This blog is a long one—it covers four days, so buckle up!
Our drive to Denver was long and uneventful. Many of the people in both KC and Denver said the trip was one of the worst drives they knew of—it’s only about seven hours, but the landscape is flat and bleak. And this isn’t to say that I’m complaining, but rather expressing gratitude to the guys for getting through the trek.
We also made sandwiches on the ground at a truck stop in the middle of Kansas, so if anyone thinks touring is all glamour all the time, I’d like to present that as Exhibit A.
We arrived in Denver a little earlier than we thought (not factoring in the time change—oops), so Shanan and I went to a coffee shop while the other guys shopped around.
After sound checking and getting some bad vibes from other sources, the guys were not expecting an especially great show, and were mentally preparing themselves for the worst-case scenario. Cory and Michael’s friend Lauren came through, which was an awesome morale booster. She was super fun, and kept me company while the guys got ready (which can be the loneliest part of shows).
The crowd was decently sized for a bar on a Thursday night, but many people filtered in during The New Schematics’ set, which made us think that perhaps the other band hadn’t encouraged their local fanbase to come out to the show early. This is a problem I’ve noticed throughout the tours, and even at shows I cover for press—bands often forget to support openers by telling their friends and families to come to the shows for their set specifically, or fans just choose to skip openers. Obviously people have busy schedules, but it helps small bands tremendously if fans come half an hour early.
We then headed to a cabin that belongs to a friend of Cory and Jeff’s. To say this place was beautiful is the understatement of the century—three stories tall and nestled in the mountains, the cabin made us all reluctant to leave Colorado.
Cory ran to a grocery store and brought back ingredients for a fantastic breakfast, which we enjoyed while looking into the mountains. A lot of tour is floor sandwiches and 30 mile expanses of corn fields, but there are weird moments of luxury that are somehow peppered in that make us remember how lucky we all are.
Friday was completely a travel day, and our first day off on the tour. The journey from Denver to the hotel in Salt Lake City was long, but the landscape was so gorgeous that I was never bored.
Dairy Queen’s “Grill and Chill” has been an ongoing joke in the van—Cory will point it out every single time we pass one. So this time, we finally stopped by a DQ for dinner. We all reveled in junk food and promptly all made resolutions to never do it again as soon as it hit our stomachs.
We finally checked into the hotel and immediately crashed—with a 12-hour drive ahead of us, we were all ready to be done for the day.
Getting an early start, we took full advantage of the hotel’s continental breakfast (RIP to that buffet) and went on our way.
The drive to Seattle was long but gorgeous. I was absolutely transfixed as we drove through the mountains and lakes and seas of evergreens. Everything here is aggressively green—as if all the plant life is trying to out-do each other.
We stopped at a Cuban-style restaurant that rocked our world, then killed some time at a local Irish pub. Exhausted by the day of driving, we turned in early—Shanan and Michael stayed separately from Jeff, Cory, and me.
Sunday Morning, Cory and Jeff woke up early to work out, but I’m not about that life and slept in until 10. We grabbed brunch, where Michael joined us and drove us to the market known as Pike Place.
On every tour, there’s a concept known as “Cory luck,” in that Cory is able to find outrageously good parking spots every time. Cory and Michael switched spots at a stoplight, and roughly ten seconds later, Cory found an amazing spot. We’re honestly still not over it.
We spent the day roaming around Seattle, including Pike Place, the Space Needle, and some of the various shops around the venue. As someone who’s a bit of a shopaholic, I had a blast. We also met like at least a few million adorable dogs.
In Seattle, Jessica Lamb is joining us for a week of this tour, which I’m super pumped about. I love the guys, and they go through great pains to make me feel like I’m part of the family, but it’s going to be great to be on the road with another girl. JLamb and I get along great (I shot one of her house shows in Indy a week before we left), not to mention that she’s a fantastic musician and puts on an awesome show.
The Sunset Tavern is a cute little bar with weird bathrooms and cool stage lights. It was at this place, however, that we ran into a very frustrating situation. The show was 21+, and apparently, the signs were more than suggestions at this place. As I tried to leave to grab food, my ID was checked and I was told I was only allowed to be in the bar for Jessica’s and TNS’ set. This meant I couldn’t work merch and couldn’t help load out, and I had to sit outside the venue during the sets of the other bands. We always knew this could be an issue, and I was lucky that they allowed me to shoot the set at all. But it was hard to not be annoyed at the whole situation.
The show in Seattle was, in my opinion, the best of the tour so far. Both Jessica and Shanan brought close friends, so the people there really cared about the music. TNS always puts on an amazing show, but when the crowd is feeling it, they’re able to feed off that energy. I haven’t talked to them yet, but I have a feeling they’ll feel the same.
Also, guys– can we have a disco ball at every show? Thanks.
After getting dinner with some of Shanan’s friends (at another restaurant/bar that I was booted out of, despite the fact that we were just ordering food), we loaded up and went back to our respective couches. I felt pretty useless not being able to help much with the loading, but I was able to finish this blog, so that’s cool.
You can also see my video recaps below!
This tour is truly amazing, and I feel like I haven’t taken time to express my gratitude for being able to be here. I’m seeing more of this country than I ever have before, all while hanging out with some of the coolest people I know. I’m filled with an overwhelming sense of contentment and belonging while I’m out here, and I hope you feel a sense of responsibility for it– without you, the reader of my blogs, the supporter of my craft, and the follower of my journey, I wouldn’t be able to do any of it. Thank you, and stay tuned.