tour diary :: Distant Correspondent > Entry #9

Columbia, SC by DAVID

Columbia, South Carolina is a city I do my best to route my bands’ tours through every chance I get. Even if it seems out of the way on a routing, I’ll do everything I can to work it in. There’s pretty much one reason why: The Unawares.

The Unawares are a band that Goes Cube played with back in 2007, and the thing you need to know about them is that they are honestly one of the best bands in the country. Also, they are some of the nicest, most generous, and certainly most fun three guys in the country.

I tried to prepare my bandmates. I told them The Unawares was great, and that we’d have a good time staying over at Rhett’s (their drummer) house after the show. I told them many stories of Goes Cube’s adventures with The Unawares. But, really, when it comes to a Columbia tourdate, you just need to do it to know it.

So while I’ll try to explain it here, know that it will fall well short of capturing the actual experience.

We went to Rhett’s house first to drop off our clothes and computers. The first thing Rhett does is put beers in our hands and he puts our new LP on his turntable. He cranks it up. As you can imagine, bands don’t often listen to their own music when they’re on tour. But in the case of Columbia, I always listen to my own records. It’s the way they do it at the Unawares’ house. They put your record on, and every 20 or seconds tell you how absolutely incredibly awesome it is. When Emily’s first speaking part came on, Rhett’s eyes lit up and he turned to her and said, “Oh yeah. That’s sexy.” Emily thanked him and he said, “I mean it. That’s sultry as hell!” The beers and compliments flowed throughout the entire album (which sounded pretty great on his huge and deafeningly loud sound system). Then, it was time to go load in at the New Brookland Tavern.

In some weird coincidence my parents, Margaret’s parents, and Michael’s sister and mother all traveled to see this one single show. So we had to put raging with the Unawares on a slight hold while we did the family thing. Luckily, the Free Times wrote about us in the paper, so that made us look pretty cool to our folks who were probably mostly wondering why in the hell we’d want to stuff ourselves in a gear-filled minivan for over two weeks.

The first band was called Art Sale, and it turned out to be a side project of the Unawares bassist, James Wallace. Our families picked an interesting show to come to. Art Sale was pretty much a weirdo, drone, noise band who claimed to be from Saturn. At the end of one song, the other member (Pat), kept repeating something along the lines of: WAKE UP, MOTHERFUCKERS! IT’S SUNDAY SCHOOL, MOTHERFUCKERS!” In short: they were pretty amazing and we loved them. Not sure they were the biggest hit with the parents, though.

We were up next and despite some last minute technical difficulties, we launched into what we felt was one of our best sets and performances yet. The Unawares were up next, and after one song, my bandmates were shaking me by the shoulders telling me how incredibly amazing they are. They played a perfect set, which included my favorite song, “Neurotic Inventions.”

After the show (and after hugging our families goodbye), all the bands went back to Rhett’s house. The afterparty lasted well past 5am. That’s the other thing I tried preparing my bandmates for: how utterly useless they would be after the Columbia show. Fortunately, we had a day off the following day. God knows we needed it.

“ABSINTHE ACRES” by The Unawares

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