Hails from the road, nerds. Dischordia is currently on The Doorkeeper Tour, and within these hallowed pages of my diary I hope you experience all the sweat, farts, BO, and terrible inside jokes that make tour special profound neat definitely something.
Some of you are fans of The Dark Tower, Stephen King’s sprawling Western/sci-fi/fantasy series, and you may have guessed that it partially inspired our band name. We’ve also used it to name all of our tours: The Waystation Tour, The Speaking Ring Tour, Under the Mountain Tour, The Beginning’s End Tour, The Western Sea Tour, The Prisoner Tour, and here we are on The Doorkeeper (Dork Keeper) Tour. Our guitarist has gotten good at booking tours, but we can always rely on the metal community to screw something up for us. The day before we left, we found out that our two New York shows (Buffalo and Syracuse) fell through because the dude helping us with the shows turned out to be a giant jabroni. More on that later. Here we go!
Amarillo, TX – July 1st
Our first show was Amarillo, TX, a regular stop for us on tour. This was our 6th or 7th billionth time playing Amarillo, but our first time playing Zombie’s Bar and Grill. The venue was great, we got a free dinner of awesome food, and we played with some longtime friends to a good crowd. After the show, the plan was to hang at a dude’s jam space for some food and beverages, then head to another dude’s house to crash. Well, we hung at the practice space into the wee hours of the night without hearing back from dude #2, and right around 4:00 AM we came to terms with the fact that his place was out of the picture. Luckily, dude #1 had a mega cute dog that we got to hang out with all night. The dog was a sweetheart, and would occasionally lose her mind and sprint in giant, hilarious circles around the parking lot out back. We eventually got some terrible sleep and got back on the road, smelling as horrible as we slept. That’s as good a start as any for tour, I guess.
Albuquerque, NM – July 2nd
This. Drive. Sucks. I’m not yet back into the tour swing, the one that allows you to zone out for hours while huge interstate drives slip by without notice. It really doesn’t help when you’re surrounded by flat, boring nothingness the entire time. But we finally got to a buddy’s house in ABQ and took some much-needed showers, washing off the fart-stench of the van and the boredom of that drive. Now I know a lot of you have been asking me which venue on our tour has the most animal bones on the wall. Well I’ve got your answer. The Armory is the dark and very satany jam space of one of the bands we usually play with here, and the walls easily take the honor of most animal bones. Behold the grim.
The show itself was a fun mix of styles (although I could have done without the NON STOP PIG SQUEALING WHY GOD WHY of the opening band), one of the highlights being Marsupious. It’s really difficult to describe their style, so I’d advise you to just take a look at the drummer’s setup and check them out for yourself. Their rippingly good bass player certainly doesn’t hurt. Their super rad singer let us crash at his place with his two adorable dogs and his spaghetti-making girlfriend, and we had an excellent time/spaghetti. The next morning we hit an Irish brewpub on the way out of town for bangers and mash and a growler of beer to take on the road.
Farmington, NM – July 3rd
Have you heard of Farmington, New Mexico? I actually took a quick survey while we were there, and 37% of the town’s inhabitants actually hadn’t heard of Farmington, NM either. I actually used to live in Farmington when I was a wee dead composer, but I can’t say I felt a nostalgic longing deep in my loins when I set foot back in my old stomping (see also: pooping in my diaper) grounds. The venue was in the middle of nowhere, roughly 11 miles outside town, and was run by a genuinely great dude named Brendan. However, Brendan did have to compete for control of the place with
gigantic ants and angry wasps that hated the idea of us trying to get in and out of our van. Seriously, any time we tried to open a van door those douche bags would swarm. Anyway, it was a holiday weekend and Brendan apologized ahead of time for the probable lack of turnout. He was right, and we played to 5-10 people. It didn’t help that the local opening band, in true local opening band style, played their set, stayed for a couple songs from the second band, then bailed and took all their friends with them. The remaining crowd, however, was enthusiastic and made our set well worth it. We’re a low-level touring band with no rock star complexes, so we’re always prepared to put on a good show regardless of the size of the audience/insects.
Our set on this tour includes five new songs from our upcoming album, and those were really tight on this show. The Thanatopsis Suite, our three-song set that opens the new album (which is called Thanatopsis), was really starting to lock in. We’re probably looking forward to those three songs the most on the new album, and playing them all together live has been a ton of fun. Eating spaghetti together is also a ton of fun, and Brendan made us spaghetti after the show. More spaghetti! Next up: an overnight drive to Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs, CO – July 4th
We rolled into CO Springs around 6 am, got a hotel room, and crashed hard. Well, we didn’t crash before we had our share of early morning beers. If you don’t sleep until 6:30 am, drinking beer at that time is the same thing as drinking beer in the evening, right? Good, I thought so. Plus, the founding fathers would have wanted us to drink beer while the sun was still rising, because that sun was rising on AMERICA’S DAY, WHERE MOTHERFLUSHIN’ BALD EAGLES SCREECH ACROSS THE WILD BLUE (AS IN RED WHITE AND BLUE) SKY AND BEQUEATH ICE COLD BEER TO TRUE PATRIOTS. *fires entire clip of bullets into the wild blue yonder/hotel room ceiling*
Anyway, we finally woke up, watched a bunch of Trailer Park Boys, and got to the show. It was at a super rad DIY venue called Flux Capacitor with a cramped little room off to the side where they sold records. There was a respectable Dark Descent collection that I desperately wanted, but I figured two and a half more weeks in a van wouldn’t work well for vinyl.
I need everyone here to keep your eyes on Space Theft (I don’t think they even have a Facebook yet). I think they’re going to add more members, but this show was just a drummer and guitarist/vocalist playing wonky, super fun death(ish) metal with some hardcore(ish) thrown in for good(ish) measure. Fans of Hadean will definitely dig. We were up after them, played an excellent set to an excellent crowd, then were quickly swept under the rug by two hardcore bands that went HARD. Martial Law was especially rad, as they added a good element of raucous punk to heat things up a little more. If you live in or around Colorado Springs, make the Flux Capacitor a regular part of your life.
Day off – July 5th
Things started getting interesting here. We still had the hotel room that night, so we had a good night of sleep/farts then got up and hightailed it to Denver to drown ourselves in world-class beer. Our only destination was Crooked Stave, a brewery known for their incredible sour beers. The standouts were their Nightmare On Brett (a sour ale aged in whiskey barrels), their L’Brett D’Raspberry (a sour wild ale brewed with raspberries and conditioned with Brettanomyces), and their Select #1 IPA (a super hazy and citrusy IPA brewed with oatmeal). If you didn’t understand any of that, then you’re much more financially responsible than me.
So the interesting part: we needed to cover some ground on the day off towards our next show (Iowa), so we got to my buddy’s house in Nebraska that evening. The last 30 minutes of the drive, our battery gauge was falling pretty fast. We pulled in, turned the van off, tried it again, and it was completely dead. It was well into the night at the point, so really our only option was to drink a lot of beer and watch Trailer Park Boys (pro tip: never leave a city without restocking the cooler). The next morning we were able to start the van enough for it to stumble to a nearby auto shop, and spent a few hours and a few hundred bucks getting a new alternator ordered and installed. Our funds took a big hit, but our van troubles were solved and we were good to go, right? Yeah!
Des Moines, IA – July 6th
LOL NOPE. We made it to our show in Des Moines Iowa, but the last hour or so of the drive the van would shake with the fury of the ages any time we got above 65. It was shakier than the line of reasoning Phil Labonte uses to construct his worldview. We’re on year three and tour number six with this van and have only had to do routine maintenance, so we consider ourselves pretty lucky overall. This, however, was not lucky. We played the show, which was in a cool venue but we made literally zero dollars, then drove our shaky van to crash with our buddies in Ancient Elm. We stayed in a big farmhouse that had a creepy basement, where Keeno and I made stupid videos for Instagram. We also found a cat and named it Jasper, and briefly tried to work out the logistics of having a tour cat. Whiskey may or may not have been involved.
Dubuque, IA – July 7th
Our first order of business was to get the van fixed. We knew we had to have some kind of serious alignment or tire balancing issues, so we shook violently down the road to a Tires Plus. Seriously, trying to take a drink of coffee in the van was like trying to convince Phil Labonte to shave his chinstrap. We got the tires aligned, made a Walmart run, got back on the road, and immediately discovered that nothing was actually fixed. We went back to the place and they discovered that the guy who did the alignment (he had gone home by that point) actually made it worse. Additionally, the belts in our front two tires were broken. That meant two new tires and realignment, which meant buttloads of dollars. By that point our band funds were like those old cartoons where the dude opens his wallet and a fly flies out, except in this case a bunch of horrible farts fly out. It’s almost like suddenly and radically adjusting your diet and sleeping schedule can alter your digestive patterns. Anyway, we were hoping for some good fortune at our Dubuque show.
The show went well, thankfully, and we made some decent money. This one was with the dudes in Ancient Elm again, a band all Mastodon fans should check out. We’ve played with them quite a few times over the years, and always have a good time. The third band on the bill was Mutilated By Zombies, a band I assumed would consist of 16-year-old kids playing some terrible approximation of death metal. It turns out the band consisted of 20-something dudes playing an absolutely crushing amalgamation of Nile, Hate Eternal, and some Cannibal Corpse for fun. They were rippingly good and I was glad we went before them, because we would sound like idiots trying to follow them, like Phil Labonte trying to give a debate response to an 8th grader who paid just a little bit of attention in social studies.
We had been trying to find a place to crash in Dubuque with little success. I had made a couple Facebook posts asking if anyone could host us, and a buddy back home offered to get us a hotel room with his reward points. It turns out he had a million points through work (literally 1,000,000), and got us into a Hilton Garden Inn without putting a dent in his collection. Us filthy, screamy rockers were movin’ on up. Since the dude is also a Mega Elite AF Member in their system, we got a free breakfast the next morning, the kind you would normally have to pay 12 bucks for. We stuffed our pasty, sweaty selves full of carbs and grease, then got on the road. I was really glad I didn’t have to drive, because I soon slipped into the sweet embrace of a debilitating food coma. Mmmmm.
We headed up to Minnesota, where we would drive into the open arms of some of the Toilet’s finest inhabitants. Check out the next installment to read of our sensual TovH North meeting!