Thursday July 4
America, Fuck Yeah!
Starting the first real leg of the tour, 4 more shows til day off on Monday.
Awoke early to take advantage of hotel complimentary breakfast prior to the drive back to Wisconsin Rapids.
Uneventful drive. Went straight to Big Al's II downtown (so to speak), already buzzing with 4th of July related activities, people claiming spots along the Wisconsin River for firework viewing, many people already down at the "Barmuda Triangle" getting their Happy Birthday America drink on.
Big Al's II is a low ceiling dive bar run by good people. Went to park in the alley behind to load in. But a drummer from a band playing next door was already there and blocking said alley. He wanted to back his trailer (containing only his drums) aside into a small parking niche, but was not confident he'd be able to and wanted to enlist us in helping physical move the trailer into position. Luckily he was able to park it cause we would have said No.
We'd need the PA and lights, as there were neither. And the main hitch about setting up was we'd have to place ourselves in a wedge formation, as the only paths to the bathrooms were on our immediate right and left. Good to know.
We pulled it off, covering easily trip-over-able cables with rugs, of gaffing them down with tape. Tight squeeze but we managed. PA mains on stands out of the way, lights set up. Even put a mic in Eric's kick drum as Rick had to put his amp directly in front of it. OK, lets go rest before showtime.
Back at Amy and Ryan's place I helped myself to a cup of Campbells chicken noodle soup. The last thing of any substance I'd have all day, and would feel it later. A brief nap helped my energy level.
Back for soundcheck and showtime, Big Al's was pretty swinging. But then the fireworks started and it kinda cleared out, understandable. Smoked ciggies in the alley behind, doing my best to avoid the dumpster juice leaking on the asphalt and trying to send a picture of the weird Mexican luchador figure in the window of the house behind the venue to Instagram. Weird shit.
Went on to a decent crowd, and a fun show. Playing in the crossroads to the bathroom turned out to not be problematic, thank God, as I was sure eventually an uncoordinated drunk would knock over *something*. But it was all good. Drinks were flowing, people dancing, good times.
Afterwards hung with some of the locals I'd already met and got to hang out with some new faces. Like Marv, who I'd been hearing about the whole time. And the stories were true. He liked to drink, and as his inebriation waxed he became more animated with his facial expressions as opposed to speech. Goddamn, the guy could have been a physical comedian. Funny shit. And a good guy. Always interesting the people you meet on the road.
Had a few Jager bombs and Budweiser tallboys during the night, so along with malnutrition, had a pretty good buzz. But still we all hunkered down and packed up everything like a trained military unit. Gear, lights, PA and were done in no time.
Back at the house as Rick dropped us off unfortunately Amy and Ryan's older son was at the house, which was not foreseen. Him and his buddy drunk and cooking food late at night. I was starving, but opted to retreat to the upstairs bedroom rather than have to hang out with some drunk kids in order to get some nourishment of any kind. I was beat. Went to bed hungry, and glad I did.