04.23.18—Proud Larry’s, Oxford, MS (Screaming Females, Nadir Bliss, Level)

Wake up ass early, and bail out…it’s chilly again, but we sally forth for the highway. Eight hour drive today so we got no time for breakfast. We eventually stop at a gas station for coffee and snacks. Now look, I’m not proud of my dietary selections, but sometimes man…sometimes you want a McDonald’s Breakfast. I order a sausage biscuit and a Hi-C, and hide behind a partition, like I’m trying to not be noticed at a porno shop, while I wolf down this breakfast. I see Jarrett cruise through to use the bathroom and hope against hope that he won’t see me. Hours later, he’ll confirm that he did in fact see me.

Somewhere in Alabama, I get a text “Hey! We all talked last night and decided we want you as our housemate! If you need a moment to think this over just let us know.” I’m freaking out. Is this really happening? It seems like it’s happening. What will I do? Will I find stability out west? Will I finally be happy with life when I’m not on the road? I’m so scared, but also excited. I quietly tell the band. “Hell yeah baby. You gonna do it?” “We’ll see! I got a lot of questions.” The drive is rainy but beautiful. The south gets a lot of crap—deservedly so—but there is some beautiful nature to be found, and like every city there are some true freaks.

Proud Larry’s is an institution of rock history. It’s kind of the only game in town for Oxford; the framed headshots and posters say it all: Ween, Jerry Garcia, Kurt Vile, Palace, Medeski Martin and Wood…this is jam band country and we are gonna do it right tonight. Early on it was decided that tonight—as a tribute to the righteous jam band Phish—tonight, the band will perform “All At Once” in its entirety. This is a reference to Phish’s decision to play “Dark Side Of The Moon” in it’s entirety two days after their annual Halloween show. See, one Halloween, they covered Velvet Underground’s “Loaded” in its entirety and their fans didn’t appreciate it. They didn’t like the record. Two nights later in Salt Lake City, ticket sales were low cuz everyone was banking on the halloween gig. As a raspberry to their fans, they learned all of “Dark Side Of the Moon” in a day and surprised everyone in the second set. Stuff of legend. Tonight, Screamales are going to do the same. Will anyone notice?

Over dinner, we watch some Womens Softball Championship playoff game on the television. I declare that I could be a softball coach.

“There’s nothing to it!”

Jarrett is shaking his head.

“What’s your problem?”

“You’d be a terrible coach.”

“Nah, I’d be the coolest coach in the world. I’d be the party coach. Smokin and drinkin in the pen, taking the gang to club after a win. It’d be great.”

“Your career would be mired in scandal.”

“I know, that’s what’d make me the coolest Womens Softball Coach ever!”

We stash our meals in to go boxes for after the show. I dip down to a bakery and grab some cookies for a late night sweet treat. Our green room is in the basement of the venue, where they stash their vegetables and make their dough. There’s a busted piano in the basement—Marissa and I make a video of us singing “Jackie Wilson Said” a la Archie and Edith Bunker from “All In The Family” You can find it on her instagram. There’s some heartache in it on my end, cuz it’s all winding down. Two shows left to go but trying to keep it positive. It’s been a long but rewarding run.

Level kick things off; they got a cool sound—kind of like the Interpol demos, but with a real howler of a singer. Conversely, Nadir Bliss sound like Interpol after their first album… maybe my brain is warped because JD kept went through a wild cycle on the drive: Napalm Death to Godflesh to Jesu to Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Interpol.That probably warped my opinion because I’ve been singing Interpol songs all day. Anyway, I am convinced that the singer of the band is probably the worst boyfriend in the world. I’m clearly projecting, but his attitude is bratty enough that I can’t help but think that there’s at least two ex’s in the audience frowning at his ass. Screaming Females come through with their promise of a top-to-bottom run through all of “All At Once.” It’s great. I’m amused beyond belief and it makes my time at merch table really easy. Often, someone will come up and say something like “What was the fourth song they played? I want to buy whatever album that song is on” and I’m stumped. Tonight though, I can just point to the new record and say “Like what ya heard? Here it is!” After the set we’re informed we can crash in the green room downstairs and load out in the morning. Great! Mike comes back from the green room, “Man! Someone ate my pizza, and smoked a bunch of weed without leaving us any!” I go downstairs because—as we were told it was a secure green room, my bag containing my laptop, passport, and extra cash is stashed down there. Thankfully they didn’t take any of that, but they did take my cookies? Sucks. Sucks to be violated like that, but it could’ve been much worse. After the show we’re having some brews to wind down, and I confirm with the band that I will do the Fall Tour.

“I love traveling with y’all. I was just surprised you’d ask me before we even finished this tour.”

“We got a good thing going” says Jarrett. “Think about cleveland; Mike was sick, but the three of us handled that extra work without hassle. If we were traveling with someone who didn’t know the routines as well as you do, we would’ve been stuck.”

Good point, and with that, we all bundle up on some very uncomfortable couches and konk out. Don’t steal anything in our sleep.