One of the coolest things about playing outside of your own town and your own state is seeing how other local music scenes function, and I have seen very few as vibrant and passionate as Knoxville, Tennessee.
The show was at a house run by members of a local band called Lions, who just got back from a tour of their own, and despite some booking confusion that resulted in City Mouth not being able to play, it was the most fun night of tour so far. There was a fairly large crowd gathered before the bands even started – credit that to Josiah’s smart tactic of charging only two dollars before that show started and full price afterwards – and most, if not all of them, attentively watched all four bands that played.
Even Mighty Ships, a band with no prior foothold in the area, seemed to get a really positive response. The highlight of the night for me, however, was watching Little Big League, an emo/punk group that I had been wanting to see for a while. They sounded huge even in such a small room, and they were great to talk to afterwards about touring and the business side of things.
Speaking of seeing new bands, I’m edging towards a milestone of my own on this tour. For as long as I’ve been going to shows, I’ve kept track of every band I’ve seen, and I’m on track to hit seven hundred later this week.
I think today is the halfway point of the tour. So far, everything has gone pretty smoothly. We’ve had places to stay every night (huge thanks to Sami’s family, Gabe in Cinci, and Matt Kennedy), we’re close to breaking even on gas money (thanks to my parents for letting us use a reliable, efficient van), and we’re only on each others’ nerves a little bit. We’re in Nashville, Tennessee at Springwater Supper Club tonight, but before that, I’m looking forward to exploring the city and checking out some more record stores, especially Third Man.
It’s sort of strange to think of what I’m missing at home. Friends are moving in and out of new places, May Term is wrapping up at IWU later this week, and rad shows are happening at Firehouse. Out here, we’re so far removed from all of that. This is great as a vacation, and Facebook and phone calls with Liesi keep me connected, but I don’t know if I could spend weeks or months as, in the words our host’s former band, a “permanent tourist.” That has been quite a realization.