Frontalot Fall 2010 Tour Diary Days 17-19: Cleveland & Ann Arbor BLOW OUR MINDS

My skin is WAY pastier“OH MY GOD THAT’S PAUL RUDD!” exclaimed the drunken man in the backwards-facing baseball cap as his SUV barreled by the stage door of the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland.  He was yelling at me.  “I LOVE YOU MAN!”  This would have startled and puzzled me had the exact same thing not happened to me only a month prior at a party.  Apparently a certain demographic (25-34, male, inebriated) is convinced that I bear a striking resemblance to the 40-Year-Old Virgin actor.  No amount of photographic evidence to the contrary seems to sway these boozed-up young adults from their convictions, however clear it becomes that he and I share nothing in common but being white men with brown hair.

But this was Cleveland, where houses sell for $3,000, so it is difficult for one to know what is normal.  Thankfully the reality-distortion field did not make it into the tavern at the Beachland, where nerdy mirth abounded all night.  On the bill that night were MC Homeless, Presque Vu and Matthew Forcefed.  All were stellar performers and delightful people.  We whiled away the pre-set hours by trading war stories in the giant subterranean green room and feasting on the simple but delicious meal of chicken, rice and corn provided by the venue.  Brandon even managed to get a game of Magick in, though he lost.  On stage, though, he won the award for Most Awesome Tie.

Our show was high-energy, great sounding (thank you Dave!) and well-received, though it was honestly the least interesting part of the evening.  After playing we loaded up and headed to the local IHOP, where forBrandon uses the Force thanks to Damian of Pittsburgh the first 15 minutes we were the rowdiest bunch of young’uns in the place.  Then the Team Bulimia Awareness Guerilla Theater Collective showed up.  In a shorter period of time than it took us to eat our Rooty Tooty Fresh-n-Fruities, TBAGTC managed to vomit all over their table and have the cops called.  Perhaps they were visiting from Wichita.  Our good friends and hosts Jerry and Sarah generously covered the bill (literally and figuratively – those kids were projectile) and whisked us away to the four-figure abode which they are in the process of renovating.  It’s amazing how quickly one can adapt to different environments – such as a bathroom with a handle-less door and a giant hole in the ceiling from which goings-on could easily be observed.  This, my friend, is what separates us from the robots.

The next morning we woke up late, said farewell to Jerry and Sarah and departed for Ann Arbor, where we were to play the Blind Pig.  The Pig gave us the most rock-star treatment of the tour, with a bathroom-adorned green room and a spread of chips, salsa, hummus, grapes, oranges, apples and water.  That’s, like, rider material.  The most exciting aspect of the show, though, was our reunion with The Categorical Imperative, nee Dan Thiel, who with his lovely wife Tevah recently relocated to Ann Arbor in order to be a bioethicist.  Important topics in the field currently include whether or not it is appropriate for a doctor to laugh while delivering a traumatic diagnosis.  Important topics on stage included rocking with our poultry exposed.  And by “poultry” I mean the product of our sweat glands.  It was hot up there.

And how!  The crowd was so amped up by the stellar performances of chiptune ledgend Baron Knoxbury and our man Brandon (who was joined onstage for a couple of songs by Dan) that by the time we emerged on stage the crowd broke out into wild cheers and screams.  This is not normal, but it is appreciated.  The set went off almost without a hitch.  I say “almost” because, while adjusting my microphone placement for “Final Boss,” thFrontalot, doing as the piggy doese mic stand collapsed, hitting in the process one of my patch selector buttons and sending my keyboard into a frenzy of flashing lights.  Luckily, I am a professional, and I managed to make the lights stop blinking and adjust my stance to the new mic position without affecting my performance.  Sadly, nobody noticed.

The last four songs, starting with “I Hate Your Blog”, featured Dan on and around the drums, which was a fantastic way to end this stump of the tour.  I’d like to give a big shout-out to our sound man Wolfie, who besides doing an outrageously good job on the mix also willingly participated in our hyper-secret pre-show ritual which you cannot find documented anywhere.  Another big thank you goes to the nerds of Ann Arbor who were instrumental in making this the break-even point for our tour.  Ann Arbor FTW!  Even more praise goes to Eli and Deanna Neiburger who generously put us up at their sweet pad.  What a couple!  The intelligence and delightful behavior of their kids is a testament to their general awesomeness.

We went to Dan and Tevah’s woodsy retreat – which they share with Tevah’s sister Jodi – for a barbecue the next day, replete with corn, chicken, cole slaw, walks in the woods, dogs and musical merriment.  I made quite a spectacle of myself by sending off Eli’s son Nemo with what I thought was the timeless and sage advice to “stay in school.”  Apparently my paternal instincts need some honing.  Later on in the evening we ended up seated around a fire pit and trading songs both original and classic.  The surprise hit of the evening was I’m Sorry Fergus, pennThe toxic economy of Michigan makes from some amazing sunsetsed in the bathroom by Frontalot after accidentally waking the eponymous canine on his way to the loo.  Here are the lyrics in their entirety:

I’m sorry / Fergus / that I woke you up / when I went to pee

All rights reserved, bitches.  We’re hoping that it can replace Hey Soul Sister in commercials and low-budget dramas everywhere.  Fergus, for his part, wishes everyone would just leave him alone.  We’ve done our part by bidding Michigan farewell and heading Eastward towards Staten Island, where we will once again go our separate ways until we converge upon Albany for our next show at Valentine’s on Thursday the 14th.  See you there!

5 Responses to “Frontalot Fall 2010 Tour Diary Days 17-19: Cleveland & Ann Arbor BLOW OUR MINDS”

  1. ken

    This particular post was rife with inaccuracies. The link has been changed!

  2. You guys were amazing! Glad you had a good time in Cleveland. I’m Eddie from Presque Vu, who you mentioned above. Our myspace is actually The one you linked to isn’t ours. Anyways, thanks for the kind words.

  3. Yet another awesome blog, Ken! Love reading about the tour. Quick question: I’m still all geeked out at the fact that Brandon was wearing my tie… Any chance you could send me a high-res of the pic of him in this blog? Cheers! :-D

  4. eli

    it was our pleasure having you guys, and Nemo does plan to stay in
    school. And the chiptune opener was local favorite Baron Knoxburry,, who is also the proprietor and developer of battle of the bits at, the web’s leading purveyor of international chiptune composition throwdowns.

    Thanks again for coming to our town and kicking its ass.