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HEAT Tour Preview: The Majestic Midwest

With HEAT now released unto the world the Velvet Lapelles are gearing up to hit the road. Within the next few months we’ll be ramblin’ from coast to coast, living the dream and rolling out the HEAT. Before dipping our toes in any oceans we’ll first enjoy a romp through the Midwest. Today we peer into the not-so-distant future with embedded correspondent, Matt Latterell, as he investigates Part One of the LM&VL HEAT Tour: The Majestic Midwest.

Greetings folks! When last I checked in with you we had freshly celebrated the new album at First Ave and were awaiting the wider distribution release. As I write this today, HEAT is finally on record store shelves (and iTunes and whatnot). I read a really great review this afternoon from MN Daily which you can find here.

A lot has happened since the First Ave show. For starters, our very own Eamonn Mclain was on the Late Show with David Letterman performing with Trampled By Turtles. This was a surprise to all (thank you Tom Waits for cancelling). I don’t know TBT personally (I’m sure the others do) but I don’t think I’m the only TBT fan who swelled with pride for their appearance. They seem to be having a really amazing tour right now. Hats off to ’em.

We also celebrated Geoff’s college graduation. “Oh, fun, a nice little grad party,” you think to yourself. Sure, we had some BBQ. Sure, we had some brews. Sure, I hung out under a tree with Lucy’s mom and discussed diving in a shark cage. But what if I told you…that this happened there…

That clip was originally only 3 seconds but I slowed it down for you. 98% of YouTube is made up of clips of comparable quality and interest.

Our rehearsals have moved out of the basement as we’ve been taking advantage of the weather. The noise we make attracts young families who watch on from the sidewalk. In between songs they apologize to us. “No, no,” we tell them, “We crave your attention.”

This is the thousand-yard stare they speak of after someone has been in front of a live studio audience.

So now we have our eyes set on some shows. Being that I’m laid-off now I thought I’d spend my day researching where we’re going first and write a synopsis of each date. Here’s what I came up with:

June 9, 2012 – Amsterdam Bar & Hall, St. Paul, MN – Minnesota Music Summit
w/ Radio On, Hardwood Groove and Ghostmouth
Our first show since the CD release at First Ave will be at St. Paul’s Amsterdam Bar & Hall, which is named after a Jacques Brel song about amorous sailors. We’ll be playing on the main stage for day two of the MN Music Summit, which is also hosting workshops at McNally Smith for musicians. If you haven’t been to the Amsterdam yet, now is your time.

June 12, 2012, University of Wisconsin, River Falls, WI (UPDATE)
w/ Charlie Parr
This gig kicks off UW River Fall’s “Chill on the Hill” concert series. I think this will be great because college students love chilling. Another thing makes this gig great: we’re playing with one of my music heroes, Charlie Parr. Watching Charlie perform is what convinced me to play solo five years ago. This is no exaggeration. I literally quit biting my nails and learned to finger pick and play in open tunings to try and be like him. My very first solo gig was opening for Charlie Parr at Turf Club in 2007 and the only reason I did it was so that I could open for him. Now, five years later, I’m biting my nails again and playing with bands. Charlie, help!

(Jk, I love both of my bands.)

June 14, 2012 – Martyr’s, Chicago, IL
w/ The Laureates
CHI-TOWN. Remember in my previous blog post where I mentioned a vague memory of a Rock ‘n’ Roll McDonald’s in North Dakota? I’ve only been to Chicago once before and the only place I stopped there was a McDonald’s that was built over the freeway (I think?). I’m learning a lot about myself through this blog. On THIS trip to Chicago we’ll be playing at a place called Martyr’s which seems like a joint with a lot of heart. Beck, Wilco, Spoon and Rufus Wainwright have all played this venue. Check out Martyr’s website for tickets.

June 15, 2012 – Shank Hall, Milwaukee, WI
w/ Revolush
Next we visit Milwaukee. Actually pronounced “mill-e-wah-que” (Algonquin for “the good land”), Milwaukee has certainly had it’s share of visitors. The French missionaries and explorers were coming here as early as the late 1600s to trade with the Native Americans. Shank Hall sounds like a prison wing better off avoided, but it was actually the name of a fictitious Milwaukee venue featured in the film, “This Is Spinal Tap”. It became a reality in the 80’s and survived being nearly destroyed by a single cigarette in the 90’s.

June 16, 2012 – Memorial Union Terrace, Madison, WI
w/ Save the Clocktower
Memorial Union Terrace is an idyllic summer venue built on the shores of Lake Mendota. It’s outdoors, they have brats, burgers and ice cream, and I understand the chairs there are of some historical significance. I think it’s the kind of place one might call a “boardwalk” but maybe not. I’m ignorant. This show is free and you don’t even have to be a union member to attend.

June 23, 2012 – Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley, MN – Music in the Zoo
w/ The Pines
Behold, the wild kingdom. Gibbons, tamarins, sloths and otters will be there. Gaze in awe as the wondrous snowy owl swoops down from the rafter onto Lucy’s falconer glove. Hold your applause until it flies away, PLEASE. Take a moment to stop by the monkey pit to reflect on your shared heritage! Wonder what they’re thinking. Remember to stop by the aquarium to see the fish (don’t bother wondering what they’re thinking).

July 7, 2012 – Basilica Block Party, Minneapolis, MN
Full Line-Up
The Basilica; what a building! This thing makes my house look like garbage. When I was leaving my last job people would ask about this band I joined and I would say  “We’re playing the Basilica Block Party,” and they’d go, “Oh!” I showed some of them videos of us performing and they’d say, “Which one is Lucy and which is Michelle?” The most common assumption before seeing the videos was that I joined a metal band. “You gonna grow your beard out?” Check out the Basilica Block Party website for the full line-up.

July 14, 2012 – St. John’s Block Party, Rochester, MN
w/ OK Go, Solid Gold, Martin Zellar, Pink Mink, 6 Mile Grove
I saw OK Go at Rock the Garden a couple years ago and they engaged the audience like no other. Whether its a festival crowd or, like, the entire internet, they always figure out a way to get you. Every time I get the chance to visit Rochester I get excited for some reason. I have no idea why but I’m sure this may not be the case as I age. I remember visiting there as a young child and asking my mom why they had so many jewelry stores. “Because lots of rich people come here when they’re sick,” she said. For years I thought people wore jewelry to ward off disease. Rochester: not just a place to go when you’re sick!

July 21, 2012 – RiverSong Music Festival, Hutchinson, MN
Full Line-Up
Hutchinson, where this festival takes place, is about 1.5 hours out of Minneapolis. The festival takes place over two nights, July 20 & 21, aaaaand you can camp there. Check out the site for tickets and camping reservations. You, Minnesota, could spend your entire summer trying to find something this rad. Here it is.

The very next day we play in Colorado and won’t have another gig in town until August 18th (Pert Near Sandstone’s Backyard Bonfire). I hope that if you make it to any of these you’ll take the opportunity to introduce yourself. Believe me, I would be absolutely flattered to know that anyone read this.

See you soon?

-m.

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