We woke up the next morning feeling rested, but somewhat beaten and battered, some probably worse than others. We showered up, ate some delectable bagels, gathered our junk up, and said out goodbyes. It’s hard to have to leave family, and we all feel like we have a family in Rochester now, although only figuratively for some of us, it still feels the same.
Once we loaded up, we hit the road for Syracuse. It felt like we were there before we knew it – first stop, the pizza shop. We hit up “Di Lauros” – a little corner shop that resembled a bakery specializing in crusty Italian bread. We snacked up and headed to guitar center to meet up with our homey Alec LaBounty – who plays in a new awesome band from Syracuse called Trespassers. We hung out and grabbed up some strings. Once Alec got off, we met him and his GF over at Alto Cinco for some delicious Mexican treats. That place was the real deal. We got some drinks, some snacks and had a hot sauce party. We loaded up a few bottles for the road – sorry AC, they were just too damn good to resist, and headed over to the Badlands where we met up with another of our homioes Matt Travers, who plays in a whole bunch of ridiculously good bands.
It was good to catch up with those dudes – its been too long. Stoked to see them back in Pittsburgh on 5/23.
After hearing from a whole bunch of people various things about Badlands, I was fairly anxious to check it out, but it turns out that the space is really awesome. It’s a little DIY art space that’s a perfect size for small touring bands and it was pretty legit – like had a decent PA setup and all that.
Vital Times was already setting up when we got there and the dudes from Dead Ends and Fairgrounds were hanging around outside.
Unfortunately, our dudes in Storm the Bay dropped off the show cause they couldn’t get off work for both our show and the farewell Of Fortune and Fame show [tear…] 2 days later. So we started things off right at 7:30, and all the kids hanging around out in the streets and sidewalks poured into the badlands and packed the place. I was a little nervous about this show since it was the only one we had to front money for to secure the venue, but the turnout was great – way better than we could have even hoped for.
Vital Times played what was amazingly their first ever set in public, but there is no way in hell anyone could have ever guessed that, because they were really really awesome. I really don’t know what I would even compare those guys to, maybe the Weezer Blue Album on steroids and a few bumps of crank? It was really awesome.
Up next was Dead Ends – they were a power pop-punk / easycoreish 5 piece and they were really good. They threw in a cover that everyone knew, and sang along to, including me, but now I can’t remember the name of the song, but it was fun times.
Fairgrounds played next – their set was intricate like post emo, it was definitely a little more harsh than I was expecting based on what I had heard on their bandcamp page, but it was definitely great. Their bassist / vocalist was nice enough to let us use their bass cab and help break it in the first day he has owned it, which was rad and Vital Times let us use a badass Marshall cab – so thanks dudes!
We took the stage next and the space and crowd huddled round and made us feel right at home. It was a really fun set, but god damn was it hot in that little place. Not just for us, it was just hot in general for everyone, which is why pretty much the entire attendance of the show would pour out onto the streets between bands and pack it back in as soon as the next band started. Regardless, we had a hell of a time and hope everyone else did too.
Then Rust Belt Lights took the stage – which was the third night in a row we got to see them play an amazing set, sooo lucky us. This was the first ‘art space’ type venue we played with them, no stage or anything, so it was cool to get up close and sing along to another killer set.
After the show we gathered our shit, squared up and said our goodbyes to Alec, although we knew we’d be seeing him soon.
We didn’t really have a plan or place to stay, so we were kinda standing around like doofuses until we eventually decided to shave some off our drive to Ottawa the next day and head up to Watertown to spend the night.
We stopped at a gas station and loaded up with auto fuel and alcho fuel. We got into Watertown and any type of nightlife we could identify looked beater than the Pens, so we decided we were going to slum out in a grimebox motel, but it turns our regardless of how slummy or nice the motel appeared they were all $100+ - so fuck that we said. TJ found a what looked like cool little camp site about 15 minutes away, so we headed over to the Bedford Creek Marina and Campground to see if we could work something out. We rolled in around 1:30am, not really knowing what to expect. We rolled up on the main lodge area which was all locked up and lights off, but there was a sign on the door that gave a number to call in case of an emergency. So obviously we called it due to our camping needs emergency and an old somewhat confused man answered and told me it was 2, 3, 4am… I explained we were looking to camp on his lovely grounds and after a few minutes of coercing, he agreed to come down and meet me.
The old man was way cool after I explained the story and he hooked us up with a cabin for 10 bucks a head and simply asked us one favor, make sure the place still exists the next morning. We felt pretty confident we could handle that. After cruising to the back of the campgrounds, we came across our cabin, which was one of 2 in the entire campground. We jumped out of the car and into 4inch deep puddles surrounding us, which were everywhere for some reason, not sure if they got a downpour the night before, but whatever, it was kinda like swamp lands, but the cabins sat up on a little hill, so they were nice and dry. And also, these things would loosely be considered cabins… They looked more like little lawnmower sheds, but fuck it, they had a fire pit and a picnic table and there was nobody around to tell us to shut the hell up in the middle of the night, so we blazed up the fire, mixed of the liquor and listened to the most hilarious 20th century fox saxophone reenactment to ever exist.
We hung around the fire making moderately amusing jokes and enjoying the outdoors for a while, glad the threatening rain had held off. Around 3:30, the clouds lifted and the moon lit the place up. Mostly everyone was already assed out, but TJ and Nick decided to head down to the beach which was only about 500 yards down a wooded slampland path. Lake Ontario looked really awesome in the bright moonlight and the water was calm like glass. Hung on the beach for a little while and decided to roll back around 4:00am and things just kept getting better. Literally the 2nd step on the way back and I caught something out of the corner of my eye that my brain immediately identified as something I didn’t want to step on, but it didn’t recognize what it was until I had a chance to catch my balance and look down. This was our first froggy friend of the tour. He was a neat little guy. I gave him a little nudge, he pissed his pants and hopped away. We turned and took a few more steps and bam – another frog. I had a good feeling we were in for a good ol fashion frog party, and we definitely were. This one was less pissy, so he let us pick him up and model him for a couple quick pics and we took some sweet slowmo videos of him hopping around, which were hilarious to watch. We found like 20 other frogs on the way back, but the last one was by far the best – this thing was mongo king slob frog. He was like the size of a softball and he was pretty chill, he didn’t really take leaping too seriously, he was more of a strolling type frog, just kinda walking around, kinda like if biggie smalls was a frog.
After playing with him for a while we headed back to the cabin to piss the fire out and turn down for the night – we had at least a few hours before the sun gonna come up, we hoped, so we hopped in our sleeping sacks, hit the lights, left the door open and let the woodland sounds put us to sleep.