From the Road: Nineteen
Our first summer of festivals is underway! So far we've played Hookahville in Ohio, Wakarusa in Arkansas, and Summerfest in Milwaukee. We have a few more of these on the docket – check out our website for details. So far we're having a blast. Each festival has been wonderful and crazy, with its own unique vibe. This week's list/game/list-game consists of matching the summer festival to the powerful, evocative vignette that describes our experience.
It is hot. Our normal emphasis on vanity, skin-tight apparel and the intersection of two quickly becomes incompatible with the fact that we are melting. We dunk our heads in water coolers, crouch in front of industrial fans, and contemplate trading musical equipment for pairs of zip-off pant-shorts. It is awesome. Needless to say that by the time we re-enter civilization, the combination of margaritas, Tex Mex and an oppressively air conditioned hotel room is better than sex.
We finish our set and have the night off to explore. We make friends with a group of fellow travelers who share their tent complex, refreshments, and gadgets with us. Glow sticks and Bud Light become equally abundant. Our new posse wades its way through the dready/heady/Dead-y populous towards the stage, where mash-up artist/aerobics teacher Girl Talk is beginning a bumpin' set. As it becomes clear that backstage spectators are being asked to come dance with the artist, a few of us use our rock star credentials to join them, throwing down on the big stage like only three white dudes from Vermont can. We sleep backstage and rise early with the crews breaking down the gear...and say goodbye to our first ever music festival.
We are picked up by one of a large fleet of vehicles and shuttled to one of many stages. Everything here is fast and efficient. There are employees around every corner and facilities for miles. At no point do we not see a walkie-talkie. We rip the tags off the brand new guitar, bass, and drum equipment waiting for us to use backstage. We leave the tags on the brand new leather loveseat and recliner waiting for us in the dressing room. With the help of too many highly trained professionals, we set up all of our equipment in about a minute. We sound check with a group of audio technicians whose day jobs certainly involve nuclear technology, national security, NASA and the new F-35 stealth fighter. Before we know it we are back in the van, being swiftly and effectively guided on our way.
ANSWERS (don't cheat): A – Wakarusa; B – Hookahville; C – Summerfest
Good times. We're also reconvening with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals a bunch this summer. We played an awesome date with them at Chicago's House of Blues, and a cool show in Rochester, NY (which despite our strong regional biases has become a favorite stop. A special shout out to Rick and Jackie Whistler for inappropriate amounts of hospitality!). We also have a few upcoming shows with the band in the Colorado/Wyoming area; and for GPN's Grand Point North Festival in Burlington on August 13. Pumped. They claim to not be getting tired of us, which we'll happily take as a sign of our wit and charm as a group of young men, and not of their politeness.
Following GPN Fest we head out for a national tour in August and September with Carbon Leaf. We're hitting a lot of cool cities, check out our site for details. Finally, check out Wildlife, a great band from Toronto that we met and briefly toured with in and around some of our festival dates; and Fort Frances, a great band we met and played with in Chicago. Thanks for reading if you've made it this far, hope to see some of you guys soon.
From The Road: Eighteen
When we last left off we were wrapping up our second national tour and gearing up for a 24 hour, all night drive from Kansas City to Rhode Island. Most adjectives in the English language could be applied to this marathon. To make a long story short: we made it home and are all still friends.
After a few days off in Vermont we headed down to Philadelphia to kick off our long-overdue northeastern mini tour. As much as we’ve enjoyed gallivanting around the western United States of late, we’ve been eagerly anticipating the chance to play for our friends and colleagues back east. And with good reason – these shows kicked ass. The jaunt included Philadelphia, Washington DC, Brooklyn, Boston, Fairfield (CT) and Wilmington (DE), and also featured our new friends Bronze Radio Return. We had an amazing time and can’t wait to be back.
The Weekly List/Game/List-Game:
We’ve settled into a nice rhythm of including a list or game of some sort with each week to help describe the cool/dumb shit we’ve been up to.* Let’s make this a thing. Task: match the cool/dumb occurrence to the fake, cheesy headline.** Answers below (don’t cheat).
1. Two friends fight off hangovers, sunshine, and Boston schoolchildren to feed the morning meter, unaware of each other’s redundancy until a surprise encounter at the vehicle. All five band members sleep through their alarms. The van receives a parking ticket.
2. Life-long friendships are jeopardized when a Sprite shortage leads to intra-band allegations of slander, larceny, perjury and, more erroneously, arson. Fairfield, CT ends up as the scapegoat due to its insufficient soda supplies.
3. A rooftop party in Brooklyn is brought to an abrupt end by an angry landlord after its fun to not-fun ratio exceeded stipulated limits.
4. A deceptively friendly rock group spends the night at a respected boarding school near Philadelphia. Said band makes waves during parents weekend with their long hair, sketchy vehicle and questionable volleyball skills.
5. The band goes to Delaware.
6. A pair of musicians accidentally eat the garnish at an African restaurant in Washington DC, momentarily jeopardizing the band’s strong rapport with a friendly and ultimately forgiving waitress.
a. “Good Brews, Good Dudes, Good Views – Bad News”
b. “Embarrassed Eaters Earnestly Err, Ethiopians Empathize”
c. “Double Quarters in the Slot, All For Naught”
d. “We’re in…Delaware”
e. “Sex, Drugs, and First Period English”
f. “Obey Your Thirst, But Share Your Toys Like Your Mother Taught You”
ANSWERS: 1c; 2f; 3a; 4e; 5d; 6b
Good times. Tons of exciting news to report on the tour front. Check out our site for details. In addition to the summer festivals already on the books, we have a late summer tour with Carbon Leaf, a couple new dates with Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, and more. Keep in touch and see you out there!
From The Road: Seventeen
Chamberlin likes lists. Chamberlin also likes the western United States. In this spirit we would like to present a series of dos and don’ts brought to you by each city we have visited in the past week. See if you can match the city to the lesson learned. Answers below.
Do cash out at the blackjack table when you feel your luck begin to fade.
Don’t return to the table later after loosening up a bit, send your money right back, mask the pain with complimentary well drinks, and come within one van-swerve of losing your lunch the next day on the San Francisco Bay Bridge.
Do offer to share your drum kit with the band opening for you.
Don’t get offended when they refuse, preferring to use their own homemade set, comprised of various kitchen pans, bicycle spokes, and other repurposed objects.
Do give yourself mad props for negotiating an exclusive parking spot on the main drag of a bustling, downtown metropolis.
Don’t take twelve tries to park in this spot, which happens to be alongside the pierced, leathered, judgmental line for a Scandinavian grind-core show.
Do take your favorite pedal steel player up on the offer to crash at his classy pad.
Don’t accidentally rearrange his extensive and meticulously-classified record collection.
Do eat ‘cookies’ and take a mind-blowing tour of the headquarters of an incredibly wealthy religious group, complete with seven or eight impossible revelations and twists of fate.
Don’t view this as a sign of a higher power.
Do book a room in the classy, boutique hotel at which you got an amazing deal through the club you played that night.
Don’t get used to it.
a. Salt Lake City, UT
b. Reno, NV
c. San Francisco, CA
d. Santa Cruz, CA
e. San Diego, CA
f. Scottsdale/Phoenix, AZ
Answers (don't cheat): 1b; 2d; 3e; 4c; 5a; 6f
Thanks for playing. Perfect scores will be rewarded with an in-depth, uncensored telling of one of these lessons next time we see you in person (this will probably happen anyway). We now continue our trek to Albuquerque, where we play a show tonight before booking it back east. 2200 miles in three days…this should be interesting. Check out our site as always for upcoming gigs and other news. Very pumped for the east coast dates we have coming up! More info here. Thanks for reading and be well.
From The Road: Sixteen
Greetings from Salt Lake City! We played a cool gig last night and have a day off today, which is much needed after a week-long romp through Iowa, Kansas and Colorado. With no offense to Des Moines and Lawrence, we would like to focus on Colorado, where we spent most of the past few days.
Colorado is cool. It is not Vermont, but it reminds us of Vermont. And in some ways (we can begrudgingly admit) it is cooler than Vermont. Now before you go and tell on us to our beloved home state, it should be noted that we did not have a typical Colorado experience. Instead we had an above-average Colorado experience. You might even say we crushed it. Indeed we experienced what some might call the Colorado Hangout Trifecta.
1) Saturday: Chamberlin does Urban Nightlife
We rocked Denver. We played a kick-ass show in an edgy part of the city, next door to a warehouse that happened to be hosting the recent High Times Cannabis Cup (more on that later). We went out on the town, after-partied in a hip urban loft, and woke up to find that a certain missing band member had spent the night in the van. If that’s not the ‘mark’ of a successful evening…
2) Sunday: Chamberlin does Mid-Size Mountain Town with Pedestrian Walkway
Boulder, CO is often compared to Burlington, VT (our home "city"). After an awesome afternoon of exploration we fully endorse this comparison. There was the Pearl Street - Church Street Pedestrian Walkway connection (both designed by the same rad urban planner). There was the heady local microbrew (our tab was graciously picked up by a local, which didn’t hurt matters). There was one band member’s supposed 95% sighting of Ben Stiller (he had sunglasses on…). And then there was the visit to the alternative medicine facility. Good God. For legal purposes, let’s just say that it was an informative and enlightening experience and stop there. Thank you, Boulder.
3) Monday: Chamberlin does Après-ski
We stopped in Vail for the night on the way to Utah. Though we missed the memo on the party’s costume theme, we still managed to have a good time. We even learned a few things in the process. First, the effectiveness of alcohol varies with altitude (we knew that already but the evening in question really drove the point home). Second, we still love music even though it is now our job (we loaded in our gear at 2AM for an impromptu, mountainside Chamberlin session). Third, the severity of hangover varies with altitude (wtf).
Off to Reno tomorrow before wrapping up our Or, The Whale tour in San Francisco on Friday. It has been a blast touring with these guys so we’re sad to see it coming to an end. From San Francisco we head down the California coast before returning home through the Southwest, with a few gigs on the way. Check our website out and see if we’re stopping anywhere near you. See you out there!
From The Road: Fifteen
After a month off and a crazy-weird trip to Austin, we are back in the saddle. We have been playing shows every night for the past week: St. Louis, Cincinnati, Chicago, Grand Rapids, Madison, Minneapolis, and Iowa City. We now head west towards California. Our partners in this wonderful adventure are San Francisco’s Or, The Whale. These guys are great musicians and cool people. We definitely recommend checking them out.
It is great to get back into the rhythm of touring – the cities, the highway, the hotels, and of course the people. It’s cool to see familiar faces in the cities we have played before, and to make new fans in uncharted territory.
This past week has been somewhat of a blur. Apologies for the limited correspondence. In lieu of detailed descriptions of each stop we have made, we would like to offer one interesting, newly-acquired fact about each city we have played in the past week. Here goes nothing:
The St. Louis arch does not traverse the Mississippi River.
The inventor of the Tommy Gun was born in a spooky house in Cincinnati*. We played our gig in said house, which has been converted into a venue but is still spooky.
Chicago parties late and is a great place to sleep in a van.
Grand Rapids is pretty damn hip.
There are still people ‘picketing’ (a Midwestern word for walking in circles) at the state capitol in Madison.
We have a band mom in Minneapolis who brings us cookies.
Iowa City has a gay bar.
*actually across the river in Newport, KY
Cold, hard facts. We’re like the Judge Judy of bands. (Objective information) minus (a law degree) plus (a Ford E350 Super Duty van) = Chamberlin.
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