Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

Tour Diary – Buffalo, Saugatuck, Chicago (Oct 24 – 26, 2013)

Monday, October 28th, 2013

P1010196

We shuffled off to Buffalo, stumbled down the QEW… a morning departure, an intense but simple border crossing…and we were there. We've never really found a home in Buffalo. We've played various venues and sometimes miss the city entirely on any given tour, despite it being an easy two hour drive down the highway. Tonight we were in the smaller room at Buffalo's main concert hall. It seemed to fit well with the locals, as we had a full house…..it also helped that this was the one and only Trinity Session show on this leg. We fought the room during soundcheck, a large empty space with a lot of hard surfaces designed for acoustic instruments, not for electric guitars and a drum kit. But once the hall was full and we settled in and figure out the acoustics, the show slowly came together: in large part because the audience was excellent…enthusiastic and responsive. It was a perfect way to kick off this little road trip.

*****

One long overnight drive and the road fog descends. Day 2 and it feels like we've been on the road for a couple of weeks. A ten hour drive around Lake Erie, where the lake effect weather keeps the roads in a constant state of disrepair, it's like trying to sleep in a giant Yahtzee can. Saugatuck is a pretty little town on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, but it's quaint downtown strip has been overrun by kitchy tourist stores selling t-shirts and fudge. From the perfect repair and size of the houses and the boat slips it looks to be a town with an abundance of cash, probably a vacation spot for well-to-do Chicagoans. It was a pleasant spot to spend a day and to try and regather some strength. This is our second time at the Saugatuck Art Center, which is a functional room, not great sounding, not terrible sounding, but it was sold out which always helps to lift the spirits on stage. Last night we started playing Take Heart off of The Kennedy Suite. It's a delicate, tricky little number, which I think we did a good job of tonight. We also plan to add in Disintegrating to the set one of these nights. The audience was a bit tentative tonight, there may have been a few weekenders out for the evening who were a little puzzled as to what they were listening to….all-in-all a pretty good night.

*****

Chicago is always a favourite stop. It's without a doubt one of the countries great cities. Tonight we were in a new venue for us, The City Winery. We have played The City Winery in NYC a few times over the past few years and its always a relaxed and enjoyable gig, so when we go the invitation to try out their new location we jumped at the opportunity. The venue is in the old meat packing district which is just west of the downtown core. The area is filled with some beautiful century old brick warehouses that are being refurbished and retro-fitted for modern day uses. This is what Chicago and all great cities do best…incorporate their past in to their present, build on their strengths. It was a two show night, which is always tough. The first show was a little rough, the audience a little pre-occupied with their dinner. The second show we relaxed a bit and let the music take us for a bit of a spin. Rahm Emmanuel (current mayor of Chicago, ex-chief of staff for Obama, ex-Clinton advisor, etc..) was in the audience for the first show and he came backstage afterwards to stay hello. Apparently he and his wife have been fans for a long time and they have seen us at various locations over the years. It was a pleasure to meet him, his wife and his friends. It never gets old finding out whose listening to your music, musicians generally work in a vacuum and occasionally one gets a glimpse at how music has the ability to cross so many different types of boundaries. We started playing Disintegrating tonight…its a tricky little number and needs some time to mature.


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October & November Shows

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

The tour schedule is now complete for October and November in the midwest U.S. We will be starting in Buffalo on 10/24 and will be stopping in Saugatuck, MI; Chicago, IL; Stoughton, WI; Minneapolis, MN; Iowa City, IA; Evanston, IL; and Ann Arbor, MI. All of the details are here.

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Tour Diary – Kent, OH and Chicago, Ill (April 26 and 27, 2012)

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Kent, OH (Kent Theater)
Horrible weather, rainy and cold; Ate an excellent pulled pork sandwich from the Franklin Square Deli; Did some used book browsing; Did some used guitar browsing; Cookie Bob and Crazy Ed showed up with tithes of beer (Southern Tier IPA and Dogfish Head 60 Minute….very tasty); Chuck emerged unscathed from the Cincinnati show; Drank an awesome cup of coffee from Tree City Coffee; A beautiful old theater that could use a little TLC but sounds amazing; The Rangers and Devils moved on; A really enthusiastic and excited audience….it all adds up to a very fun night and enjoyable day.

Chicago, Ill (Old Town School Of Folk)
The expressway leading in to Chicago could give the Cross-Bronx Expressway a run for its money as the country’s worst highway to fall asleep on…if you know what I mean. It was a very early morning, coming after a very late night. Margo and I went off at noon to do some TV (WGN). Later, Jim Powers dropped by the bus. We have known Jim for over twenty years, ever since he first contacted us about a cassette tape called The Trinity Session that we had sent to him…he is the one that signed us to RCA and to Geffen. We owe much of our good fortune to him and over the years he has become a good friend. It was great catching up. We had two shows tonight (both of them sold out), a tough way to end a tour. We are truly beat and beaten. Show number one was a bit careful and searching, but not bad. Show number two was sloppy but in a good natural way…I thought it felt great despite the many mistakes. The audiences for both shows were excellent: enthusiastic and engaged.

This has been a very strange tour. We have travelled a lot of miles in a very short period of time. Some excellent shows, some mediocre shows, lots of hockey, only one miserable experience with a promoter or venue, pretty good weather. The attendance was a little soft in places and downright miniscule in a couple, but for the most part the audiences have been exceptional in their enthusiasm and appreciation, which helps so much on those rainy days, or in those half-filled houses or when your team has just been eliminated, once again, from contention. We will never take that appreciation for granted. It’s time to go home and rest up and get ready for the cross Canada marathon that starts up in June. See you then.

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The Nomad Tour 2012 – Second Leg

Friday, March 9th, 2012

 We’re headed out to the midwest for Round Two in April and we’ll be in MI, IL, MN, IA, MO, NE, KS, WI and TN. More specifically, we’ll be in Ann Arbor, Evanston, Minneapolis, Davenport, St Louis, Omaha, Salina, Madison, Cincinnati, Nashville, Chicago and Kent. Check here for all the details.

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Tour Diary – Chicago, Ill (March 19, 2010)

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

(Jason Lent has forsaken the island paradise of Hawaii to follow us around for a few months. I have happily placed the tour diary in his capable hands. It should bring a new perspective to our ramblings.)

Tonight’s doubleheader was north of Wrigleyville in the Lincoln Square area. The locals I met told me the area had originally been a German neighborhood and signs of the influence were prevalent along the streets. I set out to find deep-dish pizza and ended up with a delicious thin crust pie. I guess some of my New York soul remains intact.

The Old Town School of Folk is exactly that, with students and classes happening all around me as I meandered the halls. I caught an impromptu performance by a 10 year old on the violin with her teacher on guitar that garnered a standing ovation from her family. Good vibes in this place. The concert hall was built with folk performances in mind and the sound was warm and the acoustics perfect. Despite the close proximity of every seat to the stage, the high ceilings let the sound ebb and flow throughout the night. For the more delicate material, it was as good a performance hall can sound.

The shows were completely unique tonight. In the early show, the connection between music, band, and crowd never felt completely in sync. Knowing there is an entire second show gives the night a weird vibe as someone has to always be aware of the clock. When the second show started a little past 11pm, the lights were brought down darker than I’ve ever seen at a Junkies show. Margo’s reading light was the brightest spot in the room and Jeff and Pete worked in shadows. Every song flowed into the next
creating a singular musical focus so narrow that it could rest on the head of a pin but with such depth that each new song took the listener deeper into a sonic jungle. It was a chill inducing night of music.

Opening both shows tonight was Grant Lee Phillips formerly of Grant Lee Buffalo. His voice had a Jeff Buckley tone and his new material sounds very focused. During all this wonderful music, the temperature dropped about 30 degrees and snow is forecasted for tomorrow’s drive to Minnesota. Onward.


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