Mayda's Boomerang Tour diary: 6/10/12 - 6/17/12
Twin Cities-based R&B phenom Mayda recently hit the road for most of the month of June on her Boomerang Tour, and jotted down some details and observations along the way. Here's a diary of highlights.
The night before a tour I usually double check everything like routes, merchandise, schedules and finances so I can relax right before the trip. This time was not the case. My friends convinced me to go Northern Spark to dance my ass off with strangers, look at amazing Minneapolis art, and continuously running into people we haven't seen in a long time. Even though this was super fun, I kept thinking about all the things I needed to do as the clock ticked away.
Two hours later of sleep, I found myself at 11 a.m. scrambling to Target and printing off itineraries. Luckily right before I left, I got notice that I will be armed with a tour bodyguard/sumo/pasta enthusiast, Yamaha for part of the tour. I was ecstatic! Yamaha threw my tiny ass into the car, throwing a mandatory Chex Mix on my lap to shut me up until Chicago.
We arrived a bit late to the Green Mill Jazz Club where I was a featured artist with some NYC slam poets. The club was wall-to-wall with a surprisingly diverse crowd. Before my set, I met this nice young couple in their 30s, Teyshia and Kevin, who were on an unusual date. I told them I am from Minnesota. "We have lived in Southside! Love it." I smiled and headed up on stage. The host, Mark (whose wit and charisma reminds me of Jim Walsh) called me up and warned me that they might boo. Well, after I play I told the audience what Mark had mentioned. I would've appreciated "a boo" over a Minnesota nice, "Thay-at's different (with a slow clap)". All-in-all, successful gig with a Chicago win.
After the show, Yamaha and I decided to go to one of the bars next door to relax. We meet 4 college boys wearing the same Loyola tee shirts who invites us to do karaoke. The next day, I wake up to Yamaha snoring covered in FIVE deep dish pizza boxes. Count 'em, FIVE! For me? No. For the owners at the venue to maybe book me again? NO, For Yamaha and his new "brah" friends? You better believe it. There went gas money. Anyway, I shake my head and we trail to Detroit, Michigan.
On our way to Detroit, I got to thinking about cities in comparison to the Twin Cities. Many folks say that we are like a smaller Chicago. While I can see the parallels as we approached the downtown Detroit area, I started thinking that Chicago is more like a small New York. The Twin Cities is more like Detroit -- or at least St. Paul is. The feeling of home and comfort came to me like whenever I pass 280 going 94 East into St. Paul. However, when we got into the neighborhood where the venue is, it is in a not so friendly spot. All the gas stations were 24 hours (a plus) that carried those 25 cent bag of chips. The Dollar Stores were as abundant as Starbucks in NY. Where there is a Family Dollar, there is a liquor store and an UnBank. I was feeling okay, though. I like a deal. Yamaha spent 1/3 of our gig money, so nothing like a $3 RCA cable and $1 tub of cheese balls for the gig.
The bar was smallish with an extremely high stage. One step too far and you will be walking the plank.
Little did I know a local celebrity stopped by too.
The owner of the bar invited us back to his place post-hours to wash up and crash on his couch instead of the shady Stay Inn down the road. (Thank god!)
The next morning, I rolled over to find no Yamaha! I gathered my stuff and threw it into the van. The owner had left for work already, so I decided to walk around the neighborhood to try to find Yamaha. It was actually very sunny and pretty that day. Even though I was worried about my sumo, I didn't mind walking in the perfect sunny/humidity-free 77 degree weather. As I walked past a Church's Chicken and a fire department, I heard some guys laughing. Well, guess who it is? Yamaha and two fire fighters throwing around a double neon Nerf football! WTF. FML. SWF. SSS. I was IIRRRAAATE! However, the nice day and being in the presence of heroes (NOT Yamaha) put out my fire. After saying goodbyes, we got back on track to head for Cleveland, Ohio.
Out of all the cities, Cleveland was probably one of my favorites. The venue was in a hip part of town where a lot of younger people and families lived. At the gig there were people of all ages hanging out. Right next door there was a used CD shop much like Cheapo, so I HAD to go in. I found some familiar discs (Mark Mallman, Honeydogs, Halloween, Alaska)
After the show, Yamaha and I found this coffee shop/bar that had skateboarders in the back. We sipped tea and headed back to the good old van like "true" rock stars. On to New York!
Now I have only been to Manhattan, where I was spoiled with cabs and nice accommodations in Tribeca, Chelsea and Upper East Side. I have had quite a padded experience, but this time I was not sure what to expect. We pulled into Buffalo, which felt awkward to me. There were no tall buildings, piles of people on the street, or vendors trying to sell me knock-off videos. It was pretty blue collar so it seemed and somewhat segregated. It is funny how in every city that I have traveled to there will be strong concentration of a certain demographic then not even a block down, there will be a totally different feel.
The drive to Brooklyn was so green, hilly and beautiful. I was taken back by how pretty the small towns were. 'Maybe I could retire here' I thought to myself.
Going to Brooklyn was an interesting battle, pushing through the New Jersey tunnel into Chinatown. By the time we hit Brooklyn, traffic wasn't as bad and we found the venue as well as the place to stay. I performed at a small Art Community Center for Youth. There were a lot of hip-hop pieces and DJs hanging out. People were really friendly and all about music. Another win in our pockets.
A photo taken by local photographer, Sara Sauser was shown on a billboard in New Times Square. It was podcasted throughout the United States to show everyone camped out to watch.
In the morning, we had some time to kill, so I decided to walk around. Lots of people on the go, shopping, going to and coming from jobs, running errands. It was nice to be in a dense city where people seem so focused on whatever is going on. So, I walked around for about two hours taking pictures and enjoying the city. When I returned to the intersection, I couldn't find my big old van. I looked down every block, and nothing! Where the heck could it have gone? Maybe it decided to grab a slice? Maybe it got anxious with the hustle and bustle of NY?
Maybe it went to church because there were like 5 of them right next to each other? I LOST my van! OR Did the van lose me? No time to philosophize. I walked everywhere and even called my dad. If worse came to worse, I would call the police and have to rent a car. Ugh. Keep looking. Keep looking. Finally, I went down this street by a bakery and there the van sits. I remembered that I did a poor job parking (one wheel on the curb) too. I blamed my van for leaving me to get a donut -- jerk.
Mr. T showed up at the Root Cafe in Cleveland the night I played.
The rest of the tour I stayed close to the good old Caravan. No more losing Yamaha, no more losing van. Just music and drive. Through Pennsylvania, we hit a couple of small cities where people LOVED music. It was nice to be around folks who were so enthusiastic about independent music. All in all a great experience!
I returned home with a pocket full of cards, a few more bills than expected and a deflated sumo. Much to say, it was a successful tour not only because we broke even and gained fans, but I got to get to know some new places on this continent. One of my goals in life is to hit every state and play music for people. My journey has just begun.
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