04|27|09   US Tour: Mixtapes – East Moline, IL (April 10th, Day 8)

Mixtapes Record Store in East Moline
Mixtapes Record Store in East Moline

When we pulled into East Moline, my first thought was… oh dear, this isn’t going to be good. The town is part of the quad cities, and lies right on the shores of the Mississippi river, bordering Illinois and Iowa, but it’s far from a picturesque place.

East Moline, like the rest of the quad cities, struck me as very poor. The houses were small and run down, and the downtown area was more of a ghost town than a flourishing riverside community, with a few small shops flanked by a greater number of boarded up windows and neighborhood bars.

When we pulled up to the Mixtapes record store, the place was buzzing with young kids from various walks of life. The store was great, but the adjacent room, where we were going to be playing, didn’t look too promising, in all honesty. It was a large rectangular room – too large, perhaps, for a band like ours – and it had a very sterile feel about it.

One of many cool bridges in America (crossing into East Moline).
One of many cool bridges in America (crossing into East Moline).

The first band up, was one guy with an electric guitar. I have to say, it was an odd performance. He was probably in his late 30’s, had listened to a shit-load of Nirvana when he was younger, and he spent most of the evening playing songs whilst reading the lyrics off of a notebook. He was clearly still working out a lot of things (Evan told me he had just started playing out again), but what startled me (in a positive way) were his honest and uncomfortable lyrics. He sang of suicide, lost love, and eating out a girl… the thing was, I believed he meant what he sung. I imagine his life must have been pretty tough, really, and although the whole performance had a very amateurish vibe about it, there was something heartfelt and genuinely real about his music. I spent quite a while thinking about his show, afterwards.

Mississippi river boat on the East Moline shores.
Mississippi river boat on the East Moline shores.

Next up were a really, really young local band. Not sure what you would call their music… screemo, perhaps? Who can keep up, these days… They played one or two songs to a small group of young and adoring fans (I would guess most of them were 12-16 years old), and then packed it in. We were up next. It was 9PM. We were seriously not looking forward to playing – at all.

Life, however, has this absurd habit of throwing you a curve ball when you least expect it, and within minutes of playing, the whole night started to take a 180 turn for the better. Evan and I had decided before the show, that we were going to set up in the middle of the room on the floor – cut the room in half so to speak, and just give the show our all, no matter what the circumstances. If there are 5 people at our show, we play just the same as when there are 100 there. In the end, a sincere effort in front of a small audience will always work out better than giving a bitter and half-assed performance.

You see… I’m not superstitious at all, but there really lies something of value in the whole concept of Karma, and although there weren’t a lot of people there that night (maybe 20-25 or so), a lot of the people there really got into our music, and, against all expectations, we probably ended up selling more merch after the show than we had in quite a while.

All night long we just hung out with everyone there and had a freaking awesome time. Seriously, we didn’t have high hopes for East Moline, but Mixtapes is staffed with the coolest freaking people you could imagine. It reminded me, pardon the cliche, of High Fidelity or so. They have this group of people who seems to form a real family nucleus around this small record store, which, incidentally, is a terrific little store, full of good records, shirts, home-made contact mics, circuit bent electronics, badges and other wicked stuff.

Inside the shop.
Inside the shop.

After loading up the van, we ended up crashing with Jason and Liz, who had four kids, a cat and a dog, and the most bloody amazing basement I have ever crashed in. Honestly, I could write pages about how awesome they were. They are so down-to-earth, creative, open and unique. Jason makes vinyl bowls, as well as robots out of found parts (click on his photos to see more examples of his art), wires, broken light bulbs, ripped up barbie dolls, and Liz has the most amazing collection of action figures, toys, music memorabilia, and horror stuff I have ever seen. Also spending the night there were Jen and Andy. Jen works at Mixtapes and, along with Andy, plays in a band called Fatima Blush. Jen was the one one who hooked us up with Liz and Jason – a million thanks for that, as well as for your lovely company, and the starbucks coffee and donuts you two brought us in the morning!

One of Jason's awesome wirebots.
One of Jason’s awesome wirebots.

Anyhow, it’s so hard for me to remember all the names of everyone as we meet so many people along the road, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t remember you. We do. You were all freaking wonderful, and we couldn’t be more appreciative of our time there. Thanks so much to everyone we met… Ian, Ken, Jen, Andy, Liz, Jason, and everyone else we talked to that night.

Group shot!
Group shot! :)

Much love to all of you. You guys have a wonderful store, a wicked community of people centered around it, and hopefully we’ll make it back before too long. Farewell, for now!

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! :)

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