Thursday was our last day in New York. We started the morning with bagels at Bagel World, a shop just at the end of our block. I had some raisin and walnut bagel with a cinnamon raisin cream cheese. It was like Panera on steroids and for only two dollars!
We hadn’t fully explored some of the streets around our apartment (at least not during the day), so we just walked around in the time that remained before our show in the East Village that night. Chad wanted to get some stuff for his kids, so we visited several toy stores. We also discovered a cool little bookstore with an amazing courtyard, a German beer store with delicious ice cream sandwiches, a fantastic Gorilla Coffee shop and a couple really hip thrift stores. It amazed me that every place was playing the coolest music when we walked in: Talking Heads, Faraquet and even Esquerita. Brooklyn was everything I had imagined.
That night, I got to meet Jesse’s uncle, Bill Kates, with whom I had a great conversation at dinner about Robert Fripp, the Talking Heads and Brian Eno. The band ate at an amazing and tiny Indian restaurant, Raj Mahal. Men sat in the front of the store playing sitar and tablas, the chutneys were some of the best I’ve ever tasted and the aloo gobi I ordered was amazing. After dinner we played the Lit Lounge.
After we had carried all our gear into the venue, we walked out to the sidewalk to find a couple strippers on a pole on the back of a bicycle cart that had pulled up to the curb. New York is a crazy place.
On Friday, we drove to Dayton. Daniel and I arrived early to hang out with Katy’s family, eat Marion’s pizza, take a nap, use my grandmother-in-law’s massage chair and wash clothes. Except that I couldn’t wash my clothes, as my bag was left in the hotel room in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, the night before.
I had really looked forward to this stop on the tour because (apart from the fact that I wanted to see my in-laws) I really like the promoter, Andy Ingram. He runs a small label, Poptek Records, and is involved with really cool bands. The show ranged from folk to pop-rock, but it all seemed very cohesive. The performers were all cool, and we discovered a new favorite band, Enlou, from Cincinnati. Oh yeah, we also made some money at the gig.
Katy’s grandmother bought breakfast for all of us the next morning, and we were on our way to East Moline, Illinois. Jesse rediscovered that Gene Simmons’ audiobook, so we listened to more of that on the way.
East Moline is the polar opposite of New York in about every way imaginable, but we did manage to find an awesome grill in the back of a Mexican grocery store. The tables were set with two types of salsas and a bowl of quartered limes. We had amazing tacos with carnitas, adding new meaning to life itself.
We played, Mixtapes, a combination record store/tattoo parlor/music venue. It looked awful and we did open for three teenage metal bands, but some of the employees were nice and very knowledgeable. They had a great, cheap selection of music, and it was clearly the only happening spot in town. If I’m ever back in the area, I will stop there again, if only for another chance to see 250 pound guys slam dancing to bands with several screamers/vocalists.
We drove to Des Moines that night and stayed at the Sheraton. We took it easy on Sunday and wandered around downtown. We played to four people at the 4th Street Theatre that night, a venue adjacent to Java Joe’s. We were worn out, but gave our best. Java Joe’s was a cool place downtown, between the county courthouse and the state capitol. It had decent coffee and served an amazing bowl of curried potato and chick pea soup.
I got home at midnight and never slept better. Home sweet Raytown.