Woke up near 9:30 to the sound of cats stretching and meowing. Coffee is in the air at the State Champion headquarters and I check my phone for news. Nothing yet. I missed most of the news yesterday as I had a very early flight out of Oakland and touched down in Newark around rush hour. I don’t need to see a woman deliver a testimony to a dais of men to know she’s telling the truth; my people, my loves, my family have been there. They all had to relive their own stories and trauma (Again) for the past two weeks. Feels so helpless in this male plague.
Rearranged my travel luggage for the third time in as many days, sipped some coffee, had a smoke. Band is scheduled to arrive around Noon. They’ll practice, then we’ll load the whip, and head to Lancaster. The previous night Mike, Tracy and myself motored out to Rutherford to watch the incredible Mary Houlihan perform her one woman show “Jack and Me.” Over falafels Mike and I played a couple guessing games.
“How many times do you think we’ll go to Planet Fitness?”
“Okay, but how many times will we talk about going to Planet Fitness? Everyday!”
“How many times will we go to the (redacted organic grocery store monolith) hot bar for breakfast?”
“I’ll say two times.”
“Okay, six times.”
Creatures of habit, this being my sixth tour I still pack my gym wear even though I know we’ll only hit the gym twice. I do this because I like options being available to me. That and if the room is a total sweatbox, I can throw the gym gear on under the jumpsuit and breathe easy.
Mike and I jam WFMU on the box (the greatest radio station in the world) while we assemble some new State Champion releases to take out on the road. Jarrett shows up, Marissa shows up. We chit chat and laugh it up a bit before they head to the basement for a quick run through before leaving. I take this time as an opportunity to shave. I shave in solace while one of my favorite bands knock out song after song. I sing “Rose Mountain” while I shave.
Fresh and clean, we load the whip up. All day it’s been warm with slight drizzles and slight wind. So comforting. I love a warm rain. I haven’t felt a rain in months. I moved to California in July and haven’t seen a trace of rain. “Oh yeah, it’s all on fire” these eastcoasters will say to me.
Drive down was easy, some traffic. Nabbed some grub to tide us over until we load in. Jarrett scored a ton of mixes from the Scrapbrain family after their last UK tour, so we jammed a bassline mix that was absolutely absurd. Reminded me that I wanted to play an early DJ Rashad mix for Jarrett. We also jammed the Patricia album “Body Issues,” which is so dreamy. Apparently we are that band now—hard rockers in the front, party in the back. From there we jammed the Kanye/Lil Pump cut, and the ASAP Rocky/Skrillex cut.
Last time we were in Lancaster was 2016, out with Moor Mother. This was before the world really changed. We were supposed to be in the lower, smaller level of this venue, but got bumped to larger level because there was a video game tournament happening below. Bumped for Frogger—fuckin showbiz. Tonight is different. American Bar and Grill is a single level bistro with a big bar and a small live space. Perfect. Love this stuff. Pack all the bodies in, give me the congested merch space, and lets cook. I know that could read like sarcasm, but it isn’t. Maybe it would’ve been a couple months ago, but tonight it feels perfect. Sam from the righteous Radiator Hospital and fellow vibe tech Kate cruised down from Philly and it’s so great to see them. Hugs and laughs, it feels good to be back out again.
Drummer from the opening band, Baby Brains, is late so they’ll middle, and Kitten Forever will kick it off—no big deal, we got a packed room, and it’s a free show. Kitten Forever blast this place off with an endless barrage of funky rhythm and telephone chants. Really go the crowd moving. At one point, I was so giddy with joy, I dropped my drink. Monster band, and I am so excited to see them every night for a month. Their roadie, Cheyenne is decked in a fine cowboy outfit—red slacks, dark blue denim jacket, pink cowboy hat. Man, I love that style. I hope we both stick to roadie outfits for this run. Baby Brains follow through with some anthemic, hooky garage rock. Great. Just great.
There are two dudes in this room I want gone. Okay, one really. Trust me, I understand: It’s Friday night in Lancaster! You got your nice outfit on, you got a couple drinks. We all wanna have fun, but if you’re swaying about, making leering eyes at ladies, and try touching me with the defense “I’m just trying to rock out” then we’re gonna have a conversation. I’m not the only one with dude in the crosshairs. One person by the merch table cheers me as I brush him away. Y’all, have fun—enjoy rock and roll, but watch out for the people around you. Read a room! Stop it with this confidence that we all want your antics. It’s how we ended up in this situation we’re in now. The other guy I want gone is fine—Kate talked him out of his little act before it could get out of hand. Pro vibe tech move.
Screamales are shot out of a cannon, opening with a strong “Black Moon” and they didn’t let up. The room is so packed, and my kidneys are aching to be relieved, but alas the restrooms are behind the band. No dice, so I’ll just hop up and down until the room clears out. There’s a lot of hopping going on, so many cuties all reveling in the glory of rock. It’s what we needed after a tumultuous, emotionally draining week. Move some units, finally hit the head, shoot the breeze with Sam and Kate, and we are gone into the night…to Harrisburg, PA to rest. Get to Harrisburg where I let out a heroic amount of urine on a tree, when a man appeared out of nowhere. He looked like the “Got A Light?” drifter from Season 3 of “Twin Peaks.” Jarrett looks freaked.
“whats up man?”
and off he went, into the night.