The stretch of rural Pennsylvania between New York and Pittsburgh in the Allegheny mountains was the prettiest drive we’ve had so far on this trip:
But it was handily excelled by Pittsburgh, which Jamie dramatically undersold- it’s a remarkable city.
We spent a refreshing evening with Jamie’s high school buddies conversing about topics from high and low culture, contemporary and historical, and of course hearing embarrassing stories. We also acquired, at great personal cost to Sam, one incriminating picture, which shall be reserved from the public eye until such time as Jamie misses a sufficient number of rehearsals.
Yesterday afternoon we drove through Ohio, which reminded me strongly of home, by which I mean flat and boring.
May 23, 2015: Third Street Dive (Louisville) with The Elixirs and Overload
One of our goals in Louisville (you may notice a theme here) was to partake of the local sandwich, the somewhat unappetizingly named Hot Brown. At dinner, Jamie took one for the team:
“It’s not even brown!” I exclaimed in frustration. As it turns out the sandwich, named after the hotel where it was invented and not its appearance at all, is a perfectly acceptable variation on Welsh rarebit. I mushed my tasteless black bean burger in sulky silence and accepted the failure of my mission to get Jamie to eat gross food. Next time we’re totally doing Cincinnati chili.
This was sort of an unusual gig because there was a lot of variety in the bands that were playing. We chose to sub in Giant Pygmy, which we prepped but hadn’t yet played on the tour, on the theory that it would be more accessible to a mixed audience.
I couldn’t tell well it went over, but Angela said the door guy, Frederick was air-guitaring along and we got some good comments after the show, so I guess people were into it.
We got a pretty decent video of the entire performance of “Lurching Away,” which we’ll post when we get to a place with better internet.
The Elixirs, of Gas City, Indiana, were respresented to me as a psychobilly band, but they were more along the lines of a heavily Misfits-influenced punk rock band with a standup bass and a few small country touches.
Their drummer Nate got on my good side for life by voluntarily asking about my drumset (EXC– USE ME SIR DO YOU HAVE A MOMENT TO TALK ABOUT TAMA ROYALSTARS), and blew a pretty large hole in my Theorem of Drummer Hats, i.e. forwards ballcap = good drummer, backwards ballcap = bad drummer.
You can buy Elixirs stuff on their website.
The headliner was a local band with the somewhat generic name of Overload. Since the venue booked them, none of us had really researched them, and so we were pleasantly surprised when they revved up with some pretty solid NWOBHM riffs.
But we were totally unprepared for what happened about two minutes into the song, when guitarist Cheyenne Powell pulled the ripcord on a shred solo so monstrous that we were left with our jaws gaping. This happened, with what looked like a complete absence of effort, again on the second song, and in literally every one thereafter. I’m talking the whole nine here: blazingly fast fretboard action; perfectly clean tapping; the best sweep picking I’ve ever seen; flipping his left hand over and fretting from the top of the neck; and whatever the fuck this shit is:
Though all of Cheyenne’s solos were technical, they were also all different- enough so that you could tell these were actual compositions, not just a bunch of thrown-together flashy bullshit. Jamie and I basically spent the whole set turning to each other, mouths gaping and arms spread wide, in wordless shock.
It was also Cheyenne’s 22nd birthday, and his parents and girlfriend Abby made cupcakes for everyone!
I’ll have video of one of Cheyenne’s solos up later, but in the meantime, go buy their new EP, Unvanquished, on Bandcamp. I did.
Thanks very much Rick, Bobby, Frederick and everybody at the Third Street Dive for having us, and to Overload and the Elixirs for letting us share the stage with them. And to Cheyenne for blowing our damn minds.
That’s pretty much it for Louisville. Tonight: Memphis, and tomorrow, back home! Assuming it hasn’t been washed into the sea that is.