In case anyone was wondering, my Arizona-acclimated body did, indeed, freeze in Richmond. I think I’ve brought up the validity of a winter west coast tour at least three times daily.
I got great sleep at my cousin’s, so I was fairly alert when we began the nearly seven-hour trek to Richmond. If you weren’t aware, I’m not exactly a morning person, so these 8 a.m. alarms are really not doing me any favors, but I’m coping—mostly with naps. I am, however, glad that my parents took me on so many road trips as a child. Yesterday was our longest drive time, and it really didn’t bother me.
The trip was great, and I’m starting to get to know the guys a little better. We’d met back in July when I played a show with Shiny Penny, but that was my first time meeting SP, so I was definitely focused on getting acquainted with them. It’s amazing what spending 10+ hours in a van with the same people will do to your process of getting to know each other. My first impression was certainly not wrong; the guys are super nice and passionate about what they do. I think I can adequately give a general picture of what goes on in a tour van at this point:
- Playing games we’ve found in the van (decades catchphrase, anyone?)
- Planning sets and details of shows for the night
- Business discussions
- Playing deejay
- General work things—finishing promotional materials, managing social media, sending emails, scheduling, etc.
It’s not as interesting as one would think. No animal sacrifices, no wild parties. It’s like a family road trip, but with people you elect to be around and surprisingly, with less singing than the movies.
We were stuck in traffic for a bit, so when we got to the venue, we assembled everything quickly. I’m slowly getting better at merch, in case anyone was interested. Cory made fun of my Tinder app when he had to get in my phone to use the Square app, and it was the first time I’ve told anyone in the band to fight me. So I’m glad we got that out of the way.
We had an opener by the name of The Tide Rose, a duo from the area. The vocalist, Whitney, was our host for the night, so I’m glad I got to shoot their set a little.
The room was definitely not as full as the band would’ve liked, but the guys took it gracefully and played like it was at capacity. I knew they were nervous after a less-than-ideal sound check, but you certainly couldn’t tell from their performance.
If you’ve ever had a doubt about true love existing, go to a New Schematics show and listen to Cory talk about his fiancé. His expression when he talks about her saying yes to his proposal on NYE is that of a kid on Christmas.
I was super worried about the lights when we got there. There were basically eight small, pastel colored lights from the ceiling, which was just not going to be enough. The house, however, was filled with overhead fans with lights. I chatted up the bartenders and asked what their plans for the house lights were, and they offered to keep them on for me. They ended up dimming the ones in the back, but that didn’t really affect me. I was able to get some really good content, despite my concerns. That’s one of the benefits of small places like that—they’re sometimes allowed and willing to work with photographers. They don’t always do it, but every once in awhile, you can kindly ask.
We loaded out, which is something I’m entirely useless at because I don’t know what 80% of the gear is. Maybe I’ll get there by the end.
We then stopped at a cute little burger place and headed to Whitney’s to crash. I’m pretty sure everyone was in bed less than ten minutes after we got there.
The guys are great about making me feel like I’m at home with them. I’ve never been to 2/3 of the cities we’ve been to so far, and I think I’d feel alienated if I were with a less swell group of people.
I really am loving every minute of this. My cheeks currently hurt from laughing and smiling so much. The documentary is going great, and so is everything else, honestly.
We’re off to Philly now, wish me luck!