Days 19 & 20: Club Cafe
A few days up in Massachusetts is always enough to refresh me. Mid-tour that doesn’t happen a lot, since my hometown is off the beaten path a bit, and we normally don’t have three days off in a row in NYC. The time off made rolling in to Pittsburgh that much more stress free.
I wasn’t with the guys the last time they played Pittsburgh, I had to fly back to Denver and couldn’t finish the last few shows of that tour. What I missed the last time was Mochello falling in love with the city. For the last year and a half or so since that first visit, every time we’ve rolled into a new city we hear, ‘Oh, it’s nice, but it’s no Pittsburgh…’. So you can imagine my interest in seeing what he was comparing everything to.
Pulling in to the city I tried to get a grasp on this vision in his head, but everyone’s taste buds are different. There are some cool painted bridges, and some New England artsy style buildings, but in all honesty, I wasn’t overwhelmed by the desire to move to the city as he is. Yet, there is something about it that appeals strongly to Mochello… Hey, I don’t judge!
Club Cafe is a smaller venue on a side road off the main street of the section of Pittsburgh that we were in. Before soundcheck, the club took a food order for all of us, something that you would think that bars and clubs with food on site would normally provide to the artists that are performing, but rarely do. When the venue offers a comped meal to the performers, I tend to view it as a sign of the good character of the owner, and it tends to hold true. Personally, I’d rather a comped meal over drink tickets any day. Most bands will probably disagree with me, but the way I see it is the mark on booze is typically at least 400%… Food is usually about 200% (Here’s my time spent helping with restauranteering endeavors speaking…) To explain: For a club to offer two drink tickets to a single band member costs the club about 2 bucks. Those two drinks probably retail for 8-10 bucks (at least!). On the other hand, let’s say they comp a $10 entree. That meal on average would cost the club about 3.50, plus the time to prep, cook, clean up, etc. It’s mush cheaper and easier to throw a few drinks at someone. So in my opinion, for a venue to offer a meal shows that they care a bit more about the artists, and that’s why I see it as a good sign
After dinner and soundcheck, the club had an acoustic opener on the bill. It’s honestly a flip of the coin in today’s concert going crowd as to whether or not a local’s crowd will stay. The sad fact is that a good percent of the time the local’s crowd dissipates throughout the evening, and by the time our show is done we’re lucky if a few of their people stick around. Pittsburgh was one of the good 50%, with almost everyone that showed up for the opener staying around, and being attentive and rocking out to boot.
Trox, the tour front of house sound engineer, was impressed by the venue’s sound, commenting that it was some of the best on the tour so far, even beating out some of the bigger clubs.
After load out, we headed off toward Kentucky, stopping just outside of Columbus, Ohio for the night. The next day we did our now all too familiar routine of Planet Fitness/Starbucks, and then decided to do a band dinner at Olive Garden. Root was the only one who didn’t succumb to the trap of their highly addictive breadsticks. I’m not sure what they put into those, but I’m sure that they have to be on some DEA list of addictive substances, somewhere between crack and heroin…. After dinner, we drove a bit more, then everyone finally let the food coma fully set in, promising themselves that they would work off the pasta carbs at the gym the next day.