Release The Squeeze
It was Wednesday, April 8th and we were hustling our way back to Montana after a raucous two-week tour of the Pacific Northwest. The album was done and our long-awaited Billings and Bozeman CD release parties were on deck. We took a much needed day to rest before climbing back in the pungent and overworked van to head to Matt & Steve's hometown for round one.
Billings - 4/10
Billings was by all accounts a great success. We spent the afternoon at Yellowstone Valley Brewery catching up with old friends and family. We hadn't played there in months and it was great to be back, even though we were just hanging out, drinking some brews, selling merch, and playing the new album over the PA. We spent that night partying down at The Pub Station with 465 of Billings' best music lovers. Sean Lynch and his crew have done some amazing thing with what was an old bus station. If you're ever in Billings, MT, head down and check this place out.
Our highlights included: All of Big Sword's opening set, featuring members of Billings hip hop group Poetic Intelligence, Sam White on sax, and our own Steve Brown on guitar. It was also our pleasure to be able to pull our brother, Dean Wakerlin, out of 'retirement' to hop in the van and come run sound for us. Oh, and we certainly can't forget to mention that time when Matt Rogers and Alex Nauman traded absolutely sinister licks during the "Sammy" out of "Psycho Killer > Thriller." The energy was high to say the least.
Bozeman - 4/11
The energy of the previous night turned towards anxiety and stress as we putzed our way back to Bozeman the next morning. For some reason, the van was not delivering enough power and we were struggling to fight a fierce headwind with a heavy load. Three hours later, we arrived at the venue--late, hungry, anxious, and mostly exhausted. All we knew was that we were about to plunge into the unknown and break in Bozeman's newest music venue with its very first legit rock show. The buzz around town about this place was crazy, and we were painfully aware that our discerning and experienced hometown audience would be expecting us to deliver something profound to suit the glorious surroundings. We had no idea what to expect and the butterflies were going off big time.
The doors open and people slowly started trickling in. A trickle turned into a stream into a flood as pretty much every one of our friends strolled in to check out the new digs. By showtime, the energy was palpable. The Hollowtops crushed an opening set and dropped the mic. It was our turn to deliver. As we huddled up in the green room, we made it a point to acknowledge the energy in the room and in ourselves. We knew we had come a long way to experience this moment. We knew we had to embrace it, harness it, and ride it without letting the energy of a large crowd get the better of our musicality and dynamics. We were intent to bring the party while maintaining our focus, patience, communication, and poise. It was go time.
Frank brought the lights down and we stepped on stage to the sight of a few hundred of our best friends and fans smiling back at us. This was going to be great! As we began the intro to the first song, Jordan realized his bass wasn't making sound. Our car had stalled on the tracks and the train was barreling around the corner. We had some time to fix it, it was okay. Jordan worked hard and fast to source the trouble. He was turning the key but it just wouldn't turn over. His eyes widened as the train got ever closer. Our mild concern boiled over into outright fear as the train's headlight shone bright into our watering eyes. At the moment we thought we should feel the silent pain of impact, the engine started, the bass thundered to life, and we shot off the line with the wind of the train at our backs.
We couldn't help but smile as we recognized what had happened. The Squeeze of life had thrown down one final gauntlet before its release. We had made it and there was nothing left to do but celebrate.
And celebrate we did.
Next up, we're playing Friday, April 17 at Whiskey Jack's in Big Sky, MT to officially kick off our 30-day #curetour. Check out our Tour page for more info.