Tour Diary: A Push is a Win
Before we left for this tour, there was something in the air we felt. We felt this was a different run for us. A special one. There’s always optimism abound with a new record on the horizon. That being said, having that kind of perspective helps through some of the more trying times. Trying times like last night in Houston, TX. We know something was amiss when the weather went from beautifully sunny to horror movie overcast darkness. A storm was over us, we just hoped that it wouldn’t start until AFTER doors opened. We didn’t want anything to deter potential show goers. A lightning storm and big ass rain has tendency to do that…
While we were sitting in the parking lot waiting for staff to get there to open the door, the weather got worse. The rain, started to become more intense, then the lightning came. Thunder of course followed. “Maybe Houston is one of those towns where people come out regardless of the weather…?” We hoped that would be case, but it wasn’t. Cars starting coming in parking lot, but they were just like us. Performers waiting for the staff to arrive to open the door. So there was about 4 cars all sitting in the parking lot, then all of a sudden a big ass pick-up truck pulled in front of us. Parked all crazy in the front lot. We assumed it was bar staff hurrying to open the door in the wet weather since he rushed to the door. The door didn’t open so we could see he wasn’t staff. He said something to the other cars then he got in his pick up and started to back out. Really fast, so fast and reckless he smashed into our van. Hit us so hard he pushed us back. I jumped out of the car to confront this ass clown, and he SMASHED OFF! Hella fast, burnt out. I was standing there in the rain pissed off as a muthafucka. I walked back to the van to see what the damage was. The front left headlight was knocked out and hanging on by the wires, the hood was dented and bent, there was a small crack in our front bumper. Damn. That was all we could think. Damn. Dude mashed off on us, damage to our van, and this show MAY not be a winner because of the weather. As I stood there staring at the damage, drenched to the point my shoes started to fill with water, I thought to myself when does this tour life stop coming with surprises.
The night before was much different but equally as stressful. We had booked the show in Corpus Christi, TX in January. We had been trying to advance the show for a while but never heard back from anybody. Finally, day of the show, we heard from the venue. And what we heard was not what we wanted to hear. We heard that they had no idea who we were. WHAT?! We were worried. We needed this show. We can loose a Monday show, but a Saturday show is usually a big show for us, but now, we didn’t know what to expect. Either we wouldn’t play or drive all the way out to Corpus and play a show to the bar staff. We were scared of this since the venue didn’t know we were to play. After some back and forth with the venue we found out that the guy that booked us was no longer working for the venue an we were the last show he booked. There was a bit of confusion, but the owner reassured us we were on the bill, but we’d probably be the only band on the bill. We were a little worried being the only band on the bill with no local draw, but you never know, you just never know…
We got to venue, Boneshakers in Corpus Christi, TX a bit earlier than bands usually get there. It was a cool punk/rockabilly vibe with some real cool artwork, a good sized stage, and from what we could see a bad assed sound system. It would be a cool place to play if people show up. There were a few people in the bar, and some more in an outdoor patio area. It looked like the kind of place people just come go to in town. They had a jukebox that said they don’t play rap, r&b or pop music. We knew we had a chance with our sound to do well here. After we loaded in the sound man arrived. A large man named “Oatmeal”. We introduced ourselves and immediatley started having a conversation, a very friendly sort, within 30 minutes of meeting us, he was finding us a place to crash for the night. He told us there would be no local band an it would just be us playing. We still weren’t worried. As the night progressed more people were coming in. The place didn’t fill up, but there was a good amount of people. A surprising turnout for a night we thought almost wasn’t going to happen. The show went off, we played and people dug it. A great staff, attentive show goers, an almost perfect night. We know Houston the next night would be even better. Right…?
Kneeling in the rain trying to put back this broken headlight all I could think about was the previous night. Trying to put back this broken headlight, I kept repeating in my head, “This has got to get better, IT’S GOT TO GET BETTER!” The rain finally started to stop, but it was too late. People had already made their decision to stay inside. Damage to our van we had to fix, and no money to do it with. This is the reality of touring at this level. I was tired of it. Sick and tired of it. I tried to find some hope, a bright side, but I couldn’t see one. People got out of there cars and expressed their shock and frustration about the incident to me. It didn’t matter. The venue was empty, the damage was done, and it wasn’t looking up for us. Just a few days before we were playing for crowds of people, hell, the night before we were playing for people that cared that didn’t even know we were going to be there, an now
At this point the venue was open. There was a minivan parked next to us. It was the doorman’s van. He was there with his wife. His wife had seen the whole thing and let us know that here husband the doorman was a mechanic. He quickly offered help once he saw we had all our gear loaded in. He told us where we could go to fix the headlight, and we told him we didn’t have time in the morning, and we were headed out of Houston right after the show. He said he wanted to look at the damage to see if there was anything he could do. He was able to reinstall the headlight. He made sure it was working and the blinker was working. He then used his big Texas hands to fix the hood. He got it where we could open the hood and made sure there was no radiator damage. There it was. A bright side. A good person. Much like the night before in Corpus, we meet people that want to keep the LFADM train going. That was all the inspiration we needed. We went on to play, I think the best show of the tour so far from a performance stand point. We pretty much played to the staff. None of the other acts really brought anybody, sighting the weather as the factor for the poor turnout. We agreed. While we were playing. I asked the crowd, containing of mostly bar staff if they were having a good time. A supportive cheer and a resounding yes was the reply. I decided to double down on the enthusiasm and asked if people were enjoying the show enough to buy a cd or a shirt. Silence. I can’t lie, I wanted to pack up. Stop the show and put an end to a bad night. At that point I knew we were playing for fucking FREE! I didn’t stop. Neither did Cyndy. We played in Juarez, Mexico and played to a good sized audience and made a FRACTION of the money we would made in the States because of the exchange rate, but we play that show for the love music and the feeling we get playing for people that want to hear what we do. People there appreciate what we do and the passion we do it with. In most places that’s the case. That was the case just one night before as well. Tonight, despite the passionate performance, the people just didn’t care.
After the show we loaded up our stuff and just left. The people that were there just acted as if we weren’t there. We got the “great show” from the bartender and that was about it. That was fine. We had one HELLUVA PRACTICE, got our headlight fixed, and made a new friend in the doorman mechanic who was also named Jason. We had to travel to Austin, TX where we are staying with a wonderful family we’ve met through music that is taking care of us. They give us a clean room to stay in, and access to a fully stocked refrigerator. They even paid to have the fuel pump and heater control valve fixed on our van. I don’t know if guardian angels exist, but these people are the closest thing. Our Austin, TX home. Don’t know if blessed is the right word for US to use, but people like this make us feel that way. We don’t know if we deserve this kindness, but it’s a fire that keeps us going and hopeful. El Paso, Austin, England, Tucson, Corpus, New York, New Orleans, Tampa, we have little pockets of home all over the world. So despite the poor attendance in Houston, the good people we have met along the way made sure we the tour won’t end and we can stay out until our album comes out. We play one more show in Texas on April 22nd in a small town we’ve never been to called Victoria that will start a string of 9 dates in a row, and we can’t wait…Brandon Twerking