As if becoming addicted to an inanimate object seems impossible, falling in love with an idea is as dangerous as falling in love with that blonde who sits across from you at work. Touring is a rambunctious aspect of the music industry and one that plenty of people strive for. Contributor Sean Gonzalez is one of those individuals who fell victim to the heart of the road, and is back out on tour, this time with Las Vegas act Alaska.
Reunion parties can only last so long on tour. Alaska have been doing the D.I.Y. touring scene long enough that their contacts and pals really range across the country. We met up with the individuals behind the Little Elephant sessions in Toledo, Ohio to give both Del Paxton their first take at a live session and give Alaska much needed bonding for their second recording. Seeing every day people give their mornings (albeit it with many a goodies to keep things interesting) to give bands that deserve to be heard a room to do just that is beyond astonishing anymore. We don’t howl like animals anymore, we procreate with our darkest fears, turning them into sonic bliss that then gets captured and put on display. Before long the archaic nature of this industry will be much like a museum. Narratives will be played over the accomplishments and failures of each individual, taken from the in-between lines of lyrics; shaped into YouTube comments that Little Elephant now own. Thanks for sticking up for bands like these.
The companionship between Del Paxton and Alaska grows stronger. This package was something I hyped over by pure sound alone but knowing the individuals makes it even easier to say this has been the most fun tour. Each band gives and takes, learns and teaches, compliments and regurgitates. Cody mentioned last night to Dylan (of Del Paxton) that at times tours happen with other bands that really make them fans of the band. This is not just because the music is wonderful (it is), but because the people playing the music are as genuine as they come. To celebrate this fact, one of the nights Del Paxton treated us to their special recipe of Gin Beer. I won’t go into detail on what exactly this concoction consists of, but from that night on the two bands have been inseparable, like surviving a natural disaster of righteousness.
The vast cities of Michigan keep becoming easier to endure in. The first show featured the opening act arriving an hour and a half late. To be professional, please refrain from missing time slots. Punk time can only stretch so far between touring acts, acting as “came, saw, conquered” masters but not afraid to adjust. Preparing for events like the one being written about did lead to the Gin Beer incident of Taylor, Michigan, so thanks I guess.
Both Del Paxton and Alaska (including myself) were in for a treat meeting up with old friends in Lansing. Ratboys and The Cardboard Swords were in town, in which we decided to celebrate our endeavors with margaritas. Seeing the string expand between these groups’ hearts — full of laughter weaving between all types of conversations. If there was a happier quartet of bands in the world somewhere, I’d pay to see it. I’ll go ahead and say there was not. It’s official, if I am not the traveling journalist. The Cardboard Swords were on the bill for the show that night as well, preparing me for straight forward emotional catharsis that I may have desperately needed. This will be the third time I have run into the members in the past three months. Like every time, their midwest hospitality is tough to match; giving us a place to rest and escape the realities that surround the music, as if their should be any in the first place.
Ty from The Cardboard Swords gave us the tour of Grand Rapids, including checking out a record store. It’s always entertaining to watch musicians geek out about cds, vinyl and in general music like comic book fans at the neighborhood comic store. It shows the character of bands to express their knowledge and healthy passion of their favorite releases that happen to randomly appear in a bin in a city we visit for six hours at once. I found the self-titled The Cure record, one that was on heavv repeat for me when it was released 12 years ago. I also saw this sweet mural of a unicorn and a penguin — two of my favorite animals — and had to take a picture of it, view the real thing below.
not seen: my O-face at this shot
In Kalamazoo we arrived to our venue — a comedy club bar with a back room that has a stage. Very much like the midwest way, Louie’s wanted to make sure we were taken care of. This meant: food, drinks and even a place to stay if need be. These places are the refreshing breath of air into the D.I.Y. scene that means well and does even better. The staff have that stereotypical midwest smile going on behind the bar, that one that I used for years. There is no reason to fake anything anymore, give all or give none. Do It Yourself.