Pale Blue Dot Tour January 2020

Out on the road with Pale Blue Dot getting the new songs some stage time ahead of the release later this year. We were pitched a curve ball before we even started. Darby wasn’t able to do the run so we had to pick up a road dog. We were very fortunate to get Paul Rosner to fill in, he is a stellar drummer and an all around nice guy. He stepped up with short notice and made us all comfortable with what could have been a stressful situation. Mother Nature did her best to do that for us anyhow. The first day of the tour started with a one off snow storm that dumped several inches in a few hours on Charlottesville. Anyone in Central Virginia knows that means total chaos. We had to have the conversation about whether we could make it out of town. As they say the show must go on and we tentatively hit the road. Our first stop was Richmond, Virginia and we were determined to make it memorable. Set off the alarm on the van which prompted a police response, and if that wasn’t bad enough we then locked the keys inside! Luckily Paul is one of the handful of people who actually has AAA and we got someone out quickly  to get us back in the van. The show was done, the venue is closing up, it’s cold, and there we are with all our gear out on the sidewalk waiting for AAA. Good way to kick off the run! 

Because we enjoyed the experience so much, we ended the trip the way we started, locking the keys in the van at the venue in Mobile and calling AAA.The way the routing worked out we kept making our way South without a show on the way back, so we had to “dead head” it home. Making the drive in one day taking turns behind the wheel.  Also, after a week of warm Southern air, walking around without jackets and using A/C at night for comfortable sleeping, we returned to Virginia to a winters mix of precipitation and colder temperatures. In between there were a slew of awful smelling hotel rooms of questionable air quality, many meals at Waffle House (and one IHOP just to change it up), a visit to the Civil Rights Institute, coffee and beignets in the French Quarter, a bunch of old school dive bar rock clubs, and a lot of really good bands. I’m left with a renewed hope in the power of music as a healing and universal element of the human condition, an appreciation for music venues as rogue under the radar spaces for people to gather and build community, the realization that the world of rock and roll hasn’t changed all that much (everyone still smokes, WTH?!), and the burning question of “What is that smell?”


Here’s the breakdown of the run:

Tuesday, January 7 - The Camel - Richmond VA w/ Sid Kingsley duo and The J.O.B.  - Snow! Cops and car alarms! AAA!

Wednesday January 8 - Ruby Deluxe - Raleigh NC w/ Art Critic, Stranded Bandits, and Bad Horoscope - Instrumental math rock! Punk rock! Safe spaces! Women in music! 

Thursday January 9 - Skylark Social Club - Charlotte NC w/ Willie Douglas Band and Temperance League - Bar owned and operated by hard core metal heads! Hard core metal heads are teddy bears! Stayed with an old friend of Tony’s and wrote songs about tigers with their five year old daughter!

Friday January 10 - Alleycat Social Club - Asheville NC w/ Glass Bricks and Electric Karma - Veteran (and bartender) owned and operated! Everyone welcome! Music venue and art space! Gibson Flying V through a Marshall half stack is still a thing thank the rock n roll angels! Incense and after shave! 

Saturday January 11 - day off / travel day - Lost Tony’s wallet! Went to a local music store and saw a super rare amplifier made by Gibson for Les Paul! Yes, I’m a nerd for that kind of thing! Spent the afternoon playing pinball waiting for the venue to open to look for the wallet! Found Tony’s wallet! Scrapped the idea of traveling and hunkered down to wait out the line of storms moving through!

Sunday January 12 - Smith’s Olde Bar - Atlanta GA w/ Cody Marlowe, Shawn Spencer, and Black Cat Adventure Squad - Smith’s Olde Bar still exists! Played this venue over 20 years ago! Olde with an E! Looper pedals done right! Guitar shredding! Women in rock! What is that smell?! That’s one funky green room!

Monday January 13 - day off / travel day - Drive to Birmingham! Racist graffiti in Georgia truck stop bathroom stalls (WTH) More storms! Power cutting out repeatedly! Why does the van smell like that? Oh, yeah, forgot about those oranges! Hotel room smells like... ??? .... antibiotics?! Don’t want to know what that is on the side of the fridge! Rocket Man! NES Golf!

Tuesday January 14 - The Nick - Birmingham AL w/ Juco, Bible Belt, and Vital - All kinds of rock! Songs about robots! Civil Rights Institute! No substitute for education! This pizza gets 4 stars?? Unclogging our own toilet! ( now that’s customer service!) What in God’s name is that smell!???

Wednesday January 15 - The Den at Howlin’ Wolfs - New Orleans LA w/ Pocket Chocolate, Black Laurel, and L.Y.O.N. - Managers making the last minute decision to close early cutting everyone’s set short! Stoners can’t keep track of time!  L.Y.O.N. is amazing! So much good food! Cafe Du Monde! Street performers! Preservation Hall! Best clarinet player ever! Jazz has the right of way! TAKE MY MONEY! 

Thursday January 15 - Night Moves - Pensacola FL w/ Glazed Eyes, Shuggy, and Jumping The Gun - Super cool all ages space! BYOB! Rock n Roll is alive and well! Does no one else hear that the bass is way too loud! Selling out of merch! Hotel room smells like meth and strippers! Or is it cat urine and dollar store air freshener? Gulf of Mexico! Toes in the sand!

Friday January 16 - The Attic at The Blind Mule - Mobile AL w/ Dirty Fuss, Gruph, and Shotgun Carousel - Venue forgot to schedule a sound man! Unscheduled sound man saves the day! Three traveling bands on one bill! Who’s on first! So much rock! I am not the most curly haired bass player in the room! Keys locked in the van! AAA! Again! All non-smoking rooms in budget hotels used to be smoking rooms! Like just last week by the smell! 

Saturday January 17 - Going Home - At this point the van smells like four dudes have been in here for a week. Glad to be home but also ready for more. Every show was a success and most of all proved that the new songs are really good and even better with some stage time. Can’t wait to do it again. The band weathered all kinds of mishaps together and no one is worse for wear, that bodes extremely well. The music is the most important element of what we’re doing, but it is also what we spend the least amount of time on when we’re on the road, and in a way is the easiest part. How we function as a unit when we’re not onstage is a better indicator of the band’s potential, and I have high hopes for Pale Blue Dot. My favorite part of this tour was seeing that there is a lot of great music being made all over the place and I find it inspiring that young people still want to play guitar way too loud. Rock n Roll ain’t dead, but it sure smells funny.