This was a rough one. Lizzie and I have been just kinda hanging on this year. We’re both in a state of burn out. We want to be playing more, and also want to be home more.
But I have wanted to get back to Pittsburgh again.
My father was born just a few miles up the river. I lived in New Kensington as a kid, and spent a lot of my summers there when we lived elsewhere.
First Stop - Indianapolis - Thursday
It’s the longer drive, but was the easiest part of the trip. We’ve done this so many times. Thursday evening was spent chatting with Lizzie’s family. There was much silliness and much laughter.
Second Stop - New Kensington - Friday
I was on a mission, bits of my father’s ashes are wandering around the world. A bit of him in Stratford on Avon, a bit in Athens. It was my privilege to scatter some on my Grandparents grave. After terrible weather, a really odd lunch stop where we waited forever for food, but got to watch a really amazing storm, the clouds went away and we got to the cemetery when there was bright sunshine. It took us awhile to find the grave, it always does. It was hard. Lizzie kept close, but quiet, she knows me. I was able to rejoin them, at least a little.
We headed down to the old neighborhood. I noticed that the inside door of the neighbors was open, so I trudge up the stairs (you have to see New Kensington front steps to understand, some of then require a team of Sherpas to ascend) and knocked on the door. A face that I kind of recognized answered and I said “Hi, I’m Ila Coleman’s grandson”. Dessie almost exploded. She looked almost the exact same as I remember from probably 25 years ago. We chatted for a few minutes, we didn’t have a lot of time as we needed to be at the con by opening ceremonies, and we were running about 2 hours later than I wanted by this time. Hugs were given and off we went.
A quick run through downtown New Kensington always makes me sad. I loved it when I was a kid. About all I can say now about it is that the local lumber yards have made a lot of money covering up windows.
Third Stop - Confluence - Friday
It was Harold Feld and The Blibbering Humdingers and then we did silly things to Mike Whitakers Three Days Away From The Rat Race at opening ceremonies, changing the final chorus to 4/4. It worked pretty well, people still sang along.
Maury Kestenbaum did a panel on jokes. I actually heard a couple that I hadn’t heard before. Being me, I have can’t remember which they were. I’d recognize them if I heard them again though. Kinda like names. Every joke that sprang to mind was so much more, well, so much more than the worst people seemed to have to offer. I mostly listened.
Lauren Cox was amazing as always. There is a marvelous vulnerability and a quiet steel to what she does. I’m looking forward to where she goes, because she’s just going to get better.
I have talked about our show elsewhere. Seeing video, we were not at our best, but man it felt good.
Then it was Maury Kestenbaum again with a great batch of silly songs, some of which I knew. And then one of the real finds of the weekend.
Wreck The System are a nerdcore quartet out of Washington DC. They put on a powerful, positive, fun live show. I gotta get the CDs I bought ripped so I can listen to them again. Brilliant stuff.
And then the main event.
BOW TO THE COG !!!
I’ve been a fanboy for ages. They did a nearly two hour show. A lot of favorites. Some songs I didn’t know as well. A few covers, done up ala COG. Just brilliant. I’ve walked away even more of a fan.
The circle that night was a blast. A few voices I had not heard before. A few I had. We stayed up as late as we could.
Our day started with a panel about getting ready for your first show. It was a trifle under-attended, but that is expected at 11am on a Sunday at a con. We had had a fun time talking with Marc, who was about to do his second show. But before that …
Tianna and The Cliffhangers who do really clever wizard rock. They were the other real find for us this weekend. I traded for a CD, and will need more soon I am sure.
Marc Grossman had a very good a cappella show. I’m looking forward to more from him as well.
As soon as Marc was done, we hit the road. We had a blast at Confluence. We’d love to make it there again, maybe in a couple of years (next year is kinda planned out already)
Fourth Stop - Indianapolis … again
The drive back through PA, a bit of WV and OH was a lot easier when it wasn’t pounding down rain. We did have another odd stop. Quick gas and snack stop, and there was no readily accessible way back on the interstate. Punched in Indianapolis in the GPS and it sent us through a school parking lot, around it’s driveway, through the parking lot on the other side of the school, and then back to the freeway.
We got back to Indianapolis later, and much more tired then before. We slept a little late and got going on the final leg of the journey.
We took our time, since we still got going kinda early, that hour time shift works well going home. Stopped at a nifty little music store in New London IA, had a nice pizza in Fairfield IA, and then home.
Got the car unloaded in record time. We were covered in kitties shortly thereafter.
A little under 2000 miles in the car. A few CDs sold. A lot of music played. And no more cons for awhile. Maybe not until Demicon next year. Definitely not OVFF. We had wanted to go to ICON in October, but can’t afford the room this year. it’s been a rough year financially. If we can just sell more of that brand new CD (two actually) that we have!