Friday, July 16, 2010

Velocirap-Tour 2010 ---Week 1

Wednesday 7/7

We left the greater Orlando area at about noon to embark on our epic journey. The first stop on the tour is Houston, TX which is our longest drive of the entire tour. We’re glad to get it out of the way early so everything else seems easy in comparison. It was a mercifully uneventful drive. The trip out of Florida is so incredibly tedious. It seems like it takes forever, but then you hit Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana in quick succession. That’s when the drive gets more interesting and starts to go a little quicker. We made it as far as New Orleans after about fourteen hours or so. It shouldn’t take that long, but we’re taking it slow on the highway to save gas and avoid attention. The trailer with FL tags and covered in band stickers is a likely target for law enforcement. We grabbed a cheap hotel and rested up. After last year’s roadside fiasco the uneventful trip was appreciated.

Thursday 7/8

After a quick breakfast stop at Starbucks we were on the road to Houston by about 11AM. Western LA is full of swamps and rice paddies. We listened to Clutch a lot because it seemed appropriate for the landscape. We stopped at a sweet rest stop just past the Texas state line and got some good photos. It seems like Texas is constantly trying to prove how badass it is, even at rest stops and gas stations. We pulled into the neighborhood where the venue was located at about 5PM. Fitzgerald’s is a really nice place in what seems to be an artsy neighborhood. There’s a huge upstairs stage that they open for national acts and a smaller stage downstairs. Our particular show ended up being on the smaller stage. We’d recommend Fitzgeralds to any band thinking of going to Houston. We grabbed a bite at a nice little local restaurant and met up with Melora at about 7PM. After many exchanges of hetero man love we kicked off the show. The local bands that we played with were really nice and hilarious guys and a good time was had by all. Unfortunately, the turnout was abysmal. The manager for the night was clearly disappointed, but made it clear that we would be welcome to come back because of our promotional efforts from out of state (listing the show in several entertainment papers, mailing posters, and an intense online attack). We did sell some merch and made friends with the guys in Sever The Silence and The Nephilim Terror, so we weren’t too bummed. Besides, we got to play a show in Houston, TX! We decided to hit the road to Austin after the show and grab a cheap hotel room out in the country.

Friday 7/9

Hwy 71 between Katy, TX and Austin, TX is a really nice drive. The terrain starts to get hilly and you begin to see mesquite trees, cacti, and wild antelopes. For the first time on the trip we really felt like we were in a new place. We pulled into downtown Austin at about 1PM and parked so we could walk around and be tourists. We hit 6th street and it lives up to its reputation as a live music hotspot, but we were there too early for any bands to be playing. It seemed really over commercialized and touristy though. Most of the locals seemed to agree. They go to 6th St. about as often as us Orlando-ites go to I-Drive. The coolest part was definitely the Texas state capital building. If you’re willing to go through a metal detector you can walk right in and take pictures and look at oil portraits of long dead dudes with epic facial hair. At about 7PM we went to scope out the venue, which turned out be not in the downtown area at all. In fact it was in one of the roughest neighborhoods we ever played in. We parked in an empty lot next to Club 1808 and were promptly swarmed but crackheads and other beggars in various states of coherence. It was so bad that one of the locals that got there before us took one look at the neighborhood and left, never to return. We didn’t find out what happened to them until the next day. We toughed it out though and the venue turned out to be fairly decent on the inside. Huge thanks to the two locals that did stick around! They will let anyone book here, but be aware of the neighborhood! It was another terrible turnout between the neighborhood scaring people off and a local band disappearing. We didn’t even make enough to cover the sound guy expenses. The owner of the club was a cool guy though and gave us some token gas money and invited us back, again because of our promotional efforts, even though they didn’t pay off. We stayed with some friends in Austin and had a great time after the show. It was hard not to get bummed after two weak shows, but hey, we played a show in Austin, TX!

Saturday 7/10

Finally, a KICKASS show! We’ll get to that later though. The drive from Austin to San Antonio is short and pleasant. There are little German and Czech towns along the way and some nice hilly terrain with impressive views (impressive for Floridians anyway). We pulled into downtown San Antonio at about noon and parked at the venue. Bond’s 007 is in the heart of San Antonio, immediately on the river walk. It’s a two story place with a good size stage upstairs and a sweet bar downstairs. The PA is way too loud for the room, but sounds good. Definitely try to book here if San Antonio is on you itinerary. We left to explore the river walk, which is

incredible. Then we made our way to the Alamo. We all had this mental image from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure that the Alamo is in the barren desert miles from anything. Not so! It’s smack in the middle of San Antonio. They built the city around it apparently. There’s so much history there, it’s hard to not be impressed. San Antonio is a beautiful town, definitely the nicest place we’ve been to so far. After being tourists for a few hours we went back to the venue to get loaded in, etc. This show was fantastic. The local bands put on a great show and worked hard to promote. Crown of Abaddon and Eradication are really good bands that should be checked out. Do it now! The promoter, Gore Growler (Aaron) did a stellar job of promoting. He’s probably the best promoter we’ve ever worked with. Huge thanks to him for taking care of us. After the show everybody hung out way too long and there was much exchanging of inebriated man hugs. When we finally (sadly) left we stayed with some exceptionally nice friends. We really needed this night to go well to boost morale after a couple of bad ones. We miss you already San Antonio!

Sunday 7/11

This was our second time playing in Dallas. Dallas has been good to us show-wise, but we seem to hit a patch of bad luck here for some reason. We spent an hour looking for a clean bathroom, found out about a band dropping off of a future show and then some of us got sick. We didn’t even have time for sight seeing because of the five hour drive from San Antonio. The show was great though. It was Melora’s CD release show, so they had a lot of family and friends show up to support. There was a really good turnout. We even had a few people come out for us. Lizard Professor blew our minds and were awesome dudes, so check them out right now! The other local bands were total pros too, which made for a really successful show. Our performance was weird, the first half of the set was a train wreck, but the second half was nearly flawless. It’s good to know we can turn things around. After the show we played with adorable kittens at Stephen from Melora’s apartment.

Monday 7/12

After Dallas, we hit the road to Shreveport. The drive went by quickly and nothing really eventful happened aside from us figuring out exactly how long it took for Mike to fall asleep in the car. We headed straight for the Shreveport Boardwalk to look around, take some pictures and otherwise kill time. 5 days into the tour we all seem to be just really tired. After visiting a cool fountain and looking in at the Science Center we decide to head

to the venue to see what’s up. It turned out that we were playing in Keithville about 20 miles south of

the Shreve in a cowboy bar. The place was cool but redneck as fuck and we were a little unsure of how the show would turn out. Fortunately our boys from Cancer Whore showed up and what apprehension we had was soon washed away, until we got a call from Melora saying their trailer blew out a tire. As the night went on more people came in, Melora made it with plenty of time to spare, and we had a lot of fun hanging out with some old friends. That show was definitely in the “win” column.

Tuesday 7/13 and Wednesday 7/14

Our first day off on the tour. We left Shreveport around noon and decided to drive through Arkansas and up into Southeast Missouri to stay with my (Alex) parents in my hometown. We figured it would be a good picture day and would stop off at the scenic areas and just have a grand ole time. What we didn’t realize is that the stretch of highway we traveled was a void of

anything worthwhile. We stopped in Texarkana and debated about whether or not Mad Max was filmed there. 10 hours (and many conversations about how awful Arkansas is) later, we arrived in Cape Girardeau, ate some sammiches, and I took the guys on a beer tour of the downtown.

The next day we got up to go see “Predators” which was badass and not all at the same time. Still trying to figure that one out. Later my parents took us out to dinner at the country club. You know what’s more awkward than four metal guys hanging out in the company of old, stately people? Not much. It turned out that everyone there was impressed with how well-mannered, charismatic, and downright awesome we were to care about what we looked like. Yeah, we break stereotypes. After dinner we went back downtown to drink and meet up with a sorority my mom works with (score!) and wound up getting fucking hammered and had a pool party.

Thursday 7/15

After a very late night we woke up partially hung over and completely exhausted. It took until about 2PM for us to get out the door and on the road. The drive into St. Louis on I-55 is impressive. The road is cut into the hills surrounding the city and there are sheer cliff faces of granite and red sandstone lining the road. This is the most rugged terrain we’ve encountered so far. We pulled into downtown St. Louis at about 5PM and went straight to the arch. We got some killer pictures of the arch and the museum under it. Unfortunately, the wait to take the elevator to the top was too long for us to go up. I (Jason) was really looking forward to this, it was going to be one of the tourist-y highlights of the trip for me. Bummer. The Way Out club is right on the edge of downtown St. Louis. It’s decorated nicely with vintage alcohol ads and pin-up art. They play retro porn and weird ass x-rated 70s movies on the TVs. It’s not really known as a metal venue, but they took good care of us and had a good time with the show. I would suggest getting in touch if you play in STL, but keep on top of them on a weekly basis, communication was not a strong point. We had one of the locals drop off of this show the night before, but the turnout was still pretty decent. Quare Verum and The Gorge were incredible bands and did an excellent job of getting people to come out on a week night. It was refreshing to play with some math rock bands instead of straight death metal. After the show, we crashed at singer from Quare Verum’s house with Melora. It was actually the first night we all crashed together so far. A good time was had by all.

Another win, the bands and venue in STL were extremely hospitable. We’re batting a pretty good average so far...

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