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EXCLUSIVE TOUR BLOG FROM BISON B.C.’S DAN AND (PART I)

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We loved the last tour blog that Bison B.C.’s Dan And did for us so much, we’re only all-too-happy to present another! Below, please enjoy part 1; check back tomorrow for part 2!

Sep 11 ’09 (Vancouver BC @ Commodore)

I always love kicking off a tour with a show in Vancouver. It’s great to have one last chance to get completely loser pissed with our friends before we hit the road for however long. This time we were fortunate enough to finally share the stage with local good ‘ol boys The Golers and old pals 3 Inches of Blood. The Golers have been around forever and everyone should fucking hear them. They’re basically Vancouver’s Venomous Concept: relentless, break-neck speed pummeling. Is grind-punk a genre?

Show was fucking fun as all hell. It was 3 Inches record release show for Here Waits Thy Doom (which may or may not feature all of us doing backups on the song “Preacher’s Daughter”) and the place was packed! The cap of the Commodore is somewhere between 950 and 1000 and apparently it was like 15 tickets away from being sold out. Jesse from local grinders Zuckuss pointed out how fucking crazy it is that three local bands brought that many metal heads out of the woodwork. The night was bitter sweet though because not only was our good friend Ian unable to be there because of surgery but that night would also be my last chance to ever set foot in local punk/metal institution the Cobalt. I can’t even describe how awesome that bar and the staff are. The thought that it’s getting shut down by the fucking slum lords that own the building so they can cash in on Olympic fever makes me wanna tear someone’s head off. I’m consoled by the fact that I know bar legend/honcho Wendy 13 will soon enough have a new venue I can crawl out of at 5am reeking of Jager bombs. COBALT FOREVER!
Sep 12 ’09

After dicking around all day running errands and saying our tearful goodbyes, we hit the road pretty much just in time for rush hour. Sweet. Border actually not too bad at all… although it’s busy as hell, we don’t get searched but have to pay ten bux for our CDs? Gimme a break. We get only a short ways past Spokane sometime late at night and our transmission starts giving out for the THIRD FUCKING TIME THIS YEAR! I suggest we head to Spokane and wait till morning for a mechanic but the decision is made to turn around and head all the way back to Vancouver. We make it about 60 miles west of Spokane and have to get a tow truck to take us back there and… wait for a mechanic. Sounds familiar.

The next five days are highly uneventful. Literally 12 hours of day one waiting in the mechanics’ parking lot, a Starbucks and wandering around a grocery store endlessly. The next morning we end up renting the most hideous beast we can… a brand new white suburban which we dub many highly offensive names, the least of which being ‘Snowy White’ or ‘Great White.’ It’s the only vehicle we can rent that has a tow hitch for our trailer and the most powerful engine… which for those paying attention to the colour of it can probably guess at least one of said horribly offensive names. The ironic thing is that the Great White Hope is way more fuel efficient than our beloved Blue Bitch. It also has A/C, XM satellite radio (the station Hair Nation being the perfect soundtrack while reading Fargo Rock City) and horribly uncomfortable all leather seats but hopefully we won’t get pulled over cuz we give the illusion of some rich family moving across country instead of dirty bag metal dudes corrupting young ears from town to town. We can’t afford to pay the $250 cleaning fee for smoking in it so we now have to stop every hour for a smoke break.

Unfortunately, we have to cancel three shows in Minneapolis, Chicago and Columbus because we have to haul ass to Wilmington to start the Kylesa and Tombs tour. I’m bummed about those cancellations because Minneapolis and Columbus are awesome towns with some rad peeps and we finally hooked up a real show IN Chicago. We do stop in Chicago for an hour or so to pick up our TM Mark with all of our merch and the totally righteous bros at Emperor cabs hook me the fuck up with a crazy good deal. Hang out with our bud Andy briefly but raging with Nachtmystium and company will have to wait until next year.

Sep 17 ’09 (Wilmington NC @ Soapbox)

First show is a little rough, we haven’t practiced in a while and had to drive all through the night but we try to make the most out of it. Great to see the Tombs guys again, Carson and I enjoy the excellent deals being offered us at the bar. Tour mode has officially kicked in.

Sep 18 ’09 (Asheville NC @ Mo Daddy’s, Planet Caravan Fest)

What an odd little hippy town in the middle of North Carolina… feels like we’re back in BC. Win. There are two different venues here for the fest: one, a bigger actual show venue and the other a small restaurant. We are the first act in the restaurant and although there only 15 or so people eating dinner when we get up on stage the room completely fills within five minutes. Crowd is amazing and stays for the whole set even though Wino is playing across the parking lot at the exact same time. Wow. Zoroaster are right after us, I stay for a couple crushing jams then skip over to the big room to catch our old bros from Sweden, Burst. Only catch the last two songs but it will be the last time I ever see those songs as they have decided to call it quits after this US jaunt with Zoroaster and Gojira. We spent a month with them in Europe last spring (along with Medeia and The Ocean), they are absolute sweethearts and it’s great to see them again. We hang out in Asheville all night crushing beers and tasting cornshine with Zoroaster and Burst on Motley Crue’s old bus! No big deal. The ironic thing is that the bus is broken down and will leave those dudes stranded in Asheville for the next couple days… bummer. Joanne from Brooklyn hooks us up with projectile vomiting friend of a friend and some squats to stay in and I end up getting a bad case of mold cold… thanks for the crash and egg sandwiches though, dudes.

Sep 19 ’09 (Charlotte NC @ Milestone)

We arrive early in the muggy southern heat and are greeted by the bar owner Neil and a bunch of rad dudes (who spent the day recording in the bar and whose band name I wish I had caught cuz they were great). The first question out of Neil’s mouth was “So you guys wanna shot?” Being as it was 4 in the afternoon, of course we accept, followed by beer backs and a tour of the small but amazing club we will soon be playing. The walls are covered with graffiti from nearly any legendary punk band you can think of and we are regaled with even more stories of those who have also played here: Minor Threat, Black Flag, Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, DOA, Toxic Shock, Melvins… the list goes on.

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The opening band is entirely instrumental which instantly raises my judgments but they are awesome and completely live up to their name: Kick Ass. I’m actually bummed to have to follow them but we play hard and I feel great about the set… until I collapse at the end of it because I can’t fucking breathe. I’ve been physically and emotionally worn out, run down, exhausted and burnt out after shows but never have I entirely not been able to breathe. As soon as we finish loading there is a surprise torrential down pour… this will not be the last. We get wasted and end up crashing at the promoter Phillip’s house (who couldn’t actually make the show because of a wake for a friend the night before… totally understandable but I wish he had been there due to his and the bar tender’s love and respect for our brothers in Ladyhawk). Phillip has a surprisingly charismatic pug named Pug, with whom Mark and I spend many essential sleeping hours rowdying up.

Sep 20 ’09 (Nashville TN @ The End)

The last time we were in Nashville (about a month and a bit ago with Woe Of Tyrants and Lazarus) there were about four people at the show and unbeknownst to me was broadcast live over the internet. Because we were basically playing to just the bands on the tour I made some horrible ICP related jokes and thought nothing of screwing up pretty much everything we played. It also didn’t help that Job For A Cowboy were playing down the street. Our set was mediocre at best but 2/3rds of Today Is The Day said they enjoyed it. I am officially star struck. Is it just me or do Steve Austin and Page Hamilton look shockingly similar?

Sep 21 ’09 (Memphis TN @ Hi Tone)

Great food, good show and met some rad folks. I won’t name names but I heard a hilarious story from a dude who kept getting insulted by Phil Anselmo for rockin different t-shirts of Sammy Goatwhore’s old bands until he one day called him out only to have his efforts thwarted by concerned friends. He was also working on the documentary Slow Southern Steel and I really hope they added a re-enactment of that but I doubt it. Haha… “There ain’t no turtles in turtle soup, it’s just a turtle flavoring.” (There are only about eight or nine people who will get that but it’s fucking hilarious to me. Deal.)

Sep 22 ’09 (Birmingham AL @ Bottle Tree)

We accidentally punched in the wrong address to our GPS and originally ended up in the middle of the fucking stix. Looking around, I begin to accept that I will soon be sodomized by toothless, banjo enthusiast hicks, however after a slight address change, we find ourselves at an anomaly of a club. Old records cover nearly every square inch of wall space and the ‘back stage’ includes a huge lounge, Super Mario Bros. in arcade format, and two Airstream trailers decked out with flat screen cable TV… ooh-la-la.

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Crowd’s small but rad and it’s nice to have a sea of party vests in front of us. It’s Masa’s birthday and he gets hammer smashed then we present him with some peanut-butter chocolate cake with a smoke in it instead of a candle. Another FUCKING INSANE downpour while we’re loading out and me and Brad actually get trapped in the trailer for a little bit until it subsides. Crazy heat lightning before that too. The weather in the south is fucked.

Sep 23 ’09 (New Orleans LA @ Hi Ho Lounge)

It’s my first time down in New Orleans and the neighbourhood we’re in has a really heavy vibe to it. We’re surrounded by houses that are still boarded up and marked with 911 codes for body and debris removal. Wow. Despite that the people at the venue are great and the owner John makes us all some amazing sausage jambalaya. Katie-Lynne from C’mon comes out to hang and the shots ensue. Things get a little blurry after that…

Sep 24 ’09 (Austin TX @ Red 7)

…next thing I know we’re in Austin and chowing down on some killer bbq. The show is outdoors and the sound is actually really good. Curse The Heavens open up and they remind me of two of my favorite bands (and both Canadian!): Shallow North Dakota and Fiftywatthead… awesome. This tour has had an abundance of rad people at the shows and tonight is no exception. We head back to our super cheap, fancy Pricelined hotel and me and Carson Tombs slug bourbon in the parking lot… another blurry night.

Sep 25 ’09 (San Antonio TX @ Rock Bottom Tattoo Bar)

We’ve got a super short drive today so we meet up with the rest of Tombs for an awesome sit down mexi-breaky then dick around town all day trying to sort out some warranty and insurance bullshit surrounding our van and looking at records.

We get into San Antonio to find out that there is another show happening before ours so we have to wait to load in. We go in to investigate and I’m instantly filled with rage by being surrounded by teenage comb-overs, brightly coloured merch and Metro Station/crab core/scream pop bands. Good fucking god. I think I may have wandered into an Attack Attack! concert. How does this music even exist and how can these little pecker heads afford trailers that are bigger than my apartment? Crap sells and it turns out everyone’s buying.

We hear some real music drifting through the air and James goes on a quick recon mission. Turns out that just down the canal behind the venue there is an outdoor function going on. It’s Dancing Under the Stars with The Roger Velasquez Band at the VFW Post 76. There’s beer, free spaghetti and families everywhere and it rules. The VFW club house is huge and apparently it’s the oldest post in Texas. Sweet deal.

Eventually we can load in and get right to it. The Pierce The (shit) Veil clones have emptied out and we’re thankfully now surrounded by beards, dreadlocks and patches… ahhh, good to be home. Fuck you and your neon t-shirts. Bands are alternating on a stage inside and one outside. I miss the band outside after us but after Tombs (as per usual) crushing set we see a band outside called Ecocide. Wow. The only way I can think to describe is take later His Hero Is Gone and replace Todd Burdette with a small blonde girl playing the violin and screeching like Jeff Walker. I haven’t heard or seen anything like this in at least ten years and these kids seem pretty young. My faith is successfully restored that not everyone in the world is a deaf idiot with a flat iron hair-do.

Sep 26 ’09 (Denton TX @ Rubber Gloves)

After our bud Rikki takes us out for the best/cheapest breakfast tacos I’ve ever eaten, we hit the long road across Texas. Rubber Gloves: rad bar and rad peeps. Denton is the hometown of our tight bros in A.N.S. but unfortunately they are still on tour in SF at the moment so we won’t get to see them. They hook us up with some dope new buds Kenny and Sarah to crash with. Turns out we actually met Sarah three years ago the first time we played with A.N.S. and Annihilation Time in San Marcos. They have a rad little rancher house and some killer lil pooches we party down with. Another dude named Kenny gives James an A.N.S. tattoo with a toothbrush-gun and I briefly get to see Jeff who roadied for the boys a month ago when they stayed with me and Carly in Vancouver. We somehow can’t even finish the bottle of Rebel Yell bourbon Mark bought in Austin… fuckin’ amateur hour.

Sep 27 ’09 (Oklahoma City OK @ Conservatory)

This is our last night with Tombs on the tour and that sad fact hangs in the air all night. At least there is an amazing record store called Size Records right next to the venue that me and Carson peruse for awhile. He finds a Mountain t-shirt (which he graciously gives to Masa) and a bunch of old power pop records for cheap while I spot a surprising amount of old Victoria punk 7”s and a Social Infestation 10.” Score. If you’ve never been, you have got to check this store out. I have never been so dumbfounded by the amount of random sweet finds in a record store before… and the owner is a total rad dude to boot (bonus points for the fact that he was rocking a Seasick shirt).

I think we play pretty good until Tombs just crushes with their seething tension and intensity. At one point I actually think Carson might deck a loser-pissed dude up front who’s been screaming all night. If I didn’t know how much of a sweetheart Carson actually is I would have been worried when he started to stare the dude down… amazing.

To cap it all off, Kylesa plays an amazing set as well. The stage set up was great for either standing down front or off the side of stage right. It’s a good stage height and the energy translates great onto the floor. I feel like we all hit our stride there… too bad Tombs are outta here.

We dick around in the parking lot after the show, saying our sad goodbyes to the bros. I’m really gonna miss watching Tombs every night and hanging out with them. Ever since we first played together in Manhattan at CMJ last year, we have been crucial buds and seem to cross paths and lines of normal bro-decency as often as we can. Mike Hill is a great guy who scares the fuck out of a lot of people but is actually one of the funniest people I have ever met. Andrew pounds his drums and stalks the back of the stage with the ferocity of a starving lion (and secretly sings beautiful ballads of the old west in his spare time). Their roadie Thorns is a shifty fuck with a heart of gold…and by gold I mean Camel Crush cigarettes. Carson and I are brothers from different mothers and I still think he should have played at least one night in his tie-dyed shirt… but only so I could’ve made fun of him for it… fuckin’ Williamsburg hip(pie)ster! NYCNSBM.

-Dan And/BISON B.C.

More tour shenanigans with Dan And and Bison B.C. tomorrow!!!

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