° Yeah You Rob Blog °

Monday, April 21st, 2014

You Can’t Be Too Drunk for Country Music!

Hello, friends! Rob here.

It has been, I don’t know, probably three or four years since we really started touring in the southeastern United States. Which means it has been, I don’t know, probably three or four years since we started hearing that we should link up with this band out of Nashville called Moon Taxi. We had never heard of them before, and then all of a sudden, like the flipping of a switch, there were traces of Moon Taxi everywhere. Stickers in green rooms. Posters on venue windows. They were here last night and it was phenomenal. They’re coming here tomorrow, do you know those guys?

The thing is, we didn’t know those guys. Eventually, we did a few one-off shows with them separated by a few years, but for a very long time it was like Moon Taxi was this extradimensional being existing tangentially to our reality and only leaving the occasional trail or trace. They were myth. Fable. The unicorn at the end of the rainbow. And all the time people were telling us we needed to go on tour with this unicorn.

I know that the term “tour de force” isn’t meant to refer to a literal tour, but the Moon Taxi tour has been an absolute tour de force. A tour of force. Whatever. It was awesome. Lots of awesome. Bucket-loads of awesome. It was such a parade of awesome that today, now that it’s over, it feels like the whole tour is over, even though we have another week to go.

Of course, this tour has also been a bit of a meat grinder. Although the Moon Taxi shows began at Auburn and Baton Rouge, we didn’t start being for real gone until the April 10th show at The Lyric in Oxford. After that, it was a long (looooooooong) drive to Tortuga Music Festival in Ft. Lauderdale. We took a day off and had passover seder at Zack’s mom’s house, drove all day to Charleston, played a show, and woke up before the sun to fly to the show in Philadelphia.

And then it got real.

We capped off the Moon Taxi tour with Thursday and Friday at Brooklyn Bowl and Saturday at the 9:30 Club in DC. We’ve been to Brooklyn Bowl a few times before, but the 9:30 Club, like Moon Taxi, is another one of those cryptozoological tour myths. For years, people in the DC area have been asking us why we weren’t playing the 9:30 Club (the answer was that we didn’t have enough fans yet). So, as with Moon Taxi or the Sasquatch, we had kind of built up this sense of anticipation and wonder about the place.

Anyway, we sold out the shows on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Obviously, this is an incredible accomplishment and we are just absolutely floored at the love and support and friendship we have been receiving these last few days. Which isn’t to say that we haven’t seen all of those things in truly humbling quantities over the years, but this was a bit of a crystallizing moment. To come into The Place To Play in a big city and sell it out the first time we play there was just amazing. We’re all still kind of floating from that one. A few weeks ago, I compared a Revivalists/Moon Taxi collaboration to a classic superhero team-up, and I stand by that.

It was Batman and Superman.  Sasquatch riding a unicorn.

Also, along the way we kept picking up more and more people. Since last summer we have been touring with a company of eight: the seven handsome gentlemen you see onstage, plus a sound engineer/tour manager/facilitator/cool bro. We added a lighting director(/cool bro) for the week, which is something we’ve been talking about trying for quite some time now. In Philadelphia we were joined by a lifelong friend of Dave’s who has accompanied us on the road on a few previous occasions. Some of the girlfriends (and one wife! I swear I’m more excited about that than they are) flew in for the Brooklyn shows as well. When we drove from Brooklyn to DC, there were a total of thirteen people in the van.  Today we’re back down to eight.

Also, we didn’t drive from Brooklyn to DC. After the second show at Brooklyn Bowl, we drove three or four hours to Towson, MD (which is a town in Maryland and not the title of a medical soap opera) and caught three or four hours of sleep in a labyrinthine Days Inn so that we could be at Sound Garden Records at ten in the morning to play a few songs for Record Store Day.

So between the resounding success of the weekend, the intensity of our commutes, and the steep reduction of population density inside our touring vehicle, today has the feeling of an ending. Fortunately, it is not even a little bit of an ending. In fact, we’re about to play Boston (another one of those mythical creatures) for the first and second time(s)! So one could argue that this is just another beginning.

The end.

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Of Wisconsin and Wedding Hashtags

Hello, friends! Rob here.

So, um. Ed is married. Holy crap? Also, wedding guestbooks are so 2006. It’s all about the wedding hashtags these days #edandmaggie2014

We’re approaching the end of a long break, which itself comes on the heels of a long break. There have been many long breaks so far this year. But now is time for a long tour! We’re very excited to be spending the majority of April on tour, and to be spending the majority of that tour with the fantabulous Moon Taxi! For those of you not in the know, Moon Taxi is a band from Nashville and they rule pretty hard, so us going on tour with Moon Taxi is like Batman going on tour with Superman, except for all the good they have done I don’t think either of those guys are particularly talented musicians, and they may or may not actually exist.

Side note: My word processor apparently thinks “fantabulous” is a real word.

Working backwards now: South By Southwest sure is crazy, huh? It’s like, instead of having a few bands be in the same city, let’s just put all of the bands into a five-mile radius and make them fight each other, “Beat It” video-style, for the three parking spaces in downtown Austin. That’s really all I can think to say about it right now. In the past I’ve always compared South By Southwest to the scene in every movie about the Vietnam War where a bunch of wide-eyed recruits step out of a helicopter in some army encampment thirty clicks north of Pleiku and see men in torn-up fatigues playing cards and roasting a pig not twenty feet from whatever patch of jungle they just finished flame-throwing and it begins to dawn upon the recruits that theirs is now an impossible world where violence and chaos and barbarism go hand in hand with humanity and normalcy. A world not governed by morality, or nobility, but by one simple directive:  Survive.  The unit’s shotgun-toting Corporal tosses one of them a beer and spits a greeting around the sides of his cigar: “Welcome to hell, boys.”

Anyway, South By Southwest is kind of like that, but with tighter pants.

The run leading up to SXSW was short, but surprisingly demanding. We only had a few shows, but we found ourselves dashing from one cool media thing to the next* in between. The shows themselves were all quite nice. I’d love to just say the grandstand stompdown in Chicago took the cake and be done with it, but we were really blown away to play to such an enthusiastic crowd on our first visit to Madison, WI. The welcome was very promising in Bloomington, IL as well. Those three shows in three days were kind of like working backwards through the process of building a relationship with a city. We started in Chicago, which by now is a well-fortified bastion of friendship and musical success. Madison is new hotness, in an unexpected but much-appreciated sort of way, and Bloomington is like a clean slate that we can’t wait to build from the ground up without mixing any further metaphors. Good times in the cold middle west.

Side note: My word processor does not think that “stompdown” is a real word, even though I use it about once a month.

Oh god that reminds me I haven’t updated this thing since freaking Mardi Gras I am so sorry friends. In years past, I have caught myself grumbling about being “too busy” during a time that I wish I could be spending with all of the loved ones in New Orleans who have become my surrogate family since college (not that I need a surrogate, my regular family is great), but maybe it’s good to stay busy during Mardi Gras. To quote George, New Orleans is a dangerous city when you’re not busy. I’ll spare you the details (mostly because I ended up sparing myself a lot of the details), but suffice it to say it was a fun and exhausting couple of weeks.

And that brings us, more or less, circling back around to present day. We’ve made pretty productive use of our Ed’s honeymoon break. Ed and his new wife Maggie (don’t worry, there isn’t an old one anywhere) spent most of it honeymooning (as you may have guessed). Andrew took a plane to Spain with his family (it was actually France, but that doesn’t rhyme and I got confused for a second). Dave and Zack did some duo gigs and crossovers with a great Chicago funk group called The Heard, and George and I got to play complicated music with a fun side project we’ve been calling Space & Harmony. During the weekend of Ed’s wedding I actually had some supremely talented Canadian trad-jazz musicians (and mercifully low-maintenance houseguests) staying with me, and the following weekend I got to fly to Kansas City for another wedding (#sarahandcorey329), so I’ve been keeping busy, but fun busy. Soon we’ll be back to work busy.

Good thing work busy is fun busy.

*: When I write entries, I leave messages to myself in caps lock and parentheses when I need to link, fact/spell check, or reword something so I can do it when I edit (yes, I edit.  Just imagine what the first drafts must look like) instead of interrupting the flow of brain-words while the tap is running. After the footnoted phrase in this entry (in case you really can’t be bothered, it was “dashing from one cool media thing to the next”), I left myself the following message: (IT WOULD BE AWESOME IF SEVERAL OF THOSE WORDS COULD BE LINKS TO THINGS) I stand by the assertion that making several of those words into links to our appearances and performances on Audiotree, JBTV, Daytrotter, Fearless Radio, and I’m pretty sure there was at least one more, would be awesome. Unfortunately, for a variety of technical reasons, only one of those is currently available to me.  But on the bright side, I can still leave you with half an hour of us playing music, drinking tea, and discussing who would be the captain of our spaceship, courtesy of the good-hearted folks at Audiotree:

Friday, February 21st, 2014

The Things That Started Happening

Hello, friends! Rob here.

We all survived Fridge Tour ’14. The Arctic/Polar Vortex, Snowpocalypse, Wintermageddon, Blizzard Blast (that last one may or may not be a registered trademark of Dairy Queen), whatever you want to call it, was, well, cold. But what’s that you say? It still is cold? Well, not in New Orleans, suckers! I’m writing this entry on my porch in shorts, gearing up for what may be the best Mardi Gras ever. Normally during Mardi Gras we’re skipping in and out of town, running from thing to thing, missing the bulk of the street drinking and wrestling children for plastic spears cultural traditions or whatever, but not this year! This year, we have exactly one show, and it’s a doozy. Friday, February 28, at Tipitina’s, we’ll be blasting off into the stratosFUN with our Floridian friends The Heavy Pets. Hope to see you there!

Oops, I skipped right from the intro part to the plugging our upcoming shows part. Okay, here is things we have been doing:

After an extremely productive eight-ish days in the studio, The Revivalists had about 24 hours to rest and mentally prepare for tour. Nothing really happened during this interval. We split the drive to Austin over two days because driving for eight hours and then loading in and playing a show is bad. Not much continued to happen. Then we got to Austin and things started happening.

At first, the things that started happening were fairly mundane. The Texas shows were wonderful in a perfectly usual sort of way, except colder. We had Friday and Saturday in Austin and Dallas, and then we started driving towards Colorado on Sunday and the things that were happening began to be more interesting.

First, we got a little stuck on the highway.

Not completely stuck, mind you, or even mostly stuck for that matter. Just a little stuck. It was wintry out there, and we had to back our way down an icy slope on a somewhat busy highway so we could hit it again with a running start. Nobody got hurt. Traffic was backed to a crawl with all of the skid-outs, wrecks, and generally cautious drivers. The sky was threatening to darken, and the roads were not safe. So, knowing we had all of Monday and some of Tuesday to make it to Fort Collins, we pulled off the highway somewhere around Wichita Falls and watched the Super Bowl at a Buffalo Wild Wings, because oh did I forget to mention that it was Super Bowl Sunday.

And then it got cold.

It would probably be more accurate to say that we came upon the cold than to say that the cold came upon us. Sure, there was ice in Louisiana, and temperatures were low in Texas. But Colorado was cold, and the cold was Colorado. This felt ancient. A majestic, barbarian coldness that had always been and would always be. Waning, perhaps, in the Spring, and waiting through Summer, but never fully absent.

It made load-out really super fun, you guys.

Overall, it was actually pretty cool. Sure, it’s sort of unpleasant hauling band stuff in and out of a trailer at 9000 feet above sea level and six degrees below zero (this happened multiple times), but it made for good exercise, the roads got safer right after we spent $200 on snow chains, and the trailer only froze shut like, twice. The shows themselves were an excellent blend of tall-stage venue-type shows and punk rock-style crowd-in-your-face throwdowns (320 South in Breckenridge is a soaring example of the latter). We capped Colorado off with a packed show at the lovely Bluebird Theatre in Denver, and then it was time to get out of the mountains and out of the cold.

Just kidding! It was cold everywhere! Fun fact: Lawrence, KS, while a full 10-15 degrees (F) warmer than anywhere we were in Colorado at any time, actually felt the coldest out of any place I have ever been, because humidity is the bane of human comfort! Fortunately, the times were good. My anointed mother was at the show in Lawrence, so that was cool. We had big fun in equally-frigid St. Louis, and we even got out of the show early enough to get some quality time with our old friends down at Broadway Oyster Bar.

Everybody caught a cold in Nashville at about the same time. Usually, when a cold goes through the band, one person catches it first, and then it spreads through the band over the course of a few weeks, silently picking us off one-by-one. How, then, did we all get sick at once? Long story short (and it is a long story, I just deleted three rambling paragraphs on the subject), there were a lot of old friends in Nashville, we were passing around a jar of honest-to-god bathtub hooch, and apparently that whole “ethanol kills germs” thing might just be misplaced optimism.

Our optimism was not misplaced in Athens the next night. The Georgia Theatre is one of our favorite rooms in all the land, and Athens was extra-rowdy on Thursday, as the city had been completely snowed in for a few days prior and was just beginning to poke its collective head above the surface. Apparently whole sections of town didn’t even have internet. Imagine! Plus, we were sharing the stage with Stokeswood, who are some of our tightest band bros ever. Things got rowdy pretty quickly. People were singing, dancing, crowd surfing, and this one guy who was right up front kept demanding that I give him one of my beers.

Sorry dude, I needed those. For art.

And then it was Aura Festival! I’ve spent countless bytes of wordpress’ data storage talking about how beautiful the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park is, so I’ll skip that if you promise to just picture everything in the next paragraph or so taking place under a canopy of spanish moss. We had a long day at the festival. The band’s load in was mid-afternoon for an early evening set, and we could have made it a quick in and out, except that Ed, George, Dave and I were tapped for Joey Porter’s (of The Motet fame) Aura Superjam, which was originally scheduled for right after The Revivalists’ set, but kept getting pushed later on the schedule as a few bands found themselves unable to get to the festival on account of weather stuff. Aura was a long, fun day full of friendship, cool musicians, and kombucha (so much kombucha), but to my recollection nothing particularly crazy went down. Zack’s anointed mother was there, so that was cool.

The next day, thankfully, we didn’t need to wake up too early to get to Mobile. It’s always great to play shows with Gov’t Mule. The band, crew, and community are all wonderful people to be around. And finally, after years of ending tours in New York, or Seattle, or freaking India, the last show of Fridge Tour ’14 was a mere two hours from home. Couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the tour.

Now we are home, but oh drat I almost forgot to mention Musketeer Gripweed! Musketeer Gripweed is not only a very cool and obscure reference, but also a band. A wonderful band, at that. We did four shows with them, they were a big part of all of the fun in Colorado, and I would be remiss not to mention them here. So now I am whatever the opposite of remiss is. Don’t know, not gonna look it up.

And finally, presented without comment:

Happy Mardi Gras!

Previous Posts:

April 2014

February 2014

January 2014

October 2013

September 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010