OFF WE GO!
We set off from Nashville at about 3 p.m. and had beautiful weather as we drove up I-65 to Kentucky. Turns out there are quite a few tourist spots along the way, from Kentucky Down Under — you can pet a kangaroo, they kept telling us — to the Horse Cave Historic District.
My wonderful girlfriend Serena made brochures for each of our tour stops featuring tourist trap ideas, trivia and treats (candy). On her recommendation, we visited the Kentucky Stonehenge in Munfordville, Kentucky. This place is exactly what it sounds like and worth the pit stop if you're driving up I-95 before 5 p.m. Some middle school kids saw us taking pictures there, and we got to blow their minds by telling them we are in a band with music on Spotify.
We arrived in Lexington around 7 p.m. and immediately picked up on the fact that this house gig would have the feel of a college party. Not that we minded: As long as folks showed up, we had a feeling we'd have a pretty good crowd with a lot of energy. Our hosts, Topsoil, recommended we pick up dinner at the restaurant Bourbon N' Toulouse. We highly recommend this place and agree with Topsoil that you should ask for a second piece of bread with your meal.
As we ate some very affordable and tasty Cajun food and sipped on the state drink of Ale-8-One, I reflected on the fact that our tour schedule mirrors the Career Mode of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock: We're starting at a house party, moving up to larger gigs in paid venues, playing a showcase and then finishing off at a historic venue in New York City. I'm glad we have a full week to prepare for our Devil Went Down to Georgia Guitar Battle against Lou.
Topsoil's set began around 9, and we listened along with around 70 University of Kentucky students wearing costumes for a Friday the 13th / pre-Halloween party. This environment definitely made me feel like a person who just turned 26, but I enjoyed their originals and a cover of Paramore's "Still Into You," which I played in my own college band. As we predicted, the energy was extremely high by the end of their set.
We set up as quickly as possible so people wouldn't leave after seeing their friends' set and hit play on our set-opening radio intro, which we recorded just for the tour. It wasn't entirely audible over the PA... but our first song, "Buyin' American," absolutely was. The riff is fast and heavy and exactly what the Dudes in the front row were looking for, and it set an excellent tone for the rest of the night. My favorite of these Dudes were the two dressed as Tim and Moby from BrainPOP.
Was it our cleanest set, technically speaking? Nope! But we had a blast feeding off the crowd and hopping around the stage. My personal highlight was when I hopped up onto my amp, immediately felt it wobble a bit and very gingerly descended back to the floor. Rock 'n' roll! We got lots of fist bumps and even sold some merch after the set.
Alyssa kept the energy up with her set, and many people made comments about what a hero Max was for pulling double duty as both our singer and her bassist. (His post-show comment: “I was like, ‘Guys, I cannot fist bump you after every song.’”)
After the show ended, we hung out with our hosts and ended the night in true college fashion: ordering a pizza right before Domino's closed.Off to Richmond. Here's a picture of our setlist and Max's first draft and original drawing for the tour poster art.