Saturday, February 12, 2011

Iowa Make Easy

I want you to sit in a chair, legs in front, simple. Now, take your right leg and move it to your right… now move that same right leg back a lil bit passed the front-right leg of the chair. Last move: bend over and touch your chin to your left knee… that’s me… for 3 hours in a car from Pine Island, MN to Iowa City, IA, sitting on top of Linden’s keyboard. In an effort to save gas, we’ve “safely” fit four grown men and a piano into a Honda Civic. Once we met Spence in Iowa City, we’re golden. I can ride… normal… in the passenger seat.

We make it to what looks like an English Pub. Loud, voluminous, and people drinking from boots. We partake in the Iowa festivities, begin drinking from boots, talking loud, and making conversation with perfect strangers. There’s something restful and natural about Iowa. The night never gets crazy enough to really “wow” anyone. However, in Wisconsin, things get violent, cops get involved, hard liquor seems to be the catalyst, some dude's always grabbin' my sleeve askin' me whent the next tour is, some chick's always yellin' about her current fix (ex-boyfriend, birthday, Packers, etc)-but… back to Iowa, it’s restful. Makes you emote, “yea, we chill”, when my mom asks “how is it”. Mom seems to have some kind of ESP and calls right on time whenever we land at a venue. “Na, can’t talk, we’re loading in” or “Yeah, it’s fine, just landed, how’s the dog?”, 50/50 response when Jane makes the call. In short, “we chill”.

The show rounds up, a slim crowd of 30+ applaud our set, a few folks buy shirts, take the free mixtape; all seeds in the making. Iowa City is essential in for any Chicago-based band’s livelihood. Right now, it’s essential to our social livelihood- it’s either high-time to make friends and find a place to crash or get the hell out of dodge.

Doug, just met’em online- kid wrote “can’t wait for the show in Iowa City” on The Blend’s facebook wall. Sought him out of the crowd, he extended his place (20 miles away) for us to crash. Situations like these, I extend the offer to the mates first. They take it and glide off with Doug towards the armpit of America… Cedar Rapids. Never seen more barfights and cops in my life than in Cedar Rapids. Played a show there once at a now closed down club, Volume, and watched 5+ bloody fist fights throwdown outside… before we finished the first set. Mates taken care of, time to take care of myself.

Spence and I roll out on the town with nothin’ to lose… “Dignity, you say… never heard of it”. Connie, local friend, texts me to stop by a bar called the Union. We drop by, place reminded me of Cancun. Small-ish club, in the beginning, a stage off to the right jam-packed with black folk. The DJ, absolutely on point, went from classic to contemporary in a blur. Could maybe make out half-a-chorus before the kid cut to the next hook. And there she was… Connie. Illegitimate descendant of Athena, boots more expensive than my car, tall as ever, and an infectious smile to override any current bad mood or shitty day you might’ve been having.  When Connie smiles, it’s not just with the lower half of her face- her eyes somehow join in on the positive gesture. The Packers could win the Super Bowl twice and Hip-Hop could be outlawed by the U.S. gov’t, I’d see Connie smile- boom I’m an optimist again. Her stature stands solid as a brick wall, an ex-athlete on the post-undergrad hustle (GRE, grad applications, qualifications, resumes, blah blah blah), Connie’s good peoples. She introduces Spence and I to her crew and we dance the night ‘til bar close. Chelsea, hairstylist from Coralville, passes me a shot and all of a sudden I have friends in a city I didn’t two hours ago.

Perry, and some drunk beat boxer from Chicago, walk with us while eating gyros. Perry drove 2 hours from West Des Moines to see our show, and is driving several more hours to check our Ames show today. What a f----ng guy. Has a daughter, full-time job, and a baby-mama he’d rather text than deal with in real-time… and he makes it out to both shows. Perhaps we’re doing more a disservice for him than I think. Numerous significant others, wives, friends go into instant eye-roll when they hear we’re performing in town, for fear that their better half is going to ditch’em for the show… or drag’em to the show. Perry ditched it all… good or bad? I’ll let the baby-mama decide.

The night’s called. Check into our hotel at 5am, wake up and do it all over again.

Now, sitting at CafĂ© B, typing, and listening to RJD2 reign over the house speakers (note: that Aceyalone & RJD2 record gets hella play… the instrumentals more than the actual songs. Sorry Acey, but RJ absolutely killed it so hard, people dig it more without the lyrics) I can’t say I’m not an optimist. The fact we have a hotel tonight... translates: shit’s working out.

Maybe see you at the show:

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