Daily Archives: November 8, 2013

Go fish

Day 52: Hard Rock Cafe
Memphis, TN

This was our 3rd trip to Memphis, and every time so far has been a ride. The first time it was a smoke filled room full of old people playing trivia, where the room had no sound system to speak of, followed by the infamously good BBQ restaurant with the gargantuan rat. The second time was the record attendance breaking Monday night at the Hard Rock when 80 Wisconsin kids took over the dance floor in what must have appeared to onlookers to be a staged event.
This time, the city was ours. Almost literally. From the time we pulled into the city, we noticed a complete lack of people.
The weather that night was cold and rainy. The neon lights glistened off the puddles, creating a glowing effect that reverberated off of the storefront glass of the Beale St. shops. The few people that were out scurried with a determinedness, an end goal already in their mind.
We set out to do some street promo in order to bolster our attendance numbers, and found it as difficult as fishing an unstocked pond with a shoelace as line and a baitless paperclip as the hook.
Around the time the opening act, Tori Tollison (an acoustic artist with an amazing voice that we played with last time we were in Memphis) was beginning, the NBA game at the arena across the way let out. All of us walked through the crowd, trying to strike up conversations and drag some of them into our show, but most of the people moved with blinders on their ears and eyes, intent on going home.
As quickly as the herd of basketball fans appeared, they were gone. The streets returned to their ghost town status, the occasional drunk stumbling aimlessly along the cobblestone roadway, searching for a bar that would serve them in their inebriated state.
The guys went on and played for the late dinner crowd, which wasn’t as epically energized as the one on our last Memphis foray, but very appreciative nonetheless. Among the crowd was a father and son from New Zealand who were making their way across the United States on the type of intercontinental road trip you wished you could go on when you were 16, a long time Man on Earth fan from back when Knox used the music in his claymation videos, and a young traveling folk duo who were passing through Memphis.
After we loaded out we hit the road, on what felt like one of the bumpiest highways ever. All I could think about was that scene in The Empire Strikes Back when Han Solo was piloting through the asteroid field… I honestly was waiting for Mochello to start echoing ‘We’re doomed’, but it never happened. I passed out as soon as the bus pulled into the parking lot we were staying in, John Williams music bouncing between my ears.

City blues

Days 50 & 51: Nathan P. Murphy’s
Springfield, MO

Day 50 was actually a drive and work day. Those type of days tend to be fairly uneventful (thankfully!). We woke up, grabbed some breakfast (which was actually lunch by the time we got going), and then on to the highway toward Springfield we went, which seemed to be the longest 3 hour drive ever. We did some office work in one of the busiest Starbucks I’ve ever seen, every table was packed with college kids doing homework and such. The internet was so bogged down with users that I didn’t even bother setting up my laptop, and just used my iPhone and the cellular network to do what I had to do. After a few hours, Nate and I decided it was a good night to follow one of our tour traditions and go see a movie. We went to see Ender’s Game, a sci-fi movie based on a mid 80’s novel. The movie screen was huge (but not an IMAX), and the digital projector put up one of the crispest images that Nate or I had ever seen. After the movie we met back up with everyone and headed to camp out at Walmart.
The next morning we stopped across the highway for a Waffle House breakfast, and then back over to Starbucks for more computer work. When evening came, we packed up and headed downtown for some street promo.
Downtown Springfield, MO is not like most U.S. cities. There are no skyscrapers dotting the skyline. As a matter of fact, I didn’t see any buildings over 8 stories tall. The air of the city was a very liberal one, artsy and open.
The club we were playing was an old blues club, turned metal club, turned back to a semi-blues/rock club. The owner, Dr. Bob, was one of the nicest people you’d ever meet.
Half an hour before show time our booked local support cancelled. Luckily, our street promo garnished some people, and, our new Missouri friends John (the monstrously big army drill Sargent) and his wife Rachel, who drove four hours to see us, and they brought friends!
Because we were now the only ones on the bill, we had some freedom to play a longer set, including a Nathan solo of Taylor Swift’s ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’… (Ok, ok, ok…. I just made that up…. Or did I?)
After the show, we hung out with John and co. for a bit, then had to get started on our 5 and a half hour drive to the next city.