The drive from Louisville to St. Louis was quick and lovely. The landscape started to flatten out a bit and fields started to take over, leaving the mountains of West VA behind. It was flat, but not as flat as it would become… The world would become so much flatter in a few days. For now the trees still stood high and broke up the fields.
I arrived in St Louis around 6pm, having slept in that morning. That 2pm checkout is a lifesaver, yeah Holiday Inn Express! I am def a loyal IHG member. I love their service and their hotels. They take care of their people and HIE’s always have those nifty peanut butter travel packs at breakfast! Sasha & Chris from When Particles Collide showed up moments after I got to town and we had a joyous reunion.
I haven’t seen them in ages and it was fantastic to get to catch up with this powerhouse from Bangor, Maine. We headed down to Schlafly and found a fabulous brew pub! The food was awesome and then we got a tour of the underground part of the brewery by the wonderful Stephen Hale.
Schlafly’s makes about 2,000 bbls. per year!! Their bars have sixteen taps each that draw the people’s favorites from the firkins in the cellar. Tubes of beer running up through the ceiling of the cellar to make the people happy. In another part of the cellar they have an aging room full of wooden barrels just waiting for the right time. So cool! Thanks Stephen for such a fantastic tour, your enthusiasm for creating excellent beers is beautiful. We could hear the sounds of the first band echoing down below so we thanked Stephen profusely and headed up to catch The Educated Guess.
They are a local symphonic pop band and wow. Fantastic hooks, big band sounds and a rock & roll base. There had to be at least 10 people crammed on that tiny stage and they made a marvelous, celebratory sound. The Educated Guess are everything that I love about a big band show squashed into everything I love about a pop rock show!
Next up was When Particles Collide, the hard hitting duo from Maine and the reason I was in St. Louis and quite possibly the main inspiration for what I was going to spend the next month doing. See, we had chatted ages ago about me joining them on this cross country tour but timing and space didn’t work out, though timing and space worked out PERFECTLY for me to meet up with them in St. Louis. I love Sasha’s comment to me “You are the only person who would say ‘I’ll meet you in the middle of the country’ and then actually do it!” Ha, yep, I try to do what I say and I love musical adventures. Because I knew I was shooting their show in St. Louis and in LA, the idea for the cross country discover music tour took shape.
When Particles Collide! When Particles Collide. I’ve loved this band from the first time I saw them years ago at Big Sky Works in Brooklyn. They play with power and purpose. The songs rock, their delivery rocks, their whole dang show rocks. Sasha can sing pretty one moment and then almost snarl out the next lyrics while playing her guitar dirty and fast. Chris is one of those wow drummers. He hits so fast and hard, you can’t even figure out where those sticks are. The two of them together, those two people particles colliding, are magic. Rock/Punk Magic. They don’t let you go from the moment they start and you don’t want them to. They rock every show right to the edge with their massive sound and I just love them.
After WPC were done rocking, I noticed the staff running around and taking all the ketchup & S&P shakers off of the shelves in the hallway next to the music room. ??? Then I noticed the next band rolling in amps that easily could have filled MSG with sound. Easily. Stacks taller than the guys. This was going to be loud. I asked the manager about the bottles and he said that the last time Fumer played there, every bottle on the shelf broke. Again, this was going to be loud. I made sure my ear plugs were snuggly positioned and sat down to experience their show. Wow. The bench that I was sitting on was vibrating to an incredible (& rather pleasant feeling) level. Their set was dynamic and loud, the lead singer gave his all and they created a cacophonic wall of sound. There was one song that was just the singer/guitarist and it showed an entirely different side to the band, it had an almost vulnerable quality to it that was in stark contrast to the other songs. Their drummer also removed his pants before the show. We were confused till he explained that he was tired of wearing wet pants after each gig from sweating so much, so he came up with the idea to just play in his boxers. ha! Brilliant! Though he might have a few oops moments at shows with the fervor that he plays with!!
After the show we had to find the arch for some pics. duh! Not so great directions that were given to us lead us right out of the city where we discovered there are NO wrong turns and found the best spot for a pic.
When we got back to the hotel, I googled the next town – Tulsa, Oklahoma and found a band called Tyrannosaurus Chicken. YES! I mean, come on. That name??!!!?? Brilliant. I had to see what they were all about so I shot them a message and a voicemail and hit the hay.
sneak peeks of the whole tour on instagram.com/ashlycovington
I’m on day 22? but am finding it hard to drive/photo/download/edit/write a blog & sleep all by myself so thanks to everyone for being patient while I try and find time to keep up!!
going back to sleep now. nite nite.