Postcards – Memory Map Tour Diary Pt. 5

Our pals Memory Map were out on tour, and have so graciously agreed to document their color coded adventures for us.  The fifth entry comes to us from Mr. Blue, Mike Bridavsky – who sent in tiny, tiny, tiny images for this entry. So bust out those comedy magnifying eyeglasses – because you may need them.

Friday, May 27th, 2011 (6 days post-rapture), Cleveland, OH to Columbus, OH:

Yo WTF is up blog readers, the Blue Jew here. Yeah this shit is SO behind sched, I KNOW! It’s pretty tough to keep up! So anyhow…

Following a night of homemade pickles, three-buck-chuck and a screening of Metallica’s “Some Kind of Monster” at my parents’ house, we slept-in apocalypse style. Even still, we had plenty of time to eat bagels and homemade lox, do laundry, get hungry again and head down to Coventry to meet my old friend Matt and eat at Tommy’s. Thanks to my Mom and Pops for their generosity and hospitality.

On our short trip from the van to the restaurant we got called a “bunch of skittles” by some rowdy bros in an Acura. “There is no blue skittle”, I yelled back. This was followed by a band discussion of weather or not tropical and other marketing-friendly flavors/colors should be considered. A decision was not reached before reaching our seats in the restaurant.

As usual the food at Tommy’s was exceptional. I got my favorite, the Colleen (falafel, muenster cheese, green peppers, tomato and bacon on toasted pita). They toast it so that the edges of the cheese get perfectly browned, burned and crispy. We all split two full orders of fresh cut fries, doused in malt vinegar. After the meal I visited the bathroom. The tommy’s bathroom contains my favorite piece of bathroom graffiti (which i have seen elsewhere since then, but i like to think this is the original…I first noticed it over a decade ago in my high school days). The hand dryer has illustrated instructions on it (phew!). Next to the picture of a hand pushing the button someone wrote “push button”. The adjacent illustration is of a pair of hands poised below the dryer vent appearing to be dried by three red squiggly heat waves. Next to this instructional illustration is written, “get bacon”. Please see attached photo. On the way back to our table a couple at a booth pointed at me in amusement. They must have noticed the seemingly endless parade of color clad men coming to and from the restroom. Get over it people. After the meal we stood up and all high fived my friend Matt, thanked him and his lady friend Kate for the colored belts, and shoved off for Columbus, OH.

The drive to Columbus was easy. On the way we stopped at a “GOasis” for gas, bladder draining and snacks. On the way out I challenged Joshy to a game of “FACE ME!” along the garden wall. After I CRUSHED him, a group of ladies about our age “just had to know what was up with the colors”! “We’re in a band”, I explained. We chatted for a short while about how amazing, talented and special we are and how much moms love us. They asked if we had CD, which of course we did. “Would you want to give us one for free?” they asked. “No, not really” I responded, being totally honest and doing my best to not sound like a complete dick. They took it well. We said our goodbyes and headed back to the van. As I started the ignition they waved at us and approached the van. “You sold us on it, we’ll buy a CD”. BOOM! Thanks guys, hope you and your moms love it. If not, talk to Karl.

Our show in Columbus was at a venue called The Treehouse. We got there on time, as usual. We are a seriously punctual group of dudes. We initially parked the van in the back, along a wooden fence, with a post busted out. Dixon went inside. He made his way to other side of the gate and poked his head through the hole in fence. “HERE COMES JONNY” Matty and I both exclaimed. NOICE.

We then loaded our stuff into the green room and lo and behold! There, behind a fold-up table stood a giant painting of Jack Nicholas from that very same scene that we had just quoted. DBL NOICE.

The Treehouse is a really cool place. It is dark and creepy yet somehow warm and inviting, with a maze of rooms, some a step higher than others. The “stage” was in a room with a big tree growing through the middle, hence the name “Treehouse”. On the wall behind the stage was a very well designed symbol made out of string lights. Tonight was Kyle’s birthday. Kyle is an all around sweet guy, was the promoter of the show, and his band The Kyle Sowashes were playing with us that night.

We told Kyle about being called Skittles which led to a conversation about Skittles in general, which segued to a discussion about Starburst, which fatefully arrived at his recipe for a “Skittleburst Sandwich” which is just a Skittle sandwiched between two Starbursts. We went to the Giant Eagle and bought a bag of Skittles and Starbursts so that the guests of the bar could make their own Skittleburst Sandwiches in celebration of Kyle’s birthday. I made a sandwich. I did not particularly like it.

The first performance of the evening came from a fella on an acoustic guitar and a babe dressed like Weird Al Yankovic. It was… AWESOME. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of their band, it was actually two members from another band and they had made up a name for that night and I have no idea what that is. Regardless, they performed Weird Al songs with props in celebration of Kyle’s birthday. Dixon especially loved it and sang along and life was good.

The Kyle Sowashes played next and sounded phenomenal in my opinion. I’ve had the pleasure of playing with them on several other occasions and have always enjoyed their set, but tonight they were on fire. The room sounded great and everyone was feeling good.

We set up after the birthday boy’s band. Dixon’s banter was really starting to shine at this point on our tour. He gracefully connected with the audience (or what was left of it), interjecting witty comments and pop-culture references while simultaneously keeping it real and personal. He’s going to make one hell of a professor.

The last band of the night was a new group called Man In the Yellow Suit. Sounds like Dixon’s solo project. But it was only a coincidence. I sat outside for most of their set, but really enjoyed what I heard from the beer garden. Dude played some cool chords.

We stayed with Matty’s friends Austin, Amanda and Pat. They laid out a bed and sheets in their comfortable and clean home. There was a kitty in this home. The kitty’s name is Arthur, and the kitty is one solid bro. We slept.

Saturday, May 28th, 2011 (7 days post-rapture) Columbus, OH to Grand Rapids, MI:

We woke up. Matty and I got some coffee and sorbet and were approached by some hairstylists who loved our colorful outfits. They went back to styling hair, and we went back to the house. Jumped in the van and set out for Chicago with our very own man in the yellow suit behind the wheel.

Tonight’s show was at Pancho’s, a Mexican restaurant with a bar/venue attached to it, owned by a bald, fashionable man named Pancho. Pancho wears fancy frames, too much cologne and has a whole bag full of noisemakers that he passes out to show goers during bands’ sets. The venue was able to have all-ages shows there and still serve drinks. We were playing with our good friends in Prizzy Prizzy Please who were playing for the first time in a long while with Bloomington super-bud Nick Romy filling in on bajo. Also on the bill were Shellshag and Truman and His Trophy. It was an early show, starting at 7:30 pm with Truman and His Trophy.

I tried using one of my drink tickets before 7:00, which for some unknown reason was not allowed. So I opted to get myself some Jameson. But I had to spend at least 10 bucks so I got a double. It cost 14 bucks, WTF. I tipped generously thinking the bartender would suddenly be nice. So I spent about 18 bucks on a drink. That was stupid. Shortly after receiving my overpriced drink, Scottie, Mark and Nick from Prizzy showed up. We decided to grab some food next door at the Boiler Room so I left my drink by the door. I ordered my food, a slice with nothing but balsamic vinegar, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil. But of course the show started earlier than anticipated, and I had to go set up before the pizza arrived which also meant I missed Truman and His Trophy’s set (who apparently were very good). When I got back to Pancho’s my 20 dollar drink was missing. No one knew what happened to it and the bartender denied throwing it away. When I explained it cost me almost 20 bucks and felt I should get a new one, she disagreed. Why do I bother tipping? Why did I spend so much on relatively shitty whiskey? I don’t know. But we played a good set. People seemed to enjoy it and suddenly the bartender was nice. She didn’t give me another drink, but at least she wasn’t a total dickhead.

There was a guy at the show that was giving people free bags of cookies. Apparently he goes to every Truman and His Trophy show and passes out free homemade cookies to people because “what could make a good show better? Free cookies”. They were fantastic and did not make me feel funny, for better or for worse.

Shellshag played after us, and I really enjoyed their set. A male/female duo that play catchy and sincere pop songs using a guitar through a heptagonal home made amp/cabinet with 15 speakers, and a standing drum set.

Prizzy played next. As Mark was tuning his saxophone, I smelled Pancho approaching (seriously, this guy wears WAY too much cologne). He walked up to Mark, squeaked and squalled through a saxophone reed that he pulled out of his pocket and said to him, “let me know if you need someone to fill in, I got you”. Whatever dude, you’re weird and wear too much cologne. Prizzy filled the room with a crowd of super normal 20-somethings. It was like a group of people got lost on the way to the Hairbanger’s Ball show at the Bluebird and magically stumbled into Pancho’s (they must have just followed the scent of his cologne). Prizzy has this uncanny ability to appeal to every demographic, from straight up college kids to dirty punk rock kids. I imagine that this is because they are amazing performers, wonderful people and write awesome party songs. They played so well it sounded like they were in the middle of a 2 month tour. People were dancing and having a great time. Then Pancho got on stage with a guiro and played along without a warning. Seriously dude, WHAT IS YOUR DEAL?!

For the rest of the night whenever Pancho saw me he would point at me and shake his head “no” while motioning for me to get out of the club. And then would laugh and pat me on the back as I choked on his cologne.

After the show Joshy left to party with a girl in a tiny hat, Matt and Dixon drove the van back to our friend Zespy’s house and I waited for my friend Greg to meet me for a drink. Greg and I enjoyed a few High Lifes while some noise bands played in the bar. Then I got a text from Zespy seeing if we wanted to meet him at another bar called Quencher’s across the street from his place. We met him there and he treated me to a few drinks of a fine Pappy Van Winkle bourbon and the three of us effortlessly plowed through 5 baskets of popcorn. The bar closed and we went back to Zespy’s where I slept like a rock.

Sunday, May 29th, 2011 (8 days post-rapture), Chicago, IL to Grand Rapids, MI:

We LOVE staying at Zespy’s. He has an entire room for touring bands with 4 individual bunk beds, fresh sheets and fresh towels. Also a giant room filled to the brim with over 30 or 40 classic arcade games and pinball machines all set to be played for free! We had to wake up early because Matty had to be at a wedding near Grand Rapids today. Joshy was not with us when we awoke, but was dropped off at Zespy’s at 8:30 am by the lady in the tiny hat. He had not slept yet, and had a shit-eating grin on his face.

We cleaned up quick and hopped in the van. Matty was going to his cousin’s wedding about an hour north of Grand Rapids, and would drop us off with the dudes from the band Shores that we would be playing with later that night in Grand Rapids. We got to Grand Rapids by 1:00 pm and were left with our friend Brian while Matty drove onward to the wedding where he would meet up with our purple womanager Lisa, who would be joining us for the remainder of the tour. In addition to being our womanager, she is Matty’s lover. And no, she did not try designing us costumes that coincided with our astrological signs.

So Joshy, Dixon and I were now in Grand Rapids. Turns out that our host, Brian, played in another band called Andy Dick Tracy Morgan Freeman that Dixon had recorded at my studio about 5 years ago. And his current band Shores had recently played several shows with our friends in Husband&Wife and Morrow, and one of the more recent shows was actually held at The Sound Workshop, in the garage attached to my studio back in Bloomington. After talking about all of these uncanny coincidences plus a couple random segues, Brian asked us if we wanted to go play pickup baseball. Dixon said “yes”, I hesitated “yes”, and Josh passed the fuck out on a couch.

Let me explain why I hesitated “yes”. I am terrified of baseball. I hadn’t played it since Hawken Summer Camp, 1989. It was Parent’s Day at camp, and everyone’s folks came for the day to watch their kids play sports. So for the baseball portion of Parent’s Day, our counselors explained that there is no such thing as a strike-out, and every kid must hit the ball. Well I was the first up to bat, and couldn’t hit the ball for the life of me. My camp-mates counted 89 strikes before we ran out of time, and no one else even got to go up to bat. This is quite possibly the most embarrassing moment of my life, a monumental failure. Let’s just say I didn’t go back to that summer camp the following year, and haven’t played baseball since.

So let’s fast forward 22 years to our current situation in Grand Rapids, MI. I agreed to go play some pickup baseball with a group of people I had never met in my life. It was time I challenged my fear head on. Dixon, Brian and I showed up at the field and I was relieved to see a bunch of folks with cigarettes in their mouths, tattoos on their arms, looking hung-over and fumbling around the field having a good time. They weren’t taking it seriously, which made me feel a bit better. Dixon and I were added to one of the teams. When it came time for me to bat they explained that “there are no strike-outs, just swing until you hit it”. FUCK. I panicked. I was about to completely embarrass myself in front of twenty people I’d never met before in my life. The first pitch was thrown and I flailed the bat at the ball and didn’t even come close. I was shaking! I looked over at Dixon who was already at first base and I could see in his eyes that he was worried for me (I had told him the story before we got there). Another pitch, another flailing strike. The third pitch came at me… and I nailed it! I think I even made it to home that inning. Got an RBI in the next inning. And then the rain came down, we ran to the van and I felt pretty damn good about myself.

After the baseball game we headed to the grocery store to pick up bratwurst, sauerkraut and beer, and then headed back to Brian’s place. A bunch of folks from the baseball game met us there. We all grilled out, had some beers, talked about people jumping off bridges, hit-and-runs and other random anecdotes, watched some of the Woodstock documentary and then head out to the venue for the show.

As we pulled up to the DAAC (the venue we were playing at) in Brian’s van, Matty pulled up at the very same time on his way back from the wedding, with Lisa in the passenger seat. Like I said, we are consistently punctual. Lisa looked fabulous in her purple outfit, and now the only color we were missing from the rainbow was red.

The DAAC is a cool little all-ages venue with brick walls and very pleasing live sound to the room. We decided to wait until our set to load-in, so we hung out outside the venue with the guys from Shores. What we noticed about Grand Rapids is that they have the absolute worst case of beggars/panhandlers we have ever experienced. I was literally asked for a cigarette and/or money about ten times that night. It was really weird, but at least I got a lot of practice saying “no”.

We played a pretty good show in front of a modest crowd. I liked how we sounded in that room which made it fun to play. Shores played after us and were great. Their mood, pacing and songwriting are right up my alley, in the vein of Bedhead/The New Year. And they sounded especially good in the DAAC. After the show I bought their LP (which you can get on No Idea Records) and we discussed them coming down to Bloomington to make a record at my studio. I really hope that it happens.

Our plan was to head back to Chicago after our Grand Rapids show so we could stay at Zespy’s again and have a shorter drive to Milwaukee the following day. We bid farewell to our new friends and set off back to Chicago. Lisa drove most of the way. It was good to have her on our team. I vaguely remember sleepily stumbling into Zespy’s apartment. Next thing I know it’s the following morning and I’m ripping some Last Action Hero pinball.

Memory Map play rock and roll. Be sure to check out the first part of their tour diary here, the second part here, the third part here, and the fourth part here, and grab the new album here.

One Comment to “Postcards – Memory Map Tour Diary Pt. 5”

  1. Greeeeeeeeat Blog Love the Infomation you have provided me .

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