(Jason Lent has forsaken the island paradise of Hawaii to follow us around for a few months. I have happily placed the tour diary in his capable hands. It should bring a new perspective to our ramblings.)
The poorly paved highways out of Syracuse made for an uneven drive south as the anthracite mines of eastern Pennsylvania rolled by. As I crested a hill in New Jersey, the New York City skyline began to inch over the horizon. At that point, the GPS on my i-Phone, now nicknamed Joey Conrad, sent me into the heart of darkness that is New York City on an ill fated route that left me instantly lost.
Unprepared for the tolls, I was short three dollars to escape from New York via the Queen’s Tunnel. Not trusting my GPS to get me to a bridge, I pulled into a parking garage near an ATM and paid $9 for a 45 second run to the ATM. As I pulled the $20’s from the machine, a gust of wind caught one and it blew down the sidewalk (I can’t make this stuff up). I watched an older lady stop it with her foot, glance in my direction, and start to stick it in her pocket. I did my best New Yorker “hey!” and she shoved it back at me without breaking stride.
Two hours of stalled traffic later, I arrive in Bay Shore, NY and found the venue. I called the motel I passed on the way in to check on rates and the lady on the other end asked if I wanted it for the entire night. I decided to ask around and two different bartenders told me to avoid the local hotels since they were mostly for the hookers and drug dealers. Clearly, neither worked for the Bay Shore Visitors Bureau.
The show tonight was in a performing arts hall with stadium seating, clean restrooms, and a well-behaved crowd. After Syracuse, the experience felt a little sterile for a rock and roll concert. The band broke the night into two sets and the second half felt more focused. The new songs, “A Few Bags of Grain” and “Stranger Here,” are becoming razor sharp and threaten to blow the roof off a show in the near future. The night ended with Mike and Jeff unleashing a threatening “Lay It Down” as the lighting director continued his trippy, swirling light show.