Leaving Seattle was kinda rough. It's always so good to see Maria and Max again and even though I knew I'd be leaving the next day I had kind of settled into the "home again" phase. Alas, rockery awaited and we bailed early to get to Boise. The drive was not something I would describe as fun, relaxing, or comfortable. Lots of time spent on tiny two lane highways going through miniscule towns, just going to prove my theory that Wyoming actually starts 60 miles east of Seattle. It didn't help either that I got our directions from Google Maps on this tour, which we were morosely disappointed to find is like taking direction from a blind 4th grader.
Nature won another notch on the score sheet against me in Boise. The dry heat pretty much killed the discomfort we skirted against in California. I hate the sun. It's the only thing that can completely demoralize me in the amount of time it takes to exclaim "Holy fucking christ I need some ice cream." The show was in an odd bar that didn't seem too accustomed to hosting bands of our ilk and volume, but ended up going really well. A lot of "hat metal" dudes were there pretty early, you know the type. Baggy shorts, t-shirts displaying sports teams, clothing brands, and various ironic muses about drinking, fighting, and/or copulation. I ran into an old tattoo artist of mine that did the lines on my forearms. The reunion was joyous. The post show hangout was also a zinger, smoked up with Saviours in a tattoo shop and then retired to a house that one of the dudes had wrangled up. Thankfully we had a moderately cool basement to sleep in, but it smelled ferociously of cat urine and someone thought it'd be a good idea to keep coming in and turning on music for us to sleep to. Scott of Saviours fame had his first real sleep in 2 weeks that night and I have never heard a more vicious and awe inspiring snore. It woke me out of a deep, mystifying sleep fueled by weed and beer, a feat in and of itself. At first I was irked at being jolted from my rest, but my irritation quickly dissipated into wonder and adoration for the majesty of Scott's snore, an intimidating yet magnetically curious sensation that I imagine young Bilbo Baggins had felt as he clambered into the chamber of the sleeping Smaug. It was like a heaving beast in the dark, but what made it so wondrous and horrific was how hard he was breathing. Imagine a brutal snore, like something that would come out of John Candy, but sped up so that the noise belched every second. This was my lullaby in the early hours of the morning.
Salt Lake City was lame. Too hot and the club didn't even put the support bands on the posters for the show. We had a stage hand type dude who had all the enthusiasm of a Chotchky's employee sans flare, and while we weren't offered any pizza shooters or extreme fajitas, we did get some excellent shitty chinese food, a personal vice that I readily indulge in whenever possible. The club was cluttered with TVs hanging all over the place, there's even two at the front of the house on either side of the stage. They had the audacity to play live DVDs of other bands while the real bands were playing on stage. Trivett of The Sword was awesome enough to turn them off while we played, only to have tight faced employees come over and turn them back on. It's kind of a bummer to be playing to a barely populated room, look up and see Killswitch Engage doing backflips and ninja kicks in front of a packed house, and then look down to see the dullards in the room watching the band on TV instead of the real band on the real stage. Why did you come to the show? That night we joined The Sword in their hotel and drank like it was revenge on the heat and the show.
Up early again for the drive to Denver, which turned out to be much more pleasant than I had anticipated. The altitude in Denver is a silent oppressive blanket that hangs in your head and coats one with sloth and the fierce desire to take a nap. No naps were had though. My plan was to ignore the effects of the high altitude and thin air by drinking. It kind of worked, a bit. It worked well enough that I don't really remember much happening after the show other than making an enthusiastic stop at Wendy's and falling asleep on a carpet that was in dire need of a thorough shampooing.
And once more, we were up early to get to Lawrence, Kansas. Sadly this would be our last show with Saviours and The Sword. This was also the hottest day I have ever experienced in my 25 years of flipping off and cursing at the giant, flaming asshole in the sky we call the sun. It was in the upper 80s in our van with the air conditioning raging at full blast. Leaving the marginal safety of said air conditioning would result in your body practically shooting sweat like a million tiny super soakers. When we pulled up to the Granada around 8pm, we saw the temperature displayed on one of those electronic reader boards attached to a bank. 108 degrees. At 8pm. The sun wasn't even high in thee sky anymore. This is obvious proof that world is indeed going blow up soon, or melt, or something. Frankly I'm glad. The less time I have to spend in that kind of weather the better.
The Granada was huge, a little unnecessary for our bands, but it's fun to play big stages like that and pretend the place is packed with rabid fans, topless bikini babes perched on their shoulders. Here's a video of the bands doing their thing, complete with sugues provided by Yoni's illustrious dancing Mexican friend Fritz. I took a bunch of video of this dude who was standing in front of JD while The Sword was playing. Sadly, it was too dark to make anything out. He was pretty stoked. He would steadily rotate from screaming the lyrics with arms raised, frantically playing air guitar and head banging, and then stopping and staring at the band with childish adoration.
The post show hangout while we were loading out was bittersweet and ripe with bromance. We said our goodbyes and farewells, and drove all night to Chicago. Nat was a goddamn champion and single handedly guided us for 11 hours into the warm and inviting bosom of the Flaster residence. Scott and Cara Flaster, who run Seventh Rule Records and put out our "City of The Stars" album, were our gracious hosts as usual. They're kind of like a spare parents house, they have washing machines and almost always feed us. I crashed out in the cool basement and slept like a wee babe.