Day 24: Tom's Brook to Charlotte, North Carolina
We are back to our "regularly scheduled programming" for the tour, as McRage pointed out this morning. Over breakfast in the Tour Loaf at the truck stop, there were tired and wry smiles from Magoon, who seems to be feeling emotionally recovered to some extent, if not physically. She did not lose her voice last night in Bel Air, thanks in large part to Miranda and Molhy both singing three originals songs to break up each of our one-hour sets last night's. Relief was in the air this morning.
We completed our morning chores of vacuuming and checking the oil before departing for Charlotte. The ride to Charlotte was uneventful, aside from some concern on the part of the Captain as we rose and then fell in elevation through the Blue Ridge Mountains. We had chosen the widest and straightest highway we were aware of in that direction, however, so I stayed the course unapologetically and fielded his complaints without guilt.
We arrived at our destination at 1845 hours: the home of a friend of Magoon's. Magoon had lived in Charlotte for several years previously, in this very house. Stephanie is a gracious host, and her two small dogs were immediately cordial with the Ugly Bear. They are sweet, adorable dogs advanced in age, and seem not to care whether the Ugly Bear exists at all, as long as they receive the normal amount of cuddles and scratches. They are in fact receiving many more of these than usual, so they are quite content. The smaller, Hayla, appears like a cloud or a miniature extremely adorable sheep with black button eyes, even more so when she sits atop the white puff pillow and white blanket at the corner of Stephanie's sectional. The larger dog is not so much so, but resembles a patchwork quilt or rug in dark grey and white, that moves and sniffs in accordance with the proximity to food or cuddles, but also prefers its space at intervals.
While I took some time in solitude and rest upon our arrival, the Captain cooked a stir fry for the crew and Stephanie. We watched a film to wind down the evening (The Spy Who Dumped Me). I do not remember much else from the night, as I was exhausted and slept early without much socializing. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Day 25: Charlotte, North Carolina
The day was free, slated for chores and mental relaxation, with our show at the Evening Muse at 1930 hours. The Captain cleaned the Tour Loaf and laundered clothes. I chose to spend the day catching up on the journey's documentation for the previous week. Stephanie, able to work from home, chatted with Magoon between tasks, while Magoon rested and fortified herself for the evening's performance. Molhy, normally the most active of the group, did not know what to do with herself on such a leisurely day, with no nearby Planet Fitness nor walkable town to explore. At 1500 hours, preparations slowly began for the show. I heard someone ambling up the stairs with the rhythm of a bipedal animal attempting to be quadruped. "Megan?" I inquired. She had lately explained to me her preference for this form of stair-climbing. To my surprise, it was Molhy, trying out the method of movement herself. She informed me that Magoon was presently seated in the bathtub, in observance of Stephanie's application of makeup. Slightly confused, I clarified whether this meant sitting in the bathtub clothed, or taking a bath, but ultimately required a view of the scene to satisfy my incredulity. Sure enough, Magoon was seated comfortably in the bathtub, fully clothed and made up in her performance attire, and chatting with her friend while the other applied mascara.
"It's a thing [we do]," they assured me.
We departed for the venue at 1545 hours, carrying Stephanie with us in the Tour Loaf. We arrived at the Evening Muse in Charlotte's NODA (North Davidson) neighborhood at 1640 hours. It seems we are not fated to have a show without at least some small difficulties to test us as a crew. Due to some minor confusion over the parking arrangements, the Captain and Magoon stood outside speaking with the proprietor of the venue while the rest of us remained inside the Tour Loaf. Suddenly, the generator choked and died. This posed a serious risk to the Ugly Dog's health, who was accustomed to staying in the Tour Loaf where she felt comfortable during our performances. Air conditioning was crucial to such an arrangement, and without the generator, the Ugly Dog would need to stay elsewhere. Those of us within the Tour Loaf immediately began making plans for how to occupy ourselves setting up as soon as the Captain returned, to avoid becoming the target of his ire and frustration. As expected, he became inconsolable upon his return, and the rest of us quietly abandoned ship and unloaded our gear, so as to let him rage alone and troubleshoot the generator. Stephanie, less averse to his moods having spent less time with him, succeeded in calling a relative with another vehicle to the scene, who retrieved the Ugly Dog and shuttled her back to the house in case the Captain was unable to revive the generator.
Once we had unloaded, I escaped to eat tacos at a nearby recommended restaurant, but was underwhelmed by their quality. I later realized that I am likely spoiled by the wonderful tacos in Austin, and the only other place I ought to eat them is in Mexico. The Captain and McRage went to separate burger joints to sate their hunger. In time, the Captain succeeded in firing up the generator - his assessment of the problem was that the angle at which we had parked may have flooded it, and after thirty or so minutes, the excess fluid had evaporated, allowing it to fire again. He appeared much relieved after the incident. Once he had eaten and the generator was functional once more, he cooled his temper and joined me and the venue proprietor in trying a nearby ice cream parlor.
We sound-checked at 1845 hours. The sound person from the Evening Muse mixed us expertly, and we reveled in the fact of someone outside the crew doing so with such skill. Not often on this tour have we had such luxury. Mink's Miracle Medicine, a duo (Melissa and Danny) from Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, opened the night of music for us beginning at 1930 hours. Melissa's voice was like an angel, an angel that pulled at the heartstrings through the ordinary and profound. Danny's vocal harmonies and lead guitar meshed perfectly with her stories and melodies. In the back corner of the audience, our crew marveled and cheered in appreciation for sharing the stage with such an moving musical force. It was the first time we all found ourselves nervous to take the stage, in fact, following our opening act, so gorgeous were the sounds they had created. We played well despite our jitters. The crowd was the largest we have had, filled with fifty or sixty individuals, all come to hear music at the renowned venue. We again removed the most difficult songs for Magoon from the set to save her voice. Even so, it was the only instance thus far in which she nearly had to stop singing mid-set. With no voice-reviving olives or honey in sight, angel-voiced Melissa saved the night by bringing hot tea to the stage for Magoon. Our audience was very appreciative and supportive, reminiscent of the Chicago house concert crowd. I managed to make my first lesbian joke from the stage when Magoon mixed her words a bit while addressing the audience between songs: "Thank you for coming out, gentlemen...and ladies, please come talk to us after the show." Myself: "The ladies?" Magoon: "The ladies and gentlemen, everyone." Myself: "Ah, okay. Ladies, you can come talk to ME after." (accompanied by a playful raise of the eyebrows)
I was gratified by a wave of laughter from the audience.
Following the performance, we did speak with many audience members. Magoon had a large number of friends, acquaintances and family members in attendance from her time living in Charlotte. I met a local woman named Julie who had not known of us before attending, but complimenting me on my flute playing and enchanted me with her smile and enthusiasm. She later requested a photograph with me, and graced me with a wonderful hug on her way out the door, which I gladly reciprocated. So familiar were we in our interactions that Magoon assumed Julie was a former acquaintance from some other time in my life. While loading our gear into the Tour Loaf, I explained to Magoon that in fact we had only had a few brief interactions after the show, when Julie herself leaned out the window of a car passing by us and shouted, "I love you Kenzie!" in the most perfectly timed expression of fan support ever.
Along with the selling of merchandise, I made sure to purchase an album and a tee shirt from Mink's Miracle Medicine, as they had made true fans of us all. We chatted with Melissa and Danny about touring, invited them to Austin to play shows with us, and gave them a tour of the Tour Loaf before we all returned to the ice cream parlor for a post-show celebratory scoop. At home at Stephanie's, we spent a bit of time socializing with Stephanie, her boyfriend Holden, and the three dogs, then succumbed to exhaustion and slept. Next Captain's Log Previous Captain's Log