79 RPM Tour Diary #2

79 RPM Tour Diary #2: The Road to Baltimore The long awaited second entry of out 79RPM tour in October finds our jug band riding up US 301 in the mist into Maryland. We find the venue pretty easily, but not early enough to shop for records at the True Vine (what? a record store closing before 9PM on a friday?). We spend 50% of our proceeds before we even earned them, but the food at The Golden West Cafe was too tempting to resist. We negotiate the sound set up with the local act on the bill, an acoustic incarnation of the band Whale Show, whose excellent fiddler (she's probably a violinist - I hate to offend!) was filling in for her brother, who couldn't make the gig. Our set felt a little more tense than the previous night, but we were lucky it happened at all. A planned 5 minute mission to move our van to a safe, legal location went awry quickly when we were faced with the choice of making a highly illegal u-turn or merging onto I-83 South and ending up...? We chose the u-turn, and got to spend some time talking to Baltimore's finest about their labyrinth like city. We parked the van, and on the way to the venue, a couple of roughnecks didn't like Sean's headband and threatened to make things even worse, but he performed some sort of voodoo mind magic on them that still mystifies - they were looking to beat him up and he had them walking away embarrassed in mere seconds. Ask him what he said. He wouldn't tell us. We had initially planned to split the sets with Whale Show, but it seemed that the logistics of that would be too time consuming to do twice, so we played a long first set and a short second. It seemed like folks might not have seen too many bands crank up a tune with a bowed bass, washboard, harmonica, jug, kazoo, and some old style finger picking before. The folks in Richmond seemed pleasantly shocked. Baltimore was a bit more subdued, perhaps not sure what to make of our bunch of hayseeds. We cranked out another good show. When Jeff Hofmann gets that upright pumping, and Sam blows the harmonica with abandon, it's hard for the rest of the band to contain our excitement. Sean was obviously still feeling some adrenaline from the 'meathead incident' of a few minutes before - he played the washboard with even more vigor than usual. Scott continued the previous night's experiment by ad-libbing some verses, which John gamely chimed in on, even correctly predicting the resolution of the line..."really turn my damper down" in pluperfect, primitive harmony. We had a good time meeting Uncle Dave Huber and the Whale Show gang. They are terrific musicians and really have their stuff down, even with a little different arrangement than usual. Baltimore was a place of culinary delight : our departure was delayed by a stop for grilled brie and strawberry jam sandwiches and gourmet fries from a street vendor near the venue. We finally pull out of town at 2am, with 150 miles and ten hours until we're due onstage in Leesburg on Saturday, for the job that paid enough to make the rest of the tour possible. Stay tuned for the third and final installment, when the jug band tries to drink all of the coffee between Frederick, MD and Leesburg, VA...

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