Friday, October 22, 2010

Phoenix @ Madison Square Garden - Holy Shit!!!

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010, Phoenix played Madison Square Garden in NY.  I was super excited and really happy for them, as it's a legendary venue.  I wanted to get downtown early and go to a museum & check out the surroundings beforehand, but as usual I procrastinated.  I had some pizza at Danny's with Kriss and then he swiped me into the subway with his unlimited ride card around 6:45pm (doors were at 7pm).  When I arrived at 7:15 or so I immediately saw the 2 buses out front and a few of the crew members near what was the entrance door for GA ticket holders (and obviously backstage/etc).  I already knew that this was a big day for the band, and that there would be no hanging out to speak of as they had a show in Canada the next night and would be leaving immediately.

So I wander about the surrounding neighborhood for a bit, hearing the scalpers trying to sell tickets for ridiculous prices ($175+ for the sold-out GA section, same as on CL) and also the venue, inquiring on tickets/seating/prices/etc, as I fully am not expecting to be on the list for a show this important, and that's totally fine.  I want to make sure I make it in by the 8pm start time as Cedric had said good things about Wavves and I had missed their set in Boston.  Well, at 7:45pm I got a text:  Hi tasha u re ticket is at the box office u are under tasha Rose see u

WOW.  Seriously?!  For MSG?!  I felt like I had won the fucking lottery, I was so pumped and just smiling ear to ear, my cheeks hurt.  Like a dork, I even jumped up and down a couple of times and fucking skipped to the BO.  This is a huuuuge show for them, how was there space for me on that list?! At the BO they said the tickets weren't available yet, but it didn't matter at this point, as there would be one somewhere back there soon, with my name on it!  After checking every 5-10mins or so they finally arrived at 8:15pm - mine was in the sold-out GA section!

Still smiling and feeling amped, I make my way outside and over to the GA entrance, and finally arrive at the floor.  The venue was huge and there were lots of people already.  I wondered how many more would arrive later although I wasn't worried about the turnout at all.  I caught Dirty Projector's set and was meh on it - too much vocal screech and hipster vibe for my taste, but they were, um, interesting, I suppose.  I just wanted to see Phoenix start rocking out!
The lovely Cedric doing guitar/sound check.
 It had been awhile since I'd been immersed in a crowd for the show and I made my way up front, about 5 'rows' of people back, which was still damn close.  Beer vendors were selling Bud Light for $8.75!!!  Fucking ridiculous.  Ugh.  And soooo many people were buying them.  I felt like I was surrounded by redneck idiots with money to foolishly burn (and I was just thankful that they burned some of their money on a ticket for the show).  But no beer for this lush.
Thomas Mars.  All of the times I've seen Phoenix play, they all have this same look on their faces - of awe and gratitude.  I love it!!
So Phoenix comes on around 9:30pm, and the crowd was totally into it.  The venue was pretty filled at this point and the energy was amazing.  I'm really glad I was in the crowd for this one, dancing and jumping and singing along.  During "Love Like A Sunset" a huge white sheet exploded over the GA section and the crowd moved it back until it was covering the entire section, when all the sudden it snapped with a terrifying sound and made the row of lights right above me sway wildly.  The crowd had pulled it too hard like a bunch of yahoos and what I thought was supposed to be the "big surprise" Christian had told me about was now crumpled in the back of the GA section somewhere.  I think they were going to project lights/images onto it, but so much for that.  I wasn't too worried about the lights until I saw Branco staring up at them (granted, he always looks up during this song while playing, but this was different).  I looked up at the lights and saw how little they were attached to the ceiling by, and they were still swinging.  I didn't get worried until I saw Branco keep staring and getting worried, and I felt bad for the look of dismay on Deck & Christian's faces as they stared back to where the sheet was.  I figured there was no way the lights were gonna fall, bc there just could not be a tragedy on Phoenix's big night, but just in case I started looking around to see how many people I could grab or push to safety if need be lol.  But it was fine.

 So, the "big surprise".....  During the last part of "If I Ever Feel Better", where the band turns all heavy and rock, the noise goes electronic and static as all the lights go out and DAFT PUNK is suddenly on stage!!!  OMG.  OMFG.  OMG!!  Are you fucking for real??  Daft fucking Punk?!  YES!  It was them!  They went into "Harder Better Faster Stronger" and then Phoenix mixed in the rock part of the song they'd been playing, and Daft Punk segued into "Around The World" after that, mixed in with Thomas' lyrics.


Then, the big moment of "1901", where Daft Punk added some synth to the song.  The crowd lost their fucking minds during all of their appearance, as if they weren't crazy excited already.  It was amazing!  I was (and still am!) so floored.  Yes, Daft Punk in their first live act in 3yrs, with Phoenix, at Madison Square Garden in New York.  And I was fucking there.  :)
Phoenix & Daft Punk at MSG.  My camera wasn't wide enough to get them all in as I was zooming and trying to get a clear shot through all the arms (sorry Rob!  You're in another shot.)
After the show I just barely caught Cedric's eye to say a very quick "thank you, thank you so much", as I knew I wouldn't see anyone after.  As everyone was headed downstairs I went up a floor and down a hallway to watch the clean-up process.  I was there for maybe an hour or so, just chilling as it was cold outside and I love watching the whole process.  Then I was apprehended by 2 older security guys with walkie-talkies who were total dicks and escorted me out to the bottom floor.  Really?  I didn't know I was that much of a security threat!  :P

Sure enough, by the time I got outside (and ran into a crew member for a quick chat) the buses were being started up to head out.  I sent Cedric a text to thank him once again and took the subway back to Brooklyn, where I met up with Kriss and witnessed a bar fight with 4 cop cars and a paddy-wagon showing up.  We skedaddled back to his place after picking up some falafel and proceeded to stay up until 9am, splitting a huge bottle of red wine and enjoying various narcotics, mood enhancers, smokeables, and of course conversation.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

East Coast/Phoenix Tour - Boston

Monday night Phoenix played the Agganis Arena.  I was sent a text notifying me that I'd be put on the list and asking if I wanted to bring a friend, but as I was traveling alone and my couchsurfer host had school to attend, I went alone, with my big-ass backpack (as I wasn't coming back that night and would have to figure something out as my bus didn't leave until noon the next day).  The security guard outside immediately notified me that they wouldn't let me in with a huge bag.  I explained the situation to him (I'm traveling for 3wks, etc), and he led me into the side of the building to the box office and said I could see if I could talk to anyone there since I was on the list, after all.  The girl at the BO was very kind but couldn't do anything, so it was up to me and my wits.

Instead of going outside like I was supposed to so that I had to come around and get in line for my ticket to be scanned, I went back through the side door I came through (which led to an area behind the scanners) and let the guy by the door check my bag, although he really didn't care.  I then just headed right up the stairs and after a small bit of dawdling to check out the stage/arena views I decided it was probably smarter to get down to my seat before anyone from security started to hassle me.  So I follow my ticket section and get all the way down the stairs to Row C - I am in Row A.  I asked the guard outside the GA section and was pointed over to the two rows of red plush seats on the side of the stage, sectioned off from the main seats.  Wow!  Very cool!  There were some guards near the backstage that kept looking at me and finally one came over and said, "We're all wondering how you managed to get that big bag in here", in a genial sort of way.  We had a laugh about it and tossed a few scenarios back and forth, one of mine being that the neon-brightness of my hair blinded everyone, to which he replied, "That's what we were thinking!"
Cedric on stage doing guitar check.  The security guard to the far left was the jokester.
The show was spectacular as usual.  During the encore the band went out into the middle of the arena on a mini-stage to play 2 songs, and then came back to the main stage for a few more, ending of course with Thomas going into the crowd with his red mic cord.  Except, that mic cord got hella long - he was all the way up in the nosebleeds on the side of the arena!  Pretty nice treat for those with far away seats, I'd say.
I had to do a full-zoom for this one, as he was all the way across the arena.
After the show security was kicking people out and I was saved just in the nick of time, talking to Cedric who was still on stage and then being motioned to go backstage with a group of others seated near me.  We were led to the Hospitality Room where I had some beers and chatted with Rob, Deck, Branco, and some members from Two Door Cinema Club.
This sign was right before you get backstage.  I love it.
The empty hospitality room, filled with empty beer bottles.
The drummer from TDCC kept calling me Hayley because of my hair, and I was completely lost on the reference until he showed me pics and a short video of a girl in a band I've never heard of that has all orange hair, like mine used to be.  I wonder if it's this same chick, whose pics I found when I did a GoogleImages search for orange hair - the one w/ Gwen Stefani looks EXACTLY like me, so I had to save it.  I don't ever remember being on stage w/ Gwen lol.

Whoever this is has great taste in hair color.
Is this the same chick as above?  Who is she?  She looks scarily, eerily like me in this particular pic, seriously.  Like whoa.
 So after what seemed like hours of chilling, everyone else had left and I stuck around at Cedric's request and finally got the chance to talk to him for over an hour.  Matt and a few others also stopped by, and Christian (guitar) asked if they would see me at MSG in NY on Wednesday.  He told me there was a "very big surprise, you don't want to miss it!", and I was all the more excited.

The bus was supposed to leave at 4am but around 230am Cedric was notified they were taking off.  We walked up to the buses outside and it was hella-cold.  We were saying our goodbyes and I was wondering where I was gonna stay (I didn't know if the bus station was open 24hrs like the airport, bc those were pretty much my only 2 options), and how much a cab ride was gonna cost to get me that far (ouch).  All the sudden, Matt shows up behind us and asks, "So, where are you staying, when does your bus leave?"  I answer, "I'm still figuring that out, my bus leaves at noon today, so I figure I'll just go to the station", and he replies, "Well then, you're coming on the bus with us to New York". 

Are you fucking kidding me????!!!

To make a longer story short, that's exactly what happened (after much assurance on my part that I'd be just fine in Boston, but after an offer like that how could I seriously end up refusing?!).  I rode in bus#2 with the awesome crew and met (and re-met) really interesting people, talking, laughing, and drinking all the beer until 4am.  I even ended up having my very own bunk in the back, but I went up front by the driver and ended up sitting in the ridiculously comfortable passenger seat all night long, making conversation & staring out that huge front window.  We got into NY just as it was getting light out.  So wonderful.  I crawled back to the middle area of the bus and curled up on the couch as I didn't want to disturb the crew, and lounged for a couple of hours until everyone started getting up.  Outside the bus I thanked Matt again and told him I'd see him at MSG in a couple of days, and he said "Of course, you'll be in the House Box with me!"  I smiled and took it with a grain of salt, as I never believe anything until it's happening lol.

Me on Phoenix's bus from Boston to NY.  My shirt says, "I'll never stop pooping"  :) (Photo taken by Joakim)
Phoenix's bus#1
Common area #1, looking front to back (behind the door are the bunks)
Common area looking back to front (behind the door is the driver, that's my blue backpack on the floor)
In NY at dawn, photo taken by me at a red light.  I really like how this one turned out, and it makes a pretty nice wallpaper too!
Then, with love and gratitude in my heart and a bounce in my weary yet confident step, I lugged my heavy backpack to the subway, got a hotdog from a street vendor for breakfast, and arrived at a punk house in Brooklyn to sleep sleep sleep, being graciously put up by a fellow Infernite, Kriss, who I hadn't even met yet (I love this family).
One of many interesting street art pieces in the neighborhood; I have so many more to take pictures of!

To be continued...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I Almost Died To Get Out Of Chicago

But not because I wanted to.  I missed that city before I was even gone.

What ended up happening was, I had a great time at SamSam's housewarming party, until dawn.  We spoke of our upcoming Hallowmas and got all riled up about the rallies as well.  Sunday I nursed my hangover and got very little done, although I don't remember sleeping until 2hrs before my class on Monday (as in, I got none).  So I bought a Monster and went to the class, which was enjoyable.  I also stopped by The Alley and picked up some Napalm hair dye so I'd have enough, and then I biked back to the apt and worked a bit on some more stuff until almost dawn.  I don't remember sleeping that night either, and was up on Tuesday until the donation people came.  I was getting through the morning before that with another Monster (btw, I hardly ever drink those things, it had been a looooong while).  The only thing I remember eating is one meal on Monday.  So, no sleep for 3days, 1 meal, and hauling heavy shit by myself down 2flights of stairs in 80+degree weather turns out to be not so good for you.  I drained myself to zero (more on that below).

Since my roommate Kyle had yet to pay me for all the furniture he'd had liberal use of the entire time and he was being a mega-dick about things, I decided to take a big loss on the money he owed me and posted everything that was left up on Craigslist for free.  I didn't think anyone would really respond as I wanted to get it all out within the next couple of hours and that furniture was heavy as all hell and up 2 flights of stairs.  But I was inundated with calls and everything was taken out, wow.  After that I still had all of my boxes and random crap I hadn't yet taken care of, and I was not feeling well.

It started as a sore throat that morning, but nothing too bad.  It got worse throughout the day and by the time random strangers were clearing out the apt I was feeling dizzy and woozy, and slighly feverish with a bad headache.  It had also been very unseasonably warm (think high 80's) and I had spent the day carrying down huge items to the van by myself (ruining my bookcase in the process, but whatever).  The CL responders left as SamSam showed up to help me, but all the big stuff was gone by then.  At that point I'm blacking out.

So SamSam puts me down in the van so that the doors can stay open since I'm in the driver's seat to watch everything and - I kid you not - he brings down most EVERYTHING and packs the van for me.  And there was a LOT more than I thought!!!  It ended up being packed to the very brim, including the top bunk, passenger seat, any free area was filled.  Whoa.  My friends Nathan and Derrick also showed up to help later on as well.  I can't believe them, I owe them so much for that.  Meanwhile I was sitting in the van seriously wondering if I was going to wake up if I went to sleep.  I felt awful, every muscle was sore like I'd been beaten with a bat, high fever, couldn't swallow without tearing up, extremely nauseous to the point that water made me gag, and for 2-3hrs while sitting still I felt like you do when you stand up way too fast and everything goes fuzzy and black, basically flickering in and out of consciousness.  Not cool.

Around 5am Derrick and I take Dru to his place and I crash.  I took a cab back to the apt to finish up there and had a screaming match with Kyle.  I will never again live with someone with absolutely no life experience (the apt was his first time moving out of his parent's house, and he's extremely immature and full of juvenile rage as well) or appreciation.  But I was finally free of that and started my journey up to WI that night, where I stayed at the Schultz's and wrote the last few entries.  I've been feeling sick ever since then (over a week ago now), with a headache, very low energy, and coughing/sinus pressure every day.  I really need to figure out how to recharge and get better so that my whole trip isn't spent like this.

Last Thursday I got my hair dyed as planned, and it's pretty fucking sweet if I say so myself.  Thanks Angie!  We decided on a color scheme/pattern that didn't actually happen, but I like the results nonetheless.  So I now have Napalm Orange all over with Virgin Rose at the tips (and a solid streak on the left side front) and there's Fishbowl Blue (turquoise) at my temples and a square patch on the lower right bottom.  I look very rainbow-ey, and I love the asymmetric touches.  :)
Goopy neon hair (my temple looks very icky here bc of the shadow but it's actually a gorgeous teal).
After the first rinse.  The teal looks a bit green-ish around the edges where it mixed with the orange, giving it a really cool blend.
Saturday I flew to Boston and spent the next few hours using the airport's WiFi to find a last-minute couchsurfing host, which I did.  Dan was super awesome and accommodating, we had some gnarly Mexican food and he was extremely hospitable in helping me get better, with loads of hot tea and such.

Next up is a recap of Phoenix's Boston show at Agganis Arena!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

In Response To All Comments So Far

Thank you to anyone who has taken the time to read my blathering.  I started this blog as a way to hold myself accountable for all that I want to accomplish, among a million other reasons.

It feels very strange to me still, as I am the kind of person who has never had (and never will have) a Myspace, Facebook, etc.  I believe I've already written somewhere in a post as to why (again, a million reasons), but one reason is that I like to live my life in the 'real' world....  I like to write actual letters and put them in actual envelopes and send them with actual stamps...  I like photographs more than digital pictures, and journals more than online blogs.  But I also see and appreciate what technology and the internet has allowed us.  As I have found so much help in others' writings and experiences, I wanted to share my own and hopefully help in my own way.

Of course, I never expected (and still don't) anyone to read this, as I tend to ramble and become uninteresting-ly self-consumed, so this whole thing was meant more as a sort of 'placebo effect' to motivate me and keep me on track.  I was once given advice as such:  "If you have a goal, tell others.  They will hold you accountable.  The next time you see them, they're likely to ask you:  How's that book you've been writing, do you have a chapter finished?  Did you book that trip you wanted to take last time we spoke?  How are you progressing with that new language/skill you were learning?", etc etc.

You are much more likely to accomplish what you want/need to when the possibility of letting others down enters into the equation as well.  Hell, I can let myself down all I want, I have no one to answer to but myself.  But I'm tired of that.  So here I am.

I am of course thankful if you actually enjoy my writing.  I do hope to take this blog into more of a creative/personal direction, and separate the van adventures into another blog, but my life tends to overlap (heck, it's all one experience to me!)  I don't think the two blogs would make sense on their own, as I'd reference experiences in each one I think and then have to explain things to have them make sense (i.e., an anecdote with "bc I live in a van, you know..." etc).  My poems and artsy-fartsy writings are inspired by what I experience, and vandwelling is/will be a huge part of my experience.  So, still figuring that one out, but again, I'm glad you like whatever it is that you read.  :)

I will definitely be posting my experiences with my cat & snake, as there does not seem to be many resources out there and I know for me that will be my biggest challenge and worry.  Drusilla is no spring kitty anymore, she's 6-7yrs old, and quite the odd one at that anyway.  Oh, and Geneseo - Morticia is a wonderful name for a kitty.  Mine is named after the character in Buffy (I have a huge dork hard-on for that show - I also used to have 2 rats named Xander and Oz).  :)  And temperature control and food will be issues for Penelope.  I will do my best to make sure that I am posting all I can about anything I find helpful in these areas, including everyday 'unimportant' experiences, because they are all important when your pets are like your children. 

And if you are thinking of living this kind of lifestyle, please do it!  You never know if something is right for you until you try.  I've had this dream since before I was able to even drive, and now at 24yrs old I'm finally out of my life-coma and fucking acting on it.  I may get out there and beat myself up wondering why the hell I didn't start a loooong time ago... or I may find out that I hate it, and I want the comforts of my own clean shower, steady temperatures, access to the foods I want and ways to preserve & cook them that I've become accustomed to (I already miss my oven/fridge), etc etc.  But with the way things are looking in the world, I don't think so.  I definitely do not trust governments or societies and am quite thankful and relieved that I have a home I can run away in, where it is much harder to track me down.  I tend to shy away from having 'beliefs' in anything, but I am very, very interested in what most call 'conspiracy theories' - Illuminati, New World Order, Bilderberg Group, etc.  The further I can get from the corruption the better.  They won't be micro-chipping me anytime soon!

So that's that.  Thank you again for reading and I'll try to get some work done within the next month or two (when my vandwelling becomes truly full-time) on my separate blog (complete with clever title!)

Holy Shit Is This My Plan??

I mentioned that October is going to be quite hectic for me, right?  Here's my itinerary, to give an idea:

Today (or, tomorrow, whatever) I will visit my godmother's grave and then drive back to CHI and attend SamSam's housewarming party at night.  Sunday I will pack up everything I want to donate to the Brown Elephant/Howard Brown Center.  Monday I have a photography class from 10am-5pm, and will continue cleaning/packing.  Tuesday & Wednesday are 'free' but will most likely be spent cleaning and organizing (the donation center will be doing a pick-up on Tuesday at 3pm).  I need to make sure everything is squared away as this will be the last time I set foot in the apt I called home in Chicago...

I need to use a Groupon I bought for a much-needed massage therapy session in Winnetka, so that'll happen most likely Wednesday evening.  Thursday I have scheduled to be in Madison to catch up with Angie, my hair lady, and get some kick-ass color in to hopefully rectify a horrendous cut I received last week - we'll use up the remainder of my Napalm and Virgin Rose, possibly my Fishbowl as well (Special Effects brand colors), so I have neon beauty on my strands like I used to: 

My gorgeous colors - but also a haircut I loathed.  I am always grateful I have strong, healthy hair that will grow back.

Friday I will be back in JC packing my one backpack with all that I will take on my trip.  I will be leaving Drusilla (cat) with Derrick in CHI for the next few weeks and Penelope (snake) and Charlie (van) will be at my mother's (I figured it to be much cheaper and adventurous to do this trip entirely with public transit).  Then...

-FLIGHT from Milw to Boston on Sat. Oct. 16th, depart 2pm arrive 5pm.  Sat. night, all of Sun/Mon18th (Mon=Phoenix show @night)
-Tuesday Oct. 19th, Megabus to NY (depart noon, arrive 4:15pm)
-In NY half of Tues19th, all day Wed20th (Phoenix show at MSG), all day Thurs/Fri (as I'm skipping Canada shows :( )
-Sat23rd take Megabus to Philly 2:45pm depart, 4:45pm arrive, Phoenix show that night... Spend all day Sun/Mon in Philly, return to NY on Tues26th on Megabus (depart 1:30pm, arrive 3:30pm)
-NY from Tuesday Oct. 26th (with side-trip to Washington DC for the Rallies on the 30th!!!) through Tues. Nov. 2nd, when I will Megabus back to Boston for the muthafuckin' Dresden Dolls, who are playing a show that night and the next (Wed.), then Megabus back to NY on Fri Nov 4th to catch an Amtrak -(depart 3:45pm) to CHI (arrive 9:45AM Sat Nov. 5th), layover until 1:05PM during which I will pick up Drusilla and continue onto Milw (arrive 2:34pm).

I haven't even logged on to couchsurfing.org yet to contact cool peeps for a couch or floor in Boston & Philly.  NY is covered thanks very much to Doug, a fellow Infernite and awesome friend.  I really hope that my backpack won't be a problem at the venues...

When I get to Milw in Nov I will most likely take the Badger Bus back to JC where Charlie will be parked and Penelope will be safe and warm, and I have absolutely no freakin' clue what I am doing from there.  Literally none.  I might stick around for a few weeks for the Dresden Dolls show in CHI on the 17th and on the 20th celebrate an anniversary with my good friend Derrick, but it will probably be very cold at that point, and I'll be suckered into sticking around for Thanksgiving (not that I'd mind it at the Schultz's, of course, but my family?  Oh boy.)

I figure I'll most likely just head straight south until it gets warmer and see where that takes me, and perhaps fix up the van on the road.  I've yet to install a 2nd battery or even curtains.  I know.  And the instrument panel is half burnt-out and not working, the heater and A/C are weak as all hell, the fridge doesn't work, the water tank is inoperable and/or needs a severe cleaning, there are 3 known leaks when it rains, and I still need to install an alarm system and a freakin' radio (they do nothing but talk on AM radio it seems, and I desperately need my tunes, yo).

August Phoenix Tour - Backtrack

In regards to the Phoenix tour in August, it was ah-maze-ing.  I'll try to make this short.  After going to the sold-out House of Blues show in CHI for free w/ 3 friends, I missed the St. Louis show as I was recuperating from being out until dawn.  On Tuesday I drove out to Des Moines.  There, I met a bus driver (Bobby), Tour Manager (Matt), and Stage Manager (Cedric! with his magic hat) after the show.  I had been thinking of trying to go to the Minne show but I knew it was sold out, and I didn't want to drive the van all the way up and back when the next show was only 2hrs west of DM, so I was going to try to rideshare and if that failed (which it did) I would hop a $50 one-way Greyhound.  After the DM show I saw who would turn out to be Cedric waiting in the loading trailer, and went up and introduced myself and told him that circumstance.  I stated I was more than willing to buy a ticket in Mnpls, I just needed one available (as there are always reserves for the band).  He said not to worry, that I'd be on the band's list :D  I gave him my cell# and although I did not hear from him to confirm before I'd bought my bus ticket, he did contact me en route to verify that I was coming.  Oh, and I spent the night in DM in Bobby's hotel room as the drivers only use them for a few hours before they have to leave - awesome!  Bobby also offered me the rest of his rooms for Mnpls & Council Bluffs.

State Theater marquee in Minneapolis
 Upon arriving in Minne that night I had the most delicious meal with Bobby at a pizza/after hours place downtown.  The next day I biked around downtown (I brought my folding bike), visiting the farmer's market and then gorgeous Loring Park where I sat for hours, writing in Aletheia and taking pictures.  When I was done I went back to the Best Western Normandy where the drivers/etc were staying to get ready for the show.

Loring Park - white crane
Loring Park - fountain


Sure enough, Cedric had put me on the list!  I was in awe when I walked up to the ticket booth, past the people looking for extra tickets, and said my name and was handed a ticket.  The venue was so beautiful (the usher for my row looked just like a 20yr-old Conan O'Brien hehe), the show was astounding, and I hung out afterward outside meeting others (including Patrick, who was playing w/ Toro Y Moi and let me use the backstage bathroom), taking pictures, and chatting.  When everyone had pretty much dispersed I walked downtown for a bit, running into two pretty 19yr-old girls drunk off their asses, and chatted with one for a bit until going back to the hotel in the early AM.


State Theater interior close-up
State Theater balcony


I stayed in Bobby's room after he'd left at the Best Western Normandy, where I also met Daniel from an English band that was touring in support of Hot Hot Heat (he and his bandmates came into the hotel drunk as I was sitting in the hallway downstairs so as not to disturb Bobby's sleep, uploading videos from that night's show, and Dan got on the elevator and came back down as they'd recognized me from the Phoenix show because of my blue sparkly Doc Marten's and good looks lol).  We chatted for a good long while and went up to the room to finish some wine he had, enjoying some PG-13 comforts.

 I caught a cab to the bus station at 5:30am (as it was raining hard) after staying up all night and made it with 3mins to spare (as I do).  Back in DM it was hot as all hell, and muggy - ugh.  My van was still parked where I'd left it at the last hotel, and I decided to just start driving to Council Bluffs although I was feeling icky from the 90degree+ heat.  A few miles down the road I was feeling rather tired so I pulled over into a rest stop and crawled up in the top bunk to nap, the open windows letting in a nice cool breeze.  It turned gray and rainy and the wind carried the moisture in through the screen, spitting little flecks of rain on my face and arms.  But I had a decent rest and continued on.

The show in Council Bluffs was at Harrah's, a casino with an outdoor venue called Stir Cove.  I was tired once again from the drive and little sleep so I took another nap and got up to get ready for the show when I heard Toro Y Moi start their set.  Cedric had once again put me on the list (!) so I again picked up my ticket at the counter feeling so thankful and awesome.  As I was walking in to get my ticket he also sent me another text:  "Do you want to sit on the stage?"  !!!!!  Hell yes!

So I go in and make my way to the stage where they're setting up and catch his eye.  He jumps down, gives me a hug and leads me behind the security and to the side of the stage where I sit on the gearboxes taking pics/video and generally feeling ridiculously happy.  Matt (Tour Manager) saw me and came over, shaking his head, and gave me a fist-bump/hug, in awe that I had not only come out once again but was on stage lol. 

video
 (This backdrop later had to be taken down as it was too windy and it actually blew the backdrop like a sail into the vertical light stands you see in front of it, knocking one over and sending gear boxes careening across the stage!)

Phoenix takes the stage
Pretty good crowd turnout, they covered the entire lawn!

I stayed there the entire set and was joined by Toro Y Moi later on (all 3) and after the set we all hung out backstage and in Phoenix's hospitality room, and I showed Patrick a sauna in the women's bathroom (where we also spied Matt showering - oops! lol).  Christian came into the sauna to check it out and in his heavy French accent told us to remember "We need to Make Love, not just have sex, be romantic in your ways", and other such sentiments (although Patrick and I were just drinking beer haha).

 Later on I shared a beer w/ Cedric and showed him my van, and he was quite tickled that it is the 'Chateau' model - "Eet ees yor leeetle cassell, no?"  The band/crew had to leave at 2am to make it to Denver, so Bobby once again gave me his room key and also a bunch of food comps for the hotel that were $10 apiece - woot!  Toro Y Moi were not opening for Phoenix anymore so they all raided the food Phoenix had left behind in their hospitality room and found 4 more room keys that Phoenix would obviously not be using (all registered to Matt) - they were soooo stoked!  Usually it is the 3 of them plus their manager (total of 4) in one room, 2 to a bed, and now they all get their own rooms.  Sweeeet. 

Patrick raiding the catering.
So we all hang out for a couple more hours, checking out the casino (it was 24hrs) and using food comps for ice cream and appetizer samplers, making a hideous concoction of everything we could find on the table that no one would dare eat.  The funniest part was when Patrick was going on about how Phoenix had all these rooms registered for them that they didn't even use when the four of them got only one to share, and Jordan (their manager) cut him off and said, "Patrick, Phoenix won a Grammy.  They can have as many rooms as they want."  The way he said it was priceless!  When we were done at Ace's Diner we all retired to our respective rooms, while I opted for company that night.  After taking advantage of a private room, he left around noon and I stayed and wandered.

I was now in Council Bluffs with $50 of food comps to use and a van to sleep in as long as I wanted, but I needed to get back to CHI.  I ended up staying for 2 more days, eating steak, shrimp, salmon, and a buffet of other goodies.  Sooooo cool.  Nom nom nom.  But it wasn't all fun and games.... That first morning, I felt sooooo low, so depressed and alone.  I sat in the buffet writing in Aletheia for 4 hours (to make the most of my $10 comp haha) and talked with my friend Nathan for an hour and a half or so about all sorts of things.  He gave me perspective on how I was feeling and why and I was able to work out reasons for the sudden and massive drop in emotions as well, but in the end it didn't help.  After wandering around all day keeping a happy face on, I retired to the van around 1am and just cried.  I think it was because I felt not only alone, but useless.  Everyone I'd spent the last week with was gone, with plans of their own and things to do, places to be, and what the hell was I doing with my life?  What were my plans now?  This trip was over, and I felt over too.  Man, that was no fun feeling that way.  Of course I came around and got over it - once again with some help from good ol' Markus (who also helped me when I was out in PA buying the van).  And Cedric sent me the funniest text that made me laugh/cry - "Tasha where are u we just finished.  u are not here.  must be something wrong.  no I'm joking.  just to let you know that denver mile high is a cool festival.  see you."   :)

On the drive home I stopped at Iowa-80, the World's Largest Truckstop.  They have a museum there that is free (give 'em a donation), and it was really interesting.  Lots of old historic trucks, gas pumps, and information. 




As I was driving the last leg of the trip back to CHI, doing about 80mph in pitch black darkness, my headlights went out.  Holy - Fucking - Scary.  Then they came back on.  Then went out again.  Not flickering, but completely.  I pulled over and got out to poke around under the hood, and everything seemed alright - no loose wires, etc.  The lights were waning and then coming on at this point, as if struggling to stay on, before becoming steady.  A cop comes out of nowhere and leads me to the next exit, driving slowly on the shoulder (which was scary enough, all the garbage and truck tires we bumbled over-yeesh).  Then, doing 30mph, he took me through a very small rural town to a Park & Ride that fit no more than 10 cars and was paved with gravel, about 3/4mile away from a 24hr gas station, where I could spend the night.  I finished my steak and garlic mashed potatoes I had left over from the fancy schmancy steakhouse at Harrah's and walked over to the gas station, where I bought a 40 and a pack of cigs and charged my cell by the bathroom as I wrote in Aletheia.  The next morning I drove to Ames and found a mechanic, and they tightened the loose battery terminal connectors, swearing I'd be fine.  Luckily, I was entering CHI and the interstate was lined with lights as my headlights went off and on again.  I slowed to about 60mph and took it easy until I got home.  A couple of days later Charlie was dead, so I took the battery and alternator to be tested.  Both were fine, so after buying a new, tighter set of battery terminal connectors all has been well.  But man, I never want that to happen again!!  Cruising along at 80mph in your future home in pitch black darkness, the memory still sends shivers down my spine.

And that concludes the adventure that was my first official 'road trip' with Charlie and Phoenix.  :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Condensation

 Most of the words I type in this box end up in the purgatory known as "Drafts" in the blogger world.  Sometimes it almost feels like I have more unfinished posts than actual ones, though I know this not to be true.  I'd love to combine all the random half-finished snippets of thought into one post, but by now they're outdated and would make no sense out of context anyway, which would require too much time and space to embellish upon.  Perhaps that's why they remained Drafts in the first place.

I love how only a few short posts ago I wrote about starting another blog and then disappear from this one for a month.  Well, not entirely, as I stated I've been writing, just not posting.  Doesn't do much for the blog, though, does it?  So do I go back and post what I originally intended to, and flesh out those old posts?  Or do I move forward with the present and future, what's happening now and is in the works?  How about a little of both?  Instead of putting ALL of that info into this one post (as it would be hella-long), I'll go back and post what I wanted to in a few days if possible, and for right now, give you some insight as to why I've been M.I.A.

First culprit:  Laptop trouble.  First my battery exploded, with the right side bulging and pushing against the trackpad, making it inoperable.  Battery replaced.  Then, the display went all magenta, fuzzy, and flickering.  Was able to look up the possible cause and found out I have a graphics card that Apple recalled years ago and it would be replaced for free -whew.  I take it in and, as the logic board was just replaced last November, it wasn't the GC (as it's all in the same part apparently) but the display, which would be $850 to fix.... and I'm 2 months out of my AppleCare warranty.  Fuuuuuuuuuck.  But Mr. Awesome Apple Man said that since it was so close to the date he'd let it slide.  I nearly cried on him, literally (btw, it turned out NOT to be the display but the GC, so they replaced it again [?] as well as the display and it took almost 2wks) - Because, at the same time, Charlie was in need of repairs as well....

Like, a transmission.  Yes, a $2k transmission.  Those 2 repairs would almost completely wipe out my meager savings.  But now, I can't find a problem!  The van was slipping and so I checked the trans fluid and it was completely, bone dry.  Which means there's a leak somewhere, because when I bought the van it was flushed and filled.  Well, I'm currently in WI after bringing up a few boxes that I wanted to put in storage, and I've been checking the fluid level after long-distance drives and short ones, and it's fine!  But I've also seen it leaking underneath, only a few drips, but it's right where the rear main seal would be leaking, but since it's trans fluid & not oil that means it's likely the pan gasket.  But now it's not dripping (well, as much...) and I'm not losing fluid.  WTF?  Well, I'm not going to worry about it, I'll just continue to be diligent with maintenance and prevention.

So yeah, I've been back in WI for the past week.  I came up last week to attend Leather & Lace in Madison at the good ol' Inferno, and it's still the same as it always is.  But I had an absolute blast with Brian & Laffey, and my good friend Derrick from CHI came up as well to check out the scene.  Since Sunday I've been back in JC.... ugh.... JC.  But I've been crashing on the Schultz's couch and couldn't feel more at home with my adoptive family  :)  I'm so happy to just be in the vicinity of such love, hospitality, and support.  But I need to get the hell out of JC.  Already the neighbors have called the cops on Charlie and a cop has talked to me, another came up yesterday morning to talk to Lloyd, and this morning a neighbor came knocking at 8AM to complain/question.  Keep in mind I've been moving it every day and parking it legally away from driveways/etc.  But that's JC for you, and a perfect example of why I fled as soon as I could - if you don't 'fit in' here, you are in trouble.  They don't want anything or anyone that's 'different', 'odd', or 'not normal'.  Charlie certainly doesn't fit in with their shiny sedans, that's for sure.  Hell, even the cop that spoke to Lloyd (I was on the couch and heard everything) said, "Well, Lloyd, I mean, come on - you know how this town is.  You've lived here long enough, you know how people are."  Fucking-A.  Grrr.  Must....escape....

But this whole week has been kind of crazy....  I called my good friend Neil on Monday to set up a time for us to go skydiving (he's the same friend mentioned in the HOB/Phoenix update that took my couchsurfer Jean Michel skydiving) this week and he was in the hospital, having broken his pelvis in 3 places earlier that day.  So I've been driving back and forth from JC to Milw to visit him.   Needless to say we won't be diving anytime soon, but my ticket is good until June 2011, so we'll see what happens then, as I'd love to do my dive with Neil.  At least, I thought that... but Neil is another post altogether, if I can dwell on that heart confusion long enough.  When I posted the other night, I was writing my stream-of-consciousness (that is currently a draft, go figure) as what I was feeling was fresh, and sometimes it is better to let those thoughts and emotions settle.

Anyway, I'm very glad it's October.  This month is going to be extremely exciting for me.  In only a week I'll be on my way to the East coast until November.  I'll put up my itinerary in another post very soon.  I'm sorry I was unable/unwilling to post for so long.  This blog is supposed to keep me on track, and I've been slipping, yet making progress forward all the same.  You'll definitely see me around more often.  :)  Even though this next week feels pretty much like this:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

So Much To Say...

I think I'll sleep on it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"We were just talking...."

Just talking, huh?  Didn't sound that way over the last 20 minutes, where from inside my apartment 3 buildings away I could hear him choking and slapping you as you pleaded between tearful breaths for him to "Please, stop!"

I even heard you ask him if he was going to slap you around any more tonight as the first of 3 police cars came into view down the alley after I'd called 911.

Your life must suck.  Or maybe you enjoy it, which is fine, who am I to judge?

I feel sick to my stomach.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Future Travel As Distraction

It's slowly dawning on me just how little time I truly have left in this apartment.  The time seems to be cut even shorter with all of the travel I am constantly planning.  This leaves me feeling slightly uneasy simply for the fact that I won't be around at the end of the lease when everything will need to be wrapped up, and where do I fit in all these tasks with my adventures?  For as big as my toes are, I still struggle with balance sometimes...


I still have so much to get rid of, clean, repair, so on.  Story of life, right?  The only thing I can do is get it all done already and stop bemoaning the fact that it keeps piling up due to my procrastinations.  My ambition can certainly be inconsistent, even though my passions remain.


Sometimes, when I am envisioning my future, it's as if I'm looking upon a mirage in the desert.  In the midst of a barren, desolate landscape, there's a beautiful image, made to shimmer by the intensity of my passion that I've laid down upon it, the ambition applied to it.  But it's as fragile as it is captivating...  Looking at it from the wrong angle distorts everything, the clarity becoming blurred and hazy.  Right now I kinda feel as if I am looking at my future in indiscernible shapes and colors, beauty that is not solid and attainable.  Like an acid trip where you can only see the trails of the object you are trying to follow and keep your focus on.


Since I was purely curious as to the route, I spent the past hour mapping out the itinerary for Phoenix's east coast tour in October.  I had been kinda sorta half-assed thinking that since I'll be in NY for Halloween anyway, why not try to catch the Madison Square Garden show?  Hitting up their other gigs would fill up the week prior to WI/FS's Hallowmas with sublime awesomeness.  For this one I'd leave my van (and cat and snake) in WI or IL (of course housing my lovelies with trusted friends/family) & use cheap transit.  The amazing part is that if I book it all now (or, soon), I can go from CHI to Boston to NY to Montreal to Toronto to Philly and back to NY (for Hallowmas) for around $100.  I <3 Megabus and their $1 fares!  With the travel dates currently open and the transportation fees most definitely in my budget, this has gone from a 'maybe' to a definite 'hell yes' pretty quickly.  


Alrighty, as my plans for the night fell through (Neil was coming for a visit but hurt his back skydiving today and I really really hope he is OK!) and this post has been an hour in the making, I'm off to nom on some Malt O' Meal and figure shit out.  


Phoenix tour and comment responses coming soon!  For now, another teaser...



Wednesday, August 18, 2010

People Read This?? How 'bout another blog?

I'm finally back in CHI after touring around with Phoenix (and you can bet your ass I'll be updating all about that soon), currently uploading the mass of videos I took on YouTube.  I've never uploaded anything to YouTube, even though I've thought about it in the past, so I guess now's as good a time as any.  First all the Phoenix vids, then I have some super old World Inferno/Friendship Society and Gogol Bordello to get up there as well.

But yeah....  Call me oblivious, but I apparently have comments on some of my posts!  If you've left a comment and I haven't responded, well, now you know why - I am dense lol.  I don't get notifications of such things and I just paid attention to the "Posting" screen where it shows the comments.  So, my apologies if you've felt I've been rather rude in not responding.  I will be going back over the posts and reading/responding to them in due time.  Oh, the wacky digital dimension we call the internet....

I have another blog kinda sorta set up for vandwelling/travel-specific posts, but I still don't know what the hell to do with it.  I'm obviously no expert for giving advice on the various methods and tips/tricks of such a life just yet, although I hope to be able to share knowledge soon.  I could write about my various adventures on the road, but that would be too close to what I kinda do here.  I'm not sure exactly how to combine and/or separate the two to make them meaningful to the right parties.  I'm so confused and torn!

I need to refocus and remember why I began this thing in the first place.  What I'm hoping to accomplish, what I'd like for the future, and where I hope my various endeavors will lead me.

I'll get back to you on that.


In the meantime, here is a teaser picture for my upcoming Phoenix update:



















Oh yeah, you know this is gonna be great!!!

(P.S.  I updated the last post with 2 links to better videos of Thomas Mars crowd surfing - as you can tell these people were right next to me.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Adventures WIth Couchsurfers & PHOENIX!!!

This weekend was my first time hosting a couchsurfer, and it was so much fun.  Jean-Michel from Quebec is taking a month to hitchhike across the US to California & David Lynch.  While he was here we went all over the city - the beach, Signature Room of John Hancock, Berlin, Millennium Park, and the most amazing night of all was last night (Sunday).

PHOENIX AT THE HOUSE OF BLUES!!!!!!!!!!!!!















This show sold out within the first day of tickets being on sale (at $40 each), so I figured I'd just find a scalper outside at the venue the night of the show.  BUT, thanks so much to a beautiful, wonderful friend of mine, Vijay, not only did I get in for FREE, but was able to bring TWO friends with me!!  A-maze-ing.  So Jean-Michel came along and I called my dear old friend Neil on a whim hoping he could make it from WI after he was done with work (skydiving).  He had a friend in town that came along and he also got in for free as well!

The band played a set at Lollapalooza earlier in the day so I was thinking they may be tired and play a short set or just not be up to it.  But the show was broadcast LIVE on the radio and they played their newest CD, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, all the way through, in order, and then came out for a few older songs for an encore (how's that for remembering the setlist?  :) ).

I have no words for the show, it was that electrifying and astounding.  The crowd was so fired up and dancing, singing all the lyrics right along with the band.  Such great energy!

video

After the encore the lights went out and all you could see was this thin red line making it's way through the crowd.... then the lights came on and you saw that the red line was the cord for a microphone, & Thomas Mars (vocalist) was climbing a balcony five feet away from where we were and singing!  He then crowd-surfed back to the stage in perfect form (and of course my camera ran out of memory at this point - but I will ALWAYS have that image in my mind!)

video
(Two even better videos are here:


After the show we all went to the bar and had a great time hanging out until dawn.  Neil & his friend (Zek?  Not sure how to spell it, sorry) had to work so only got 2 hours of sleep before driving back up to WI.  But before leaving, Neil gave Jean-Michel his contact info and offered to take him skydiving before he went west on his journey!!  So cool.  It's really amazing what life can offer you, so spontaneously, when you meet the right people at the right time.  Here's an adventurous Quebecer just hoping for a couch to sleep on and then a free sold-out Phoenix show and a skydiving opportunity come along.  I love life!  It was great fun having JM here and I felt a bit sad leaving him at Union Station, but I can't wait to hear of his travels.

So, I am definitely road-tripping this week to catch the other shows Phoenix is playing throughout the Midwest - they are phenomenal live and I can't wait to get on the road!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I'm Under Attack!!

Or, at least Charlie is...  Yesterday I awoke to a loud explosion, so loud it set off a car alarm in front of my apartment building.  Now, living in the 'hood, this is not unusual by any means, but since this particular BOOM! was right outside my front window and I've been very on edge (to say the least) about my van, I ran over to the window to check it out.  I was hoping the explosion hadn't affected my van (and it's cracked windows that would be susceptible to a blowout) and at first glance all was well.

Then I notice my flat front driver's side tire, blown apart with the threads sticking out of the hole on the top.  Fuck.  Me.

Upon closer inspection it would appear that someone stabbed my tire, as right below the blowout there is a very neat, precise 2-inch line, as a knife would make.  You've gotta be kidding me!  This happened in broad, sunny daylight, 2pm.

I've had the van for less than 2 months and I've already been broken into (with many valuables stolen and stuff broken), where they also tried to hotwire and steal the entire van (ripped out ignition).  After that I'm thinking the same person(s) tried to break into my apt (my address was on some mail in the van).  Now they're apparently trying to immobilize Charlie to scrap him for parts!

I'm trying very hard not to be paranoid, but how many coincidences can there be until it's truly a string of related events?

I need to get the fuck out of Chicago.  But I will not give up!  I just need a better neighborhood to park in.  Everything worthwhile comes with a price, a fight.

I've got my gloves on, bitches.  And someone's ears are surely a-ringin' from yesterday's attack....  Serves them right!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Ok, Let's Go'.

"I'm ready!"

I turned around, unaware that someone had come up behind me, and saw a much older man with gray hair, smiling and leaning heavily on what looked like a black walker stacked with electrical equipment underneath the handles.

Having thought I may have misheard him or was blocking the doorway he'd just exited (and not entirely sure he had even spoken to me), I hesitantly replied, "Excuse me?"

He said, "My dream in life is to walk up to a lady - a pretty lady - and say, 'I'm ready!', and she would respond, 'Ok, let's go'."

As the countless possibilities of where such an interaction could go crept in, he smiled and continued, "But I guess that isn't going to happen."  With a wink and a dash of Cary Grant charm he said, "Enjoy your day", and still smiling, ambled off.

He swung his legs widely to each side to step around the other foot as he walked, very slowly, a step a second. 

I was left wondering, lost in the myriad...

Step off that edge, and see where it takes you.  
Spontaneity.  Risk.  Adventure.  Opportunity.  Chance.
EXPERIENCE.


(Post has been backdated to reflect the date and time of this occurrence.)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Raping Of Charlie

So I've had my van for about a month and a half.  Wednesday, June 30th, was my first break-in.  As in, someone got inside, stole my stuff, broke other stuff, and oh yeah, tried to hotwire and steal the entire dang thing.  Oh Humboldt Park, your crackheads sure do amuse me.

I have been very cautious since then with the van (or Charlie, as I've taken to calling him.  He has a few other names in Cherokee and other symbolic tags, but they're for my knowing for now).  I cover every window and frequently go to my apartment windows and shine a flashlight down on/around it to see if anything seems amiss when I'm inside, although I've taken to sleeping in the van so I can hopefully scare whoever away if they come back.  I still need to get some sage and clear the air inside though, as it doesn't feel like 'mine' anymore.  The energy inside feels.... violent.  When I first discovered what had happened it looked as if the inside of the van had thrown up upon itself.  Everything was upended and thrown about, the bench seat twisted oddly against itself, miscellanea scattered about, my ignition hanging from it's wired guts.

The scariest part was that we (my temp roomie & mechanic) found only 2 of the 3 ignition parts outside the vehicle, which meant whoever had done this was planning on coming back for the van and stealing the entire thing after modifying the ignition switch (since they were too dumb to hot-wire it).  So that night I hot-wired it with a paperclip and drove it to the suburbs, where my mechanic and I worked on it a bit the following day and ordered the ignition for it (only $26 total for both parts!).  We installed it when I returned from WI before I left for MI, which is great because without my ignition in nothing else was working either - gauges, blinkers, wipers, radio, etc.

I won't go over what was taken because I'm thankful for what was left.  I'm even more thankful that I am not fully living in the van just yet, that Dru & Penelope weren't in there.  The thought of anything happening to them makes the pit of stomach just drop.  That's actually my biggest fear or worry about traveling - not that I'll break down or get injured or run out of money or have my stuff stolen, but what if something horrible happens to Dru/PenPen?  You can't say it wouldn't be my fault because it would - I'm the one making the choice to live like this, not them.  But there's no use in dwelling on 'what-ifs', I can only be prepared and prudent.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Night of Guitar Solo With Billy Corgan

Yesterday (Thurs. July 8th) I left Chicago to drive to Grand Rapids for the Smashing Pumpkins show.  I figured I've been listening to them for 12 years or so now, might as well see them live for once, right?  As their tour was not bringing them to CHI I decided a road trip was in order, and that perhaps I'd go to the Columbus OH show the day after as well.

I leave CHI super late of course and get stuck in every rush hour imaginable through CHI, Indiana, and Michigan.  BTW, Michigan has the worst roads I've encountered yet.  I finally get to Grand Rapids and am driving all around this stupid mall where the venue is supposed to be before asking a taxi driver where it is.  Turns out I'm right next to it (you really cannot even tell a venue is there from the road -argh).  So I turn left where Mr. Taxi tells me to and end up driving back to where the tour bus is before security waves me away - oops!  Luckily there was one parking spot in the back lot that I easily backed into.  The tour bus was maybe 75 feet away if even.

I arrived at the venue around 8:15pm and wasn't sure when the show began.  I called the box office over and over to no avail as I was getting dressed and putting my contacts in.  I figured that even if SP was just going on stage it was worth it as they're the only ones I'm interested in seeing anyways (the opener was Kill Hannah, and while I've never given them a legitimate listen, I saw them waaaaaaay back when they were first starting out and had a spot at Summerfest, and to this day there's just something about them that dis-interests me - maybe that they're so seemingly 'scene'/emo/cliche).

I go around the building and there's a short line to the box office, where they're selling tix for $49.  WHAT?  Ok, I usually take my chances buying tix @ the door/day of show because that way you usually circumvent the Ticketmaster fees and if the show does end up being sold out there's always scalpers lurking.  If I had bought my ticket online, even with the fees it wouldn't have been more than $37-42.  WTF Orbit Room.  I have an increasingly bad taste in my mouth regarding this venue.

So a group of four walks up to the line, 2male/2fml, in their 40's or so, asking if anyone needs a ticket, and I say how much.  Fml#1 says $30, and Man#1 holding the ticket says that should be fine, in agreement.  I say I have $30, to which Fml#2 says, "Wait, they're selling them for $49 at the B.O. and you're only gonna try for $30?".  I think to myself, "you greedy bitch" but instead say, "Well, I have $30" and begin to get my money out.  Fml#2 (aka Greedy Bitch) then says, "Well, you paid $42 for the ticket, you should at least get $42", while the other 3 look on, prompting Man#1 (ticket man) to ask, "Um, $35?".  I look at each of them individually in the eye for a glance before looking at Ticket Man and Fml#1 who made the original offer and stating clearly, while holding out my cash, "I. Have Thirty.  Dollars"  Ticket is sold.  Immediately after this exchange Greedy Bitch turns all peaches and cream with me.  "Oh, are you here alone?  Why don't you hang with us?"  Smile smile smile.  Whatevs.

On with the show.  I buy a Stella inside and quickly ditch the foursome as I wasn't feeling very sociable anyways.  Kill Hannah is finishing up their last song, thank god.  I work my way to mid-room while waiting and finish my beer within ten minutes.  Now, while I am a lush, I hardly expect to pay $6/beer as I'd get full before drunk anyways, so the speed of my imbibing was most likely due to the completely insipid conversation surrounding me, SP-related or otherwise.  Ok, seriously people, I don't expect anyone to know an entire band's history/members by heart, but at least skim their fucking Wiki page if you're that goddamn confused as to what's going on and who's playing.  The average age of the crowd was 30-45, and most of them were sloshy drunk and slurring their conversations.  It was annoying and pathetic, especially when all I heard directed at me was, "You muss only be 20 erso, youso yuuuung, whatchu know 'bout PumPKins?" (with a good amount of saliva sprayed into the ignorance for good measure).

The venue was a pretty good size and it was packed.  I allow myself to be pushed further and further up when the crowd surged at each light drop.  By the time SP takes the stage I'm less than 10ft from the stage, front and center (well, a person-width to the right, as if my left arm were next to Billy's left arm as we're facing opposite directions).  This is perfect.  It means I can clearly see all of the band members. 

First off, let me start by saying the new drummer is fucking A-Maze-ING.  Holy shit that kid can wail.  And he eerily reminds me of a coworker of mine from Madison, who I was completely un-attracted to, however, I'd totally fuck that drummer.  Lesson here kids:  Learn an instrument and play it extremely well.  You will get chicks (or dicks, or both if you so desire.  This news is not new and shouldn't surprise anyone). 

So they start off with a 'new' song, 'Astral Planes', and follow it with Ava Adore.  I tried really hard to remember the order of the rest of the set list but they played for almost 2 1/2 hours!  So I'll hafta do my personal highlights. 

The played an amazing rendition of 'Eye', easily one of my faves.  Also 'Stand Inside Your Love' really got to me, 'Song For A Son', which was amazing live, 'Perfect', which totally entranced me as I'm really feeling those lyrics right now.  They played all their latest songs and during 'Widow Wake My Mind' Billy wanted everyone to sing along w/ the "Oh, Oh-Oh" part, and the first time the crowd was really weak.  Billy quipped "You guys make me think I'm in Chicago or something" and he was met by reverberating Boos at that burn.  Needless to say the next take was on point.  And of course the place was pure bedlam during 'Bullet With Butterfly Wings'.  I quickly made my way up a few more rows until I was up front, five feet from the stage, Billy leaning over soloing his little heart out.  Seriously, there was at least 45 minutes of just soloing throughout the entire show.  Dude can play some guitar.  I suppose that makes sense as he's been making music for most of his life. 

Overall the show was fantastic.  I was really amazed by the drummer, and the guitarist as well.  Billy was of course, Billy, all hunched over and singing out the side of his mouth.  The bassist Nicole was gorgeous, but very bored.  And I totally witnessed a silent cat-fight between her and the band/venue photographer at one point lol.  But as it is already almost 5pm here in GR, I don't think I'll be making it to the Columbus show, which is ok.  The show was definitely worth seeing again, and I think that with this lineup they'll be around for awhile and I'll be able to see them another time. 

The internet finally starting working here, now that my battery is at 50%.  I think I will stay overnight again and check out the area a bit more tomorrow.  I had awesome sushi today at Makado & am currently looking up beaches and community events to attend.  I've been in this A/C for too long now, time to fill up the gas tank and go exploring!