Tour 2018 - Glasgow (Day 4) / by Mark Messerly


SoTD: Hippeas - organic chickpea puffs, Far Out Fajita Flavor.
I’m sorry. In my attempt to bring you unique salty snacks I’ve gone too far afield. I mean there was no way these were going to be good. It’s fucking powdered chickpeas reconstituted into a cheese doodle shape and sprinkled with store bought fajita seasoning. Now if they had called it astronaut hummus then I’d have been excited. Pretend you’re on the Apollo missions and pop some dried hummus in your mouth, add saliva and it turns into a dip-like paste in your mouth. Wow!

Britishism: Fox Rain - Brought to you today by the band Say Sue Me. They’re labelmates on Damnably Records and hail from South Korea. Shaun toured with them immediately preceding us. One day a rain shower popped up and the band said, “Oh look, fox rain!” Shaun of course asked what that meant and they told him this wonderful legend: The rain cloud sees the fox and falls hopelessly in love. It pursues the fox endlessly hoping for just another glance. The fox wants merely to lie in the sun and is unaware of the cloud’s desire. So whenever the cloud catches up to the fox, bringing with it the rain, the fox jumps up and runs away until it is in the sun again. So the next time a brief rain shower pops up know that the cloud briefly found the fox again.

Our hotel was just off the highway and I feared for my perambulations. I walked on a grassy patch next to the road and came on a small road with a few horsey farms. The first field I came to contained a single horse who upon seeing me ambled straight over, let me pet it, and began to graze right there. I said “I will name you Steve and I will hug you and pet you and squeeze you.” I walked for several miles along fields and through small wooded areas. Nothing much happened. I saw a lapwing and gloried in the sunny British countryside.

It made no difference at all

It made no difference at all

We were late leaving the hotel (not my fault I swear) and Shaun said we wouldn’t be able to stop at the Angel of the North. But at the last minute he said, “Fuck It- I’ve never not stopped with a band here,” pulled off the exit and said “ 5 minutes tops.” The Angel of the North is a huge metal sculpture created by Antony Gormley. It’s 66 ft tall and has a wingspan of 177 ft across. It’s right next to the A1 motorway so according to the BBC it’s seen by one person every second. People were having picnics on it’s lee side and children were running up and tumbling gleefully down the hill leading up to its base. I tapped one of the ribs of steel that give it its distinctive look, expecting a gonging sound, but it was solid steel. So substantial and wonderful, draped in a rusty brown color so distinctive a flower has been named after it. I saw a small memento mori with a sign that said, “you are loved.” I scoffed and said loudly to the happy people around me, “Love is an artificial construct designed to subjugate the weak-minded.” Then I kicked the sign over and stomped on it.*

I’ve never been to Glasgow before and the prospect of a new grand city is especially exciting. Lisa was feeling poorly with a bad cold or allergies and the energy of the band was at a bit of a low ebb. We went straight to the Centre for Contemporary Arts, which is where we were playing. The CCA is a beautiful facility with a cafe’ serving tons of vegetarian food, an exhibit space, and a performance space, all done up in modern clean interiors and full of beautifully cool people who occasionally stop in mid-stride, put the earpiece of their glasses into their mouths and mutter, “How is a crow like a MacBook Pro?” and then shake their heads and move on.

We set up and soundchecked. The space was incredible. Sounds barely echoed at all. Thus the sound on stage was the best I’ve ever had. I could hear everything but it didn’t seem loud at all. It was a big room and I was trying not to worry as to whether anyone would show. One of my favorite bands of all time is Superchunk. They don’t tour a bunch anymore and haven’t been to Glasgow in 17 years. The best time to remedy that would of course be the same night we made our debut. Several people had come to see us in Durham the night before because the were going to see them. I didn’t blame them. I would too. There’s only so many fans of MAWGR (Middle-Aged White Guitar Rock) left and soon we will find ourselves in the position of classical orchestras, playing to an audience of bald and blue-haired old dears suffering attrition during the intermission due to death, leaky bladders and full colostomy bags. We heard through the grapevine that they were having a time of it. Apparently the airline had misplaced their instruments coming over from Ireland, and then the hotel had sold their rooms. Proof there’s no such thing as a free ride even if you’ve put out one of the best albums of your career. Their new record “What a Time To Be Alive” is that most rare of things; a record with smart lyrics that rocks from beginning to end, with songs you can sing after it’s done. Anyway, Godspeed and all that.

By the time I finished the best veggie reuben I’ve ever had (by a long shot) I had to accept I wasn’t going to see much of Glasgow. Interestingly, we were opening for ourselves again this night and I was to join Chuck and Lisa onstage and play a few of my songs. I was unprepared and my voice was croaking like an underwater cow’s fart, but I didn’t care because the world is descending into fire and a few songs with pedestrian verses** won’t make much of a ripple either way. I played Conversation Lags and Chuck and Lisa sang. It was fun.

We had a nice audience. Somewhere in size between my fears and best hopes. They were of course the most discerning and clever people this side of Hadrian’s Wall. We’re playing a little better every night, and when Lisa’s voice gave out on “Beautiful,” our last song of the night, and Chuck jumped in to sing with her it was ragged and moving in the best way.

Tomorrow will be a driving day.

*none of that’s true
**Scott Hutchison being on my mind all day.