After 40 plus shows across Europe and the US on the LIFE UPSIDE DOWN album release tour, it’s time to weigh in on the sweet victories and a few comical defeats.
And now, behold the BEST, WORST and WEIRDEST of the Life Upside Down Tour part 1...
Fight Club Dungeon (Graz, Austria)
People lose their minds in places with no windows. We played a dark dungeon venue In Downtown Graz called Guest Room. The promoters name is FABIO, which is awesome in itself. He helped us rally the town out and there were tons of singalongs and folks went absolutely mental. It was promising to see a young college crowd that never looked at their phones during the show. They were great.
There was a noise complaint from the neighbor and we played the final two songs unplugged with acoustic and snare. This inspired us to close many other shows this way on the tour.
Old Cinema - Amsterdam, NL
An old movie theatre converted into a 150 cap venue, the place was packed and we even saw fans there from Milwaukee! Our Dutch agent Pranger did a great job teeing this up. He looks like McCauley Culkin.
Reeperbahn Festival (Hamburg, Germany)
One of the toughest festivals to get into, very few American bands play this each year and there hadn’t yet been a Wisconsin band on the bill.
We played at St Pauli Museum, which is a mushroom trip of a willy wonka building with bizarre framed photos, mannequins and vintage trophies. It was at capacity. I kissed my friend Jens bald head during a guitar solo in the mosh pit. Thanks Backseat for teeing this up.
Anodyne - Milwaukee, WI
My gear fucked out during the first song and the crowd stuck with us and pretended it never happened. Nice boost to morale. My favorite midwest band Miles Nielsen and the Rusted Hearts opened the show. Best crowd we’ve had at a Mke album release.
Oxbow Hotel - Eau Claire, WI
Mini gem of a cozy venue. Boutique Hotel with a small gallery venue attached. There was a 9-year-old punk kid in the front row ripping on me between songs. It was pretty funny.
Bowery Electric - NYC
By the time you’ve arrived in New York, payed the tolls, payed the hotel and the parking you’re down about $350...so you better sell some merch. The pressure in Nyc is enormous. The taxes on each venue are so high, there is extreme pressure to sell tickets.
Fortunately, all 3 bands on the bill pulled serious weight and the place was at capacity. Diane, the captain of the venue, was kind to us and bought me a Guinness. My favorite venue in NYC so far.
We were up against the grandest beer drinking event on European soil, Oktoberfest. Tricky night for a lil indie band to get a victory on the books.
While there were only 10 people there, those 10 folks went hard and helped us sing and bought records. My uncle Don was there to heckle me as well. I’m pretty sure he’s in the mafia.
Ice Storm - Philadelphia
The show that should’ve never happened. Philly was smashed with a brutal rain and ice storm. We loaded in heaps of gear through 5 inches of ice water. This is where most bands quit.
The local headlining band cancelled a few hours before, so we were left to our own devices. Fortunately, PA legend Pete Hill was on the bill and played amazing. Great meeting him. While the show wasn’t well attended, hats off to The Barbery for sticking with us thru the storm. Such a sweet little gritty rock club.
You can’t win em all. Cleveland has always been a black hole for us, but ya gotta keep trying. The 12 people there to see us went completely mental and knew lots of the words. One fan Bob described me as “a young jason mraz before he sucked.”
CODA was a quality classy venue and Midnight Slander was a tremendous band to play with.
GOOD N WEIRD
Old Rubber Factory - Drammen, NO
An old Norwegian rubber factory! Marten Skogmo is a DIY Norwegian promoter saint who got me started in the country. Again, he came through in my 4th visit to Drammen. This was a full little room to 40 people. An intimate solo show with Q&A and song requests. My pal Magnus flew in from Copenhagen for the show.
Police Shut Down - Munster, Germany
After the best soundcheck of tour, the police came and shut down the show 5 mins before we went on (noise ordinance). I ended up playing an unplugged set indoors. People got behind me and adapted to the weird situation. However, I really wrecked my voice without the PA and it took a few days to bounce back out of depression.
Tour kickoff near disaster - Saarbrucken, Germany
The first day of Germany tour got off to a weird start. The promoter got cold feet and wasn’t happy with our pre sale. So after we traveled across the ocean, they told us to find a new venue 5 days before the show.
Our lord and savior Alexander Ruck stepped up out of nowhere like a true DIY hero and took over the show. He moved it to a crusty neighborhood dive bar and it was perfect. The place filled out nicely with local punkers. I love Saarbrucken. I will always come here until I’m dead. It’s important we work with people like Alexander, who are in the game for the right reasons. If you came out to one of the shows, thank you. It was great to see ya.