Defiance, Ohio Northwest Tour Day 1

April 4th, 2009  |  Published in Defiance Ohio

I’m going to try to write about tour this time.  It comes and goes so fast that sometimes all I feel is left are these “remember when …” snippets that come up between people I’ve been on tour with that are nice to remember but alienating to everyone else in the conversation.

I told Florence and Oona that I had to wake up yesterday at 4AM in order to get a flight that would put us in SC in time to play the show that night.  Florence just rolled her eyes and said  “That’s crazy”, which is funny because she’s had enough long, early-morning flying in her life that it’s not unfamiliar.  I think for her, and maybe other people, the idea of going on tour remains abstract enough that it adds this additional element of “craziness”.  The flights all went okay in the end, even though Theo flew separately and had 2 layovers and had his accordion stuck in SLC for a while. Bz, Ryan, and I got to play pinball on our layover and managed to sneak our instruments on as carry-on.

We rented this crazy, new-car-smelling, Hybrid car.  It’s pretty surreal, but fun.  It’s a small thing, but hopefully it saves us some money and makes the ecological footprint of touring a little less.  I don’t know how to calculate that.  A bunch of folks drove up from S. California for the show last night because we’re not making it south of Santa Cruz.  It’s awesome that people are willing to do that, and I have fond, fond memories of the concert road trip.  At the same time it just seems so costly.  I guess I take it for granted that I get to see a lot of good bands without having to travel far.

My totally uninformed, knee-jerk reaction to Santa Cruz is that it is a mash-up of Beverly Hills and Eureka.  As we rolled into town, stopped at a spotlight, I saw two guys yelling at each other and waving blunt objects.  One guy had a hammer and another had this cane.  The windows were rolled up so it was really surreal to see this scenario play out on mute.  I had this sick feeling of being trapped, just waiting for someone to get really hurt.  It would be easy to dismiss the two dudes as just being fucking crazy, but I think that lifts a lot of the accountability from their shoulders.  One of the guys kept starting to walk away, then the other guy would walk away, then the first guy would turn arond and say something and the other guy would start following him again waving his hammer.  It was so obvious that either of them could have chosen to just end it and walked away and saved themselves from getting really hurt and a lot of motorists from witnessing two guys bludgeon each other.  But, they felt like that had to keep provoking each other to keep their dignity intact.  It’s definitely a very gendered interaction, and I’ve felt it, though not involving such an immediate threat of violence.  I hate feeling like there is this trade-off between feeling like the choice is between avoiding violence and just escolating a stupid situatin and having your dignity and not feeling like you’re getting trampled on and letting a person who isn’t very nice or respectful “win”.  Not saying anything feels like you’re resigning yourself to a world dictated by violence and intimidation, but escalating conflict seems like it just hastens the worst realization of that world.

Playing the show was hard because we didn’t get to practice with Will, but I think it went okay.  People seemed stoked, even though we got completely squished.  When I tried to adjust to make more space for Bz or Theo, I feel like I ended up just bumping the other one more.  Punk is such a participatory medium, it’s hard to imagine people not wanting to be so close and get jostled, but there are times when I just can’t sing or play from getting jostled too much and it feels like the musical aspect is just lost.  I guess it’s reductve to separate people dancing and feeling part of this collective mass from the music, but it’s still frustrating.  It’s uncomfortable to feel like we’re scolding people when we ask for more space.

I enjoyed watching the bands that we played with more than I have in a long time.  Black Rainbow was great and dealt well with playing first in a sort of akwards space.  I liked Fischer a lot and how their music just sounds good without being overworked, labored, or trendy.  I had seen a bunch of the folks from St. Augustine’s bands before, but I think I might like Tubers the best.  They just looked like they were feeling what they were doing completely.  Dichotomy was totally good and also seemed really immersed in playing which somehow seems to make such a difference.  I’m excited to be playing shows with them this week, though the social coordination of 10 people is probably going to be really challenging.