So, when I awoke in Raleigh two days ago I felt like I was dying. Granted, I knew my allergies would be rough in this particular time of year, I felt some sort of sinus infection brewing inside my face. Powering through we drove to Richmond, VA, a city all of us expected to be a lot smaller than it was. We were all surprised when the skyline quickly filled the horizon when we were approaching Richmond from the highway. The venue, Globehopper, was in an awesome little district of the city called Shockoe Bottom. It’s historic, artsy and fun to poke around through… parking was a hastle though, we ended up dragging our equipment 4 or 5 blocks to the venue and then 4 or have blocks back to the car. The show went well other than me feeling like I was going to die. Donnie had a friend come out who brought a couple girls with him and my cousin came out and brought some friends. The staff at Globehopper was very accommodating and friendly, real good people. After the show we took our stuff to my cousin’s apartment a few blocks away(which was crazy luxurious by the way) and then we decided to try to find some food. Although it was only 10pm nothing close to downtown seemed to be open. After walking a few miles through row after row after row of beautiful, historic, brick town homes we found a bar still open, in the middle of this maze. It was a little weird, being in what seemed like a nice part of town, this dive bar was right smack dab in the middle. We were hungry, there was no discussion. When we walked in a guy from the bar, right in front of us, gives us this real creepy look. “Come here” he says as were standing by the door, the sign at the front said “wait to be seated” so we didn’t budge, we just looked the other way. “You three”, he drunkenly rambled and pointed at the seats next to him. “right here, don’t be scared, welcome to heaven.” Richmond was weird. I liked it.
We woke up and I felt like death. We had to take my cousin we were staying with her key she had left us so we could sleep in(she’s a sweetheart). She worked in a skyscraper downtown. It was the kind of building where, if there was a 20 something kid with messy hair, tight jeans and and a pair of ripped Toms was walking around the front lobby, taking rides up and down the elevator, people would be weirded out.
It was clear at this point, to everyone involved, that I needed some anti-biotics if I was going to make it through this tour, or even through the next show. We drove to the closest CVS Minute Clinic, conveniently 20 minutes out of the way. They hooked me up with some pills and then we battled our way through the edge of DC rush hour traffic to get to Alexandria where we met up with my second cousin Jim and his wife Kim. They were nice enough to, not only let us crash with them, but show us around the city and buy us dinner.
Alexandria is a real nice suburb of DC. We bummed around in Art galleries and looked at the river all afternoon, then had some tacos before the show. The venue was weird, probably in the worst part of Alexandria, which was still pretty nice. The only guy at the show who gave a damn about us being there seemed to be my family, the employees and this one awesome, older guy named Arthur. We looked like he had been through life a few times, long gray hair. When we arrived at St. Elmo’s he was by the stage, waiting for us. He was real enthusiastic, he kept blurting out “yeah!” and “rock’n’roll”. When he kept asking each of us, “Elvis?”, “Beatles?” or “Buddy Holly?”, I wasn’t sure if he was asking us to cover one of those artists songs, or if he thought that’s who we were, it was indistinguishable. At the end of the set he asked how much my EP was and I handed him one and said I wanted him to have it for free and thanked him for his attentiveness and encouragement. To this day, I’ve never seen anyone so happy when I put one of my CDs in their hands. If the tour was all for that one interaction, it was so completely worth it.
Before Arthur vanished he asked if we’d be back, we all looked at each other and I said, “yeah, we’re doing this our whole lives, we’ll be back.” “Tomorrow?” he asked. If I ever come back to Alexandria to play music, it’ll be in the hopes of running into this inspiring man again.
Despite minor setbacks, the tour has been a great experience so far on all levels. We’ve gotten valuable exposure and necessary experience. We owe everything to the awesome people who funded the tour, either by donating, buying the Welch & Penn EP, letting us crash with them, etc. We have been truly blessed to have been able to set out on this adventure we’ve been envisioning for over half a year. If you’ve helped out, supported or encouraged us in any way thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, and million more “thanks you”s still wouldn’t suffice. I know we can’t wait to come home and see everyone again at the Birdsnest return show.