We’ve played some places in Indiana before but never the picturesque college town of Bloomington. The venue tonight was called Max’s place. Pizza place by day, performance space by night. We arrived plenty early so there was ample time to drink coffee, surf the net and check out the downtown core. It sure was muggy and hot though, especially when it was time to suit up in our usual stage gear.
A young guy from the town warmed up the crowd with some acoustic tunes. The pizza crowd slowly left and a really nice bunch of listeners and dancers alike showed up for the show. We played two long sets, took some requests including “Mercy” for the booker. Thanks to sound guy/owner Travers for the CD of his band “Zion Crossroads”. He calls it Dreadneck music. It’s a new genre I guess. Anyway, it sounded pretty good in the van.
The next day we put Michigan in the GPS and ended up at the Saugatuck brewery in a town called Douglas. It’s not to far from Kalamazoo if you know where that is. Some talented guys from Michigan, WHO SHOT DON? opened up playing a little blue grassy style music with some good claw hammer playing. Big stage, big sound, small crowd. Everyone was super nice. A friend of ours from Tennessee flew into Chicago and rented a car to come to the show. He happens to be a chiropractor. I happen to currently have a messed up back. Needless to say I think it’s the first time anyone’s had a chiropractic adjustment at the Saugatuck Brewery.
Saturday night was the brew festival in Traverse City, Michigan. And boy did it rain. The crowd didn’t seem to mind. Maybe the waterfall of unlimited microbrew was helping to warm the drenched patrons. We got stuck in the mud driving in and had to be towed out. It got dark, we started playing and the crowd began to swell. Just like my pride did back in 1994 when I watched Rebecca ride a bike for the first time. Set went really well. Everyone played well and the time flew by. We had poor merch guy Colton set up under a tree in the dark in the storm. He actually seemed to like it. Ah….the resiliency and hardiness of youth.
Wet rainy pack up back to the trailer to make way for the headliner, Zydeco king Buckwheat Zydeco. Said a quick hi before the show. He smelt good. Makes me want to start wearing cologne.
The main reason we came this far east was to play some music festivals that had expressed interest in booking us over the years and scheduling wise we weren’t able to make it happen until now. Like the Porcupine Music Festival in Michigan’s upper peninsula. What a spectacular drive! It reminded me a lot of Ontario. Again we got there pretty early so we had time to do various things like watch Flight of the Conchords, teach a banjo workshop, climb the ski hill for a view of Lake Superior, and check out the other bands including the wonderful Deke Dickerson. We closed down the festival with a 90-minute set including a couple of encores. Then it was off to a cabin on the shoreline of the aforementioned Lake Superior. I love the ocean but those Great Lakes are pretty great too! There’s a band called the Great Lake Swimmers I don’t mind. Saw them at the Vancouver Folk Festival. When we got to the cabin the neigbour was having a barbecue and invited us over. Almost everyone was asleep by midnight all tucked in and cozy in their little beds like the Brady children circa 1970 before Peter’s voice changed.”