Frontalot Tour Diary Day 23: Arkansas

This is why I'm self-employedApparently there are rumors swirling around the blogosphere that I have “hit a wall” and lost the burning desire to travel the country in a van and play music.  I suspect these fanciful musings are a result of this post in which I related the inglorious side of touring.  Fear not, faithful readers!  I soldier on and am happy to do so, grateful as I am to be driving and rocking and barely sleeping rather than embiggening my posterior in an Herman Miller chair.  How else, for instance, would I have happened upon the placid lakehouse you see here?  Were it not for playing Maxine’s with the One-Ups, it would not have been.

And what a show it was.  The One-Ups were supreme.  Having evolved from instrumental jazzy videogame theme music to uptempo hip-hop about video games was a bold but fortuitous move for them – they got the crowd jumping.  Though not as big as some of our other shows, the crowd was over the top from an energy perspective.  I was fist-bumped twice during the set.  Twice!  This is a record of sorts.  One of the initiators of the Obama-approved display of approval was none other than Agnes, one of the owners of the club.  She said it was one of the best hip-hop shows she’d ever seen, in the same league as Jay-Z.  While it may have been a bit hyperbolic, it still gave us all the warm fuzzies.  Big thanks to Agnes and Kevin for having us!  In addition to being stellar venue owners, they also made some damn fine pizza.

That night we stayed in said lakehouse thanks to Tim, lead guitarist for the One-Ups.  It reminded me of a Tahoe cabin, replete with multiple bathrooms, a big porch, and a hot tub.  Remember the bathing suit I bought for such a steal at Sears?  I got to use it.  Joy!  Now it grows moldy in a plastic bag since it didn’t dry overnight and I haven’t been near a dryer.  Alas.  There was little time to ruminate on such things the following morning as we packed the van and made our way north to Fayetteville.  It would have been a lovely drive – Arkansas has a staggeringly nice landscape – but for the rain.  O rain, impeder of views!  Luckily it had stopped raining by the time we arrived aLucio and friends salute ust our destination.  Fayetteville is a nice college town, not unlike the prettier part of Asheville, NC.  Brandon and I had an early dinner at the Hog Haus Brewing Co. where B’s current fascination with American pricing schemes was stoked by the fact that my microbrew pale ale was half the price of his root beer.

That night’s show, at the Smoke & Barrel Tavern, was packed to the gills due to there being no cover.  The One-Ups opened with their usual fervor, followed by DJ SweetNES who rocked the interstitial time slot with mad chiptune beats.  Then, after about an hour of politely tapping people on the shoulder, we managed to make it to the stage and perform.  Front is 100% back to optimum health, which allowed us to bring Tongue-Clucking Grammarian and Pitch Dark back into rotation.  This appeared to make people very happy.  Also of note: there were two girls dirty dancing in the front row.  This is not a common occurrence at nerdcore shows.  Once we finished up, there was a jam session featuring Brandon and a few of the One-Ups.  Then it was off to Mustin’s house for some fettucini alfredo prepared by his lovely wife Tylr, followed by a long, deep sleep.  Enough gratitude cannot be heaped upon Mustin and Tylr for their generosity.  You two are tops!

Today we bade farewell to the state favored by pirates and made our way to Dorothy’s Kansas.  We were expecting it to be Ohio-esque in its flatness, but this proved not to be true.  The hills roll gently and the fields are verdant and Buy 2 get 1 free for only $9.99 S/H!peppered with livestock, including a couple of zonkeys.  Most entertaining of all was a sign outside of a church in Oswego which advertised the breadth and reliability of information contained in the holy scriptures.  Whoever placed the letters should get hired by the HSN.  We also got pelted by a fairly heavy hailstorm, though according to the news we lucked out.  All in all it was a dramatic ride, made peaceful by a value-addled stop at Wendy’s for dinner.  We now await our call to the stage at Rock Island Live.

Next up is Denver and then the long drive back to San Francisco for a brief respite before the second leg of the tour.  Don’t forget: Edible Norris is playing with Front at the Du Nord on May 4!  Be there to witness the birth of a legend.  Or a train wreck.  Who knows?  That’s what makes it so exciting!

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