The Cops “I Can’t Stay Focused” Tour: Home Stretch Edition
posted by April 8 at 11:45 AMon
Sunday, April 2
Every time we drive through Iowa it rains, and this time is no exception. In fact, it was pouring the entire driveóthe kind of heavy rain Seattle never sees. On top of that, we barely missed a tornado ripping through Iowa City. There’s nothing like a white-knuckle drive through massive tornadic activity to make a band want to rock. Unfortunately, this was not to be. We show up at Gabe’s Oasis only to find that there are a total of two people paid on this tornado-ridden Sunday night. The first band, the Lepers, play while we wait to load in equipment. No one else shows up, so we cut the bartenders and soundman a break and pack it in. The contrast between tonight and Omaha the night before is epic, but touring is damn unpredictable at times. While it can be fun and exciting much of the time, it can also be boring. We often spend 8 hours in a van, get to a club, unload, sit around and wait, play to 10 people, and search for somewhere to crash. Not to demystify the experience, but its hard work for a questionable payoff at times. Also worth mentioning - Gabe’s Oasis has the most disgusting bathrooms in the entire country, and the chairs stick to the floor—-yum!
Monday, April 3
The following night at Mojo’s in Columbia, Missouri is a much better experience. We play this Monday night to an enthusiastic crowd of nearly 50 - many of whom were at our previous performance with the Hold Steady and the Constantines. We play with a band called Bum With a Dog (one of our favorite band names this tour) and Johnny O and the Jerks. Johnny O and the Jerks were friendly enough to put us up for the night, and even bought beers and pizza for the occasion. The night was a sad one for Johnny Cop as he receives word that his cat, Jodie Foster (who is a boy) had to be put to sleep. The old guy went down somewhere in the middle of our set. Afterwards, the Johnny O boys helped set up a vigil and we make many toasts in Jodie’s honor. Their compassion was very welcome and we’ll never forget the night. Rest in peace, Jodie Foster.
Tuesday, April 4
The next day, we arrive in Lawrence, Kansas obnoxiously early. We spend a sunny and warm afternoon combing record shops and chilling out while people watching to pass time. Michael’s friend from Omaha, Donnadea, makes a road trip to see the band and is kind enough to sneak us into her hotel room later that night. This is our second visit to the Replay Lounge this year. It is a cool little venue with hip d√©cor and several pinball machines.
We arrive this time to find the front facade boarded up due to a violent microburst from a tornado that blew out the windows just days earlier. Apparently these microbursts drop out of the sky, unannounced, and destroy all kinds of nearby destroyables - glad we missed that shitstorm. Tonight we follow a cover band that does the Undertones’ “Teenage Kicks,”Ě and the Stooges’ “TV Eye”Ě - fun stuff. The Cops rock so hard tonight that a ceiling tile falls out mid-set. John fixes it at the end of the night so that we could be assured a welcome return. James, Replay booking agent and front man of the band Conner, was very friendly to us and the staff treats us with generous hospitality. James tells us not to expect any cops (actual cops) on the highway between Lawrence and Denver and that we can drive 90 mph the entire way.
Wednesday, April 5
On the way to Denver we see 15 state troopers within the first hour of driving - so much for speeding. This is the most boring drive of the entire tour. There is nothing to see other than miles of open plains and the world’s largest prairie dog. We make it to the Larimer Lounge in Denver in time to have food, drinks, and meet friends. The show tonight is ok and we play for another enthusiastic audience. A Denver band called Swayback shares the bill and they’re very good. Both bands are a solid match and we talk about touring together this summer. Dave and John’s college friend, Shannon, puts us up for the night.
Thursday, April 6
The following morning we awake early to get a head start and beat the massive snowstorms predicted in the Rocky Mountains. We have a long drive to Salt Lake City and tonight’s show starts early. We get through Colorado in good time only to hit near white out conditions in the mountains outside of Salt Lake. Dave white knuckles the wheel and we make it in time for our show at Kilby Court, a cool all-ages venue run by volunteers, similar to Seattle’s Vera Project. We arrive to find two feet of standing water at the entrance to the venue. Aarrggh.
Tonight we play to a small group of kids who stand at the front of the stage and respond in kind to every song. The 10-hour drive to play to a dozen spazzy kids seems worth it. We sell a few CDs and even sign a t-shirt. The night ends early as we grab a 12-pack and head to a hotel room to unwind. One more road show left before we come back to Seattle for our show Saturday at the Crocodile. The tour is coming to a bittersweet end, but we’re anxious to come home.
Ed. note: The Cops are heading back to Seattle from their last show at the Neurolux in Boise. They’ll be at the Crocodile tonight (doors at 9pm, $8) with Slender Means and Wintergreen. Welcome home, boys.