Hello again friends & followers!
I am ‘home’ again—getting ready for work tonight and slowing getting used to having access to showers and a real bed. The past two and a half weeks I have been touring the East Coast of the United States…it was an excursion of firsts for my band, No Triangles. I am going to attempt a tour recap/analysis on this post—so please scroll on if you find too many words boring. :)
We left Omaha on the morning of April 18th, around 7:00a.m.—it was cold and wet and far too gloomy for the last hull of April but…what can one really expect of Nebraska? Conor and I packed up his newly acquired Ford Transit (I love it so so much!) with our guitars, amplifiers, clothes, and some snacks my grandmother had given us and then we hit the road for Chicago! I was very excited that our first show would be in the windy city as it is has been one of my very favorite places to visit the past few years. After a seven hour drive, we arrived at (Conor’s friend) John’s brownstone apartment around 4:00p.m. Since we had a few hours to kill before load in time at the venue we were playing, we decided to walk around Boystown for a bit—we checked out Reckless Records and then ate a DELICIOUS vegan meal at The Chicago Diner. Now, the Chicago Diner is one of my favorite restaurants in the world—Conor was not overly thrilled with the non-animal product fair—but he enjoyed his vegan milkshake nonetheless! And I loved, loved my entire meal (a ‘bacon cheeseburger’, mashed potatoes, and a peanut butter milkshake). After stuffing ourselves, we moseyed back over to John’s place and packed our stuff up for our first show of the tour at Moe’s Tavern!
It was raining all night (and, in the most essential respects, the majority of our drive to Chicago—the city and the rest of the state of Illinois were definitely experiencing major flooding) so traveling across the busy streets of the city was a bit daunting. We managed to find the adorable neighborhood bar and we were welcomed with open arms by the tavern’s owner, Maureen. She and all of her patrons were very gracious and helped eased Conor and I into the process of being a band on the road. I really cannot say enough great things about everyone we meet that first night in Chicago—we made a lot of really, really wonderful friends! After the show Conor and I went back to sleep at John’s place (and how kind and thoughtful he was to let us have a place to crash!), where we woke up the next morning refreshed and ready to continue our adventure.
Hitting the road early once again, No Triangles. made our way to Columbus, OH to play a show at the Bethel Road Pub. Maneuvering ourselves out of Chicago was the most memorable part of that drive (well, please forgive us…but we are very used to driving around the “hills” of the Midwest) because a few of the interstates leading out of the city were closed due to flooding and we had to figure out how to get ourselves where we needed to go. Outside of Illinois, the highway was smooth (and an interesting & very pretty burnt sienna color) in Indiana. Conor and I were still quite unused to being on the move and being around each other all the time so the long trip to Ohio was no cause of concern for us. Once we arrived in Columbus, extraordinarily impressed by the swankiness of the neighborhood we were playing in (umm…I think our show might have been located in one of the nicest neighborhoods in the city), we pulled into the venue’s parking lot and loaded in our gear. Bethel Road Pub was very clean (and quite large!) on the inside and, best of all, it was located right next to a DELICIOUS pizza place called Romeo’s Pizza! We decided to splurge again on food after not eating anything all day…in hindsight, this was the one of the last times we did until we reached Boston. Regardless, the pizza was very appealing to both Conor and I (no meat on it again—Conor is such a nice friend). Our show went really well…we sold a couple of t-shirts and CDs and I felt that we played with a lot of passion and harmony. It was raining when we left the venue (big surprise…it was always raining our first few gigs) and we were a little confused as to where we should go to sleep for the night. After our show in Columbus, I believe Conor and I were both hit with the fact that we were actually on tour—with no one else to account for but ourselves and our instruments! It was a exhaustively freeing feeling (and terrifying too!). Nonetheless, we found a place to hanker down for the night and woke up early the next morning to haul ourselves down to West Virginia.
Our journey down to Huntington, WV was gorgeous! It was our first time (or, at least, mine…not sure if Conor’s been through…) adventuring across the Appalachians—they were breathtaking! We knew that we had enough time to explore so we stopped in a small town (in rural Ohio) on our way down to look at a “funky” record shop…it was quaint. Really quaint. Conor and I also took the scenic route through Wayne National Forrest—ah, how lovely & grand this country that we live in is! I am a lover of trees, so I was having the time of my life. Unfortunately, we did not have time to get out and explore the forrest (not to mention, the route we were on did not have any pull-offs except for this one really creepy looking gas station) so we rambled on through it until it spit us out in Huntington. Unfortunately our venue in the small mining town bailed on us and ‘forgot’ to open (or maybe they went out of business? we could not tell). Conor and I waited around for a few hours before deciding to to skip town and make as much time as we could on our route to Annapolis, MD.
We drove for another six hours (through the mountains, in the dark) until we were just outside of Annapolis. By the time we found a suitable rest stop, it was three in the morning and, of course, starting to sprinkle (ummm…and really cold!). Conor had rigged his van up so we could rearrange our stuff and pull out an inflatable mattress to sleep on comfortably. This was our first night trying to attempt reorganizing everything and so we went about moving all of our boxes and bags around until they were all crammed in our front seat. Conor inflated the bed while I went inside the grimey gas station’s bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. Ew. I still remember the smell of that one…Anyway, I get back to the van to find Conor sitting on the air mattress, waiting for me to climb in. We both lay down, feeling too exhausted to sleep and start laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. I ask Conor if he thought it was safe to have three boxes of t-shirts stacked in the drivers seat (you know…in case some dangerous stranger approached us and we needed to pull a Thelma and Louise). Both of us, weary and freezing (and a little damp), then decide to repack everything we had just moved and sit in the front seats, trying to sleep. It was freezing (did I mention that?). And, of course, neither of us slept soundly.
When we “woke up” the next morning at six, Conor and I drove across the street to another, less smelly gas station and got fuel & cheap, black coffee. I am fairly certain that the people inside the filling station thought we were homeless (which in every sense, I guess we were). After departing, we navigated through our first taste of real, east coast traffic. Having to drive through D.C. meant that we were surrounded by important people trying to get to work. I thought it was cool—we had to drive over a drawbridge! We got to see the national monuments at a great distance! We saw the ocean! We sat in traffic for hours! I am telling you—all of these sights are amazing to a girl who’s been experiencing the Midwest all her life. Also, we were both extremely sleep deprived so I believe that our minds were functioning like we inhaled a bunch of drugs. Thus, everything was amazing. Even when we pulled into another shady gas station in Annapolis to change & get ready for the day, I was excited. The beige paint chipping away on the somewhat dewy bathroom floor of the small station we pulled into was something I can’t forget—there was a really cute Indian man working the station, who, upon seeing me walk in with my hair sticking every which way, asked if I needed the key to the bathroom. I nodded and he laughed as though he understood my lack of sleep and revolting exterior.
After prepping ourselves to be somewhat presentable, we met up with Conor’s great friend Matt. Matt attends the U.S. Naval Academy and is as badass as you can imagine. He took us to a place called Naval Bagels and we got some delicious bagel sandwiches. I seriously enjoyed my cheese, egg, and mushroom delight. After not seeing the sun for days, the sun was finally shining on Conor and I as we danced around Annapolis with Matt. He took us down to the water and showed us the beautiful marina with all of its moneyed yachts. We also got an exclusive tour of the Naval Academy—Matt showed us all the sweeping buildings, historical fascinations, etc. that he gets to immerse himself in everyday. Conor and I were both very happy to have the day off of playing a show so we could hang out with him. Unfortunately, Matt needed to return to his studies around midday. No Triangles. packed up once again at hit the roads for Albany, NY. Since we had an evening to get a head start on our driving, we were able to find a fancy service plaza to spend the night at. Sleeping in the van wasn’t so bad (we still just slept up in the front seats…it was too cold to move stuff around again) because we figured out that we really needed to wrap ourselves in blankets to stay warm and get a few hours of shut eye. The bathrooms were nice and clean in the service plaza—they had Dunkin Donuts coffee there too!
Upper state New York was a hilly and pretty drive. I imagine that it is much more picturesque in the fall when all the trees are losing their chlorophyll. In Albany, we played at an ice cream shop. They had really, really great homemade sodas and ice cream. The open mic we played there was interesting experience. The whole of Albany was an interesting experience. I think Conor and I were getting used to being around each other all the time…and slowing starting to get on each other’s nerves. Or maybe it was just something that was in the air in New York’s capital city…
After the show we packed up our belongings and hit the road for Pittsfield, MA. Now, Pittsfield is only an hour away from Albany so, after arriving at our next venue (Club Chameleons), we had a six+ hour wait until load in time. Let’s just say I made good friends with a few of the pebbles in the parking lot that afternoon. The show went well. We played with a couple of talented acts and I felt Conor was very animated for his songs that night. After we played our gig (and met a lot of really kind, supportive new friends! I must say, Pittsfield was a very welcoming city! Everyone in Albany was giving it a bad wrap but you shouldn’t believe anything negative you hear about Pittsfield. They were kind & passionate about music, especially in supporting the touring band!), Conor and I were interviewed by a young gentleman who runs a music magazine/blog out in MA. Conor and I were our usual awkwardly charming selves.
Hitting the road at two in the morning, we made our way to another service plaza just outside of Bridgeport, CT—close to our next show at Two Boots. We slept in the front seats of the van again but the night air was a little warmer (and we did not have to deal with rain) so it was not so difficult to fall asleep. Conor and I woke up early and drove ourselves through a swanky neighborhood right off the ocean. We parked the van and spent an afternoon on the beach, looking at rocks and shells and quite content to be at ease on the water. The photo above is of us goofing around on the beach we had found. Since it was in a very wealthy residential area it was well kept and not crowded at all. When we concluded our frolic on the sand, we headed over to a hotel that my mother & father bought for us as my early birthday present. I cannot tell you how lovely a big comfy bed, private bathroom (gasp! with a shower!), and free coffee are! We felt like royalty. It took a lot of motivation for us to get out of bed, load our stuff up and head over to Bridgeport to play our show that evening. We were most excited about sleeping—I am certain that we both just wanted to get done playing so we could lay down for once! Also, the hotel had a free breakfast in the morning…which meant Conor and I loaded ourselves down with cereal, bagels, bananas, and other food (apparently the hotel also had a pool with a water slide but, sadly, we not at the hotel long enough to enjoy it). At this point of the tour, we were maybe eating the equivalent of one meal a day so we really had to force ourselves to remember to eat (and to hydrate ourselves after all the driving/music playing we were doing).
Finally well rested, we packed up and checked out so we could cruise on up to Springfield, MA. The trip to the next city was a short three hour drive so we had plenty of time to kill before load in at the Bing Arts Center. I managed to talk Conor into stopping at a state park and letting me wander around my tree friends. The sun was shining (it was probably in the mid-60s) so I was feeling very grand outside in my element. Conor stayed guard in the van and worked on some of his awesome drawings while I let myself simmer into a forrest pixie. We decided to grab Subway for dinner (after my grandma had given us a very thoughtful gift card so we would have at least one guaranteed meal on The Ultimate Friend Tour). Performing at the Bing Arts Center was wildly awesome! Everyone who came out to the show listened intently and offered us kind words about our music. The owners gave us cookies and a far too generous payment for our efforts. I have to say that it was one of my favorite places that we played on tour. The audience was wonderful and the spirit of the organization really was the sort of hum I love supporting—a non-profit focused on bringing its community a welcoming space for all forms of expression! How lovely! I would be honored if No Triangles. could gig there again!
Leaving Springfield, we made our way on to Boston, finding a nice service plaza right outside the city’s limits. Excited to have the next day off in one of the coolest cities in the country, we both slept soundly in the van (good ol’ van, home sweet home!). Once in Boston we checked ourselves into another hotel…and then we went exploring! We stopped at the Calamus Bookstore and had a great chat with the owner about the wonder of Frank O’Hara. I was ecstatic to meet another fan of the poet—and he had many friends that hung around with the genius when he was alive and wandering around NYC. I kept forgetting that Conor and I were actually in the Northeast, in those historic places where cultural titans had once roamed. I was practically swooning the whole time I was in the city. While in Boston something else exciting happened—our friend Caitlin flew in to meet us and finish out the rest of the tour with us! Conor and I were relieved to have one other person at our side. This meant that unloading and loading would go a lot quicker because Caitlin could guard the van for us! Woooo! So, we three went about exploring the city, checking out Cambridge and Harvard University, the Boston Public Library, and a very delicious pizza place (mmm…pizza). I loved Boston a lot—I really cannot wait to be able to visit the city again! It was a thrilling and culturally (& historically) hip place to be.
We drove out of Boston to head to NYC—our first time in the big apple! The city of blinding lights was exactly what I expected it to be: hip, crowded, and filled with nonstop interesting people & places. I know our experience of the city was a little cheated because we were driving through it instead of using public transportation, but it was an automotive enterprise that I will never forget. Conor was very happy to be among a lot of attractive people. His head would not stop turning—their were perfectly manicured beards in every direction! And lots of women with curly tendrils too…We played at Spike Hill and ate dinner at the club. They made really good onion rings. And, shockingly, we pretty cheap (even compared to the Omaha prices we’re used to). Our gig was very shaky that night…my stomp box failed to turn on and our setlist was made up as we went along and, basically, Conor and I were a little pissed at each other (so we were not playing in harmony at all!). Let’s just say that it was not a good show. The drive out of Brooklyn was very slow…but very pretty! If there is one sight I’ll always remember from our first tour, it will be looking back on the sparkling lights of the sleepless city and seeing the Statue of Liberty lit up and beaconing us on our way. New York is the city of all cities. I understand why it is so now.
We stopped that night at a truck stop and hunkered down on the air mattress! It was lovely. Finally, Conor’s system snapped together and the three of us were able to stretch out and get a somewhat decent night of sleep in the van. Our next show was in West Virginia again, so we knew the next morning we would have a long drive ahead of us. With Caitlin in the mobile, the mountains seemed as fresh as usual and we jammed out to some tunes on our ride. We were in route to Clarksburg, WV to play at PJ Kelly’s. The Irish pub was a very cool venue! They bought us pizza (see a theme here??) and gave us a place to crash for the night. Everyone was so hospitable! Especially their cat…We wandered around Clarksburg in the few hours we had before the show—we stopped in their library (they had a nice collection—and it was very inclusive!!) and enjoyed the nice weather by exploring their restoration projects in downtown Clarksburg. The venue’s sound was really great. I remember feeling like the show was well played. Conor and I gave it a lot of our guts that night.
We left West Virginia to drive to Canton, OH the next morning. As we neared the Midwest, the landscape started to look a little more familiar (and, a little more dreary to us…). Canton was a very hip city—they had a lot of public art sprinkled around the neighborhood we were playing that night. Caitlin, Conor and I walked around and checked out a cool record shop. Conor bought some CDs there. We performed with a group called Bill Palmer at the Buzzbin Art & Music Shop. It was a fun show. Really made me want a drummer though…
After our show, we drove four hours up to a service plaza outside of Toledo, OH. We made our bed in the van again and set ourselves up to head on our to Royal Oak, MI—a town just outside of Detroit. When we woke up, I had Conor help me wash my hair (it had been several days since our last shower…) in the parking lot by pouring water all over my head after I shampooed it up. For some odd reason, it was fun. We repacked our van (deflating the bed and folding up its wooden support Conor and his dad built) and hit the road. The weather in Royal Oak was perfect! When we arrived we checked out a fancy chocolate shop (Gayle’s)—they had beautiful, edible sculptures and some very decadent bonbons. Oh la la. We also found an AMAZING record shop…I was out of money at this point on the tour, which is a really good thing because I would have bought over eleven different albums (or a hundred, really…they had everything I wanted). We were up in Royal Oak for the afternoon to meet up with our dear friend Colette. She and I got together for lunch at the Cacao Tree Cafe. When we finished catching up (& eating! She was quite kind and bought my lunch) we waltzed our way to a small park and sat beneath a tree to chat for a while. It was quite lovely to have a relaxing afternoon with a spiritually connected lady. Any conversation with Colette is bound to be both interesting and enlightening. Conor, Caitlin and I were all glad that we made the brief trip to visit her before we had to split town to make our show in Chicago that evening. I was sad to leave Colette but quite happy that we were able to see each other again (perhaps I should write more but I shall not, in effort tie this all down). Oh yeah! She made us extremely satisfying vegan muffins! The best thing I ate on tour!
No Triangles. left Royal Oak and managed to make load in on time at the The Burlington in Chicago. We were the second band to play—and it was our best show all tour. Something inside me snapped and let everything loose on the stage that night. Conor too was on fire. It was a shame that there was no audience that night for us. Oh well. It felt like the perfect catharsis for me: no one around to watch me unveil thoughts & emotions I had been sweeping behind dusty curtains for months. When we finished the show we went to my favorite burrito place, El Burrito Mexicano. It is right next to Wrigley Field and its food is exceptionally delicious (even if Conor’s stomach did not agree…you can ask him about that). Caitlin, Conor and I decided to leave the city and find a service plaza to spend the night at. It was raining again but we still managed to pull out the inflatable mattress and sleep somewhat comfortably. There was nothing like being squished together and using each others’ body heat to keep extra warm. Yay friends that haven’t showered for days and no longer care about boundaries. Wooo!
We made our way on to Iowa City to play at an awesome shop called Uptown Bill’s Bookmark. It was also one of my favorite venues on tour. Everyone there was welcoming and they had delicious ginger beer! Yum! We had time to explore Iowa City before our show time at seven p.m. so we hit up a cool coffee shop and even indulged ourselves with Thai food. So, all in all, Iowa City was delicious. I can see why students are so happy there. The show itself was quite intimate—we played Storm Warning that night and it made me a little sad…but I was all the more changed and better for performing it! We found a truck stop (yes, it was raining hard & cold again—thanks Midwest weather!) later that evening to sleep at. We did not pull out the mattress but attempted to sleep as comfortably as we could. Mainly Conor, Caitlin and I just sat up talking to one another about our lives (so lovely to have such great friends). It was a good night, even if my neck and back and disgusting hair did not think so.
The next day our show was in Des Moines (and our last gig on tour, so sad!). We arrived fairly early and ate a really great lunch at the Ritual Cafe where were playing that night. They had good quiche. At this point, all three of us were tired and ready to go home so we could shower and sleep (it had been about a week since our last shower)! Still, we managed to explore a public art park (damn, Des Moines had some cool art) and attempted to check out their pretty main library branch (it was closed on Saturdays…boo). Our show went as smoothly as you could hope. Conor and I were a little done with playing our songs though. We were really looking forward to getting home so we could write new, better compositions. After the gig we left Des Moines and booked our way up to Sioux Falls, SD to drop Caitlin off (oh yes, we did get pulled over for speeding and we did stop at a really, really CREEPY AS HELL closed gas station in the middle of nowhere in the pitch black dark of the Iowan night). When the drive was finished, we stopped in Caitlin’s girlfriend Annie’s apartment and she was kind enough to fill me and Conor up with yummy food (ahh warm food!!) and coffee. At three in the morning, Conor and I took off from South Dakota and power drove our way to Omaha.
We rolled into our hometown at six in the morning and Conor and I somehow managed to unload all my stuff into my house without waking up my family nor collapsing from lack of sleep. I squealed when I saw my dog and my cat. I had truly missed them the most (sorry y’all…I love you but none of you are furry nor willing to cuddle with me when I am sad). I was very depressed to be done with tour but very happy to be able to shower.
Conor and I both cannot wait until we can do it all again! Another tour please!
Being back is a stranger feeling that I expected. I am adjusting. Turning my dials every which way trying to figure out where I stand in my creative endeavors, love life, and overall existence. Currently, I am forcing myself to write (and not just this sloppy thing! I do apologize that this blob of words you’ve wandered through is not very organized nor informative) and get my booty whipped into shape. I think it’s working? Only time will sing the hymns I lock away. Conor and I are already moving into new sonic territory and becoming a closer representation of the band we want to be. Please stay tuned for more photos from tour and for some new sounds from us!
We both love you all very much and are overwhelmed in gratitude for all of your generous support. Thank you, again, for helping us chase our dreams. May you forever be blessed!