Sorry guys, i’m falling behind with this tour diary. Access to the internet is only partly to blame. I’m actually sat in The Rivoli in Toronto now. We’ve done our soundcheck and i’m grabbing a few moments to get this posted. So here is the diary from Milwaukee to Chicago. Detroit and Toronto will follow soon…
March 6, 2015
We’re driving back to Chicago again! We first landed in Chigaco almost three weeks ago and have come a full 3,500 mile circle back to it. The last few days we’ve been dancing around it like night-time moths fluttering around an outdoor light, but tonight we’ll do a show and stay there before continuing on our way to Detroit and then onto our first foray into Canada. If you look at the roadmap of our tour HERE it resembles the flight path of a drunken bumble bee.
I’m running out of adjectives to describe our shows but last night really was a good one. Let’s say stupendous! We had a whale of a time and the audience also seemed to be enjoying themselves judging by the noise coming back at us. Thanks guys.
The venue was The Ballroom at the Eagles Club in Milwaukee. A grand building, built in 1927 that has frankly seen better days and needs a little love. Particularly to its leaky roof. The Eagles Club or The Rave as it’s otherwise known sports an imposing facade and the main ballroom is a cavernous space that invokes the lavish decadence of yesteryear. It also hides all manner of spooky secrets from its past. After our bombastic set, we were taken on a mystery tour through the bowels of the building. Like a scene from Scooby-doo, we crept along dusty, unused passageways full of old junk using the light from our phones to navigate. The building is supposedly haunted and much paranormal activity has been reported over the years. The basement houses a beautiful pool, now eerily empty and home to supposed ghosts and other disgruntled spirits. There are also three disused racquetball courts. Apparently the ghosts like to hang out in the giant boiler room which we found padlocked. I imagine that’s the only place they can get warm as the whole building was like an ice palace. The security guards manning the draughty stairwells that night didn’t seem to happy about being there. As well as the Blackberry Smoke gig last night was a rave and another live gig. The building contains 3 halls. So, whilst in one room, bug-eyed teenagers fuelled on amphetamines were losing their minds to dangerous levels of subsonic bass, in another room were The Wailers – Bob Marley’s original backing band. After a bit of easy skanking in the Reggae room we wrapped up the night at the merch desk and drove back through the staggeringly cold night to our beds.
Next morning my roommate Phil Campbell and myself woke in high spirits. The music was turned up and there was much singing and dancing around the room whilst we packed and showered, not realising that it was 8.30am. Our neighbours, Damon and Iain we’re not impressed. It’s now been suggested that Phil and I be separated like naughty schoolboys.
We’ve eaten well in Milwaukee. The night we arrived, all the guys excluding Phil and I went to a restaurant with the genius name “Thai-namite”. We’d decided a much better option would be to get in our beds and watch some “House of Cards.” As one episode ended, a knock at the door was heard and there, like a glorious hairy angel stood Damon clutching a take-out Pad Thai. What a beautiful man! The next episode was watched in our pyjamas eating off paper plates laden with spicy noodles. Life doesn’t get much better than this!
Also in Milwaukee is Sobelman’s, home of possibly the best burgers of the tour so far and an absurd Bloody Mary that’s almost a meal in itself. This bring’s me to our third gastronomic discovery in Milwaukee. Glorioso’s. This Italian deli provided us with great coffee, the best meatball sandwich on earth and also a dancing partner for Damon. I turned a corner to find him gliding around the store with a random customer to the italian music being piped through the speakers. Damon is definitely spreading love and good vibes wherever he goes on this tour.
There was a feeling of excitement in the van as we drove to Chicago. Touring is easy when there’s good food, laughter and “Money for Nothing” blasting on the stereo. No-one was more excited then Paul Sayer however as we dropped him off outside Chicago Music Exchange. We didn’t see him for the rest of the day and when he returned at soundcheck time, he was sporting a shit-eating grin and two extra guitars. As I predicted!
It was a rammed Saturday night in Joe’s bar. Everyone was up for a good time and so were we. For 40 minutes the room filled with Rock’nRoll and smiles before a nice chilly load-out and packdown outside in the back alley. Much like a plunge pool after a sauna.