05|02|09   US Tour: Micek’s – Columbus, NE (April 11th, Day 9)

Micek's Shangrila
Micek’s Shangrila

When we arrived in Columbus, Nebraska, I was already worried. But when we walked into the bar we were meant to play that night, I was petrified. I walk in, look around, everyone stares at me, look around some more, walk out of the bar, and sit down on the curb. “They are going to f’ing lynch us”, I thought.

The crowd that had gathered in the early evening were a rough mix of locals, seemingly in their 40’s, who were listening to an acoustic covers band playing “Knocking on heaven’s door”. Holy shit, dude, seriously? What were we doing here? And were we going to make it out of here without an incident? I could just imagine me singing about sex and love and depression and my mother, and some biker dude stabbing us in the face and calling us fags.

So what were we doing here? Well, my online buddy, Chris, who runs a superb CDr label, called Series II Records, had been helping me for months with the tour, putting me in touch with a staggering number of bands and contacts of his, and, at some point, the idea came up to play in his hometown, as he thought we might stand to make more petrol money there, than if we played the larger cities of Omaha or Lincoln. Sounded like a plan to me.

Downtown Columbus
Downtown Columbus

I have to admit, I was so intimidated by the atmosphere and the town (highest unsolved crime rate in America, lots of assaults, and, on the whole, very poor), that I asked Evan if he would consider getting in the car with me and just driving off and heading west for the night. Seriously, I really asked him that. Evan looked at me like I had gone out of my mind.

Eventually, Evan and I met up with Chris, who also brought his dad along for the show. Both were just amazingly kind and wonderful people, and talking to them and going out to dinner together, did a lot to put me more at ease about the upcoming set.

When it was finally time to play, there was a big gap between us and quite a few kids in the 20’s and 30’s, and the applause after the songs was actually quite solid. All throughout the show, though, I could never quite tell if they were into it or not. Whilst we were in the midst of our final song for the night (Scattering The Sun Like Gunshot), one table seating three guys in leather jackets ended up shouting “go!” at us. “Go”, that is, in the sense of “fuck off”.

Downtown Columbus
Downtown Columbus

We finished the song and immediately people started shouting “one more song” and “encore”, which truly baffled me actually, as I still couldn’t figure out if there were guns pointed at us yet or now. Everyone was really drunk already, and it was impossible to gage the overall mood, so Evan and I, gracefully shied away from playing another song, fearing that the table of badass-looking dudes would otherwise feel provoked and choose to escalate the situation. One of the girls who worked the bar tried to persuade us to play one more song after all, but our minds were made up already. I figured if we could play the set, not get into a fist fight, and leave in the morning with nothing stolen, then I would count the night as an epic win.

As has happened so often already on tour, however, the night just totally started to take a turn for the better. One person after another congratulated us on our set throughout the night, we were constantly being shouted beers and shots of polish brandy, and Nathan and his friends (with whom we were staying) turned out to be bloody terrific company.

After Nathan himself played (yarr!), all of us (perhaps 15 people or so) headed back to his place, where we proceeded to get even more wasted as the night went on. Both, Evan and I, were paid by the bar with one bottle of polish brandy each, and before the night was over, I had drunk the entire flask and was starting to feel pretty sick, truth be told. In fact, I had a bit of a run-in with Nathan’s flag-pole before passing out on the living room floor. Said “run-in” was a cosmic clash of particles between the resurfaced Polish Brandy and the patriotically placed flag-pole in Nathan’s front yard. If God’s an American, I’ll be doing push-ups in hell for eternity.

Downtown Columbus
Downtown Columbus

Anyhow, we had a lovely breakfast the morning after with a lovely girl we met at Nathan’s house, called Jamie. It was Easter Sunday, so the only thing open in Columbus seemed to be KFC. I was still feeling really sick, actually, but KFC’s greasy food miraculously cured me, and so after saying our goodbyes to everyone, Evan and I eventually headed off to begin a major push westwards. I was ready to run from Columbus the night before, but I now felt sad to leave these great people behind. I hadn’t partied quite this hard in years, and I can honestly say that I can’t think of a better group of people to have shared the experience with.

Yay! Check out the new Enright House Shop I just finished making! Even if you’re not the type of person who buys music anymore, do take a look at how pretty and shiny it is! :)

View Comments

  • adele

    awesome post, mark. sounds like a blast.

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