It's always smart to kick off a tour at Quenchers: we're generally guaranteed a sweet turnout, they feed the touring bands, and they make sure there's money to go around. I pretty much don't care if i never play another Chicago venue other than Quenchers ever again (which is not to say that we hate the other ones; just that Quenchers is that far above the others).
What is not smart is blowing up the one bass cabinet we're taking on tour right before the HiFi set. After a pretty decent Zebras set and a fantastic set by Chicago's The Cell Phones (one curly-haired singer lady with golden pipes, one dude with an acoustic bass distorting it through a pair of fuzzy fuzz amps, and a speedy drummer--highly recommended), The Wizard plugged his bass into Lacey's amp and, after cranking up the signal, promptly blew the 18-inch woofer. Whoops. On the bright side, we suddenly realized we'd be crashing in our own beds after the show, since we'd have to drive back to Milwaukee to grab The Wizard's gear (bad news for any of the ladies in the audience who were looking to grab The Wizard's gear after the show...HEY-O).
Anywho, Keith the sound guy ran the bass direct and, while it severely cut down on The Wizard's feedback, it apparently fazed no one in the audience. We gutted out a spirited set and Yale apparently has decided that this is the "Yale moves his mic stand into the crowd for at least one song per show" Tour '11, which i'm totes fine with.
SETLIST: Ratings Spike / We Fiddle / Sleeperhold / In&Out of Grace / 99 Probalos / Defenestrate / Arson / No MM
We're in the middle of a run where we play Chicago once a month minimum, so i did my best to mix it up and play some stuff we never play. Of course, posting these set lists means that people are gonna start requesting all kinds of crazy shit. NO, WE HAVE NOT RE-LEARNED "YOU'RE NO PIRATE"...yet.
Three copies of the new CD sold and one each of the old stuff. Dolla dolla billz.
DAY TWO: BLOOMINGTON BASEMENT CHEAPSKATES
We now have (slightly) more room in the van, thanks to replacing Lacey's white-dwarf-powered three-ton bass amp and cab with The Wizard's setup. We left Milwaukee and proceeded to embark on the longest drive to Bloomington, IN in our long, storied history of Indiana drives. [Obligatory snark-ass remark about Chicago's consistently shit traffic goes here] After passing a billboard in Gary that advertised a strip club called "Polekatz" (which, sorry, but while i am pro strip-club, i will not be patronizing one called "Polekatz," no matter how hot that Looney Tunes skunk was), we drove head-first into what felt like Jesus' watery revenge on a state that abandoned him and voted Democrat in 2008 for the first time since Christ wished the state into the union. Waves of rain blew sideways across the road like Aragorn's ghost army or the animated broomsticks in The Sorcerer's Apprentice, while Yale white-knuckled us down the highway in a heroic effort to keep us on the road and upright. Meanwhile, i checked Weather.com: Severe Thunderstorm Watch. Uh, yeah, we're watching it right now, assholes.
Eventually we made it to Gay Dudes Annex, aka Rob Waxeater's house, where we were playing along with the band he just joined, Bad Creeps. The show was a blast; just enough people showed up to cram into the front of the "stage area" while Zebras blasted through a quick 25-minute set to an appreciative, mind-blown pack of kids. This was the first night where Zebras and HiFi played back-to-back sets, and thus, the first night that i essentially played nonstop for an hour, minus a set changeover. So far, no worries. No feelings of fatigue as we charged through a six-song set that expanded to eight when we opened with "We Got the Beat" to just play something in order to get the kids back downstairs for the start of our set.
We Got the Beat/We Fiddle/Arson/Imp. Walker/Paulding/Chance-Medley (Rob request)/Telescope/No MM
It being a basement show, naturally, the kids at the show, despite being totally into both bands and rocking the HELL out during both sets, managed to donate $13 and buy 0 pieces of merchandise from both bands. Yes, kids, we drove six hours just to donate our time for your entertainment. You're welcome!
Whatever--we drank whiskey, we watched Bad Creeps kill it, and Lacey and i stayed up until 5 AM watching Rob's Bad Creeps bandmates try to hump each other with little success. I'm not sure if they were trying to weird each other out, or if one of them was genuinely trying to get on the other. Either way, it was adorable. I guess it's not just a clever name--they really are bad at being creeps. At least they lived up to the venue's name!
I slept in the van last night. It was awesome in that it felt like camping and i got to do a crack-and-whiz (i.e. cracking the van door and peeing out of it onto Rob's lawn) twice. THE FREEDOM OF THE GREAT OUTDOORS.