Today was a very trippy day in Davenport, Iowa. About an hour after we parked behind the gig we noticed the street in front of us beginning to fill up with cop cars and fire trucks and EMT units. We followed the gaze of all the first responders and there, about 100 feet away, sitting on the ledge of a parking garage with nothing but pavement below was a young man with no shoes: just sitting there, casually, as if he was simply reveling in the beautiful spring weather, enjoying the view of the Mississippi. He sat there for a couple hours, just like that and we sat in our bus and passed the time. Every now and then someone would come back to the bus and say, “is he still there?” and someone else would twist around and look out the window and say, “yup”. But then he started to move around a little bit and get a bit agitated and the uniforms in the street started to get edgy, stretchers were prepared, gloves were put on, yellow tape was strung. He slowly squirmed his way closer to the edge and then he put his whole lower torso over the side and dangle like that for a few seconds. And then he got back on the ledge and turned around so that his back was facing the drop and he started to lean further and further back into open space. And then it all seemed so inevitable and I had to stop watching. But then, just like that, he stopped and got off the ledge and went away with the police…..leaving his shoes on the pavement below.
And then things got really weird….the gig was in The Red Stone Room, a small performance space housed in a beautifully renovated old department store that is the hub of The River Music Experience: a fantastic non-profit organization that is dedicated to bringing music and music education to this area. It’s a great idea and a beautiful building but the actual performance space (the Red Stone Room) seems almost like an afterthought. It’s an awkward space tucked away in the corner of the top floor with a tiny little dressing room located three floors down in the basement among the fruit fly infested beer bottle empties, with lots of your classic rock’n’roll dressing room graffiti on the walls (cocks, bums and boobs) and, for good measure, a little bit of sewage from the clean-out pipe, dry and splattered in the corner. Set ups like this don’t exactly scream “respect”. Which is odd considering this whole operation is all about elevating music (and one would assume musicians) to a more respected and important place in the communities consciousness. At any rate, Margo dissed the dressing rooms from stage, which pissed off the club manager, who took it out on Jared which almost lead to blows….the upshot of it all is that we have been banned from the Redstone Room forever. My advice to those in charge….clean your fucking dressing room, or even better, move it to out of the skanky basement and at least pretend that you give a shit about where the band has to change and hang out…it’s the little things that can really make a show work. We had an ok show…considering….
We had a day off yesterday here in Davenport. This town was once a major player in this region, sitting strategically on the Mississippi. It’s a classic mid-west town with enormous five lane streets running through it; some beautiful 19th century buildings; a lot of empty retail space; a scattering of local entrepreneurs trying to make something happen; but mainly lots and lots of empty sidewalks with plenty of room to stretch out and do nothing. It was a relaxing day in a beautiful downtown hotel (the Blackhawk) with not a lot of distractions except, of course, hockey. We also did a gig at the daytrotter.com studios across the river in Rock Island Ill, which was a lot of fun and will be posted on their site soon.