who I'd never heard of but after a few minutes, we realized that the singer was actually my old co-worker at a shady call center in Beaverton called Stream. Small world. After the show we went to a friend's house. Tessa got to play with two hairless cats! What a trip! These things look crazy, but they're also very rad because they don't set off Tyler's cat allergy. Right after I fell asleep, Tessa asked me if I had remembered to load out our table from Staging Grounds. I had that sinking feeling we'd never see it again, and I kept waking up all night thinking about this stupid table! On our way out of Rapid City, we stopped at a thrift store. Tessa found an awesome hot pink prom dress that fit perfectly! Tonight was the zombie prom and we didn't want to be under dressed. Unfortunately we couldn't get our table back but Rapid City still ended on a very good note.
After a six hour rainy drive, we arrived to in Aberdeen, South Dakota at the Red Rooster Coffee House. We've never been through before but Tyler's visited three or four times. This was the first Zombie Prom in Aberdeen and folks went all out. It was very cool. The neatest part of playing the Red Rooster is that about 25% of their client base has special needs, which when combined with loads of fake blood and caked-on makeup is the perfect cocktail for a memorable, and at times surreal, evening. We opened tonight and played a sloppy set containing at least four broken strings. They asked us to play a few songs later in the night. We were again met with an interesting mixture of confusion and enthusiasm.
Playing Fargo on a Sunday night is hard. What we failed to factor in was THE football game. We walked into the VFW hall to find four TVs—including one about 10-inches by 10-inches—all showing the Minnesota Vikings playing the Green Bay Packers. In North Dakota, this was the biggest game of the year. Originally we were schedule to play in the basement but that was before one bartender quit and another called in sick so we got moved into the big TV room. The bar manager was rad. He informed us that since we had booked the night he would turn off the game volume whenever we wanted to play. I thought this might get him shot but he assured us things would be fine. He was right. As far as I can tell in matters of potential aggression or parking situations ALWAYS TRUST THE LOCAL. Our set turned out to be a lot of fun. It is really rad to show up in town you've never played before and have people know your songs. Our set ended in a really messy dance party out in the hall with all 10 people in attendance, smiling from ear to ear. Hopefully we'll be back to Fargo sometime.
Last year our Minneapolis show was very rocking and one our favorite places to play. We plan on releasing last years show as live album, at some point. This year I really didn't know what to expect. Most of our Minneapolis friends ride bikes. As we arrived we were greeted with massive amounts of wind and steady rain. We played fourth and people came ready to party. Throughout our set folks got louder and louder to the point that we weren't really in control, eventually some guy started crowd surfing and people just kept screaming. The show ended with us leading the crowd out on the front lawn where everyone sang-a-long in the rain to “Jesus Keep Us Safe from The Cops.”
The next day was our first day off in a couple of weeks. We went to the Mall of America to check out the indoor roller coasters. They were much bigger that I had imagined. The whole place was pretty neat and over the top.
I got all bent out of shape about what kind of lunch we were buying at the gas station on the way to the show in Ames, Iowa. It was pretty stupid. So I opened our set with “Asshole,” a song I only play when I've been a jerk. Insomniac Folklore killed it tonight and opening band drove four hours to play with us, which was really cool. Our set ended with everyone dancing in the bathroom and me rolling on the floor.
Lincoln, NebraSKA. None of us had ever been to Lincoln before, and we didn't really know what to expect. We played The Clawfoot House and they took very good care of us. Tonight they sandwiched the local bands in between us which meant we played after a noise act which is at least to us pretty rare. Insomniac Folklore opened the night and was well received. We closed things out which hasn't been the case on most the tour, as we normally play back to back. After our set we were invited to have lunch the next day at a local pizza restaurant for free. It turns out they have fake cheese which got me very excited. I made sure we all woke up a little earlier than needed to get pizza before we headed out of town. The pizza was great. The aftermath was not. At this point in my life apparently I need eight hours of sleep. Anything less and I'm crabby.
We got into Omaha and stopped in at a pawn shop to kill some time. We told them we were from Oregon. The employees immediately asked if we had any “green stuff.” Apparently people in Omaha really like to have their hair cut. We counted over 14 barbershops, in just a few miles, as we cruised around. Eventually we found our was to nice empty coffee shop in strip mall. As soon as I ordered coffee I found a soft chair and fell asleep. Lucky for me the coffee was pretty bad coffee and as a result the coffee shop was pretty much dead so I got good nap and when I woke up I was in a much better mood.
Before the show we headed over to eat some Chinese food with Tessa's Aunt. I ordered Peanut Chicken which was very, very peanut buttery and pretty good but in a rich and almost overwhelming way. As we were planning our tour, we made sure to play Omaha on a weekend since it has been one of our favorite shows last year. When I finally got the original venue details, the promoter has booked us a show in Lincoln. This was a problem since we really needed a show in Omaha, but he said there were not Omaha options we just went with it. Then about five days before the show the cops shut down the Lincoln space we were supposed to play. The show was moved to a loft space in Omaha. This was good for reconnecting with fans but shifting things last minute put a pretty good damper on the show attendance.
The opening band tonight was called Rex Manning!!! Rex Manning, is the name of the scuzzy character, from my all time favorite movie Empire Records! Shortly after watching Empire Records for the first time in high school, I tried to open a little record store with friends and years later it was the only movie I took with me on my first U.S. tour to watch in case I ever got homesick! It was pretty rad to see a bunch of kids quoting all sorts of lines. Before our set we met a girl named Laura who claimed to be the #1 Destroy Nate Allen fan. She was really nice and not even creepy. I probably didn't drink enough water before we played. I got pretty lightheaded and felt disconnected from just about everything during our set. People said it was fun but man some nights can feel awkward. During our set Laura requested an old song, “I Am Alive,” that we hadn't played in over a year. We decided to play it but only if she would help with vocals. As Laura and Tessa sang and danced around, I tried to remember how the song went. It turned out to be pretty fun.
Our Kansas City show was pretty much dead. We played an apartment. Even thought the show was well promoted, three non-band members showed up. Despite it being the most low key night of tour, during our last song, I still managed to cut my hand open with my tambourine and as a result I left a neat little patch of blood on the white carpet.
We drove overnight into St. Louis for Halloween. We played this same basement last year. This time was even better. They were watching the World Series when we arrived, which is just about the best start to a night that I could ask for. After watching a few innings, I walked into the kitchen to discover a couple attending the show had dressed as for Halloween! Our band has arrived! It was surreal! While I watched baseball, Tessa went trick-or-treating. This neighborhood is fantastic! During our set everything got loud, dancy and sweaty. People busted out White Flags, during White Flag. I even managed to break a chair as our set ended. It feels a little bit like being in Portland. Today is our day off and we're getting to hang out with friends, and then we're having a baseball themed party while we watch the World Series and package our 7-inch that just came in today!