Following the last semester of my junior year I was given the truly excellent opportunity to sell merch for my friends in local post-rock band Frame and Mantle on their six-day east coast tour. Together, we drove miles and miles in a packed van to five different cities, crashing on acquaintances’ couches and checking out local eateries the whole way. What follows is a summation of notable stops and highlights from each city:
We drove more than six hours from Erie to Philadelphia, playing music and sleeping in the van the entire way down. The show that night was at a venue called Kung Fu Necktie. Before the show, we ate at Joe’s Steaks and Soda Shop. While the rest of the band got their various cheese steak fixes, I ended up with a rather large (and impossible to finish) portion of “BBQ Chicken Fries,” which to my surprise was essentially chunks of barbecued chicken stirred into a large bowl of fries.
The show went well! We saw several notable musicians from the Philadelphia scene around the venue, including Kyle Kimball of Nothing and Matt Diamond of JANK. In fact, Ruben Polo (also from JANK) was working doors that night, which led to some great conversation with him. Lastly, Ben Walsh from Tigers Jaw played drums for the closing band, who sounded an awful lot like Modern Baseball. He also happened to save the mic when it fell during Frame and Mantle’s set.
Long Island, NY
Surprise! New York is expensive. I’m not sure what I expected. Still, the music scene is very highly regarded in Long Island, having birthed such iconic cult bands as Brand New and Crime in Stereo. Our show that night was at a bar called Katie’s. Beforehand, we grabbed some New York-style slices of pizza from a local shop and they were amazing.
This show was a challenge, as one of the band’s guitar pedals conveniently stopped working just as their set was about to start. Still, they sounded great, and the audience enjoyed it. Perhaps it was the ghost of Katie’s voicing her displeasure for lush instrumental music…
Just a stone’s throw away (if you could throw a stone about an hour and a half east), Brooklyn offered a different side of New York. Here, the people seemed generally happy and the streets felt like a constant music festival; there was always something going on. We ate at Crown Chicken, a greasy staple of the city whose “hot deals” included a $4.99 14” pizza pie. After this, we went on a gorgeous hike through Prospect Park. The show that night was at Don Pedro’s, and in my opinion, it may have been the best of the bunch.
Aberdeen Township, NJ
This one was…well, this one was a surprise. I’ve been sworn to secrecy, but let’s just say this house show was not exactly the basement bash we were expecting. As an added bonus, the area was humid and filled with mosquitoes. The kids loved it, though, and we left feeling good about their interest in music and live performance.
This was much better. Albeit a longer drive through the rain, we arrived at a beautiful rural home and immediately began loading our gear into a furnished and carpeted basement. The place was beautiful, decorated with Christmas lights that separated the band’s side of the room from the audience. After an impromptu drum circle led by the owner of the property, the host actually cooked a huge meal for everyone at the show. Pulled chicken, fresh rice and corn tortillas led to a line forming upstairs as the bands rotated and set up in the basement. All in all, the show served as a wonderful sendoff at the end of the tour, and we sold more merch here than any other date. We stayed at the house overnight, and together we stayed up all night playing acoustic covers with the other bands that played.
And just like that, yet again we were off on a final six-plus-hour drive back to our hometown of Erie. On a whole, touring is something I hoped (and still hope) to experience through my own aspirations, but in the meantime, I was thankful for the opportunity that was six sweaty days crammed in a van with four of my favorite people, if only to experience life on the road for a brief instant.
Feel free to check out the trailer for Schuster Theatre’s upcoming season, which features the a track from Frame and Mantle’s recent EP, and keep your eyes peeled for an unreleased song accompanied by a tour video filmed by yours truly.