Well, it didn’t really go as planned; Sam I woke up early to feed the meter, but when we returned to the apartment, ol’boy fell asleep. I got out some extra layers, pulled a tight J that a cutie gave me, and took a jazzy stroll to my temple of gluttony, St. Viateur Bagel. Montreal is known for their food, but one of their more popular delicacies is the bagel. Boiled in a honey brine and then wood fired, the Montreal bagel is a thin, sweet, crispy treat that is great with butter or cream cheese. I snag a dozen everything, a dozen and half poppy, and half a dozen sesame. Return and everyone is still asleep. I’m excited to surprise everyone with a feast. Step out to grab some coffee and everyone is starting to wake up. We all sit around the kitchen, gabbing and chomping away before we return to Vitrola for a load out. It’s a quick drive to Winooski from here, so after load out, we run across the street for breakfast two, which for me is more coffee and a delicious smoothie.
Winooski, VT sits along Lake Champlain, directly across from my hometown, Plattsburgh, NY. The only time I saw Fugazi was in Winooski (okay, Burlington, but they’re one in the same.) I haven’t been back here in years, and it looks entirely different. More condos, more corporate shops, but the strip where Monkey House sits is all local businesses. We have hours to kill, so Jarrett and I dip over to Autumn Records and check out their wares. Lots of good records in here—tons of post-punk and experimental records. Jarrett cops some live Psychic TV records, and I score a jacked but affordable copy of Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation,” “It Had Been An Ordinary Enough Day in Pueblo, Colorado” by British experimental group AMM, and Little Feat’s “Feats Don’t Fail Me Now.” In the shop is a framed classic Public Enemy poster, one that used to hang in my bedroom. It makes me think of the time my mom wouldn’t let me go see Public Enemy, Anthrax and Primus at the Burlington Auditorium without a chaperone. From there we drove into Burlington for a meal. Memories of my teenage stride start flowing as we drive through the city. Given that I grew up across the lake, I get a heads up that my dad is coming to the show tonight. He’s never seen The Screaming Females and he’s excited.
There’s no opening act tonight, save for the happy hour feature at the Monkey House, a Grateful Dead cover band. Not bad, they sure got the tone down, but what is a cover band that covers songs The Dead covered? I step outside and run into my old college classmate Johnny; I haven’t seen him in nearly 19 years. We used to work on the college newspaper together, and he’s still in that game, doing layout for the local weekly Seven Days. It was great to briefly reunite with him. I’ve been asked to DJ for the evening, and I’m quite excited because not only is it the last night of this tour, but at midnight it’ll be my birthday. Thankfully, the dj rig is set up right next to the merch table so I’m able to flip 45s and fold t-shirts at the same time. This is definitely the smallest room we’ve seen on tour, but the vibes are right; there are so many adorable North Country queers in the room, and it warms my heart. I never felt safe being out in this part of the world, but maybe it was the time and not the location. Regardless, I’m in high spirits seeing some unique and wonderful people in the room.
Radiator Hospital play a tremendous set, and goddamn I’m emotional. They’re just tearing it up, and Mike and myself are bopping and singing along behind the turntables. I’m truly gonna miss seeing them every night; they’re just the best, they’re tremendous musicians, they are solid musicians and they have the best laughs and jokes. I hate these moments when you part and aren’t sure when you’ll see each other again. But goddamn, I’m so grateful for these past two weeks, getting to see these guys every night. Rock on, Radiator Hospital. Y’all are the best.
Screaming Females kick off and I can’t pay attention because I keep looking at the door waiting for my dad to roll through. I start assuming he’s asleep, maybe he had a big meal, and konked out. The guy is 75 years old, anyway so I cut him so slack, and get back to the show. He eventually rolls in. Big hugs. Jeff from Radiator is freaking out because he loves talking to Dads. I pull Dad aside and ask him if he wants to hang out in the back with me. He takes out his hearing aids, puts in his earplugs, and walks directly into the pit. Wild, man. Set ends, and I start up again on the decks. People are dancing and drinking, my Dad meets everyone in the bands, starts chatting up some rock history with them. Eventually he and I sit down for a shot when the volume on the PA drops. “Oh, Marissa is trying to get your attention,” my dad says. I walk over to the PA and before I realize what’s happening, the entire bare is singing “Happy Birthday” to me. I try to run out the bar, but no dice. Lots more laughs and hugs before Dad gets a cab back to his hotel and we load out.
I made it through two weeks of weird weather, weird venues, weird drives, unknown sleeping quarters and nary a scratch on my body. No injuries, not even a cut. We get to the crash pad for the evening and of course, I slip on some ice and take a nasty spill. I bend my left leg in a way I’ve never expected.
“Stay down” exclaims Jarrett. “Just don’t move. Take your time moving.” I’m laying on the icey driveway, laughing at my own stupidity in not moving slow, and my lack of traction on the boots. I look up and Marissa has also taken a spill, but she’s fine because she’s small and spry. I slowly move my leg after what feels like minutes of thinking I broke it, and limp up the three flights of stairs to our crash pad where our rad host Phoebe greets us with more birthday treats. Way to ring it in, with a really busted leg. Thankfully, nothing is broken, or sprained. Just really tender. I take a bunch of ibuprofen and fall asleep, wondering how this is going to affect the next tour in only a few weeks. Only time will tell.