The Second Hand Suits bring the gospel to the Midwest

SHS - 3

by NICK EVANS

Salutations. My name is Brother Stripes of The Second Hand Suits, and it’s lovely to meet you. Not too long ago Brother Hound and I boogied our way around the Midwest, spreading The Gospel of Booty Shakin’ to those in need with our friends in Sir Coyler & his Asthmatic Band (SC/AB).

As I’m writing to you, it is a stormy, dim, Sunday afternoon, and for a moment I’m teleported back to Memphis, Tennessee, standing outside a rainy Goner Records, attempting to take a selfie with the sign with a wet, uncooperative phone. It was day 7 out in the mild west and we could feel it. As a group, we were a combination of sick, hungover, sleep deprived, sore and many other adjectives. As Luke (the bassist of SC/AB and tour morale manager) would say, we were having a great time.

The previous night marked the halfway point as well as our first ‘fuckit’ show of the tour. There was no local band on the bill. Just two Washington bands that were unheard of in this town. It was at MAG Bar in Louisville, a small corner pub with a surprisingly large stage in a back room. We started playing, and played our souls out. There was nothing to lose (and not much to gain either), and we had The Gospel on our side. As the night blurred, I found myself on a stage with not only Brother Hound but all of SC/AB as well. My shoes were untied, my left knee hurt, I was holding a cowbell and I had no idea what song we were playing but I felt The Gospel emanating from each of us. As the cowbell honked away with reckless abandon, I felt that I was in the 70s.

Now let’s talk venues. Specifically how they treat bands and shows on a scale from ‘why are you here’ to ‘awesome’. Mickey’s Tavern in Madison was awesome. Possibly the most awesome of all. If you’re planning a midwest tour, book a show a Mickey’s.

We arrived in Madison early on the second to last day of our tour after a let’s-get-the-hell-out-of-this-town-and-never-go-back kind of show in Minneapolis the night before. We headed to the bar around 2 p.m. just to poke our heads in before we head into town for a little bit. Little did we know, Mickey’s was awesome. We ended staying there all day. They just do things right. First thing, touring bands were granted free PBR, well drinks and food all day long. Their pizza kicks ass. Now if that wasn’t enough, they also pay off bar instead of door, so nobody turns away at the door. They play to their demographic well so every Friday and Saturday the place is alive with music-hungry locals; Daikaiju performed their feats of surfy insanity there the night before and had a killer show. Last, the bar was broken up into multiple rooms with an ample outdoor area for (lame) people looking for The Gospel lite. Now normally I’m against this – if you’re at a show I’m playing, you will bask in the gospel and nothing else should matter – but as a nearly-broke, penny-counting touring band, I’d rather have those Lames stay and drink at my show than go somewhere else. The Gospel was alive in everyone that night. A local band called Wood Chickens closed out the show with an intoxicatingly fun cowpunk set. Mickey’s was awesome.

There are always a million and one stories after tour. I could’ve told you about watching a grown man somersault around a bar in a Borat-esque banana hammock, our almost show in a completely empty warehouse, or the whippit ordeal, but I didn’t.

Thanks for reading, and may The Gospel of Booty Shakin’ always light your way.

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