Universal - Volbeat's Michael Poulsen discusses the impact guitarist/producer Rob…
- Posted on Jun 8th 2010 4:00PM by The Mynabirds
In her latest Road Report, Burhenn recounts the band's jaunts in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago, which included stops at a couple of well-stacked festivals. The band was also privy to beautiful landscapes on their long drives, which fans can see from Burhenn's new set of personal photos after the jump.
The past few days have been a whirlwind of great proportions. And on the Ohio turnpike in the middle of those tornadoes the other night, I mean "whirlwind" quite literally. First stop: Brooklyn. It's always great to be in New York, and always frustrating when you don't have enough time to explore all the avenues and boroughs and catch up with everyone. But the show at the Bell House was incredible -- what a special venue. We were lucky to stay with a friend of the band in Brooklyn Heights where we were treated to a late-night view of the Statue of Liberty through the narrow space between avenues of high rises. The next morning was an early one with a rush hour trek up to the Bronx for a radio show at WFUV on Fordham's campus. If only we'd had time to see the zoo and the botanical gardens before hitting the road.
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Next stop: Philadelphia. We were in town to play the NON-COMMvention, a gathering of some of the best radio folks from all over the country, stations who continue to support new music and find new models of getting the songs to the masses. Terrestrial radio is great when you can make it work. But cheers to podcasts and online broadcasting and radio stations who keep on keeping on, and who help us indie musicians (who might not be finding our way onto the bigger commercial pop stations anytime soon) find our audience.
The very best part about playing this event at WXPN's World Cafe Live is that it was curated, like a work of art. Starting off the night was Cyndi Lauper with her new Memphis Blues project. She was backed by some legendary Memphis musicians who've worked with some of the greats (Isaac Hayes, Al Green -- can't wait to open for him on August 1, by the way) and have rich histories with incredible labels like Stax. They were just the dearest guys ever, so warm and wonderful to meet. We were all in awe to be in the presence of such greatness. And speaking of greatness, John Legend and the Roots seriously killed it that night. They played a cover of Bill Withers' 'I Can't Write Left-Handed' that reminded me of the power of music in the here and now, the way songs can translate through time and politics and across generations to be just as powerful now (during these endless wars in the Middle East) as they were decades ago during the Vietnam War. On the heels of today's announcement that the war in Afghanistan has now lasted longer than Vietnam, it seems incredible timely. Thank you, John Legend, for bringing it back in a serious way. And thanks a million, Dan Reed from WXPN, for including us on the bill. We were so honored to be a part of it.
Even though the next day was just a "drive day" (no shows at all), it was not without some serious excitement. It started off with a quick rooftop swim before loading the van and heading clear across the state of Pennsylvania. The mountains were electric green beneath the gray clouds that hung above. All the rolling farmland, the horses grazing in pastures, the Mail Pouch Tobacco barns nestled in the folds of the hills -- so lovely. We even caught a farmers market at a pit stop along the turnpike. My dad's side of the family is from just outside of Pittsburgh, so we stopped in at my grandparents for a home-cooked dinner. Nothing finer than a moment with family and real food when you've been hanging around hotels and road food joints for days on end.
After that we continued west towards Chicago, our next stop. Around Toledo the sky turned fully electric -- lightning flashing all around the van, illuminating the crop fields for miles. We thought it was the perfect time to tell ghost stories and talk electromagnetic energy. But when the radio screeched out a tornado warning call and told us to take cover, we realized that our real life moment was way scarier than any ghostly conjecture. The radio switched to a live report coming from a nearby school that had been partially flattened and had overturned cars in the parking lot. As we checked the weather map to find a band of bright red storms heading directly our way, another tornado warning came on the radio, and our low fuel light flickered on. Awesome... The rain, wind, and green lightning were intense, nearly blowing us off the highway, as we inched our way to a service station. Once we were safely inside, I was still pretty terrified. But my Midwestern travel mates were taking the storm in stride. Dan, for one, headed straight for the pinball machine. When we read the reports the following morning and found out how destructive the storms and tornadoes were -- and how close we had been to them, we felt really lucky to have made it through unscathed.
Yesterday we made it to Chicago for the Do Division fest and managed to get our set in between some occasional torrential downpours. We enjoyed an afternoon of too-many margaritas, ordered in some Thai, and made it an early night. Felt good to catch up on sleep and wake up to a delicious brunch. We split up to explore the city and, wouldn't you know, Dan and I randomly ran into each other at Myopic -- a great used book store in Wicker Park. We're in a book club together back home (nerdy! sexy!), so this was especially hilarious to us. I stocked up on some Heller, Kerouac, Jim Carroll, and 'Shakey,' the Neil Young biography.
Can't wait for our second Chicago show tonight. It's felt good to have a little home-away-from-home down time.
Soon, soon, soon...