Friday, 30 October 2015

Thisclose in America - A Brief Shakedown Part 3


The journey to Appleton was a long slog, the majority of which I spent absorbing Dee Snider's memoirs, which I found, like many rock memoirs feature about 5 years of interest and then many 'anecdotes' which are bread and butter to the rock'n'roll plebs such as ourselves (You had to drive your own tour van Dee, oh the humanity!. Anyway, I've read worse and it passed the time, which was considerable, and it was with great relief that we pulled up at the venue in Appleton.

Active Minds - Appleton

The gig was again in a suburban house in which the living room had been converted into a concert room, there was a spread of food waiting for us and various refreshments of an intoxicating nature were provided for the boys, overall the sort of personal welcome that was needed after a lengthy shift on the road.

The gig itself was not jam packed busy, but it was one of my personal favourite gigs of the tour - the classic small town appreciative audience who are really glad to see, and host, something different in their town. From the welcome we received on arrival, the crowd made up of older scenesters and young kids at their first ever gig, the mixed bill line-up which mixed punk, hardcore, metal and grind, to the teenage kids we crashed with, all the pieces were in place for a top nostalgia fueled punk night!

Special shout to Razorfist - banging speedmetal group who opened the evening.


Well, definitely a different beast, a big town with a big scene, Top nosh up at the 'Hard times' vegan cafe before the gig, I had a classic 'biscuits and gravy' breakfast, the biscuits being more like a savory scone, delicious!

The gig itself was ok, a much bigger audience than Appleton, but a pretty static responce, and from the stage of the warehouse venue I could see that there were as many people again sitting around outside while we were playing which really sapped my energy for the performance. Active Minds got a better response but overall it was a quiet night. As the gig worked towards its conclusion a wild thunder storm descended upon Minneapolis, leaving us loading the van in the pissing rain and sleeping in a house with no electricity, which was kinda fun bumbling about in the dark, reminded me of the winters growing up in the Scottish countryside, falling asleep in candlelight.



The final date, and another slog, it was early evening by the time we reached the venue. Feelings were as expected for the last night of a tour, sadness and relief. The venue was a small room just off a busy shopping area where Nibbler, the Active Minds lads and myself found a nice Thai restaurant for our dinner, with Thrones tracking down a legendary Chicago deep-dish pizza.

being hairy somewhere outside Chicago

The crowd was sizable enough, certainly an improvement on the 5 or so who turned up to see the Wankys here in 2010, and those who had made the journey out enjoyed both ourselves and Active Minds, allthough our own performance was far from our best, end of tour blues perhaps?

After the gig we tried to visit downtown Chicago but ended up getting a first hand experience of the city's bypass which was unbelievably busy as we crawled round it at 1 in the morning on a Saturday night.

And that my friends, is it. Our flights home were delayed and we spent an age dossing about Chicago airport, but as Dee Snider learned latterly, that's all part of the game at the bottom of the rock'n'roll barrel - Ow!