2. 3. 4.
It's been a funny few days. We're in Atlanta, at the same venue I was at last time a tour brought me through town: 529, a tiny spot that has brushed off quite a bit of the sawdust and slopped black paint over the unfinished beams that had splintered up a passel of babythrashers at that Municipal Waste gig, and have closed off about half of the venue space for reasons unknown. The bar is a bottleneck, the bartenders pour 'em weak, but I dig this city, and it's always great to see old friends from the road. Nick's here, and Brent's playing with his new band Order of the Owl (bone-shaking tones), Juan's here with his side band Stallone, and the Royal Thunder cats just rolled through. I hit up the rest of the Zoroasters and Kevin Sharp, but it's tough to get even old friends out to Tuesday night gigs. One familiar face is worth the world when you're far from home.
Yesterday was eventful, to say the least. We woke up and hit a nice old diner in downtown Carrboro with Jenks from Horseback, then went hiking (well, wandering half-lost) through the woods 'til we found this "swimming hole" Jeffrey had told us about. It was really just a stretch of silty, stagnant river coursing sluggishly beneath an overhanging tree to which someone long ago had nailed a crude approximation of a ladder and diving platform. Of course we all had to have a go. My fear of heights surfaced well past the point of any safe return, so I eventually - and after much coaxing - jumped down into the muddy waters, and to my immense surprise, did not die. That fifteen-foot drop was more than enough for me; I'll never understand how Al went cliff-diving so casually in Malawi. After that, we shucked off out wet clothes, rinsed off, and headed over to the show, to load in Hull's mountains of gear down a flight and a half of stairs. Slowly but surely, my tour muscles are coming back. Mediterranean food, solid performances from Systems (who sound like a mathier Thou) and Caltrop (who should tour with Royal Thunder), my first time seeing Hull as a four-piece (way meaner), a lot of online flat-hunting between customers, and that was over. We stayed with one of their mates from Caltrop and his stunningly beautiful wife in their rambling old farmhouse, replete with a lazy hound dog, a nice collection of literature on the Cultural Revolution, and the cutest kitten of all time. It also featured some diabolical-looking spiders, no A/C, and a non-working toilet, so this morning found us a few rungs beneath bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Van naps, a visit to Biscuitville, endless Skype mobile chat (if only my dodgy Android had Facetime [ultimate first world problem, I know]) and a ill-fated decision to nod off whilst listening to the new Nihill album. I woke up shaking. That's the first album that's ever, ever given me nightmares, but Jelle and Mikael managed to erode my psyche and bathe it all in blood. I'm still a bit shaken, which I suppose is a good result for a fucked-up black metal record.
The day before yesterday was just spent hanging about Sean's brother's house, more Skype, some work, and awesome pancakes. We made the six or so hour drive to Chapel Hill, had some ridiculously indulgent bar food, watched some horribly depressing Louis C.K. reruns, and crashed. Not a bad off day.
We're staying with one of the Royal Thunder dudes tonight; hoping to sneak off and do some writing and new music listening, as I'm woefully behind. It stresses me out so much, being on the road. Never enough time for anything. If I couldn't talk to Al all the time, I'd go mad. I love him more every day.
Birmingham tomorrow. I hate Birmingham. I've only ever had one good time in Birmingham - hopefully tomorrow will be a redemption of sorts. At the very least, I'll get some decent pizza at Magic Mushroom.