This past weekend found The Misfats back on the road. Since we have day jobs and don't have delusions of grandeur a tour for us consists of 1- to 2-day shots within driving distance, typically. And so there we were Friday, making our way down to Medford, OR, for a show at Johnny B's. Joining us on our southern sojourn were Stay Tuned who had to break in a friend/drummer in about 24 hours for the show (seriously).
While the weather was to have changed in our hometown of Portland anyway it was much more noticeable when we arrived 4+ hours south of there. Mid-80s dominated the weekend until we did our "time travel" back to Spring proper in the Pacific NW when we arrived home late Sunday.
Most of us had never been to Medford previously, tho' we had been through it a number of times. It's a small city so the venue we played at was pretty laid back and welcoming. At least, as welcoming as 30-40 people could be. It was heartening to see the folks there calling their friends, asking/telling them to get down to the show. We hooked up with Power of County as they were on tour through the area at the same time as well. They kicked off the night nicely altho' a few folks commented to me on the "odd" lineup (country-TV show rawk-punk). Funny enough, to me anyway, that lineup isn't odd at all...
Stay Tuned were next up and were fairly well received. They'd been on tour down this way last Fall and were a bit nervous about places receiving them well. After hearing a couple of their stories I could understand why (Note to any bands: If a place asks you to bring your own PA, skip that show altogether - it won't be worth it). But we had a good time hearing them again as it was the first time we'd played together in well over a year.
We commandeered the women's restroom as it was A: larger; B: had more mirrors/counters and; C: was closest to the stage, for our pre-show prep. One gal was very unhappy about that but we gleefully made our way to the stage, eager to play again after a hiatus of a couple months. We also were breaking out a couple new songs for the tour as well: Gas Comes Ripping and our version of Come Back.
Many of the folks that were there now crowded up to the stage to let their appreciation be known. One audience member appeared out of nowhere to frequently admonish us to, in his words, "Play some shit!" I offered that we played like shit and asked if that was close enough. He further motivated us to "play [his] jam, man!" I countered with, "As in peanut butter and jam? I like peanut butter and jam." And so forth. But he was definitely spirited and apparently only mildly annoying to the folks standing near him. The rest of the audience seemed to have a good time regardless, listening in for the altered lyrics and singing along to both the original lyrics as well as our ours. The people there were all very friendly and supportive even if the crowd number wasn't what we'd expected/hoped. It was still a good time, tho'.
Day Two and we were on our way to Chico, CA, to play at Monstro's Pizza. On the way down, just outside Yreka, the car with the trailer decided to throw some tread off of one of its tires. That meant Baloney and C.H.O.A.D.E. had to bide their time while Les Schwab got it fixed/replaced and got them on the road. Lousy. Foil and I were in a separate vehicle and were ahead of them when we got the call. The fellas from Stay Tuned were able to stop and lend them a hand, tho', so all was well.
When we arrived later that night at Monstro's, I wasn't quite sure what to think. A small place, nestled into a domestic neighborhood, in between a couple of apartment buildings. I was thinking maybe we'd made the long drive in vain. However, as I was chowing on some free pizza, Phil from Stay Tuned accidentally knocked the plate so it all dumped onto my chest. That had me laughing and instantly my mood improved.
Now, I feel bad 'cuz I can't exactly remember the name of the opening band that night but they'd only been together a month and just had that noisy energy and enthusiasm that overrides most anything else. It was pretty heart-warming, actually, and seemed to be pretty well received. They went on early (8pm-ish) since the show had to be done by midnight and there were 4 bands. But people began showing up for them and sticking around through the rest of the night. Stay Tuned came up next and had some issues with the PA monitors but got through it eventually. I helped out on vocals for The Jeffersons, too. That was a good time and it's always interesting to see how they'll go down with a punk crowd that probably was born after the majority of the theme songs they're covering were written.
They'd also worked out an arrangement of the Misfits' tune She, following along the lines of the original 7" version of that song, with Danzig on keyboards and no guitar. I sang it with them and they set it to Michael Jackson's Beat It, the resulting tune thus called She-It. I don't know if any recordings survived that night so it might've been a once-in-a-lifetime sorta thing. I enjoyed myself, anyway.
We again commandeered the joint's sole bathroom, right behind the stage area, for our prep time. Someone kept banging on the door but, as soon as we opened it, were very apologetic. You just gotta laugh and they eventually did as well. We went through an abbreviated version of the previous night's set list as we only had about :30 minutes. Now, I noticed, the place was fairly well packed as it seems many more folks came out to see us. So we let 'em have it, tearing into 20 Pies like no tomorrow. At the end of the song, tho', it was just quiet - no applause, no cheering, not much of anything. We were all worried for the briefest of moments but plowed ahead, determined to bring the goods. It was after the third or fourth song when the audience was then into it, sorta all-at-once, like, as one person later described it, "a hurricane just dropping into the place." That was freakin' awesome and it stayed that way through the remainder of the set and even after as folks sought pictures and autographs. What started off as questionable become severely likeable, with good fans, good folks running the place, and great folks running the show itself (part of the PyratePunx network).
I'm sure photos are to come so watch this space for more of that, too. Just wanted to give a big Misfats THANKS! to Carlos and the Chico chapter of Pyrate Punx for putting on a great show and helping us all have a good, safe time.