Day 32: Northampton, Ma
I honestly don’t even know where to begin. I’ve been mulling this one over since the moment I sat in the cramped confines of the back seat of my friends car, instead of in my spot on the bus’ steps. Waking up this morning the day after our tour finale show knowing that this isn’t just a day off, there’s no show tonight, or tomorrow… it’s a sad feeling. Tonight Nate won’t be looking for a precarious perch or a bar top to climb on while he’s belting out verses, Andy won’t be switching with Shaanan mid song while Shaanan screams in to the mic or crowd surfs, and while Shawn and Jordyn are in NYC tugging heart strings, I’m not there to see them work their magic to bring grown men to tears.
Yesterday there was a feeling of finality of sorts hanging over the entire day. Our last tour breakfast. Our final trip to planet fitness. The last load in. The tour farewell show…..
Throughout the duration of this tour there was an evolution that took place as all three bands went from casual friends at first, to, by the time tour was over, family.
Last spring when we were on tour with Son of a Bad Man we were spared the experience of the final farewell, as the show was cancelled due to some hurricane or something stupid like that. No such luck this time. As I watched Flagship hit their last note of the night I couldn’t help but think of all the good times we had this tour. Shawn and Jordyn are some of the best people you’ll ever meet. And the fact that they share my slightly offensive, often risqué sense of humor puts them in a very special place in my heart.
Man on Earth played hard, each song an echo of the last month, refined on the road, executed with thunder. Mochello was playing so fiercely that when he scraped a knuckle he didn’t even notice the blood dripped all over his pants until after the set.
GBD brought it strong for their hometown show, keeping the crowd hooked even through a small power hiccup mid-set. Shaanan got one last crowd surfing finale, bringing the tour to a close in the most rock and roll way possible.
Nobody really wanted the night to be over, and an encore was demanded. All 3 bands took the stage for a chaotic rendition of Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle”, with audience members also taking the stage to join the madness. As I hit the lights to black out at the end of the song, the crowd still wouldn’t stand down, and demanded yet one more. The ever entertainer Shawn Fisher grabbed a mic and started a crowd round robin a capella version of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. (Thank you Gail and Ben, for renting Wayne’s World when we were in Ft. Wayne!)
As the lights went down and the proverbial curtain closed on the Motor Energy 2013 Winter Tour a sadness was about the room. We were all headed back to our non tour lives for a bit. I had to leave fast after the show, my ride to Great Barrington had a 5:15am alarm clock to maliciously greet. I said my long goodbyes, and stepped outside to get in to the car. The surrealism of tours end has stuck with me all day today, as I found myself reminded constantly of our adventures as my friends and family picked me for tour stories. The glimmer, though, of summer tour is already in sight. As I sit and think back on all the great life changing experiences this tour has brought me that glimmer shines bright in my mind because I know this is not the end, this is still just the beginning!
Day 31: Bah-sten (Boston, Ma)
Boston is one of the wonderfully chaotic American cities where hundreds of people roaming the streets wasted at 2 in the afternoon is not only socially acceptable, it’s encouraged.
The club that we were playing was a block away from Fenway Park, and while there wasn’t a ball game happening, there was a pub crawl. When we rolled in to town we noticed myriads of people all sporting the same “El Tour” shirts, stumbling like semi-zombified herds, talking loudly and obnoxiously like only day drinkers can. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condemning. I happen to be a fan of Saturday afternoon drinking. I’m sure there’s a Facebook page I should like somewhere. Or a support group.)
We got to Boston fairly early, so we had plenty of time to hit the streets and do promo. Being that we were right near Fenway and B.U. the streets were bustling all all afternoon long. By the time the show started the inebriated procession had died down. One of the highlights of the night included Shawn from Flagship Romance switching guitars mid-song because of a broken string, switching guitars out, and tuning the new one…. the whole time with out missing a lyric, and, being in key when the guitar came back. I was edge of my seat the whole time, jaw in my lap.
After the show, the realization that there was only one show left this tour set in. As we pulled in to the last Walmart of the tour for the night I think that it hit everyone on the bus just as hard. Tomorrow is it for this run….
Day 30: Hartford, Ct
After the explosive NYC show there was no choice but to carry that energy with us to Hartford. Up or On the Rocks has been our Connecticut stop for the last year and a half, and every time it has been an amazing experience. Last night was no different.
The day didn’t start off as glorious as it ended though. When Nate and I were parking the bus after the NYC show the power steering line on the bus burst. So, first thing in the morning Mochello and I had to drive an hour out on to Long Island to our diesel mechanic for repairs. By the time everything was fixed it was 2:30 in the afternoon and rush mode was on. We headed back to Queens to pick Nate up before heading to Roots to get him and Stevie G. The ride to Hartford was uneventful, and we rolled up just in time to load in and set up for sound check. The vibe from New York was definitely still present, and was a great foundation for bringing it even harder that night.
Two of my childhood friends that hadn’t seen in almost 15 years came out to the show. Both of them had a great time and enjoyed all the bands, but the thing that really stood out to me was how glamorous it seemed to them what we’re doing. I know I’ve probably said it before, but sometimes we take for granted the life we’re living. It really isn’t glamorous, it’s a lot of hard work, and at this stage of the game it’s most definitely not about the money. But we’re traveling the country, meeting all kinds of people, seeing amazing sights. Every night we’re surrounded by great music. Best of all, we’re not trapped in some cubicle, slaving endless hours lining the mans pockets while we contemplate ending our miserable existences in ways that would make the most seasoned therapist blush.
There’s a passion to succeed that is driving each one of us that makes this investment worth it. As this tour is winding down this is all to evident. There was no booking agents. No label. No publicists. We booked this tour. We promoted it. We found an amazing sponsor, Motor Energy Drink, to believe in us enough to support us on our journey. We found two other amazing acts to join us as we made our sojourn across the country. We planned this, and we succeeded.
Day 29: New York City
“We are Man on Earth, from New York F@#&$in’ City!!!!!”
This slightly risqué interjection usually comes out of Nate’s mouth early in the set, at every on the road gig. Like most New Yorkers, the guys are proud of their hometown, so after being on the road for a month, the anticipation and energy for playing a home show was emitting off of each one of them like radiation from a 1986 Chernobylian otter.
We were back at the Studio at Webster Hall, a mid sized yet intimate NYC venue that we played at last year with our friends American Authors.
This time we were on the bill with iamdynamite, The Virgin Marys, and of course, Gone by Daylight. The crowd came early, and even though GBD had a 7:30 set time, the room was packed. GBD always gets the audiences blood moving, so by the time Man on Earth took stage the crowd was like warm apple pie.
Having a day at home with their families let them shake off any weariness that may have settled in after a month out, so, when Mochello’s last count in on ‘Bombs’ rang out and the lights came blaring on, Man on Earth roared to life, taking the stage with the confidence of a fictionalized 13th century painted faced Scottish warrior. The attitude stayed throughout the set, and by the time Bang Bang Bitch came on the crowd was moving like a pack of wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube men.
The after home show parties are always the best, friends and family all together, in almost a faux barbaric post-battle feast. That’s also part of the brilliance of routing a tour without making the hometown the last stop. The high of the home show carries through, making the crescendo of the tour a multidate explosion. Three more to go!!!
Days 27 & 28: West Chester, PA/NYC day off
Last night kind of in a way felt like the last day of the tour, even though we still have 4 more shows left. We still have NYC, Hartford, Boston, and Northampton, Ma left, all of which I’m really looking forward to being at again, but to me, the bittersweetness of the show was palpable.
Last nights gig was at a venue called The Note, a club that was opened in 2008 by Jackass alumni Bam Margera. Somebody pulled some sort of jackass move, because after we loaded in we found out that the bars liquor license had been suspended for the day. It was as disappointing as finding a counterfeit c-note on the ground and not realizing it was fake until after you sent your mind on what you were going to spend it on. In spite of these stunning developments, the show went on.
After our set we had to bounce out fast so that Root could make his train home. Now the reason it feels like tours end is because I’m laying here typing this in New York City, and the only days we have left are in our normal markets. The adventure has come full circle. While in a sense these next few will be some of our biggest crowds on this tour, the mystique of rolling in to an unknown city, the Lewis and Clark like wonderment of experiencing something out of the ordinary, just isn’t there. Not to diminish our regional market at all! Here is the nexus of Man on Earth. New York is the heart that pumps us along the vein-like interstates, bringing us to all the country’s extremities. But it all comes back here.On the road, time is one of the weirdest concepts to wrap your head around. About a month ago we set out from the very place I’m laying right now to conquer a loop around the US. Now we’re back on our home turf. It’s time to show you what we learned on the road! These next 4 shows are our victory dance!