On The Road Again: pbd documents their brief May tour of Maryland and Ohio

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When Everyone Is Getting Wise, the second release by DC prog-rock band pbd, dropped in mid-May and the band celebrated with a quick run of shows in DC and Ohio. The album, pbd’s second collaboration with producer Devin Ocampo (Deathfix, Medications, Beauty Pill, Smart Went Crazy, Faraquet, etc.), features nine songs that are an unpredictable blend of punk, folk, metal, and prog that demonstrate the musicianship and songwriting skills of veteran performers.

The band were kind enough to detail their adventures for Ghettoblaster.  Here is what they had to say about the run:

This is a pretty short tour and it’s already the second or third day (depending on how you count them). So, this is the first of what will probably be one or two tour updates. On Thursday, magic happened. You know, how like magnets work. The Californians and lots of friends helped us celebrate the release of our album and kick-off our tour at Velvet Lounge in DC. We raised enough money for Publish What You Pay to keep the lights on for about an hour, but it’s the thought that counts. Oh, and we’d like to extend our deepest appreciation to our new friend Melissa who helped us avoid a $500 parking ticket by letting us park in her driveway.

Bright and early Friday morning, we found enough space between the kids’ car seats in the Mazda5 and Accord to load up our gear and hit the road. Somewhere Henry Garfield wept. The drive to Dayton is a solid eight hours, so the weak bladdered need not apply. We rolled into town at about 7:00, tried to cancel our hotel reservation unsuccessfully (you’d think being a Crown Plaza premium rewards membership would count for something), and were encouraged by the packed parking lot we found at the South Park Tavern. We had a delightful dinner with Tim and Joe Anderl, who are about the best ambassadors that Dayton has ever had. Then, in order of appearance, we were transported by Tender Mercy/Mark Kramer, rocked by The Kyle Sowashes, and rolled by The 1984 Draft. We cranked out a solid Husker Du-style (no breaks) set and appreciated the usual combination of polite applause and quizzical looks. We were beat by the end of the night and forgot to pick up our money before we hit the hay at the not-so-accommodating Crown Plaza.

On Saturday, we woke-up at an hour more appropriate for three dads than three rockers and had a lovely brunch with Tim Anderl. He had us falling-out-of-our-seats laughing, to the surprise of no one who knows him, with stories about his friendship with the PR guy for Insane Clown Posse and the demographic survey Greg Dulli takes at the Afghan Whigs’ Cincy shows.  

So, when we left our heroes last they were making their way from Dayton to Columbus on the rock tour to end all rock tours. We did get to Columbus, in fact, and after checking into the clean and pretty cheap University Inn South, we engaged in some age-appropriate activities including napping and watching Antiques Roadshow. Of course, after a little downtime, we answered the bell and headed down the street to Treebar. At the bar we were reunited with our tourmates from Tender Mercy, the Kyle Sowashes, and the 1984 Draft. As the crowd filtered in, we also had the pleasure of catching up with dear friends of days gone by like Beth Hanley, Scott Nicola, and Matt and Lien Kosto. (Thanks so much for coming out!) After we were all done bragging about our kids, we played some music. Again, Tender Mercy’s set was breathtaking, the 1984 Draft was a blast, and the Kyle Sowashes was perfection. pbd felt much surer on our feet than we did in Dayton and got a great response from a very fun Columbus crowd.

The next morning(ish) we rolled out of bed and went out in search of lunch (it was around that time) at Skyline, an Ohio tradition of which Paul is particularly fond. Not only did we find a Skyline, but Dave and John ate for free because it was their first trip there and a friend of one of the waiters had been to our show and said we sounded great. So, we finished our coneys and three-ways and headed off to Cleveland with the wind at our backs.

After a pretty uneventful drive, we went straight to Paul’s mom’s house in Westlake. Of course, it was Mother’s Day. So, we were all on our best behavior and before long, following John’s suggestion, we were out back putting together some lawn chairs for Paul’s mom. After Paul made a visit to his Aunt Mary and Dave and John made an unsuccessful attempt to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we headed out to that night’s venue Now That’s Class in Cleveland. We weren’t at the bar for long before a stampede of friends and family showed up led by the one and only Kerry Capka and also including Jim Jankowski, Colleen Favetti, Matt King, Chris Loeser, Kara Keating, and Jessica Pinter. It was so great to see everyone. It was also awesome to get to play on the same bill as Paul’s cousin Kevin Fagan who created a very friendly, chill vibe with a set of house music. Next, we crammed onto the tiny stage and played our best set yet. Once were done and had we said goodbye to everyone, we stuck around a little longer to soak the whole tour in and then headed over to a greasy spoon to where Paul used to hang out in high school to give the highs and lows of life on the road another going over.

The next morning, we had a lovely breakfast with Paul’s mom and then decided to finish the tour with a trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It turns out touring bands get free admission to the Rock Hall (a policy that may end soon) and that the folks there like to collect music from the bands that pass through. So, needless to say, we felt pretty lucky as we strolled from Levon Helm’s mandolin to John Lennon’s mellotron to Alex Van Halen’s drum kit to the hand-written lyrics for “Here Comes a Regular” to Curtis Mayfield’s Strat and army jacket to Jackie Wilson’s cardigan sweater (one of Paul’s favorites). When we were done with the Rock Hall, the end had come. So, after a round of hugs and “I love you, man”’s, we counted our blessings, hopped into our cars, and headed home.

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