Friday, April 21, 2006

Lawrence of Mid-America

Lawrence, KS - April 20th, 2006

After last night's "show" in Columbia, we press westwardly on towards the very Athens-like Lawrence, KS. I dig Lawrence, and it's always been good to us. Plus, if you find yourself in Middle America, it's good to stop in a place that feels a lot like home, only flatter.

Rolling into town a little early to get some work done, we find some free internet at that night's venue, Signs of Life, a really vibey art gallery/performance space and bookstore. All in all, we're feeling pretty good - it's a new day, Columbia disappeared in the rearview, and heck, even the sun is out. All I need now is some Dunkin' Donuts coffee (I'm convinced they put crack in their sugar/cream mix) to take the day to 11, and I'm set. And despite their "storefinder" on their website saying there was one on W. 23rd, we couldn't find it. I think that maybe it's one of those "ultra-secret" Dunkin' Donuts speakeasies that I've been hearing so much about; you know, the kind where you have to know someone who knows someone who might be able to get you in. I'm cool with this; coffee this good ought to be exclusive.

But a day that good would just be too much for this skinny white soul to handle, and so it goes that I'm content to chill at Signs of Life and check my email. Jon and I browse through their selection of books, and there's definitely some stuff I'd like to take home with me, but I figure it's probably better to save money than spend it at this point, so looking is all I'll do this day. As we're wandering through the shelves upon shelves of books, one of the employees kindly asks us if we need some help. "No thanks," we say, "we're just browsing", and he replies with, "Sure, no problem. What are you guys up to?". Jon tells him that we're musicians from out of town and that we're actually playing there later on in that night. As the words are coming out of Jon's mouth, I can see that the kind employee is beginning to squint his eyes a bit, a clear indication that he is searching through his mind's internal Daytimer, trying to remember this "show" we keep talking about. His hard drive search returns nothing. He asks us if we're with the Renaissance folks. Jon and I look at each other, wondering what in the heck this guy is talking about. Sensing our confusion, Kind Employee tells us about a Kansas University music professor and the Renaissance music and lecture that he's conducting later on. He says we must be playing somewhere else. We kind of nod in a confused agreement, and we bid him good day.

I can feel the panic beginning to grow within like one of those rubber crocodile things you used to put in a glass of water when you were little. The ones that would quadruple in size. The ones that looked like some weird science experiment or prop from Dr. Who. Those things were always a little creepy to me, and I'm feeling the same way now as I stand in the Local Author section of this place in which I may or may not be playing later. I mean, seriously, what is the deal? This is most definitely not the right way to tour - to show up every day and hope you actually have a show.

After making a few phone calls, the confusion is cleared up - we're good to go, right after the Renaissance concert and lecture. I would later attend the lecture - it was nice.

Playing in bookstores is always fun to me for some reason. Maybe it's because I think it's funny to play a set while people are shopping. Or the joy of the "shout-outs" to the people in the Self Help section. Whatever it is, I always feel a little looser, a little free. The show was good - some folks came out, we sold some product, and in the light of last night's show in Columbia, it looked even better. Some Dunkin' Donuts coffee would have made it slightly better, but like I said, that would be too much goodness to handle.

It's no Athens, but I'll take Lawrence just fine. We've got to be in Garden City early tomorrow morning on HPPR, an NPR station that affiliates to 19 stations in 4 states, so we load the van and get a start on that 7 hr. drive. Thanks to everyone who came out to the show - especially you, Casey, for making us feel at home a long way from GA.

No comments: