Thursday, March 11, 2010

Imperial China Tour Diary

March 5, 2010: Frederick, MD @ Café 611.

We kicked things off tonight in Frederick tonight sandwiched on a bill between two aquabands, Spermwhales and Troutzilla. Spermwhales is a solo guitar/electronic act that plays a mix somewhere between ambient and noise.

Here’s a picture with him playing. I love the scenic painting on the wall behind him.

Troutzilla was a lot of fun. They successfully incorporate horns and flute. They got people moving and who can’t appreciate an attractive flutist. (I still don’t know if its pronounced flootist or floutist) or this drum head.

Picture reminds me of the asian crap that are invading the great lakes, and if they can throw down against a CNN reporter, they could probably take our beloved Bert, as well.

Frederick was a good time and Café 611 is a good, open space for shows. Memorable characters include Nate, the booker, who is the second person to compare us to “the Blueman Group,” which really spoke to my inner Tobias Funke, Ben the plumber, and the guy at the merch booth after we played who said, “That was awesome, now sell me some shit.” Thanks for helping put gas in the tank.

March 6, 2010, Lexington, Kentucky @ Brick Alley.

Q:Why would we drive 8 hours to Kentucky, you ask?

A: Because we booked our tour and have no idea what we’re doing.

On the way to Lexington, we stopped at a Long John Silvers/A&W .

Q: Who’s got 6 thumbs and loves a papa wrap washed down with a rootbeer float?

A: Imperial China, that’s who.

March 7, 2010, Lexington, Kentucky @ Al’s Bar

“Candy Machine” was a phenomenal band from Baltimore in the 90’s fronted by Peter Quinn. Peter put out the first Pontyail album on his label, Creative Capitalism, and is currently in the band, “Lo Moda.” The Candy Machine record, “Modest Proposal” has been the soundtrack for the tour thus far. One of the best songs on the album is “Rotodome.” None of us knew what a rotodome was so we texted Peter, who Patrick knows from his Pitchblende days.

Here is the text exchange:

Matt @ 2:03 a.m.: “What the hell is a rotodome?”

Peter @5:42 a.m.: “It’s like a superdome. But less popular.”

Peter @ 6:06 a.m.: “Or a Bar in Kansas City.”

Peter @ 6:08 a.m.: “Or a strip joint of the mind.”

We asked Peter to play a Candy Machine song with us next time we’re in Baltimore. Hopefully he takes us up on the offer.


Tonight was the most fun we’ve had so far. Al’s Bar is a great. Free food. PBR and rail drinks for bands. Can’t beat that. Thanks to Audra behind the bar, who took care of us. I recommend this place to any band going through Kentucky. We played with the Gudwalls. They have this great psyche/Dinosaur Jr./Husker Du thing going.

We made a couple discoveries in Kentucky:

1) Ale 8, a ginger ale made in Kentucky, is quite possibly the best soda on earth. It’s even better with Bourbon. It’s even better than that when it’s free.

2) Bike Polo exists. Never heard of it before this, but it’s big enough here that a bunch of people came to the show after playing all day. From what I understand, It’s 3 on 3 polo played on bikes with a bunch of homemade equipment. Sounds badass. Drew and Scott from the team hung out, gave us one of their homemade polo mallets and some lessons and did some break dancing.

Drew is in a band called “Latin Heat,” which is an amazing name. At their first show, the latino community of Lexington came out and was disappointed to find out they were a punk band. I can imagine a similar reaction in Mt. Pleasant.

Apparently there is a DC bike polo team. Drew and I began planning an all day outdoor show/bike polo tournament with some Kentucky and DC bike polo teams/bands. I sincerely hope it happens. That would be a blast.

3) Gumbo Ya Ya in Lexington is an awesome creole restaurant. Ross, who set the show up, manages the restaurant and was nice enough to treat us to some Gumbo and White Bean Chili the day after the show. Go check out his restaurant!!!

We’re on to Louisville well fed and in good spirits.

March 8, 2010, Louisville, Kentucky @ Skully Alley

Louisville is a great town. Good food. Good beer. Good Bourbon. Good Record Stores. We got to Louisville with enough time to walk around and meet up with Patrick’s old friend, Eric. Eric, Chris and Johnny (pictured below) took us around and showed us a good time.

We played a venue called “Skull Alley.” It’s a great art space run by Jaime. It reminds a little of the Hexagon in Baltimore. Louisville has produced some great bands such as Slint and Bastro. Don’t say My Morning Jacket, because My Morning Jacket sucks.

Skull Alley has a crazy pink bathroom. It had the usual bathroom scrawl on it, but it’s much more political than the average bathroom. Reminds me of DC bathrooms, where in between writing, “Pete is gay,” the author decides to voice their opinions on Nancy Pelosi. I decided that the only thing that the right and left can agree on is the unalienable right to write dumb shit on a bathroom wall.

We played with two of the best bands we’ve shared a stage with, “Fork in Socket”.

and “Rest Assured.”

Rest Assured is playing the Red and the Black on March 17, and I recommend everyone go check them out. Think Pele meets Maps and Atlases meets Don Cab. They have one of the nastiest drummers you’ll ever see, and he’s only 23, so he can go straight to hell in my opinion. He’s one of those players that you’ll never be as good as no matter how hard you practice. Whenever I see players like that I always think of Gregory Hines’ line from History of the World while he’s tap dancing for the Romans…”Born to do it.”

The show went well. A bunch of kids came out and were really supportive. I injure myself fairly often when I play, and tonight was one of those nights. It’s funny how you never notice you’ve cut yourself until after the set is over.

Brian’s lost his voice a little, so Patrick’s been sharing vocals duties, which has worked out well.

After the show, we went out to the Nachbar. Great beers. Great jukebox. Apparently we’re Arsenal fans.

March 9, 2010, Columbus, Ohio @ The Treehouse

Tuesday nights are tough no matter where you play. The treehouse was no exception. It’s a great venue and gets it’s name from the giant tree the bar was built around. The logo of the bar, which looks like the bonsai logo from Karate Kid, is arranged in lights on the wall of the stage. See the tree and this lamp alone are worth the price of admission.

My friends, Emily and Kyle put us up and brought some people out to the show. At dinner, we all got to enjoy possibly the worst open mic performer of all time. God love him, he tried and I give him credit for that, but he followed up George Michael’s, “Faith” with a song “he wrote in the sixth grade” for which the chorus was “VH1, VH1, VH1.” Thanks Emily and Kyle :)

As we were leaving Columbus, I got this text from Kyle, “FYI Corey Haim is dead.” He was the original Lost Boy and badass in “License to Drive.” First we lose Kirk Cameron to Jesus and now Corey Haim to drugs. Slowly but surely, the world is taking my childhood away from. What’s next, Alf is off cats?

No comments: