By Andrew Bansal
(Continued from Part 1)
Day 9 (9/17): Yuengling Territory
After two big shows in Columbus and Baltimore, next on the itinerary was a headline gig in Spartanburg, South Carolina, at the ironically appropriate Ground Zero. Members of Huntress have stated that they probably wouldn’t do a full-on headline tour any time soon because it gets old and tiring playing the same bars and clubs over and over again, and on that level you really aren’t a ‘headline act’, you’re just playing last at a bar which is often more detrimental than beneficial. I strongly concur, as in my opinion there isn’t much of a point or purpose in headlining just for the sake of doing so. Having said that, a headline gig along the route on a big tour like this is a different story altogether, and folks in and around Spartanburg SC were certainly stoked on the band’s appearance at Ground Zero. Many people even said they had driven a few hours to attend this show. With five local openers, it was a long evening, but worth the effort in the end. More than anything, I was just happy to be chugging $3 Yuenglings. It’s always the little things. Then came a day off in rainy, humid Atlanta, and I tried my hand at playing ‘Magic: The Gathering’ with nerdmaster Eric. Time well spent.
Day 11 (9/19): Dirty South
Matt Heafy in the midst of a Jiu-Jitsu session
The Masquerade in Atlanta, Georgia was the next stop, and the show was in the biggest of the three rooms, a.k.a. ‘Heaven’. While I was setting up the merch display, I observed Trivium frontman Matt Heafy’s Jiu-Jitsu session, which is part of his daily routine before every soundcheck. He even has a personal trainer, who doubles as a roadie. It’s interesting and out-of-the-box, not something you witness often on tour. On the whole, the Trivium band and crew members are incredibly nice to all of us in Huntress, and always talk to us whenever we run into them. Matt wears a Sabaton shirt on stage every night and makes sure to mention and talk up Sabaton and Huntress during the set. This is also one of the major differences between Trivium and Sabaton, because Sabaton don’t make anywhere near as much of an effort to even mention the other two bands. Considering that Jill wasn’t feeling 100 per cent, it was a successful night for Huntress, and Atlanta peeps came out in huge numbers to attend the show. Atlanta being indoor cigarette smoker friendly (an aspect of this part of the country I’m not fond of), the Huntress lighters sold fast and my lungs clogged up with secondhand cigarette smoke.
Day 12 (9/20): Little Rock, Big Show
The big room in Little Rock
Little Rock, Arkansas isn’t a town many bands visit on a regular basis, so there was a lot of excitement and radio promotion behind the event at Metroplex Live. The venue turned out to be far too big for the show, but in places like this, there aren’t many venues choices and it’s probably better doing the show at a place too big than one too small. Once again it was mainly a Sabaton crowd and people started leaving as soon as their set was done. Noticing this trend over the first few shows on this tour, we have also moved the (free) Huntress meet-n-greet to after Sabaton’s set instead of after the show every night. Besides the shirts, hoodies and music, I’m also selling Jill’s hand-made jewelry at the merch table, and have been putting Jill to work so she keeps making new items in the bus on the drives between shows because it’s been selling really well. It certainly adds a unique touch to the merch display and draws people’s attention.
Day 14 (9/22): High Spirits
Little Rock to Denver was a very long drive, but we had a day off to cover it. We stopped in Muskogee, Oklahoma for breakfast, had some thrift store fun, and went to a public laundry, living the tour life to the max. A week into traveling in the BandWagon, we had all gotten used to the new ways of life. Fridge, microwave, storage shelves, shower, toilet and DirecTV on board is a massive luxury, and is infinitely better than touring in a van. If you’re living your life on the road, you may as well live it in style, and if you can afford it, this is the way to do it. That being said, sometimes the bus goes over bumpy roads, hits curbs, makes sharp turns and brakes suddenly, causing havoc as things fly all over the place and contents of the fridge get jumbled, the fridge door often flinging open because of the turbulence. At times it’s nothing short of a slap-stick comedy. There are pluses and minuses, so basically you should be jealous but not too much.
Arriving in Denver at noon on the 22nd, the first order of business, of course, was finding a marijuana store, and sure enough, there was one only a mile away from the venue. Colorado weed is my favorite weed in the entire country, and stoned load-in was certainly fun. Denver had been hit-and-miss in my past experiences, but this gig at the Summit Music Hall was undoubtedly the best of the tour so far in every sense. The show ended as usual at around 11 PM but the Huntress after-party lasted till 1:30 AM, and the arcade bar across the street was the place to be.
Thrift store fun in middle America