Welcome to Round 2 of On The Road! This week, we’re keeping things rolling with Brooklyn’s dark synth-pop noir group, Weeknight, as they hit the road and brave the cold of the Upper Northeast. They’re super rad and most likely going to be your new favorite band, so consider yourself warned.
HOLLY’S VEGAN TOUR SURVIVAL BASICS
Bring a vegan snack sack. This week, I filled mine with apples, a jar of peanut butter, homemade vegan blueberry muffins, a box of granola bars, and some vegan weed edibles.
Use The Interweb to find the best local restaurant. This helps you avoid corporate monster chains. My favorite of the week was Life Alive in Cambridge, MA. I had one of the best rice bowls of my life there. I’d kill to bring them back to Bushwick with me. (The photo I included below is my always-willing-to-eat-vegan-with-me partner, Andy, eating his!)
Don’t pressure your meat-eating bandmates to go to the vegan restaurant when all they wanna do in Portland, Maine is eat a goddamn lobster roll. Lucky for me, though, mine skipped the lobster roll to eat healthy with me. No pressure needed.
Don’t freak out if your bandmates really wanna eat at a Waffle House mid-road trip, or if they eat their Dunkin’ Donuts breakfast sandwiches in the car, wafting your soul with delicious hot food smells. ***Hint: see number 1.***
Keep a cooler in the van for leftovers. Heat ‘em up in the Hotel microwave for a hot post-show vegan meal.
Mentally prepare yourself for a few nasty mouthfuls. This week, I had two gnarly meals. Not bad. It’s all part of the challenge of being a vegan on the road. Roll with it.
ANDY’S WINTER TOUR GUIDE
1. Layers, layers, layers!
Dress in layers for your next winter tour through the Arctic Tundra (in this case, the Northeast, Canada, and the Midwest). My daily wardrobe for tour this week was a good pair of boots layered up with wool socks, jeans, black tee, black hoodie, and a leather jacket. In my bag, I carry a wool cap, scarf, gloves, and long johns, just in case.
Drive slower than you think you should whenever ice or snow are even a possibility. Also, leave yourself extra travel time to deal with any unexpected winter storms. We’ve barely been out a week and we’ve already driven through an ice storm and a snow storm.
Changing drivers every two hours during daytime travel gives everyone time to relax, and no one time to forget they’re driving. Post-Show Rotation, however, is a separate beast. The designated driver is first and foremost responsible for being sober, and also, they’re responsible for the “idiot check” after each show (which means sweeping the venue for any idiotically left behind items).
FROM JASPER ON DRINKING
Baltimore: First suds to crush should always be a can of National Bohemian, a crisp, smooth, easy-to-crush, local BrewDog that any European ordering a “beer” at a bar would be happy with. The bartender at our venue Joe Squared gave Andy a bit of heat for ordering them back to back, and he suggested we give Oriole Park a try next. I tried it. It was not good. Nattie Boh rules. PRO TIP: it’s easy to drink a ton of beer on tour, but it makes you feel like a real piece of shit. Try parlaying the meager drink ticket allotment into a single tequila soda in a pint glass or something. It satisfies the volume intake of a beer, but keeps the spare tire at bay.
New Haven: We played to a good room at Cafe Nine, where we became friendly with Mike, the sound guy, and Mike, the bartender from Alabama. Good dudes all around. This is the show I got smashed at, because the band drink deal was simple: free water, free Fat Tire. Now, spending a whole evening with just Fat Tire isn’t something I’d wish upon anybody, but we accepted the challenge…and won.
Boston: This is a two-parter. We Played The Middle East Upstairs. We had a lot of time before the show, but luckily were gifted two drink tix a piece and a $10 voucher for food. The Middle East has an impressive tall boy menu. I sipped back a Carlsberg and then a PBR, which always tastes better once you leave NYC.
After the show, we drove to our motel near Logan Airport, where we were blown away by the best-named motel restaurant ever: Margarita’s. Immediately following one of our swiftest gear unloads on tour yet, we bolted for Marg’s to beat last call. First round: Classic Margarita, which was surprisingly delicious, and 3x Coronita’s, a classic marg with a lil’ Coronita bottle suspended upside down for ample booze intake and pizazz.
We ordered our second round as soon as the first round arrived to respect last call, which included what they called Russelritas. Since Russell is our bassist, we HAD to give it a whirl. They tasted like penicillin and Pepto B. The band hated the Russelritas. I loved them. We were toasted and slept like rocks.
Portland: We each take a sober sister shift on rotation for the drives required after each show, and this was my day. Apohadian Theater is a proper DIY space, bringing to mind Glasslands, 285 Kent, Death By Audio, and Shea Stadium. They’re going strong and we were happy to play their space. The only thing I drank was a surprisingly palatable white wine, which I mixed with a 12oz Polar Seltzer for lasting effect.
THREE THINGS RUSSELL WOULD LIKE TO SHARE ABOUT CRASHING IN HOTELS ON TOUR
1. Bellhop Carts.
These fancy hand trucks come in handy to make sure you can always sleep next to your gear. Some “deluxe” models have hooks and other features, some have shitty wheels and bad steering. Either way, it’s the best way to drunkenly load gear past a confused hotel night manager.
2. Buy beer and snacks early.
You’re gonna wanna unwind and some states have strange liquor laws and few places to get supplies. Get some provisions after load in, keep ’em in the van, and you’ll be all set.
3. Game Time: “Find The Feld.”
Most of us don’t have cable tv anymore but when you’re flipping through channels I like to play the game. It’s a really easy game and the name says it all. First person to find Seinfeld on wins.
Stream Weeknight’s latest EP, Dead Beat Creep, here, and check back next week for another installment of On The Road.