Dave was so excited, he called Wawa ahead of time, made friends with Shamiqua who works there and told her to expect us around 4:30 in the morning. Sure enough, Wawa is everything Dave made it out to be. The gas pumped so swiftly – any faster and I would have had to stand there holding the handle shy of full throttle. We were greeted with smiles and great music – that song that goes, na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye. There is an employee whose only job is to oversee 20 coffee pots and never let any of them get more than 20 minutes old. Kenyan, Irish cream, hazelnut, dark, caramel, vanilla cream, macadamia, right next to the cappuccino machine with 10 flavors including English toffee, apple cinnamon, French vanilla, and chocolate peanut butter. For my coffee experience, I mixed Kenyan with a little Irish cream. In all, I had 4 different Wawa experiences. Yesterday, at the most southern Wawa on I 85, we had a poignant goodbye with the employees. They gave Dave his own Wawa name tag and a free little sign that says “coffee all sizes 99 cents”.
Quick synopsis of the tour
New Orleans – Love Neutral ground. A regular who I met calls it the underground railroad for songwriters. Perfect description. It’s the oldest coffee house in New Orleans.
St. Simons island – We had such a great crowd and they were mostly locals. We hit it right before the busy tourist season. There was a really cool word of mouth thing that happened, where a ton of people showed up right as we were playing our last 2 songs. Dave and I sat Indian style on the foot of the stage and played a song for one girl who was really disappointed to have missed our set. People gathered around, the sound guy brought mics over and we ended up playing for another hour just sitting there cross legged. I ended up with this gig because I was talking to my friend Marla on the phone and I mentioned that I needed somewhere to play between New Orleans and Charlotte. Because Marla grew up near St. Simons, she knew the perfect place. She introduced me to Griffin and Robbie who are locals. Griffin runs the booking for Rafters. Robbie runs the surf shop below it. They took such good care of us. We had instructions to raid Robbie’s fridge when we got to his house, which was 2 blocks away to crash. They had a cook out early in the day and left us plates of food. The morning was so peaceful.
Dave – “They have good birds and a lot of silence here.”… exactly.
I got to sleep on the beach for an hour. The island is so beautiful and classy, and calm.
Charlotte – We were so lucky to share the bill with Natalia Zukerman. She had this song about being won over. Dave and I turned to each other at the end and said “exactly”. We shared a pizza and swapped CDs with her. The Evening Muse is another fantastic venue with great sound. . . They sent us on our way to DC with lots of Coffee for the wee hours drive.
DC – The best part was getting to visit WRGW at George Washington University again. I love the station and the guys who run it. I showed them Gizoogle. Snoop Dog translates my name to Sarah Shizzle. After the morning radio show, Dave made friends with a bunch of students who ended up coming to the show. They gave us the inside scoop on the 5th floor where we were able to find couches and sleep for a few hours. I woke up with my mouth hanging open and 4 other people asleep on couches near me. Ahhh college.
Stacatto was an unfortunate set of circumstances that lead to Dave declaring afterwards, “You know what was great about that? That was a gig. That was such a gig.” I don’t wish to share the details of what made it such a gig, but Dave made me laugh so hard about it afterwards that I almost peed. The final straw was packing up, when my box of CDs and post cards fell upside down out of the hatchback and scattered all over the intersection of 18th and Q. A bunch of them landed on top of a random pair of women’s underwear that we had just joked about seeing on the ground. Some nice girls helped me collect my things and I gave them a CD. Onward…
Bitter End – So much fun. It was a really important gig to both of us. Paul, the owner is so clearly dedicated. He runs a tight ship with great sound. Great, great vibe. I can’t wait to go back. Opened for a random cover band, which packed the house. It was bizarre. There was a table full of Italian ladies with huge rocks on their fingers eating Peeps and Twizzlers right up front.
My friend Joe called me a few hours later, “Are you in NY?” “Shoot Joe, I forgot to tell you. I’m functioning on such a surface level, being in a different city each night. I am running a skeleton crew in my head.” Joe wandered into the Bitter End a few hours after I played, saw my poster and called me. The world gets smaller and smaller. The good thing is that Joe met us at Mickey’s Blue Room the next night. We had a little 20 minute featured spot in the middle of the open Mic. Joe and Dave each signed up and played. Cameron Hull was a total surprise. We pegged him all wrong. He was brilliant. Louis Hall was great too and he says he’s only been at it for a few months. Can’t wait to see what comes out of him.
Dave rushed us off to hear his favorite drummer, Sean Pelton play with Brian Mitchell at Rodeo Bar. We caught their last 2 songs. How to describe them… A bunch of words that sound bad but mean good… absolutely dirty, filthy, disgusting, primal. They grooved so hard that by the end, I was squealing and Dave couldn’t even clap. All he could do was bang a chair up and down and declare that he thought he was pregnant.
In Philly, it was raining so hard, but we were dying to move around. We met my friend Erica at Reading Terminal Market. Dave gave me a Philly Cheese Steak lesson and I have never been so glad to be vegetarian. “That stuff that they’re splashing on there, is that really oil?” I learned that if you want one the traditional way (which is with cheese wiz) and you want onions, you say, “One wiz wit”.
We went to the Liberty Bell. Independence hall tickets were “sold out” for the day. Dave said, “They said that last time and we got in.” Sure enough, we tagged on to the back of a bunch of 8th graders from California and we walked right in. Dave taught Erica and me something called the penis game. I’m not sure how I made it through school without ever learning it. The goal is to be the one who can say “penis” the loudest and get away with it. Imagine Dave’s expressionless face in the back row yelling out a monotone “penis” and then a dramatic fake “penis” sneeze from me and us laughing so hard that we got the 8th graders in trouble. Erica chickened out. She was always such a good student. Another great show in Philly at Grape Street Pub. Great crowd, lots of friends and Dave’s relatives.
On Tuesday, we played a house concert in Cary, NC. I just love house concerts. It’s a really intense experience with a random collection of strangers. Sometimes I can’t even make eye contact because they are paying so much attention and they are RIGHT THERE in front of me. They show up not knowing what to expect and thinking, “I hope she doesn’t suck and we’re not just stuck here having to pretend to like her music.” I love seeing their bodies relax with relief and their expressions acknowledge certain lyrics that strike them just so. It’s the ultimate environment to collect life long fans.
Our house concert host, who asked to remain anonymous put us up in a hotel in Chapel hill for 2 nights! TWO NIGHTS in the same place, in a hotel. I spent an hour in the bathroom this morning just cuz. Bath, lotion, toe nail polish… It was so centering after all of these nights in a different city.
Yesterday I got to visit the new Redeye headquarters. It’s HUGE. They have so much room to grow now. Then we got massages from my friend Tait who is the official sports massage therapist for the UNC women’s soccer team. Anyone who knows about soccer knows what a big deal the UNC women are. Tait is so gifted. In the end he did some cranial sacral work that lifted a lot of the noise in my head. The only thing he said in the session was, “heavy”, right when I felt all of this burden escape out of my forehead. I felt like I had cried for days and couldn’t string a sentence together. Dave felt like he could run 5 miles and wrote a song when we went back to the hotel.
We played another great show at The Cave. It’s the oldest tavern in Chapel Hill and it would give Egos and Saxon Pub a run for their money for the smokiest bar in America. A stranger hired us to go back to his apartment and surprise his wife with a serenade. It was another random adventure. We half joked on the way there about being slashed to pieces. He turned out to be a fascinating, kind, hard working man. His wife came home way later than expected. I was asleep on the couch with a raging fever and we were about to leave when she finally got there. I think she was pleased. Hard to tell…
Dave and I have spent all day at the coolest grocery store called Weaver Street in Carrboro. Buffalo and I hung out here for 2 days last time we toured through NC. It’s like a small whole foods with free wireless where you can buy a bottle of wine and drink it in the cafe. Dave has been sipping straight from an organic, sulfite free $6.99 bottle called “Our Daily Red” all day. I’m taking my turn as DD which is not too hard, since I’ve had a fever for 3 days. It all started when I had my first day since before SXSW with no alcohol and a full night’s sleep…