Postcards – Memory Map Tour Diary Pt. 2

Our pals Memory Map are out on tour, and have so graciously agreed to document their color coded adventures for us.  The second entry comes to us from Mr. Yellow, Mike Dixon.

Remember what it was like to be really excited about rocking out? Tallahassee brought it all back for us. We pulled into the venue, the Farside Collective, and found out that Mustard Plug was going to be playing right next door. After marveling at the fact that Mustard Plug is still a band and that they are still out there, playing places like Tallahassee, Florida, we kind of wondered if people were going to their show instead of ours. There’s always that hint of dread that comes up when you know that you’re playing a town the same night as a Sting concert, and Mustard Plug made us feel the same way. Pretty soon it became apparent that most of the people who would be coming to our show were too young to know what Mustard Plug is, and wouldn’t have the fake IDs to get into the bar show anyway. Next door at the Farside, they were proudly all-ages, so much in fact that the first band had to play first because their bassist had to be home by nine because it was a school night.

Here’s the thing: I know a lot of people my age would be weirded out (or at least maybe a bit lamed-out) by playing a show to a bunch of high-schoolers, but these kids rocked. Their band rocked, in a kind of Pokemon-meets spazz’n’jazz sort of way. And they rocked out. They rocked out when we were playing, heads bobbing, hair tusks waving, so much so that I made a comment that it was so nice to see people really dancing to our music, because in the town we come from nobody dances because “they’re all like ‘durrrrr Jens Lekman durrrr.’” My jokes killed there. I told a story about apple cider vinegar that went over very well. It felt good, and I think we played  better because of it.

And it truly was an all-ages show, there was another band called the Popheads who looked like they were in their mid-30’s maybe. They were interesting for a couple of reasons. They each wore a different color of furry pants, so we felt kind of silly with our non-furry different colored pants. The Popheads also kind of stood out as a band that seemed like the ultimate democracy. Every member seemed to have their own sort of thing going on, and you could tell that they loved each other and that everyone’s ideas, no matter how slap-bassed or guitar-fx-ed out they were, were embraced as family. They were giving their CDs away for free. One of their girlfriends was very enthusiastic and friendly.

The next day we went to swim in a sinkhole with our gracious host Jack. On the way home we listened to Slip by Quicksand, and I marveled at how remarkably well it had help up over the years. It brought me back to a place, to the fresh-out-of high school enthusiasm that I had seen the day before.

After a delicious meal and a soul-sucking trip to the Verizon store (a trip to any cell phone store is soul-sucking, it’s just the way
they’re built, I mean, damn, those places are awful) we were on our way to Gainesville, home of Tom Petty. I had forgotten that this was where T.P. had come up, so the whole time I was there all I could think about was that this was the town where Hot Water Music was from, so it made all the bearded dudes with leg tattoos seem kind of like seeing a sombrero in Mexico. Like a setup. Because sometimes fake can be just as good, I was fully embracing that our show was at a restaurant called Boca Fiesta (or, ya know, “mouth party”). The food was plentiful and delicious (the citrus salad dressing was exceptional, Mike B. ate some alligator), and the atmosphere was very vacationesque. It felt grand, I really did feel relaxed.

The band that played before us was good but the band that played after us was a real stinkeroo (no diss on them, just in terms of not really representing anything that I like about music) but everyone there seemed to love them, so there must have been some insight behind booking them. Their music did go well with the Alamo-on-a-cruise ship vibe of the surroundings. A cute woman talked to me for a while until it turned out that she was the singer’s girlfriend and asked me to sign their email list. Needless to say, I put down a Hotmail address for that one.

We stayed the night in our friend’s house where there was that stereotype of Southern house-building, the warped, uneven wooden
floors. I was glad that it was there, because I surprised myself by even remembering that uneven floors were a Southern stereotype in the first place. I got to sleep in a room that had nothing in it at all, no furniture, no stuff, nothing, that was kind of cool. We ate at
Matt’s favorite Jamaican restaurant for lunch and then went to have ice cream at what is most certainly the most politically correct and environmentally conscious ice cream parlor I have ever visited. I would explain, but it would take like three paragraphs.

We got in the van drove, listened to mp3s of Comedy Central Presents episodes that someone had just taken the audio from. They were really great, we got some Wanda Sykes, Patrice O’Neal, Zac G., etc, but because these were not originally intended to just be audio, there were certain parts where the jokes didn’t make any sense because the visual punchline was missing. Being blind must be awful. Then we listened to Tina Fey’s audiobook of Bossypants, and it was great. It’s not always LOL funny, but she just really invites you into her world, and the way she views her world is really humorous and inspiring.

We got into Athens, GA at around 9 and went straight to The Grit, a restaurant I had visited a couple of times before, they’re famous for their Golden Bowl fried tofu with nutritional yeast served on brown rice, a dish I often fake in my own home. Or gracious host Theo was a lot of fun, and Kater was working in the kitchen and she made our portions so phat yo, it was really great. We made our way over the show, lots of people watched the first band, The Darnell Brothers (real brothers [three of them, anyway], great musicians), then promptly went outside to the outdoor area, never to return, not for our show, not for the band after us (who were weird and great, Skingraft Records-style insanity). Athens might even have Bloomington beat for being a mid-sized liberal-minded college town (although I checked and their mayor does not DJ on record store day and does not have a restraining order out against her). After all, they made REM and The B52’s. Bloomington can only barely claim The Coug. We listened to “In The Aeroplane Over the Sea” on the way out of town, and I couldn’t help thinking about how Neutral Milk Hotel got mentioned on that recent episode of Parks and Recreation. My eyes got teary during the title track, I couldn’t help but think that this was maybe how April felt too when she heard that song.

Memory Map play rock and roll and are on tour for the next few weeks doing just that.  Check their dates below to see if they are coming to your town, be sure to check out the first part of their tour diary here, and grab the new album here.

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