We’re chilling here in Lincoln, NE. We played in Omaha last night. We pulled up to the Ranch Bowl, a huge bowing alley complex, to see a spacious bus parked out front. Who could that be, we wondered. Inside we went to investigate the meaning behind the pro touring vehicle. We came upon a canyon-like room, with a band onstage sound checking. Were we playing in this room, on that stage, with whatever big rock band glowered down upon us? No. We were playing the smaller room directly adjoining this one. Sweden’s own International Noise Conspiracy was the band in the middle of fine-tuning the sound of their equipment and the PA. The upshot of this was us playing 100 feet from INC. This did not bode well. Who would choose crappy us over mammoth INC? Nothing we could do but load in, set up the merch and eat French fries from the bar or bowl a game or two.
Prior to the show, we enjoyed an afternoon in downtown Omaha. We wallowed for what felt like hours in a record store. I grow bored easily in them. I know, I should rejoice like a kid on his birthday. But no. I half-heartedly flipped through some used records, picked up one of the books to leaf through.
From there we made our way to food, which was crucial. Had above average Thai. Later on we performed and it was one of the best sets of the tour in my opinion. A lot of kids came, shocking considering the competition next door. In between songs, we could hear INC playing. At the end of the night, we were told about the same number of people attended both shows. That ain’t sayin’ much for a band payin’ for a bus.
Afterwards we drove to Lincoln to say with some dudes in a band that played with us. We tried to procure nourishment at a joint called Amigos, but it was infested with collegiate swine. Finally we arrived at the house of one of the aforementioned band members, and stayed up talking well past 4 AM. I fell asleep on an animal-hair encrusted couch (most from the cat we played catch with. Yes, catch. We’d throw a bottle cap, the feline would chase it down, pick it up in her sharp teeth, and bring it obediently back to us). She was Glamour, the young insane cat. They also had a rotund black cat we never saw, as well as a very cool Dalmatian. I woke up at 1:30 and still feel like a tractor-trailer mashed into me.
I feel better mentally than I have in days. A fun show and sunshine can be credited for the shift from glass-half-empty to glass-half-full. The skies have punished us with rain nearly the entire trek. We currently cruise up Rt. 77 towards Sioux Falls. It’s interesting to be out here. Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee has told me much about the torrid history of these fields and these hills that surround me, flying by and behind me. These lands saw the last battles of the Native American tribes in their quest to rid themselves of the European descended oppressors. How can the children of those rebel fighters not look at us with some hint of contempt? Ghost faces plaguing ancestral lands in swarms. Our skin and our presence are constant reminders of their defeat. This is empire. Conquer destroy settle colonize. It continues in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Somewhere in that hazy terrain of last night, a political discussion erupted. Mike from a local band began venting about Bush. Javid mentioned his opinion that Nader cost Gore the election in 2000. I was too beaten to counter this oft-spoken liberal contention. People who voted for Nader by and large would not have voted for Gore. It’s common knowledge that Bush essentially stole the election. Read Greg Palast’s insightful book on that. I need to better inform myself on current affairs. We’ve been out here 31 days. I barely know what day it is let alone what’s happening politically or in the world. This, from a dude with a degree in Journalism and Political Science. College degrees are for weinies.
Anyway, the Midwest and the Great Plains are vast landscapes of green and brown. People here stare at us like we’re from Mars. People seem slower here, and say quirky things, like calling soda “pop” and grocery bags “sacks.” I know, I’m from the east coast. I automatically am born with superiority complex.