don't you tell me how i feel.

White Birds Tour: Day 4 by don't you tell me how i feel.
September 27, 2011, 9:39 pm
Filed under: white birds tour

In which White Birds get some good press and play their best show yet.

I woke up on the couch and saw a little boy sitting amid the crashed-out White Birds, playing with a toy. He was totally quiet, just doing his own thing, but it was still a strange sight to see. I made a mental note to check my cursing.

Angie and Jonathan have three kids, all boys, and, like their parents, they all love the music of White Birds. At one point I actually heard one of the children humming the harmony from “Floating Hands.”

As I fumbled with my shoes (bad sleep), one of the kids asked if I wanted to play hackey sack with him. I declined, and then felt like a jerk about it. Farzad though, he played with the kids all morning. Dude’s great with them.

The Internet was out, so James and I walked a mile to a place called the Global Cafe. There, James saw that the Get Off The Coast blog had hooked up a positive post about “Hondora.” Solid!

I finished posting my radio show, and James downloaded the new episode of Breaking Bad (for road entertainment). Chris joined us 45 minutes later to handle his Internet business, and then we all walked back to Angie and Jonathan’s. As we strolled, Chris said he thought one of his ribs might be broken. “Huh?” I said, surprised. “Did I miss something?”

He said a friend of his, well-trained in martial arts, had given him a “1-inch punch” about a week back. They’d been drinking in the kitchen at the White Birds house when it happened, during an impromptu punching contest.

“Like that scene in Kill Bill II, where The Bride does series of 1-inch punches to break out of the coffin?” I asked.

“Just like that,” Chris said, and even though it had been done in jest, the result was looking serious. “Right below the clavicle. Every time I breathe I feel it.”


We got back to Angie and Jonathan’s, where a fat breakfast awaited, cooked up by Angie and her mother (one of the  coolest grandmothers I’ve ever encountered). Much feasting ensued, and soon we were saying goodbye to our generous hosts. Rarely have I met so many awesome people in such a short span of time. But that’s touring, I guess. Things happen fast, and before you can really take stock of the situation, it’s a fading image in the rear view.

We shoved off, driving past the impressive Chicago skyline. Farzad was now in the hocking-up phase of his cold, which was good, and I was currently in the runny-nose portion. I’d lost some weight as well, and my jeans were looser. You try to eat, but it gets so expensive. Gas station after gas station, they’re all the same. All you see is junk food.

Around 5 PM, while checking his email, James discovered that the Pasta Primavera blog (based in Baltimore) had written a great post about the EP. The ball was rolling. Meanwhile, Chris was on the phone giving Simon, the White Birds’ manager (he also manages Bear In Heaven, Brahms and Cale Parks) a breakdown of the tour so far. There had been important people at the Schubas show the night before, and it sounded like things had gone well.

Mike announced he had beaten Dr. Mario on Level 19 (medium), Level 20 (slow) and Level 12 (fast). Then James put on the first episode of the new season of Breaking Bad. An hour vanished, and we pulled into the parking lot of Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids, Michigan, during the final scene (which was super intense).

p. scheme p. lot

Pyramid Scheme is a great venue. It has a blue-and-orange striped floor, zig-zag style, like Linus’ shirt, and the front room is full of pinball games. We loaded in, and met the smashing sound man, Rick. It blew my mind (and James’) when we learned he was in the band Mustard Plug. I saw that band twice when I was in high school, during the brief ska explosion of the late 90’s. It turns out James had been a little into the ska as well, and Farzad told me later that James would listen to it while riding his BMX bike around.

Farzad would know, as he and James are half-brothers. They have the same mother, and both are of the mind that all the musical genes stem from her. The way Farzad puts it, that particular talent had lain dormant and untapped in the family tree until this generation. Their youngest brother, Bijan, is also a musician, and is doing quite well with his group, Ground Up.

That said, the vibe at Pyramid Scheme was incredibly warm. Everybody was super nice, Rick the sound man knew exactly what he was doing, and, for the first time on tour, White Birds were happy with the sound.


Chris was starting to feel sick, though. Dude was getting all congested, making him the third person to fall victim to cold symptoms. He pounded water and ate two more vitamin C pills. Farzad and Mike, meanwhile, both had a bit of indigestion from something they had eaten.

James, however, was doing jump kicks in the green room. The soundcheck had been great, and White Birds proceeded to bring beautiful waves of sound to Grand Rapids. The crowd was rapt the entire time, and I got a lovely burst of goosebumps during “Body When You Coming Back.” Not one damned sound issue tonight; everything went perfectly. Even the door man was awesome — he walked around doing South Park impressions.

Pyramid Scheme was the shit. The green room even had an Xlerator hand dryer, and Farzad used it to make a beat by sweeping his hand in and out of its air blast. The resulting sound was actually very similar to record scratching. Ironically, earlier in the day, Mike had made a beat with the door locks in the van (via the keyless entry utility).

The only smudge on the show at Pyramid Scheme was a lack of folks with floor space to crash on in Michigan. But Chris found a Red Roof Inn in Grand Rapids for $50, or $10 a person, and that was cheap enough to be feasible. We loaded up the van, said our goodbyes and drove the 12 miles there.

On the way, Mike and I stopped at a fucking McDonalds for food. The Red Roof Inn was right next door, so we didn’t have far to go. We ate our junk food, watched some footage of the show I had recorded that night, and went to sleep.

– Lehtola

Tomorrow: Columbus, Ohio.


1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

Mustard Plug is pretty good, but they’re no Chupaskabra!

Comment by phillipnguyen83

what say you?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: