There's something about leaving New York City that never really leaves you. Even on the road, looking out onto Waldenesque wooded highways, you cannot help but wonder what you've left behind. Music is like this, the nostalgia of the moment, the transcendence, the thought provocation of the lyrics—what were the musicians thinking when they wrote them? What were they cathartically leaving behind? Then all of a sudden you snap back to reality, look down at your phone, and realize you have eleven new Instagram notifications of a Polaroid you just snapped of the band you're on the road with at that very moment. Tour seems to breathe new life into the mundane. It allows for a camaraderie and fraternal companionship that the audience is often not privy to.
Going on the road with Acid Dad not only brought the city with us, but also a fresh sensibility of where the band was headed: new songs, new members, new attitudes. I was getting to view a new side of the band that I had yet to see before. There was a resilient quality to their smiles, an optimism that seemed infectious. The first stop was D.C. venue, DC9 Nightclub, much unlike the D.I.Y. venues of Brooklyn, but similar to those located in Manhattan.
We headed out on a Monday and before we could even leave the city, made our first stop at McDonald's. This would be a reoccurring pattern that would bookend later down the road; as with most friendships, they often seem to revolve around the indulgence of food. Being the only girl in the van and after consuming one too many cups of coffee, I of course was the first to break the seal. While knowingly stereotyping myself in the vein of road trip happenings, this seemed to serve as an excuse to buy old man, gas station sunglasses for the band and preservative laden snacks for all. It also served as an opportunity to update social media followers on the band's whereabouts and to post a reminder of the forthcoming show that night.
Vaughn captained as driver, Kevin the navigator, Sean the designated playlist creator and Zach and I were left to be backseat drivers, I mean, passengers. The conversation was constant, the tunes were flowing and the bandmates seemed excitable for the night to come. Driving down the interstate seemed to happen in a blink of an eye. One fast food drive-thru and two gas station stops later and we'd arrived at our destination. Once at the venue, Paul, the front of house manager and resident vegan, treated us like locals and interestingly enough recommended the fried chicken. Which, after some consideration, I would also highly suggest to future visitors.
I was meant to simply be a fly on the wall and yet I wasn't treated as such. It was as if we'd already gone through the motions, we'd been here before. Maybe we'd been on tour together in a past life or maybe our prior established friendships alone contributed to a laid back atmosphere that just made everything feel easy. The band treated me like one of their own. Hanging in the green room with another Brooklyn-based band, Ian Sweet, prior to the show was both comfortable and familial. After shooting the show, manning the merch table just seemed like the next natural step towards inclusivity. Meeting with fans of the band was encouraging in ways that I was simply not use to. It's easy to get jaded in the city by the everyday routineness of life, but this was a whole new pleasure. Most notably was a dad who was sharing this night with his two teenage daughters, as he was excited by the band's music, by their passion, by their Joie de Vivre. It was inspiring to be present to that moment, a moment that is a memory to be shared and remembered fondly, but not necessarily captured in a picture.
When the last stragglers had gone and left, we further indulged ourselves in drinking and selfie-taking at the downstairs bar. Reminiscing about moments from the day just past and the show itself, wondering what food establishments were open late nearby. As it turns out, Ben's Chili Bowl is the spot to hit, where both presidents and celebs alike have gotten their late night fix. A choice, however, I do not necessarily recommend when sharing two double sized beds between 5 people at a Motel 6... but then again, hindsight is 20/20. We never did make it to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum at the National Mall, but at least we weren't charged a late check-out fee that afternoon either.