Tandem Tracks & Tourist Traps

The Joseph family home in Voorhees, New Jersey was a perfect place to relax and sleep in ahead of our Philadelphia gig. After enjoying a hearty spread of fruit, eggs and massive bagels from Bagel Bin, I caught up on some work while Sean and Max played a game of chess. It ended in a stalemate.
We made the short drive to Philadelphia and explored the city together this time, first stopping at DiPinto Guitars and the antique store Jinxed. Sean, who is a native of Hershey, Pennsylvania and now lives in Pittsburgh, begrudgingly admitted that he had a nice time, especially at the pizza joint Pizza Brain. Not only did this Fishtown pizzeria serve a fantastic pie with red onions and blackened Brussels sprouts, but it had a museum featuring items and images that told the story of how the Italian dish became such a staple of American life. We also got to meet Max's college roommate, Matthew, who wasn't able to make the show but very kindly bought us a round of drinks before our show.
Our venue was Abyssinia Upstairs, located above an Ethiopian restaurant near University City. We had a few concerns about this show: The intimate space seemed better suited to a singer-songwriter performance than to a Rockin' Band That Rocks (which is how Max described Felix Tandem in the Craigslist ad that led to me joining the band), and we also worried that many potential audience members would elect to watch the Phillies in Game One of the National League Championship Series. Our fears were partially allayed after we retooled our set to fit the more low-key venue and spied at least three people wearing Phillies gear in the house by showtime.
Max Davey is one of my favorite acts we've played with on tour, not just because her folksy sound was perfectly suited to the crisp October day but also because she hopped on the show with almost no notice to help us following a scheduling conflict. She played with her partner, Steve, and since my first name is Steven, over half of the people onstage throughout the night were named either Max or Steve. (I had apparently never shared this fact with my bandmates, so when I said this onstage, it seemed like I was making a really weird joke.)
I was pleasantly surprised with how well our set went given the last-minute changes. It felt weird not to use our Rockin' Guitar Effects That Rock and to even sit down during some of the slower songs, but it was a very receptive audience that was fun to play for. Max (our Max) even played a solo song, "The Astronaut Song," from his senior thesis, A Murmur From Earth. Alyssa had a strong performance in front of her hometown crowd, and so did the Phillies: We found out on our way home that, despite a late-game scare, they held on to take a 5-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The show brought two favorite moments, both of which came after we'd left the stage. One of Alyssa's cousins approached us and asked, "Do you guys play D&D? You have the vibe," which I took as a compliment since playing Dungeons & Dragons online is one of my favorite ways to keep in touch with old friends. Maybe she had the thought after watching my apparent onstage antics: Another family member later approached me and said, "You have a very... funny way about you onstage! I don't know you, but I wouldn't have expected that."
We returned to Voorhees for our final night at the Joseph home and spent a long time hanging out with Alyssa's parents. They have a ton of interesting trinkets and art pieces in their house, the coolest of which was a 120-year-old Edison phonograph player. At Max's suggestion, we bought them one more as a thank-you gift in Philadelphia: a little ceramic Artful Dodger that we thought would be a perfect addition to their collection.