I have told you before how much I love Bloomington and my Crossroads of American family. It is always such a huge huge blessing to get to spend time in town with all of these supremely amazing people that I am lucky enough to call friends. Therefore, I was very excited to head toward town on Hwy 46 (which is one of my favorite drives ever), but I was a little nervous because I was doing a radio show at 3 and we got on the road a little late. Plus, adding to the nervousness was that this radio show at WIUX and my performance at XRA Fest were performances as Chemic. Some of you know what has happened and some don’t, but I’ve really been focusing on performing as Bro. Stephen and haven’t been able to put much time into my project that is Chemic.
(Lots more after the jump.)
Well, we didn’t get to the radio station til about 3:15, but then I found out we didn’t go on til 4 which was a huge relief. I wasn’t really sure what was going to be required of me for the show, but I decided to just wing it and hope it turned out ok. I figured they’d have me play one or two songs and talk about XRA Fest for a minute, but when I asked them what the format of the interview was going to be they let me know that I would be on the air LIVE with them for an entire hour; talking and performing along the way and interacting with the host. I suddenly realized that I only remembered how to play a handful of the Chemic songs well at all, and I almost had a panic attack, but as we went along it all just worked out great. The guy interviewing me was named Taylor and he was really talented and professional and made the whole situation work out great. The guys at the station seemed to love everything about the hour we had, and they even asked me to perform some Bro. Stephen songs which was a huge help to me because I had really run out of Chemic songs that would work well on the acoustic.
Well, after the radio show we headed to Russian Recording to load in for the first night of XRA Fest which would feature Either/Or, Chemic, Frank Schweikhardt, and husband&wife. We had a few hours just to hang out with everyone and talk and that was a lot of fun. For a moment it was looking like there weren’t going to be too many people in attendance, but once they opened the doors, the people just wouldn’t stop coming in. I cannot even begin to explain to you how wonderful this show was. I was pretty nervous again and adding to it was the fact that I was the only act that was solo so I was afraid of being underwhelming, but the crowd was so wonderful! Lots and lots of people sang along to all of the songs and it was so much fun to be up there singing Chemic songs. I’m actually going to try to find a way to upload the set on here and let you all have it since Mike at Russian Recording recorded everything. I’ll let you know when I figure that out.
Frank played after I did and he had his full band which was so amazing. During his set it felt like a balloon was inflating inside my chest and I realized that I was on the inside of one of my favorite nights of all time. The room was so packed and it was just like a gigantic family reunion with all of the folks that I love. It was exhilirating, humbling, and SO MUCH FUN. During husband&wife’s set, the room at Russian was so full that you literally could not even push your way in. We sold it out! The whole crowd was screaming along to every word and h&w even played a new songs which was fantastic. It was an absolutely perfect night that ended with a bunch of us going to the Vid to extend the party and play darts and be goofy. You’ll have to excuse me for not having any pictures from the first night. I was having too much fun to worry about trying to remember it later.
Yesterday, Mike Adams took Grant and I to various places in Bloomington so we could get a bunch of video footage. Frank, Zack, and Kim came with us so our entourage was guaranteed to a fun time. The first few places we tried to go were a bust, but then we found some sweet stuff that made it all worth while. When we were finished with that we met up with everyone at Will and Colleen’s for the Mud-Oven Pizza Party where we all made our own pizzas and cooked them in Will’s homemade mud oven. It was a grand time as it always is when everyone is together. I actually sprained my ankle really bad when I walked to my car to get one of Frank’s records and that was a bummer, but I wasn’t going to let that get me down or slow me down. Night 2 of XRA Fest was about to begin.
Night 2 was at Uncle Fester’s in Bloomington and the show was going to be Alexander The Great, Rodeo Ruby Love, Metavari, and a surprise set by La Santa Muerta. There was so much singing along/screaming/dancing/hand lifting/fist pumping/etc and it was glorious. Metavari was amazing as always and everyone totally just blissed out to them. Rodeo Ruby Love had everybody singing along and even ended in a pretty epic congregation on stage screaming the end of “Patience”. I felt like I was in high school all over again. La Santa Muerta got up and finger-tapped their way into everyone’s math-rock hearts while they were patiently waiting to see Alexander The Great. Right around this time, XRA Fest got a surprise visitor! Mark Cuban, the owner of The Dallas Mavericks showed up and brought a crowd of drunk dudes with him, but he seemed nice enough. I’m convinced that he was just scoping out his next possible investment…an incredibly regional record label.
Alexander The Great then took the stage as everyone waited with glee since they hadn’t played in like 3 months. I hadn’t seen them in a few years since they came to Louisville at The Pink Door so I was ecstatic as well. Their set was amazing (of course) and it also ended with about 15 of us crowding on to the stage for “NYC”. It was pure bliss and I can’t possibly overstate that. In good fashion, a dance party broke out while I was displaying my Tupac skills from the stage and the dance party raged steadfastly until 2:45 thanks to The Bookhaus Boys. It was an epic night that might not ever be matched. And if that’s the peak, I’m ok with it.
Today starts 2 weeks on the road with Frank and I cannot wait to spend every waking moment of every day with that dude. It’s going to be so much fun and we’re going to have some great conversations and goof off more than we should. You can count on that.