Apologies for the lack of images. I’ll update this post with photos when I get wifi access.
Tour Day 11: Monday 9 October
Spark Contemporary Art Space, Syracuse, New York
w/ Man Mountain, Against The Giants, Machine Moon, How To Disappear Completely
The drive from Vermont to Syracuse is incredible. I lived in Maine for a few months earlier in the year, and it feels good to be back in beautiful New England. Upstate New York is aglow with autumnal hues. We drove through winding country roads, past glassy ponds, and through misty groves of vibrant deciduous trees. Joey put on Young and Courageous, the Tides of Man record. It seems like the perfect soundtrack for this beautiful drive. Joey and I get watery-eyed. It’s crazy how closely attached we feel to the guys in that band, considering that we’ve only known each other for four days.
I was up into the early hours of the morning hanging out with some of the musicians from dunk! in the Junius hotel room, so wasn’t feeling too crash-hot due to limited sleep.
We arrived in Syracuse and unloaded the gear into the venue – an art gallery similar to the one we played in Minot, although this one was bare.
I asked CJ what he was thinking, going from playing the biggest show of his career to the smallest. He sad he was happy for it because the pressure from dunk had been lifted off his shoulders.
We walked to a nearby pizza joint a few blocks away. It was chaos. We had to order from one place and pay at another. The staff didn’t even seem to know what was going on. I sat down with my laptop to sort through photos I’d taken at dunk!
After pizza we walked back to the venue, and I realised that my wallet was absent from my back pocket where it usually lives. I searched my bag thoroughly, emptied out my pockets and asked the guys if they’d seen it.
After turning my bag inside out a few times, and retracing my steps and searching the pizza joint, I came to the conclusion that my wallet was stolen. I spent the next hour sat in the van ringing banks to cancel my cards and trying to do some damage control for when whoever had my wallet was trying to get access to things with it.
I can’t comment on the bands that night. I was too absorbed in my own little world and took some time out in the van. Not a good day for me.
Tour Day 12: Tuesday 10 October
Spacebar, Columbus, Ohio
w/ Man Mountain, Deprecator
Thankfully I still had my passport on me, and was able to withdraw the rest of the balance from my American bank account. It wasn’t much, but it should last me the rest of my time here if I’m not stupid.
Local band Deprecator played a fun set of thrash metal, with some Slayer thrown in for good measure. It was a refreshing change from the music I’ve listened to over the past few weeks.
The End Of The Ocean live in Ohio, so we met up with some of the band at the show. The bar had ginger beer – my personal favourite – so I bought a round.Then Tara from TEOTO bought a few shots, then I had a few more beers on the band tab. Before I knew it I was buzzing.
Ranges did their usual thang. You’d think that after seeing them play the same stuff for 11 nights I’d be sick of it, but I still love watching them play. I’ve seen them enough now that I’m confident I could step in for Mark on drums if he should go Spinal Tap on us and spontaneously combust or fall off a stage.
Man Mountain were great. I posted a status on twitter: “Man Mountain: 100% bearded, 100% awesome”. I still stand by that drunken statement. It was lots of fun dancing along to their music. They have a foot pedal that sets off flood lights during their heavier passages of music. It’s simple, but adds so much to the experience.
After the show we headed down the street for a few more drinks at the bar Tara works at, and some pizza from a connected pizzeria. I covered my slice in unicorn sauce. I couldn’t tell you what it is, but it tasted amazing.
A homeless guy asked Mike from Man Mountain if he was from ZZ Top, clearly because of his impressive beard. Mike played along completely straight-faced. I just lost it.
Tour Day 13: Wednesday 11 October
Foam, St Louis, Missouri
w/ Man Mountain, Staghorn, CaveofswordS
One thing I adore about this scene is the DIY mentality. Ranges print their own merch and record their own music. Mark built his own snare drum. Jared made coffee cups to go with the deluxe edition of their album.
We met another band in St Louis with a similar mindset: Staghorn. Staghorn also has a printing press, so do their own t-shirts and even screen printed some posters for the show as souvenirs for us. On top of that, they even make their own amps!
Their set revolved around a dystopian comic that the band had written, with the narrative coming through the PA on a back track. I’m a sucker for spoken word samples in post-rock, and I also subscribe completely to dystopian texts, so this was the best of both worlds.
As well as drawing me in to the music, the band looked amazing. Their own custom amps look unlike most I’ve seen. They also had two lights that included salt lamps and spotlights. Allan on guitar had a balaclava/turban wrap around his face and head, adding to the sci-fi imagery. And they had a harmonium – like a piano with bellows – which was new to me, and great to watch.
Man Mountain, as usual, killed it. Those dudes are super talented and I wish them all the success they deserve.
CaveofswordS ended the night with their unique electro/darkwave/synthpop. It was quite the set up, with plenty of synths and modulators and things with buttons that I couldn’t name. The music was fun and depressing at the same time.
After the show most of the people in bands hung around outside. It was our last night with Man Mountain, and sad to see them go. Jacob the drummer and I bonded over an intense love for Into It. Over It. Bryan the guitarist told me about how he got into post-rock by listening to Lowercase Noises, which prompted him to experiment with his own ambient sounds, and later join Man Mountain.
I’m not sure exactly what time we left the venue, but apparently about ten minutes later there was a shootout right outside where we had been, resulting in a police officer being shot!
Words and photos by Joseph James