Frontalot Tour Diary Day 26: Denver; Halftime.

Wshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhmoo.  That is the sound the wind makes as it whips its way through the musky fur of the hirsute steers here on the snowy plains of Wyoming.  Look it up.  Or, better yet, add it to Wikipedia.  Such questionable facts must proliferate.  Like Juggalos.  Were you, gentle blogophiles, aware of their existence?  I was not, until Front alerted me to the fact after our show in Wichita, at which I referenced ICP’s treatise on the nature of existence, specifically regarding electromagnetism.  Apparently there was a real-life Juggalo there.  Who knew?

“Who knew?” is a question that could be asked about many things in Wichita.  To wit: who knew that nerdcore was alive and well in that fair city?  It is.  Our show at Rock Island Live was surprisingly well-attended and presaged by two top-notch acts: Madhatter, a talented rapper with a powerglove, a good following and a bunch of belly dancers who back him up; and Powerlifter, a chiptune-punk band who know how to put on a stellar show.  They had smoke machines, dedicated lighting, squelchy beats and a lead singer who ended up performing while riding the crowd.  Riding the crowd!  ImLocal Wichita Folk Artpressive.  Hey BlipCon: book them.  Our show went over very well, thanks in no small part to the sound man, Jamie, who was a real swell guy in addition to being tops at his profession.  After us was the very gracious and hard-rockin’ Dialin’ Watts, who allowed us to go third instead of last after a slight booking mishap.  They have one of those blue see-through drum kits, and their lead singer was performing with recently broken ribs.  Rock and roll!

Also: who knew that we would, upon leaving the venue, come across two very inebriated men leaning up against either side of a tree with their fingers down their throats like a perverse Rorschach blot, attempting to induce vomiting?  We have dubbed this the “Wichita Treeside Puke Party” and suspect it is not an uncommon sight, at least not in the part of town we visited.  There were literally 15 bars in extremely close proximity.  Thankfully we were once again blessed with beds and couches far from the beer district.  Our debt of gratitude is owed this time to Ian, a fan and future web designer, and to his mother Carol who, when not running her custom jewelry business, plays the part of extremely gracious host.  Soda and chips were laid out for us when we arrived, and breakfast was cooked for us the next morning.  Thank you Ian and Carol!

Remember how I said that Kansas was not as flat as I expected?  It turns out we hadn’t travelled far enough west.  Our drive to Denver proved extremely flat until the earth began to buckle in anticipation of the Rocky Mountains.  One side-effect of flat terrain, it would appear, is that rare and wonderful objects mysteriously appear there.  Like six-legged steers, The World’s Largest Prairie Dog and The World’s Tallest Midget, to name of few.  Every last one of which stirred something inside Brandon’s whimsical mind, leading us to immobilize him in the rear bench for fear that he would commandeer the vehicle and take Vanna off-roading towards The World’s Flappingest Drapery.  Such quick thinking allowed us to arrive in Boulder at a reasonable hour at the house of Brandon’s brother Quinn, who in addition to providing us with a place to stay also complimented us on the integrity of our knots.

The Walnut Room, DenverThe next day (yesterday!) was leisurely and involved breakfast at the charming Walnut Cafe, followed by a visit with internet songster A.D.D., who gave us cupcakes and let Front play God of War 3 on his PS3.  Front is a bit obsessed with the game, it would appear.  Then it was off to the Walnut Room, where we were treated to delicious (and free!) sandwiches before starting sound check.  On the bill with us was none other than fellow nerdcore superstar YTCracker, being as he is relatively local to the venue.  And awesome!  It was a pleasure to meet him.

The highlight of the night for me was getting the chance to hang out my favorite internet writer, Joshua Allen.  I’ve been kind of pestering him over the years via email and when the chance came to pester him in person I immediately hopped on my gmail.  I offered him a spot on the guest list and a free drink and voila! there he was in the bar, looking wary and giving off an air of I hope this weirdo doesn’t roofie me.  He’s a super-nice guy, and apparently criminally under-appreciated by the publishing world.  Check out his writing.  You won’t be disappointed.  If nothing else, follow his twitter feed – it is hysterical.

Brandon played his tunes to the merriment of the crowd followed by YT Cracker’s high-energy set whch got people jumping in the front row.  Front had a sore throat for last night’s show, forcing him to do his best Tom Waits impression, which was not bad at all.  We were all hobbled somewhat by the thin Denver atmosphere and a general sense of exhaustion, which led to a lower-energy show than we would have liked with the exception of YT’s hype-man act during Goth Girls.  The fans in attendance, however, seemed to have a great time, and for that we are thankful.  You made the last show of the westbound leg of the tour memorable!  Pat yourselves on the back, if you are so flexible.

This morning we dropped Brandon off at the bus station and bade him farewell as he traveled to New York to play the Truck Festival.  Then we headed north on our way to San Francisco, passing as we did the last Waffle House west of the Mississippi.  For some reason it made me sad, perhaps because I have become fond of yelling “Waffles house!” every time we pass one.  FrA Big Rockont and Sturgis seemed oddly relieved.  That pretty much catches us up to the present moment, wherein we are hurtling at breakneck speed down I-80 past such wonderments as the continental divide and Little America and the FLAMING GORGE!!!  And towards a real break, eventually.

But before I finish this exceptionally long-winded entry, I want to give a shout-out to Jen Blakeslee, whom I totally forgot to mention in many previous diary entries due to my status as an insensitive clod.  Having had just finished her dissertation (congratulations!) she decided to come see us in Austin on her way to hike some trail near the Mexican border.  When Front fell ill, however, she opted to join the tour until Oklahoma, tending to him as we avoided him and his germs like the plague.  Empathy is not a job requirement for this band, apparently.  She also ran the merch table, which is no small honor.  It takes some serious credentials to be a Frontalot merch girl.  Here’s to the future Jen Blakeslee, PhD!  You saved the tour.

That is all.  If you have read this entire entry, I salute you.  And if you live in San Francisco, I’ll see you at the Cafe du Nord on May 4!

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