Our first show was last night, but in order to make it all the way to Nashville on time we had to leave Houston on Tuesday night. Which means that Angela (once again along to handle merch) and I had to leave Austin on Tuesday afternoon. As a result, by the time we rolled in Nashville at around 6, we felt like we’d been tour for about a week already.
(Melissa and Sam were so loopy that they accidentally wore the same dress to the prom.)
Turning onto Gallatin Ave from Douglas, we noticed a man lying face-down in a patch of grass between two parking lots. A police officer was going through his pockets. “Hey there’s a guy passed out over there,” someone observed.
As we pulled into the parking lot of the venue, a fire engine screamed past, heading in his direction.
The Nashville show was set up by Melissa’s old friend J.D. Tucker, who now owns a Curiosity Shoppe next to the East Room called Hail Dark Aesthetics (named by the Nashville Scene as 2014’s “Best Place to Buy Devil Stuff!”). As we waited for the venue to open, we perused his rather impressive collection of preserved eyeballs and insects, weird art, and oh yes did I mention TAXIDERMY
This festive fellow was perhaps the least of the offerings on hand at Hail, which included everything from ungulate heads of all manner to a raccoon ass (really).
“People who bought an Omotai record ALSO bought: a cow skull!”
If these float your boat, we highly recommend that you peruse Hail’s Instagram at @hailnashville.
After we loaded in, we stepped down to a local burger stand called Fat Mo’s to fuel up.
When we were ordering, the gentleman at the window seemed a little confused, not to mention green around the gills. We could see the staff conversing urgently inside as we waited for our food. Suddenly, an ambulance and a fire truck screeched into the drive-through. As they carted away the cashier on a stretcher, the owner called out, “Who had the chocolate milkshake?”
Shaken (har), we returned the club and prepared for the first of 11 shows.
May 13, 2015: The East Room (Nashville) with Death Card, Sheep Shifter and Badge Collector
Death Card opened up with a short but satisfyingly heavy set of groove-based hardcore.
At the end of the set someone shouted for an encore. “We don’t know any more songs!” they apologized. Hear some songs from Death Card’s still-forthcoming debut EP, Ghostwriter Unborn, on their bandcamp page.
Our set went pretty well, although as Angela put it we “looked a little tired” on stage. We probably should have put a little more thought into our setlist as well- what we played was just sort of a random grab bag from the songs we prepped for the tour.
A Ruined Oak
Last of the Green Vial
This Is For Zora
After us came Sheep Shifter, who were my #1 seed in our NCAA-style single-elimination tournament to pick the best band name from this tour. Turned out they were actually playing a cockfight-style show with another band called Badge Collector. So this meant that there were about 9 guys on stage all told.
Sheep Shifter are sort of a Jesus Lizard-y rock band, while Badge Collector are a little more toward the punk side. But with both bands more or less trading off songs but sometimes playing together, both singers climbing on the drumsets, people tackling each other onto the floor and various gear getting thrown around, the overall effect was little short of total chaos. In short it was rock and roll as fuck.
You can hear Sheep Shifter and Badge Collector on Bandcamp; it won’t be the same as watching them run amok on stage but maybe you can just knock over your china hutch or something while you play it on your hi-fi.
After the show we headed over to J.D.’s house where we hung out swapping stories about old Houston bands and armed robberies at Amy’s Ice Creams while drinking Yuengling and gawking at all the stuffed/mummified animals that are too weird or off-putting to go on display at Hail and therefore naturally adorn the den in the basement.
Sam took van duty while Melissa and Jamie crashed in the living room; as for Angela and me, we bedded down on J.D.’s porch:
We awoke in the morning to a view of the Cumberland River.
Did you know that the this waterway (at Cumberland Falls) is one of the few places in the Western Hemisphere where a moonbow can be seen? Amazing!
All in all I have to count this as an successful- not to mention eventful!- start to the tour. Thanks to Death Card, Sheep Shifter and Badge Collector for playing with us, J Ethos and Chris Crude of Hell Bent For Metal for sick DJ sets between bands, Luke for running sound and everyone else at the East Room for having us. And most of all extra special super duper thanks to J.D. and his partner Nina for setting up the show, putting us up, putting up with us, telling us rad stories and making us feel loved and wanted!