VELO Tour Recap PART 1
At first thought, being crammed into a car full of musical equipment, unrefrigerated Odwalla smoothies, and sick bandmates doesn't sound like the most appealing venture. Turns out that, in practice, it's quite pleasant.
My bandmates in VELO (Ofer, Waldo, and Travis) arrived to pick me up on the first day of tour in a large, black Ford Expedition. Being the last to pack into the car, some of my essentials became superfluous. Things like my pedal board and a cooler I had been asked to borrow from my roommate (which would have been particularly helpful in storing those Odwallas I'd mentioned earlier).
As I entered the car with my newly lightened load, Travis and Waldo mention that they had just recently come down with some cold symptoms. A fair amount of sniffling, coughing, and misery was to ensue over the next several days.
Our first stop was a bar called TrueLove in Waco, Texas.
An omen of good luck occurred as I stepped on stage before the show to set my things straight; I snapped off one of my tuning pegs. Now, most musicians are familiar with just how positive this happening can be, often times leading to lavish record deals, falling in love after a show, and even otherworldly performances. While none of those things happened, per se, it did seemingly ensure that we would have fulfilling time on the road together.
We spent several days in Ft. Worth which, I learned from native Fort Worthian Travis, is actually not Dallas. Travis' parents have a home in said city and happened to be out of town at a time that coincided with the entirety of our stay in "Not Dallas."
After a few days of eating Tex Mex, intense jump rope workout routines, and doing nothing, we decided to leave the great state of Texas.
Nashville, Tennessee was our next stop. We played an interesting little 20 minute showcase at The Basement. The owner was thrilled with us and proceeded to buy the band drinks. Travis and I were the only two drinking that evening, mainly because Ofer just recently contracted the very same cold symptoms that Travis had that day been relieved of moments prior. Coincidence or conspiracy?
Waldo's friend John put us up for the evening. This guy is an incredible writer and performer. He played us his new record in the background as we talked about Austin, Nashville, the state of the industry and the reasons why we do this whole thing. For whatever is lacking in today's music, the world certainly is not bereft of talent.
We headed forward to Asheville the next day. Waldo described, as we walked the streets together, this haunting feeling of familiarity the place held; a feeling he once had about Austin before his residence there. That evening we played at a house maintained and recently purchased by some wonderfully raucous and respectful college students. Tucked away below a long driveway on a hill lay the house, surrounded by luscious greenery and the emerging dusk that was soon to set in.
The bands before us reminded me of the renewable energy that youth imbues into music. I remember, and I witness each year, new bands playing new music without the jaded attitudes that almost inevitably seep into the songs of more veteran bards. No one starts playing music because they believe its the most likely path to financial abundance, but as the years go by and your passion intensifies you begin to believe that maybe you could make a pittance. Maybe you could do better than a pittance, maybe you could do well for yourself. Perhaps if we tinker with song structure, lyrical content, maybe even the branding needs to be rethought. Who's keeping up with our social media? Why did we just spend $10 on a Facebook advertisement to garner just a few more likes from our friends. Maybe I should start thinking about a different career path.
Not the young, they don't think this way just yet. The music seemed fresh and pure, something so oddly to experience that I remember thinking, "I haven't exactly heard this before."
Once our set began, the energy in the room was as charged as our ungrounded microphones, shocking our lips as we attempted harmony. In fact, I started to wear out after about three or four songs, taking a mental note that I couldn't go as hard as the crowd.
We ended the night singing on the porch together; the band was starting to resonate on a higher frequency.
Sam, one of the owners of the home and the brother of our friend Gus here in Austin, took us to a biscuit restaurant the next morning that served free donuts with just about every meal. I'll admit that we all wished to stay longer than we actually did.
Part 2 coming soonish...
Be patient. There's an exciting reveal... I'm building suspense...