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Oxford Collapse: Part Five

On Tuesday, June 28, we and the Narrator boys woke up -- some with hickies, others with hangovers -- and got some heavily discounted pizza from J and J's in town. We had our sappy goodbye in the lovely downtown square in Denton, Texas and headed north to Oklahoma City. Somewhere over the state border we found a swimming hole, complete with children jumping off a rope-swing into the water. A policeman came and cut the rope down, and for some reason I felt compelled to boo him. He came over and asked me if I wanted a ticket. I asked, "For what, booing you?" He told us that we could be fined for destruction of natural resources for putting up the rope, which of course we hadn't done. Adam, in a rare instance of level-headedness, talked our way out of it.

 

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The show at Oklahoma City's Conservatory was better than expected. A local songwriter was holding his going-away party that night, and the White Hat, jock, devoutly Christian audience was eager and pleasant, so much so as to even give us an encore. The night's highlight was when I overheard when one of these White Hat Christian kids try to talk religion into the guy who played before us, a one-man electro outfit called Electro Shock Box. He'd had the entire crowd lewdly dancing to the refrain "titties on my back."


We couldn't stick around beautiful and terrifying Oklahoma City because we'd gotten a fairly last-minute show in Valparaiso, Indiana, a tedious thirteen-hour drive away. We drove through the night to play first of five bands. The teenage crowd didn't seem to know what to make of us. Perhaps what followed is a good indication of what they were expecting: Warp Tour bands with names like Army of Freshmen and Split Habit, the kind of bands that have one CD for sale and six different shirt and hoodie designs. It was bad. We couldn't even find a place to stay and had to pony up for a room at the Castle Inn.


The show in Lima, Ohio on June 30 was put on by a fifteen-year-old promoter named Joe. He had his heart in the right place. We played with a few generic hardcore scream-y bands, but it was the local trio of shirtless seventeen-year-old boys named Sheep who won our hearts. Only gripe was that the drummer had ten cymbals and about twenty drums. Why is it proven over and over again that the amount of drums a band has is inversely proportional to how good it is? Adam could particularly sense the promise of Sheep. He gave them his CD copy of Firehose's Fromohio in hopes of molding them into something truly amazing.


One more show to go before home. The last few days of a tour always seem to drag interminably. We stopped at Adam's grandfather's house in Canfield, Ohio. He helped us affix our tire rack to our van and then riveted us with stories of his time in Africa in World War II, hand-delivering letters to Patton and shooting Arabs between the eyes.

With those images seared on our minds, we moved on to our final date in Pittsburgh -- a great town with an inexplicable and infinite array of excellent bands. We played at Roboto with Vale and Year, a fantastic indie-rock band that has a record coming out on Fat Possum soon. We spent the night with our friend Jeremy, got some wings at Quaker Steak & Lube, watched ET and dreamt of home.

Saturday we woke up early and drove to New York City. We have five days off before we start two weeks with the Constantines from Toronto, Ontario. Time to relax, hang with friends and girlfriends, hit the barbecues, and set off the fireworks we purchased in Indiana. God Bless the USA.
Part 1 of Oxford Collapse on tour
Part 2 of Oxford Collapse on tour
Part 3 of Oxford Collapse on tour
Part 4 of Oxford Collapse on tour
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