photos and words by Shannon Claire
When you’re a kid, you’re usually told not to talk to strangers. The older you get, though, the more you want to, and hell, why not take up an offer to sleep in their house if it means saving some money on a hotel room. Throw in a couple of free pizzas, toys and gadgets, and a somewhat more spacious sleeping arrangement than the night prior, and it’s simply an offer one can’t refuse.
This is how Icky Blossoms and I found ourselves with a noon wakeup call and a five-hour drive ahead of us to The Jackpot in Lawrence, Kan. We grabbed some Rap Snacks for breakfast and headed on. It was a scenic drive DJ’d by Nik Fackler and one that allowed us to catch up on some well-deserved sleep.
Then Derek Pressnall spotted a Claire’s Boutique down the street from the venue, and he set his heart on piercing his ear for the show. I jumped at the challenge, as I had pierced many an ear during my adolescence. We had an apple, a safety pin, ice cubes, hot water from the bar and a serious lack of sanity. Fackler held the camera, Blazek held Presnall's hand, and Sarah Bohling assisted me with the procedure.
The thing is, when you have a DIY piercing, you need to have a straight earring to put through the ear once it’s pierced. We had a curved hoop earring that Presnall was smitten about. After 15 minutes of jabbing, stabbing, stretching and re-piercing, we finally had to give up. It was a sad day indeed. So we turned to the entertainment of Fackler’s cinegrams.
It was the last night with The Mynabirds as the 'birds were wrapping up their summer East Coast tour. Being a Monday, most didn’t expect as big of a draw as the prior two nights, but the few that did make it out helped to close a great weekend.
Icky Blossoms jumped on stage with The Mynabirds once again, this time with sparklers and cupcakes in hand and helped in singing a cover of The Beatles' “Happy Birthday” to Mynabirds’ Rebecca Miller. Laura Burhenn encouraged another round of shots then it was big hugs, smiles and last glances “until next time."
One of the interesting things to me about this project is experiencing the different venues. One night you have a sweaty packed place with amazing bar hospitality but maybe not-so-great sound and the next it's a pretty rad sound guy and a crappy venue promoter.
Icky Blossoms had an unfortunate lesson learned after playing the Jackpot, where the promoter skipped out early without paying the band, thanking them or bidding them farewell. “In all my years, I have never ever not gotten paid for a show, never!” Presnall repeated in disbelief as everyone was loading the gear into the van. “We could have held a house show and would have gotten paid.” My thoughts exactly. Make sure to read your contracts, kiddos, and know exactly what’s coming to you.
When we awoke the next day, the band was still in a bit of shock from the no-pay problem, but they were excited to get back home to Omaha and start the party with friends and loved ones. Once we made it there, you could feel the energy in the air; it was anxious, exhilarating and downright ready to party.
I realized a few things on this trip: One, Bohling has a voice that is majestic, haunting and beautiful in that hurt-so-good way. Two, Pressnall would have been my high school musical sweetheart and Fackler is my current day musical soul mate. There's nothing I love more than connecting with people I’m just getting to know about common musical interest. It really is the sweetest thing.
The almost sold-out show at The Waiting Room reminded me of the time I saw Arcade Fire back in 2004, before they were anywhere near the level of musicians they are now. It's that feeling of “holy shit," this group is not just going to be, but already are, rock stars.
THE FULL SET
Shannon Claire is a Hear Nebraska contributor. She'd like to remind folks that Icky Blossoms album is released on July 17, and can be preordered on iTunes. Get In, Let's Go is a documentary project; if your band is hitting the road and would like some coverage, let Shannon know. Reach her at email@example.com.