Frontalot Tour Diary Day 49: Hello, Cleveland! And Pittsburgh.

It is with a heavy heart that I write this, for tragedy has struck the Frontalot tour: our beloved Sturgenius has lost his cellphone.  Despite repeated calls to the missing device and the laser focus of our hyper-sensitive musician ears, we have been unable to locate it and fear for the worst.  He is currently in the backseat of the van, stewing over the fact that the last bastion of his old-school cred has been swallowed by the aether.  He is also hoping against hope that those pictures he took of himself eating cereal out of his concave chest don’t end up on Perez Hilton.

Trampoline photography is perilous but rewarding.But let us not brood on the misfortunes that are so abundant in this cruel, cruel world, for there is also joy beyond measure.  For instance: Cleveland.  It cuts an imposing silhouette in the stark Ohio sky, under which nerds scamper about and congregate at places like Wilbert’s.  It is apparently a venue of much repute, adorned as it is with photos of impressive-looking people whose names and faces I do not recognize, a fact I attribute to my being, how do you say, unedumacated.  “But Vic-20,” you protest, “your flowery prose belies such a disparaging claim!”  A common misconception, my dear reader; it merely indicates that I’m trying too hard.

So I will switch to lazy Ken mode and let it “all hang out” as they say in the lingua publica.  On the bill with us was MC Cool Whip, who was so bold as to do a cover version of Frontalot’s classic Crime Spree.  Next up was Whoremoans, who performed an especially spirited set; it was a fitting end to his four-show tour with us.  We will miss you, sir!  Coming directly before us was Zero Day title-track collaborator Dual Core, who tore shit up as he rapped along to his British beats and walked through the audience as he performed, just as a rock star should.

Our set was an especially sweaty affair, as the temperature onstage was at least 10 degrees higher than normal.  I usually perspire profusely – though not on the same level as Front – but that night was the first time I could actually feel my shirt sticking to my back.  Ewwww. Never the less, it was an awesome show and the band was as tight and on-point as it has been all tour.  One guy even brought a motherboard for us to sign, though we suspect he was a closet hipster.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  We stayed that night at Skifter’s apartment.  Skifter is one of the kind souls who helped Front with his secret track.   He also resides in a building whoseFront & crew defile the CFA facade exterior and interior remind one of some of the more gritty missions in GTA4.  I tried walking repeatedly into a wall in an attempt to find a glitch, but to no avail.  I am also sad to say that, as you may have noticed, I have absolutely no pictures of Cleveland or that gig.  The same cannot be said for Pittsburgh.

The ‘burgh is home to my alma mater, Carnegie-Mellon University, and being a proud alumnus I took it upon myself to give the band a brief tour of the campus, with an emphasis on the College of Fine Arts, which was my home base.  Here’s a disappointing discovery: when I was in Pittsburgh for a wedding last October, I placed a copy of the CMU Tartan’s review of my album on the “notable notes” bulletin board.  Upon my return, it was gone, yet two-year-old clippings of press about faculty remained.  Lame!  After people started clapping loudly to test the acoustics and Brandon and Sturgis mused aloud how much fun it would be to slide down the bannister, I decided we had better move along, and we packed back into the van in order to make our way to Garfield Artworks.

The venue is unique in that its owner and operator, Manny, lives in the basement.  The main room is long and cavernous with the stage at the far end and the refreshments and soundboard located near the front door.  After soundcheck we went to dinner with promoter and booker Scott Forsyth at a local Thai restaurant of which I sadly cannot recall the name.  It was tasty, though, and free thanks to Scott’s generosity.  You rock, Scott!  Returning to the venue we were sad to discover that we missed the opening set of Mustache Required, who reports say were stellar, and who all have moustaches of varying density, some attached to beards.  Q: Do those count as real moustaches?  You decide.

Next up was Lord Grunge of the local pop-punk outfit Grand Buffet, who combined rapping and singing and generous (though technically inaccurate) helpings of the word weenis.  It was unclear whether or not this was meant ironically, though he did backpedal after a bit and claim that he was testing the audience’s tolerance for the “most annoying word, Brandon flexes his weenisever.”  Perhaps he is some sort of guerilla anthropologist?  His myspace profile suggests otherwise.  Either way, his melodies were catchy, and the kids seemed to dig him.   They also dug us.  And how!  Despite the smallish, somewhat wobbly stage, we managed to rock it hard for the Steel City.  So hard that Brandon felt compelled to partially disrobe, much to the delight of the cheering audience.  It should be noted that Brandon has, like, a thing for taking his shirt off in public, as anyone who has seen Nerdcore Rising can attest.  I had taken many photos of this phenomenon, but none felt appropriate for public consumption.  Last night I could not resist the urge and busted out my camera at the beginning of “Goth Girls” to preserve it for posterity.

The crowd was probably the most enthusiastic in terms of singing along that we have encountered on the tour, surpassing even Seattle.  There were moments where I couldn’t hear myself through the monitors, they were so loud.  Which is cool!  Because the show is about fans enjoying themselves more than it is about us having proper stage volumes.  After the show was over we signed a bunch of autographs, which is always enjoyable, and made our way to the Red Roof Inn in Monroeville, where we enjoyed such amenities as not enough towels, a handicapped bathroom with no division between shower and toilet and one king-sized bed with minimal floorspace.  We managed to get something of a decent night’s rest, however, and are now on the road to Philadelphia for our show at the Nerdrage festival tomorrow, which is the final show of the tour.  This is your last chance!

I’ll leave you with this noteworthy travelling fact: the TA rest stop at the intersection of I-70 and I-76 in western PA is one of the only locations in the country which is not affiliated with the main corporation.  What this means is if you bought a headset at a TA in California, like Brandon, and decided later that you wanted to return it, like Brandon did, you will find yourself SOL at this particular location.  Like Brandon.  Be wise!  Stop elsewhere.

One Response to “Frontalot Tour Diary Day 49: Hello, Cleveland! And Pittsburgh.”

  1. Thanks for coming through to Pittsburgh. I got an awesome photo with Front and bought a shirt, and totally rocked with one of my favorite acts. Shame the venue was hot enough to choke a lion. Your set freaking ruled.

    Hope to see you coming through here again!