I’m in a hotel room, it’s 4 in the morning, I’m the only one awake. We just finished a shortened set at The Nite Owl in Dayton because drunken fools were shaking microphones, and hollers for Esham got the best of us. It’s been a rough night.

That was the beginning of what was supposed to be a short journal-like entry for each stop along Sh!’s first tour. Somehow, after the drive from Dayton to Akron and then the drive to yet another hotel at 3AM I lost the idea and decided to spew some nonsense after-the-fact.

The aforementioned Akron stop was the second “thrown on the bill last minute” type show. The first being Dayton. Dayton was a mix bag of Creed, Nickelback, and white hipsters attempting to play blues. At least in Akron we somewhat matched “main draw”, Patrick Sweaney. There we discovered that parking a trailer is never going to be easy, and out here people over 12 still like soapbox derby racing… A lot.

The show was fine, we played well, but to a nearly empty room (this becomes a theme). After closing the bar, for an exercise in trust Joel (Sh! drummer) olleyed over all his bandmates (4 in all). We have it on video, ask us to see it sometime.

The last of our short drives was to Buffalo. Buffalo is like the little sister of Detroit. Slightly fresher, slightly smaller, but just about identical. After playing some basketball in a nearby park we ate at a great vegetarian cafe on the main strip, something like Amy’s place/spot/etc.. On our waitress’s suggestion we took a turn up some random rowed housed street to talk with “Biff” about a place to stay. The house Biff lived in made itself known immediately. Hordes of bicycles, 40′s Oz, body odor, and college aged kids. Biff wasn’t there but a band was about to play in the basement. The band was Nana Grizol (GA) and the house was The Death Trap, both were superb. This is where we should have been performing that night. Unfortunately we had to make our way back to our grease fryer filled venue where an 80s reject announced each band with a Sammy Hager vigor. Luckily some of the the Death Trap kids wandered in to watch us. It was quite a strange mix, especially when I ran into a fellow former Record Time employee.

Nothing quite matches the feeling of waking to heart burn for an early checkout (I blame it on being within spitting distance of real Buffalo Wings). The massive trek to Montpelier took far longer than expected. There’s no “good” way to get there. Unless you’re willing to drive too far south and too far east, an interstate is not an option. The most frustrating part was being just out of reach of the Adirondacks, so any breathtaking views were kept at bay “just over the next hill.” Not saying this wasn’t the best drive of the trip, it was.

Vermont was significant because I got to see one of my best pals (and infrequent I’dDream.com contributer), Jeff. He’s always willing to bend over backward to make sure his friends have places to play, sleep, and entertain themselves. His “experiment” at booking an “indie” show in Montpelier went well. Attendance was small but energy was unmatched (mainly spewed from How To Stay Alive in the Woods and Jeff’s son Augie). Overall this was the funnest show we had. After our early performance word spread that Vermont’s favorite Maiden cover tribute band was playing across the street. Way too many Wolavers and Switchbacks later we headed back to Hannah’s (Jeff’s girlfriend) place for bad veggie dogs and much needed rest.

We were late getting up, late getting on the road, and late arriving in Brooklyn for a not-worth-the-drive show at a venue with an owner that needed to yank the yard stick out of his ass. Surprise, surprise, rock bands are loud. If you can’t handle it, don’t book ‘em. Jay-Z is probably going to raze the place anyway, so hopefully the sound of a bouncing basketball doesn’t hurt his eardrums.*

Fortunately we had a place to stay in Brooklyn (thanks Connie) and a day off to attend the Village Voice sponsored Siren Festival on Coney Island. Though, in all honesty we didn’t even watch any of the bands (got there a bit too late for Dr. Dog). So the beach became our haven.

DC was the last destination, and for rookies like us it didn’t come too early. Our show was near Georgetown where couples in matching sweater vests fresh from finishing 9 holes walked the streets. Again, attendance was poor but close friends warmed the room. Aside from the Hollywood band dancing with Mr. Brownstone in their tour bus (that’s right, bus) the evening was pretty uneventful. After the show we made a quick drive through the National Mall and the Jefferson, Lincoln, and USMC War memorials.

Even though this first tour was just a week long, the hike home couldn’t have come fast enough. At the same time, it was a great feeling of pride to know we did everything ourselves and could continue playing whenever, wherever we wished. Thanks to Andy, Chris, Christine, and Joel for being such great traveling partners. Now let’s get right back to those FBs and AWs.

*This is sarcasm. I do not condone the destruction of a wonderful Brooklyn neighborhood for a stadium. Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn!

Read: The Perils of DIY