El senor Kitson, Meyercord Y la Mendoza are off to Neverland, with the calming earth tones of Eastern Oregon surrounding our first miles out of Portland. The soundtrack to our adventure? We start off with AgesandAges then move onto M. Ward. Portland brethren pump us up while we stare off into the road.
First stop: Boise. Gotta see the Kitsons! I've been missing those hand made cards by Mama Ellen and riddles from Old Man Rich. Mike Kitson and the Bambas will be greeted with cookies and milk as we will need a lil bit of rejuvenation till we hit Ogden, Utah; our first show as a three piece.
Near Ogden, Grizzly Bear is playing as we hit a gas station where we buy water, gas, nuts and quartz crystals. I buy a couple for myself and Kitson gets one for the van, as the van obviously needs power crystals to go with the candles. We might grow wings in the morning.
Photo: Not entirely sure who the extra folks in these pics are, but they are nice nonetheless. -Ed.
We arrive at an Ogden coffee shop, "Uncommon Grounds". Those kids were so stoked to have us! Apparently they put the show together in a week. They didn't have any opening acts, so Bradley Parsons and friends wrote songs together real fast for the show. I was inspired. We played as a trio for the first time in years, doing some songs from Lupon and newer ones re-arranged on the fly. I was so blown away by how attentive they were and noticed a couple of girls were singing along to the Lupon songs. it was sweet and we were charmed by all of their honest reactions.
They wanted to hear everything and anything in whatever shape or form. We are missing three Bambas so we couldn't do all of the songs we wanted. Somehow the crowd convinced us to play the ones we didn't think we were able to. We played Juniper with just bass, drums, and tambourine! It was awesome, they were stoked. The owner let us stay in the coffee shop, telling us the building once housed a taxidermy operation and a brothel. And that it was haunted. I did not sleep well.
Meyercord and I woke at 7 am for a four-mile run around the historic and haunted town. It was beautiful. The mountains were big and bold there was something in the sky and the way the air smelled that made it surreal. We packed up and hit the road out of Utah through Wyoming to end the evening after a long drive in North Platte, Nebraska.
We checked into the (not so) Royal Colonial Inn, stretched our limbs and went out for an adventure before we hit the sack. We walked through the warm night air to the conveniently located bowling alley and found an attached karaoke bar. Mother's Day in Nebraska apparently leads to karaoke. Possibly the worst Karaoke ever seen was being dedicated to unconditionally loving moms. It was funny yet sad. I found myself laughing but feeling the reality check of what middle America is all about. Overweight people drinking their sorrows away in front of their mamas. They were singing with the innocence of children, yet broken as fuck. I was taken back by the level of complacency that surrounded the room. This was their life. And this was mine.
We all live in these bubbles. Shit, I mean, look at Portland. It ain't just pretty faces and cool hairdos. We all struggle. But at least in Nebraska they ain't afraid to let that belly hang out. It's refreshing to see the true colors of humans. We ended up showboating a bit at the end of the night. Ben with Billy Joel, Luz with Lauryn Hill and Mike with some Alice Cooper. Representin' with our pretty faces and cool hairdos.
Drive to Indiana. Long. We picked up Eric in South Bend around midnight after some unexpected time changing. He had to found a bar which to Mike's delight was playing the Memphis/Oklahoma playoff game, full of triple-overtime awesomeness.
Drive through Ohio among other states. I am super stoked that we got to drive by Lake Erie, then beautiful Pennsylvania, taking us straight to Upstate New York. Wow, things change drastically when you finally get out of the midwest. We arrived in Binghamton, New York and stayed with some cool couch surfer college kids.
Woke up preparing for our big day—our first show with Neko Case. Providence, here we come. But first things first. Eric, Ben, and I went for a wild run through the neighborhoods and into one of the many cemeteries that surround upstate New York. It felt good as Eric guided us through the sacred land of the deceased. Then we got in the van and we have now arrived at Lupo's. We are about to load in and meet Neko. We are about to finally start the real tour.