Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 15: Tulsafied, and it is finished

Ryan and I were tied. Going into the last match, we both leaned over the controllers, hoping to annihilate each other on the screen before us. The Soundpony was fitted with many classic arcade games, Streetfighter II chief among them. As we began the last bout, Kristin came over and told us it was time to play. We sadly called it a draw and worked our way to the front of the bar.

Aside from the video games, the Soundpony, in Tulsa, is covered in bike paraphernalia. Handlebars function as the footrests at the bar. Full bicycles hang from the ceiling. Repurposed seats, complete with chains and pedals, function as barstools. Prior to playing, I had sat there and read the last of Midnight's Children while Mark frantically searched for a place to shower (his girlfriend would be there later that night). The bartender kindly gave me a few free beers while I read. When Mark came, sadly unshowered, the bartender charged him for his beer, which made me snicker.

We set up to play in front of a lit-up aluminum volcano left over from a dancey-pop group a few nights before. Given our days of rest, our set was a little rusty, but we had fun regardless. Some family and friends from Kansas kindly drove out to the show. Afterwards, a young couple asked to have their picture taken with me, which was puzzlingly sweet. Slothpop, a band from Indianapolis who had previously graced the Dead Birdhouse, joined us on the bill for the night, playing pop more worthy of a jaguar or a falcon than a sloth (and by that I mean they are wonderful). Dan Snodgrass (see "Indian Apple Us") was accompanying them on the road, playing some acoustic sets scattered throughout the U.S. (but most certainly not functioning as their "merch-boy," he joked to me).

Packing our gear into the car, some of us were tired, looking forward to getting some sleep and heading home. As for me, I would have been fine doing it all again. If I had my druthers, we would head out west, maybe to Denver and a few other cities, before reaching California. Maybe next tour we will do just that.

We waited around to be paid out by the bartenders, who claimed they were pleasantly surprised by our performances. After talking with the Slothpoppers for a while, we set off, van and station wagon, northward to Kansas.

Dan/ the low end

Final P.S.
Thanks to everyone who made touring possible, from bands and venues to friends and hosts. I had the time of my life, and I am intensely grateful.

Days 12-14: NOLAxing

After our first night in New Orleans, we remained in the city for a few days. Ryan, on the night of the show at the All-Ways, flew back to Kansas to support his girlfriend through a family crisis. While we wound up canceling our two Texas dates, we stayed in New Orleans for a total three days, hanging out with our friend Nick Istas and exploring the town.

Here are the highlights:
  • Dancing to the Stooges, a brass band, at the Hi-Ho. Also, hearing a more traditional jazz band the night before (John spotted an actor from Treme and the Wire at the gig).
  • Nick sharing his account of working as an extra in the upcoming Twilight film, as well as his double work for Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
  • Singing with some of Nick's cousin's friends in the apartment where we stayed.
  • Making breakfast. John and Kristin are gastronomic victors.
  • Seeing some sweet street art. (See Figure 1.)
  • Dining like a family at a restaurant whose tag-line stated, "Ladies invited." (See Figure 2.)
Figure 1

Figure 2
Dan/ the low end

Thanks to Nick, Nathan, and Becca for allowing us to crash on their living room floor. Also, we send our love to the Flynn family.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 11: NOLA Haiku

New Orleans is sweet.
Toast Beards and Jonesbirds rock hard.
Bounce with Nick Istas?

Day 10: Memphisted

Our Memphis Show at the Hi-Tone Lounge could have been awful. Spending time in the southern heat (or at our un-air-conditioned venue) meant your tight (rockstar) jeans would fuse to the lower half of your body, we weren't exactly sure whose floor we'd be able to stay on that night, and I, personally, didn't know how an audience used to world-class blues, country, and classic rock would take our songs referencing rollerblading in short-shorts and Fidel Castro. However, after arriving at the venue, the Tour Gods sent down four consecutive positive signs:

1) Dick Dale, surf-guitar legend, was listed just below us on the marquee.

2) Free PBR for band members

3) An in-house meal for band members (which ended up being delicious veggie pizza)

4) Memphis Zoo located across the street from the venue

Having some extra leisure time before we had to sound check, we walked through the park that bordered the zoo. The rad poster of a polar bear giving a small child a high five only made us more excited. However, upon arriving we found out that it was 15 minutes past closing time. Not allowing this to stop them from getting their exotic animal fix, Dan and Ryan smoothly walked through the zoo's exit gate as a paying, Southern family left. Being too timid to slide through the gates as families exited, Kristin, Mark, and I were left behind to inspect the zoo's pseudo-Egyptian animal sculptures, which turned out to be pretty fun to climb on despite the disclaimer not to do so. After 30 minutes, the two delinquents came back bragging of Komodo Dragons, Pumas (not the shoes), and the famed Memphis Ligers. Ryan and Dan confirmed that Liger's lazer shooting capabilities were a myth, but they said that the animals presence gave them a really powerful and positive feeling. It was going to be a quality show.

Local folk-rock act, The Sultana, started the music off with some tight arrangements that included multiple people on percussion, a banjo, and a cello. I particularly liked one of their songs that had a fun spaghetti-western style to it. The growing crowd seemed really receptive.

We played second without many hitches. Accustomed to DIY shows where we have to set everything up ourselves, it was nice having monitors and a sound engineer to help mix and get good-sounding levels throughout the show.

Star & Micey, a band we hosted earlier this year at the Dead Birdhouse, closed out the night. They hadn't played as a full band for over 6 months and did a really nice job of channelling their excitement throughout their set. Their accordion player had some great moves and took off his shirt halfway through the set. Most of the people at the Hi-Tone including one of the band's biggest fans, a jovial southern gentleman named Pappy O'Daniels, were stomping, clapping, and having drunken, good time by the end of their set. Success.

Other highlights from the night included:

1) having bawdy conversations about the logistics of peeing in your own mouth

2) getting a CD purchase out of a woman, who was making eyes at Mark

3) a homeless saying to me: "You look like Ronald McDonald, no a McChicken…no wait…a quarter pounder with cheese."

4) an outrageously drunk representative for Sirius Satellite Radio who jokingly insisted that we were awful and then later said that we weren't actually "too bad."

Mad thanks to Nick for putting us up for the night!

John // The Low End

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 9: Murfreesboro

Five things we did in Murphreesboro, TN:
  1. bought gas at $3.23/galloon
  2. played at House Pride, a venue/collective in town
  3. held an adorable calico kitten while grilling hotdogs in the driveway of the aforementioned house
  4. learned of the best place to get quick tacos in Nashville, TN (San Antonio's Taco Company, which we confirmed the following day)
  5. received a donation of a complete set of state quarters and additional change (totaling at $35) while selling over $1oo in merch to seven people
While we prepared to play, Ryan received word of a crisis in his girlfriend's family. I want to send our love and thoughts to Kaitlyn and the Flynn family.

Day 8: Balloonington

The girl in the coffee-shop painted two large fronds on John's cheeks. Ryan received the marks of a Maori warrior. Kristin's face became covered in whimsical swirls. I took some dreamlike spirals to the chin and forehead. Ryan painted Mike (I mean, Mark) later.

We were waiting around at Rachel's café in Bloomington, Indiana, where we would be playing. While each of us received our markings, a lionlike young man started dancing around us, sometimes pretending to fight, sometimes attempting to massage our shoulders. "Is he drunk? High? Mentally deranged?" Ryan asked me. I shrugged.

Davy Long and David James (of Calumet Reel) arrived as we started unloading our gear. Davy and his crew (which I call the Mysterions) played a toned-down set. We played afterwards, followed by Ed Tom and Tuba. The facepainter and the crazy man danced vigorously throughout all three sets.

Later, David arranged for us to play an impromptu house show in town, making for the second gig of the day. Oddly enough, the party was themed around cowboys and Indians. Since we had our faces freshly painted and had a new song titled "Fake Natives" practiced for the tour, we were more than prepared to play there. (John and Kristin wore Cowboy Indian Bear shirts as well, making for more overwhelming coincidence.)

The porch to the house was covered with a mix of hip young folk and bros (reminiscent of Lawrence, Kansas peoples) dressed as either cowpersons or Native Americans. We loaded in through the basement after mingling. A garage-punk band, dressed in suits and ties, played before us. By the time we began our set, much of the crowd was trashed, and therefore receptive to anything loud. As we played, many of them began underdressing and rubbing their bodies together. When the last hip hop act performed, they were ready to procreate in our midst.

Later, on the porch, I spoke with a Kurt Vile lookalike. When I asked him what he had been listening to, he responded, "Kurt Vile, and this band War on Drugs, which Kurt Vile plays guitar in." He then showed me pictures of his Triumph motorcycle and clips from his videoblog/show (quite good).

After we left the party around 3:00, David played us some of his demos of the upcoming Calumet Reel album (impressive songs, recorded almost entirely live, sounding like a mix of the Band and Fleet Foxes). We proceeded to pass out on his couches.


Dan/the low end


Thanks to David James for the couches and gin & tonics. Also, thanks to my grandparents for the meal and the haircut.

Day 7: Cincinnati (Golden Hound and a Tommy Gun)

A gold dog stepped by my head as I woke up. We stayed the night in the house of Maggie Gard (the badass pipes of the Bears the of Blue River). She and her roommate made us breakfast while we played with Charlie (the previously-mentioned golden hound) and fired squirt guns into their garden.

Shortly after breakfast, we drove to the Indianapolis Art Museum. After making our way through a European modern exhibit, I wandered through imperial Chinese art displays. Later, I walked around the contemporary art with John and Kristin, who provided some interesting insights, especially concerning Denmark and design.

Cincinnati and Newport were only a short drive from Indianapolis. At my Uncle Dan's house in Kentucky, we dined with some of my immediate and extended family. Around the corner loomed the Southgate House, where we would be playing later.

The Southgate House was the birthplace of the inventor of the tommygun. On any given night, the place hosts up to three shows. With the help of my kid brother and his friend (of the Varner family who kindly made the trip from Muncie to see the show), we loaded our gear up the steep steps to play in the parlor. While we waited for the other bands, John and I chatted with the legendary Steve Varner (whose mustache puts mine to absolute shame) about a blues venue in Indiana funded by lottery winnings. I later learned that, while we were talking, Kristin, Ryan, and Mark were a few blocks away, watching a street magician who took a ten-dollar bill from Ryan and pulled it from a lime.

Toboggan Race started things off with an energized set of Oh Sees-esque garage tunes (with sweet licks, I might add). We played shortly thereafter. Both my mother and my father were raised in Cincinnati; roughly 30 or 40 of my relatives, ranging from cousins to great-aunts and uncles, came out to the show. We played to a mix of family and some of the other bands' fans. I was touched by the turnout, and we had a blast playing in the crowded parlor. Animal Circles followed with some wild surf rock tunes. After the Animal Circles' set, I spoke with my cousin Kevin about music for a little while (he used to be involved in the Cinti music scene; he gave me burned copies of O.K. Computer, Jeff Buckley, Jellyfish, and XTC albums to listen to for the first time when I was twelve).

After re-loading, we retreated to my Aunt Kate's apartment, where we stayed up until four engaged in a semantic debate.


Dan/the low end


Thanks to all the friends and family who came out to the SGH show. Also, thanks to Maggie Gard, Uncle Dan, and Aunt Kate for their wonderful hospitalities. Much love to all the friends and family who came to the show; I really appreciate the support.

Day 6: Indian Apple Us

"Yeah, this is more expensive than we thought, so we're just gonna leave," John told the waiter of the Turkish restaurant as he brought us our waters. He looked disappointed as we walked away.

We found a taqueria named “TEX-MEX” and stepped inside. The building was half-convenience store, half restaurant. John, Ryan and I ate our tacos while watching a telenovela and staring at soccer posters. I paid out of a Hello Kitty lunchbox full of change which my girlfriend gave to me prior to our departure.

We pulled back into the parking lot of the Indy Jukebox. Two hours before, we had arrived after a long drive from Chicago. We met Dan Snodgrass (of the Bonesetters) and looked around the basement-bar, which was covered in posterized Rolling Stone magazine covers featuring Van Halen and Nirvana. While John, Kristin, and I made conversation, Ryan and Mark scaled the upper and outer wall of the building and snuck in an open window to check out the interior. They said it was awesome.

Songwriter Ryan P(R)uett started things off. We played between Davy Long and the Bonesetters, who both put on great shows beneath Saturday-Night-Fever disco lights. I was surpised to see friends from high school and grade school who made the trip from Muncie to Indianapolis.

Between songs of the Bonesetters' set, I made conversation with a guy I vaguely recognized. As we chatted, I remembered him from Muncie. He had played in a few bands I had known including the Bonesetters. We actually went to the same Catholic grade school back in the day.

Afterwards, we loaded our gear near the van. Mark, who had the keys, was nowhere to be found. We discovered his bag lying by the bushes. Twenty minutes later, he emerged again from the building. I can only guess what he was doing.


Dan/ the low end

Much love to the Bonesetters, Ryan Puett, and Davy Long for playing. Also, thanks to Courtland, Jill, Logan, Danner, Rachel, and Brianna for making the trip to the Jukebox.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 5: Chicagoing, Pt 2

Day two of Chicago, I headed downtown to attend a design conference called NeoCon. The website explains it as:

"NeoCon will furnish your mind with the power of design - three days of pure energy, new thinking, new resources, and bursting with new products. Discover thousands of innovative products and resources for corporate, hospitality, healthcare, retail, government, institutional and residential interiors from more than 700 showrooms and exhibitors."

I met a few classmates of mine there who had driven up from Kansas just for the conference. They had already attended the previous two days of festivities, so they were well-traveled in the 11 floors of exhibitions. We saw a variety of exhibits, got sufficient amounts of free totes, literature and food, and after four hours decided to make our way outside for some cupcakes.

I made my way to meet the rest of The Low End at Shannon's for a lasagna feast. Afterwards we trekked on to the venue, The Whistler. After setting up, sound checking and trying the "band cocktail" we made our way to the back patio where I made a bet with Mark that he couldn't go 24 hours without smoking a cigarette.

We played our set and mingled with the crowd afterwards while The Minneapolis Henrys played. Later we made our way to our temporary beds and finished out our last day in Chicago.

Thanks to the people at the Whistler for letting us play, and Shannon Wilson and Nick Ryan for hosting us!

Kristin // The Low End

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 4: Chicagoing, pt. 1

We were 30 minutes late to the Double Door. Mark pulled the van into the loading area in the back while the rest of us checked into the venue and loaded our gear.

With our gear loaded in, a Double Door employee came to check IDs. While no one checked mine, Ryan, our only member under 21, was sniped by the door lady. He was ordered to stay in the area specifically designated for bands and underage folk. His hands were marked with bold "X"s. They made him wear bright orange wristbands on both hands and told him that he had to be escorted to the latrines.

After we checked our sound, the rest of the band stretched their legs in Wicker Park while I stayed behind, sipped a beer, and looked around. I saw a poster that advertised that the Rolling Stones had played there in 1997. A flier for an upcoming show promoted a joined performance from Ray Davies (of the Kinks) and Ron Wood (of the Faces and the Stones). Very cool.

We were scheduled first on a bill of locals and played to a crowd larger than I expected given the venue's size. Gavin and Brian of the Bears of Blue River kindly stopped by to listen. After us, some jam bands from the Chicago suburbs played. "They sound like a Rob Thomas cover band," Ryan remarked before we departed.

I left with Gavin and his comrades to get a few drinks. His friend Jason, who also works at the Double Door, got his hands on a Four Loco for the first time (which tasted like cough syrup). We sat around with a large black lab/pit bull mix before I returned to the band, who had found reportedly delicious tacos in my absence.

Dan/ the low end

Thanks to Nick Ryan and Shannon Wilson for letting us crash at their places. Pic courtesy of Gavin Wilkinson.

Day 3: Fairfield

Fairfield, Iowa was amazing and bizarre. The pictures can convey what happened better than anything I can type. However, I will summarize it in bullet-points:

-trying on clothes at the Wal-Mart in Oskaloosa, Iowa (which shares a name with Kristin's hometown in Kansas)
-visiting the house that was featured in "American Gothic" by Grant Wood
-cooking hobo-style hotdogs in a trashcan lid
-playing at the Beauty Shop
-hearing civic theater performers sing a cappella tunes from Jesus Christ Superstar in a hokey bar
-John and Mark making out in a crazy rap video

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 2: Fun and gAmes

I awoke to find a Moses-like man grabbing a bundle of floor tiles beside the couch where I was sleeping. We had crashed at the house of our friend Michael Hackerott in Blair, Nebraska. Once everyone was awake, Michael's parents kindly served us breakfast. We were nearly full after pancakes and eggs were brought out; then, we were served polish sausage (which Hackerott's dad really dug), followed by a heaping plate of steaks. I sipped from a Spock glass when Hackerott's uncle, the bearded man seen earlier, joined us at the table.

"Are you related to anyone famous?" Ryan asked him randomly.
Uncle Dan proceeded to explain at length how his family was distantly related to Benjamin Franklin. We left shortly thereafter.


Ames was deserted when we arrived. We found a coffee shop that had fascistly bolted shut all of their outlets to prevent lingering. Inside, we spotted a ground squirrel edging along the wall, apparently searching for outlets. Ryan chased him out while we ordered coffees and found seats.

After looking for a place to buy some beer while Ryan pooped at the conspicuously named "Kum and Go" quick-shop, we headed to "The Space." We were booked to play between sections of an open-mic night. For a Sunday night, an open mic at least guaranteed a crowd on what could otherwise be a dead night.

A young man in a Blink 182 shirt let us in the building, where we unloaded while other acts and listeners arrived. Nate, the guy who booked us for the night, arrived a little later to set up sound. Once the mics and PA were ready, he started things off with a beautiful song that we later learned he wrote himself.

After we played, Kristin joined Nate (who also plays trumpet), a drummer, and a bearded man operating a synth setup, and played a dynamic, improvised jam without any particular key. Nate leapt around the stage like a wilder/cooler Peter Pan, alternatively blasting his trumpet, banging a drum, or slapping some wind-chimes.

When I stepped out to load in the last of our gear, a large man with John Lennon spectacles and a tie-dye shirt approached me. He bought two CDs and we made conversation.

"We're part of the burgeoning Pagan folk seen. I'm also in a sci-fi band that plays exclusively at comic book conventions. I would have stepped inside to hear y'all, but my ears ring. I had to listen from the doorway."

Ryan and I went on a brief walk before returning to hear a guitarist shred over funky beats and loops.

We left with the young man in the Blink 182 shirt and crashed at his apartment, where we lied in a row on his floor in near Lincoln-log style.

Dan/ the low end

Thanks to both David and the Hackerotts for housing us. Also, thanks to Nate of the Ames Progressive for letting us play.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day 1: Omahaha

"You want to shoot me?" the man asked Kristin while she, Mark, and I waited outside of the café in Omaha where Ryan and John were buying coffee.

"With a gun?" she asked innocently.
"No, with that camera."
"Okay, sure." She took a photo of the man, whose shirt read "I'm too sexy for my hair, that's how come it isn't there." He proceeded to cross the street, walking through oncoming traffic, to flag down a city bus.

We had just arrived in Omaha for the first date of the tour. Last time we played in Omaha, we received a hate letter from a would-be music critic who analyzed my banter, deeming us irrelevant to the human condition. This time we were scheduled to play with Ted Stevens, formerly of Cursive, and Gus and Call, formerly of Bear Country, at Barley Street Tavern.

After witnessing the man that was too sexy for his hair nearly die, we stopped by a store called Grampy's Curious Goods to curiously inspect some goods. They were unfortunately closed, leaving us to gawk at exotic shoe-horns in the window display. Walking back, we came upon a handwritten sign advertising a sale two blocks down that included "man stuff." We left that side of the city and stopped by a downtown arts fair, where Mark lost ten bucks but gained a hat at the lottery tent while the rest of us watched Native-American-progressive-rock-band performance.

The show went smoothly. After we played our set, Gus and Call wowed the full bar with some tight arrangements and harmonies, as well as a two-song finale with the leader of McCarthy Trenching. Their take of Bob Dylan's "Tonight I'll Be Standing Here With You" had the crowd clapping along.

As Ryan and I approached the van out back to pack up the rest of our gear, we saw a girl urinating behind the building. When she saw us, she nonchalantly waved and said "Hey," before returning to her business against the cinderblock and remaining there to rest while we turned our heads and waited for directions.

Whether or not we are still irrelevant to the human condition is still open to debate but we had a great time, without hate-mail. We probably should have checked out that man-stuff, though.

Dan/the low end
Thanks to Gus and Call for setting up a show for us (and Ted Stevens for playing as well).
Also, thanks to the Hackerott family for their hospitality.

Pics by Kristin:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Low End Gets High

Each member of the band stepped off of the forklift and onto the platform. From there, we could see over the 20 ft. fence and look down at the artificial waterfall, the saltwater swimming pool, and the Ellsworth-county crowd below. We turned on our amps and PA and waited to play the first of what we thought would be two sets that night.

When Ryan (talldrums), John (bassbeard), and I arrived earlier to unload our gear, our host, an inventor who had designed and developed the premier cattle-run gate on the market (so I was told by at least five concert-goers), led us to the twin scissor-lifts that would hold us during the three sets we would play later that night. I gawked. Ryan grinned. John giggled slightly.

The sun-burned inventor walked us around the platform, which at this point only stood about eight feet off the ground. He explained the design. His crew had strategically tack-welded the platform to be taken down immediately after the set and turned into cattle-gates. We were not as assured by this as he expected, but he continued.

"So, when we get this thing started," the inventor told us, "you'll crouch down as the platform is slowly raised flush with the fence. Then, you'll start playing." We exchanged glances while he reached into his pocket, removing a koozie. I looked at the foam beer-can cover. Five stick figures hovered above the image of a fence. Two played guitars; one held a trumpet. The stick figure playing drums looked suspiciously like Ryan. While the doodle at the microphone had no mustache, I could only assume it was supposed to be me. The caption read, "On the wrong side of the fence." Beneath the fence was our band's name in a blazing race-car font.

Mark (guitarpumas), Kristin (trumpetechture), and our friend Meagan pulled up. I watched their faces (mild terror mixed with amusement) as they realized what the platform was for.

We unloaded our gear onto a forklift, then climbed a ladder and set up our PA, drums, and amps. The top was stable enough to support the hundreds of pounds of gear, but the sheet metal worked like a weak trampoline: a few steps in the middle sent the mics and speakers shivering at the corners. We set up regardless, realizing that if our amps were to break due to a technical difficulty, this was the place to do it.

After the gear was fixed (almost) firmly in place, the inventor gave us a tour while his family and various employees set up large cases of beer and bowls of snacks for the party. Last year, our host's family donated funds for our tour on our Kickstarter fund, where we promised a house show for donations of over $100. This concert would be a gesture in gratitude for his help. He had invited over 50 of his friends to listen to a dangerously-elevated band and hang out at the pool.

As we followed our host, I overheard a song presumably titled, "John Wayne, Johnny Cash, John Deere," projected through a set of acoustically optimal speakers positioned around the pool. Given our stylistic differences from the music being played, I was a little nervous about how we would go over.

A television screen played through a television screen-sized window into the garage. A counter sat lined with Crown Royal Reserve and Whoopee pies. We passed a table covered in large sandwiches and a 40 x 60 poster of our band taken from a facebook photo from last year's tour.

While we waited for the party to start, I grabbed a beer from a burly, tattooed man in a gazebo. He finished a push-up before asking for my ID and granting me one of his secured Bud Lights. If I had less self-respect, I would have pointed to the stick figure on the koozie.

I sipped my beer, talked to my girlfriend Amy, and met some of the early arrivals. Ryan, John, and Mark (guitar/pumas) were all conceived, born, and raised in Ellsworth County; many of their family friends came to the show. One kindly man told me that there would be at least ten millionaires there, and that they probably wouldn't look like millionaires. I nodded and thanked him for the information. I later learned that he was a millionaire.

We prepared to play and were introduced to our tech assistants. Blaze, the inventor's congenial son, Billy Ray (a large man from Detroit obviously named after the timeless country/pop icon), and Gustavo (a Brazilian cowboy) were to manage our rise and fall. We discussed hand signals, set length, use of the fog machine, and the management of the forty-foot light structure positioned on the other side of the house. After a few minutes of conversation, we were told to play. The band gathered on the forklift and gave Billy Ray the signal.


Our plan was to vamp a chord as the platform was raised and then start our first song once we were level with the fence. Ryan clicked us in, and we vamped. After inching a few feet skyward, the platform halted halfway through its ascent, leaving us only halfway above the fence. We played the first song anyway and without issue, given the altitude and bounce of the stage.

After the first song, we were told to step off. Our combined weight, with that of all our gear and the platform itself, was too much for the scissor-lifts. We walked onto the forklift and waited. They planned to lower the platform and re-raise it. Gustavo and Blaze each pulled a lever.

The reverb tanks in the guitar amps and the Bronze Age mixer made an otherworldly noise as the entirety of our gear ended a sudden three-foot drop. The band gave a collective sigh. Gustavo, Blaze, and Billy Ray tried again and smoothly raised the platform to its desired height.

We played the rest of our set without incident (and with significantly less movement on stage than usual). We had practiced for a few long sessions earlier in the week which helped us cope with the altitude lateral movement of our performance space. The crowd below, however, was sedate, not knowing what to make of the band playing 20 feet above them.

In the second set we reached our groove, and, at our host's request, later played a third set of less-practiced material for our increasingly intoxicated crowd. Being an increasingly intoxicated band aided this. During our second song of this last set, Amy bravely leapt into the pool. Blaze shortly followed (though I thought he was operating the lift), and subsequently ushered in hours of pool-partying. During this song, a dozen more partygoers cannonballed and corkscrewed into the water.

At this point, the crowd was loose and began partying in earnest. The pool filled as we closed our set. John's dad leapt into the pool with all of his clothes on. A young couple slow danced near the back of the deck. Some old-timers swayed on the slower numbers. A very drunk man with a handlebar mustache and a mandolin strummed along on the deck below.

We came down from the forklift and joined in the pool party. The Ellsworth faction of the band seemed happy with the performance. As I paddled around the pool, I was given high-fives from some of the younger folk who complimented the music as well as my mustache. I felt I was either in high school or a Jimmy Buffet music video as friends and strangers dunked each other around me. We left our gear waiting on the platform above as we swam and floated across the pool.

-Dan/the low end

We give our gratitude to the Mollhagen family for their support. Also, many thanks to the Manes family for hosting us during our stay in Ellsworth County (Clay, I'm sorry I didn't take you up on the leg-wrestling). Pics courtesy of Amy Cain.

Also, our tour shall be launched this Friday, beginning with a show at Auntie Mae's with Paleo. The new EP and shirts will be available. We want some of your love.