Midwest PART 2 (Shows # 4 & 5)

Quote from The Onion Vol. 41, Issue 27. On the newstands right now: "NEW YORK — A U.S. Geological Survey expeditionary force announced Tuesday that it has discovered a previously unknown and unexplored land mass between the New York and California coasts known as the "Midwest"."

We just got to the venue and they are still in the midst, literally, of remodeling. They thought they'd be done by tonight, but alas. Par for the course. So, I am in a wireless cafe in Lansing, MI. I just bought a chocolate milkshake and paid a buck for 15 minutes of internet time. So here goes: OUR CHICAGO SHOW GOT CANCELLED!!! We were supposed to play The Studio in Chi-town on 7/14 but the place closed down indefinitely as they could not foot the bill for necessary electrical repairs, nor, apparently, did the have the inclination to try and move their long since scheduled shows comprised of bands many of whom are on tour and have traveled VERY long distances to play Chicag,o the whole point of even going on a midwestern tour, elsewhere. So, yesterday we drove from Appleton, WI to Chcago and busked on a street corner in the area of Chicago known as Wicker Park. We set up at a 5 way intersection and made some cash and even sold a CD to some sucker. Just kidding. He wasn't really a sucker.He was very sweet and gave us his dollars. Then we packed up and drove 4 hours to Lansing, MI. We got here at 4am. 

Here is something I wrote in the car yesterday:
7/10/05 Sunday. Our only day off. I am penning this in the van and'll transfer later unless I puke all over it and can't read it becuz usually I get super nausous when I try to read or write in a moving vehicle. However, it is more likely that WeeTay will puke as he already asked if we had anything for him to vomit in, just in case. Will isn't doing so well. He claims to have lost 10 lbs in 4 days and says his stomach feels like someone is punching him all the time. We may spend our day off in the ER. We just passed South thru Oshkosh, WI (where we played on Thurs). We drove past a huge graveyard and Jamie says, "No wonder this town is so small, everybody is fuckin dead." Dudes. We just passed my first herd of buffalo. Kinda like My Little Pony. Here we are. On our way to Chi-town. All I want is a slice of amazing cheesecake and a park to do some yoga in. And no, yoga does not contradict cheesecake or vice versa.
Have I mentioned that this is officailly our Hedwig and The Angry Inch tour. So far we have played a Mongolian restaurant and a pizza parlor. Hurricane Dennis should be spinning storms here at any minute. And my brain is insane sometimes.No shit. But, despite my ramblings from yesterday morning, all of which probably read very negatively, we do not depart Wisconsin with a sour taste in our collective mouth. The Wandering Sons are sweethearts. Corey, the frontman, put us up in his folks house for 3 days, gave us all the door money from Fri. and all the jar $ from last night. I could tell he felt bad about the poor turnout on Friday, but I guess it is just a lesson for all of us. We are very grateful to him for hosting us in his hometown for 3 days. Did his Mom actually know we crashed at her house while she was on vacation. If not, she is gonna here about it from the neighbors because they definitely noticed us, especially Big Gay Will in his fuschia sarong and green mohawk. The pinnacle of style. So, we drive to Chicago, play in Lansing tomorrow and then I guess we'll decide whether to cancel the rest of this tour or not. Without a Chicago show, though, it doesn't really make much sense to stay out, or does it. We are confused and I just know that I want to play every show we can play.

7/9/05 Cranky Pat's (Neenah, WI)
w/ The Wandering Sons

Ladies, when a gal pulls up to the venue and there is a giant spinning sign that says "Cranky Pats Pizzeria" she feels real special. Fisrt Deb took a video of the sign with her cell phone, and then we all had our pictures taken in front of the sign. At this point we really thought we were going to be performing for families eating their Saturday dinner. But, in fact, this turned out to be a really cool little spot. They have these giant thick partitions they pull every whichway and turn the back half of the restaurant into a bar w/ a stage. No shit. So, we dragged all our gear in their to the sounds of elderly midwestern accents oohing and awing about how much crap we had and, Maude, what's he got there, that wooden thing, whatdya suppose that is, pass the corn and cheese, can't a man get anything to eat in this part of the country besides corn and cheese? So before we could set up the stage we had to wait for everyone eating in taht part of the room to clear out. Food was free for us so we ordered a WHOLE LOT of it. Enough to last all the next day. And, I partook of the sveerly old school salad bar. Remember when Mom would take us to Sizzler? Here is what the Cranky Pats salad bar had, each in a seperate aluminum canister, on a giant bed of ice inside a metal trolly w/ wheels: iceberg lettuce, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, cherry tomatoes, huge slices of cucumber, fancy cut carrots, crutons, broccoli, cauliflower, canned pineapple, sesame seeds, chinese noodles, sesame sticks and ranch dressing. No frills. I ate the hell out of it and so did LaPage. Then we set up the stage, only ran vocal mics thru the board. All the elctrical outlets were 8 feet up on the wall behind a curtain. Everytime one of us would plug something in, if we forgot to move the curtain back over the outlet, the agent for the place would jump on stage and cover up any part of the wall that was showing. I don't even think he realized he was doing it. So, we played to a packed room, which was a good change of pace. The Wandering Sons totally rocked the house. We went home exhausted, full of pizza and pasta. Woke up the next day and went busking in Wicker Park. Stayed in Chicago until way late, then drove to Michigan.

7/11/05 Magdalena's(Lansing, MI)
w/ Sarah Cleaver & Kate Peterson

So we got to Michigan at about 4am. Our hosts, Kate Peterson & Sarah Cleaver, gave us 3 double beds and two oscillating fans in their attic. We slept like 5 logs on a slow river. Woke up and they took us to a chrome diner to eat fried fish sandwiches and this thing called "hippe hash". then we went thrifting and I founf probably the greatest pair of high heels ever manufactured by 5 year olds in China, but, alas, I did not purchase them because I don't understand the deadly art of walking in high heels. But let me just tell you that they were SAFETY ORANGE, with stark white heel and sole, and the opening for the foot was ELASTIC so that it never could rub you the wrong way. It was like ergonomic footwear for hookers. So then... we pulled up to the tea house and furniture was stacked high, and a bunch of people were running around with electric saws, planks of wood and nail guns. Yup, folks, the renovations had not quite been completed. Um, so, we set up the stage amidst their chaos, which in turn created more chaos. That's when I broke free in search of a chocolate malt. I found an internerd cafe across the street and, lo, the had shakes, but no malt powder. What is up with that??? That is like the 4th time on the Midwest tour that happened to me. I guess I'll have to start carrying my own sachet of the increasingly rare and highly prized malt powder. I guess the Midwest tapped out all their malt mines back in aught four. Sarah and Kate opened the show. Those ladies got soul, and they supah bad. Then we performed to a very sweet and laid back geoup of folks. They even tolerated my turning off the AC unit so that our subtleties were more audible. You see, in Asia, we're famous for our subtleties: the sighs, hums, buzzs, and the faint sound of "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" creeping thru Deb's amp. After we packed up, our crew and the Lansing crew all ended up at Sarah and Kate's eating pizza, drinking beer and listening to Deb talk about the time she was on tour with Josh Joplin and saw Bob Dylan's foxy son backstage and he almost brought her out of retirement. Then to sleep. Then to wake and drive the interminably long distance to Des Moines, IA. Sheesh.


Page Campbell