2 Nights + 30 Bands = Chicago ROCKANDROLL in November!

It's our super sexy pleasure to announce that we'll be joining the folks from the Chicago Roots Collective  for the 3rd Annual Chicago Roots Collective Festival, hosted by Elbo Room on Saturday, Nov. 19.

The CRC Festival features two floors of music showcasing 29 Chicago-based acts across two nights. (Friday, Nov. 18 - Saturday, Nov. 19).

We'll be performing an ol' jangly acoustic set on the upstairs level of Elbo Room around 9 PM on night two (Saturday, Nov. 19).

Can you dig it?

Saturday Nov. 19
3rd Annual Chicago Roots Collective Festival
Elbo Room (2871 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago, IL)

Doors: 7 PM
Tickets: One-Day ($10) / Weekend Pass ($15): http://bit.ly/mOuliH
25% of festival proceeds will benefit the Old Town School of Folk Music.
21+. The venue strongly encourages folks to buy tickets in advance, as space in The Elbo Room is limited.

Two day line-up:

(downstairs--full bands)

8:00--Dan Tedesco
8:45--Mike Mangione and the Union
10:45---The Future Laureates

(upstairs--acoustic acts)

8:30--Andy Metz
9:00---Laura Glyda
9:30--The Western
10:00--The Ewing Theory
11:00--Claire Wellin and Comrades
11:30--The Down Feathers
12:05--Duck and Goose
12:35--Clare Adella
(downstairs--full bands)

8:45--Todd Kessler and the New Folk
10:15--Jackpot Donnie
11:00--Cobalt and the Hired Guns
11:45--The Local Strangers

(upstairs--acoustic acts)

8:30--Marley Dzis Duo
9:00--Verona Red
9:30--River Rising
10:00---Jess Godwin
11:30--Common Shiner
12:05--Steve Stone
12:35--Jeff Brown

For more info about the Chicago Roots Collective and to hear some great music, go to www.chicagorootscollective.com

To check out the Facebook event click HERE.


Back Log: Tour Recap Day 9: Pearl Street Grill (Buffalo, NY) - 10/15/2011

I fell asleep in the van after we called it a night in NYC on Friday.  I figured we'd drive back to Astoria and spend one more night at Lauren's apartment.   Thus I was shocked when I woke up at 2 AM with a Snickers bar being shoved in my mouth.  I fought the delicious intruder for only moments before I accepted the delicious mix of chocolate and caramel.  "Where are we?" I asked, "At a gas station" someone said, and then I went back to sleep.

Several hours later I woke up to the sound of people slamming dumpster lids and yelling at each other in Spanish.   We were parked in a strip mall.  "Where are we?" I asked again.  No reply.  Everyone was fast asleep.  I pulled out my phone and google maps suggested we were somewhere near Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The taste of Snickers came back to me and I remembered that we had been driving for a while after I fell asleep.  I laid there for a bit watching workers come in and out of the Mexican restaurant, probably wondering what our van was doing in their parking lot at 10 in the morning when they were just arriving at work.

I fell back asleep for an hour or so, figuring I would let everyone else sleep since they must have gotten less time to rest.  I woke up to Chad rustling around in the van looking for his shoes.  Eventually everyone got up and had a laugh about the restaurant parking lot situation.  Off to Buffalo.

The drive to Buffalo was pretty awful.  Bad storms and high winds made for a tense drive and Adam noted several times that he was having trouble keeping the van on the road.  We crawled into Buffalo taking scenic routes for next five hours.

When we finally arrived we headed to Mike's girlfriend's family's house which was only about a half hour away from our final downtown destination.  Liz's family was awesome.  They reminded me a lot of my family and there was more than one occasion where I actually forgot I wasn't with my own.

We had an awesome lasagna dinner with salad and chocolate cake for dessert and took by far the best showers of the tour.  Unfortunately we couldn't stay long, and we had to jet for the venue almost as soon as we arrived.

Pearl Street Grill and Brewery was a really cool place.  It was a big open restaurant/bar and the room was packed and waiting with tons of Liz's friends and family.   We received a warm welcome which made for a great final show of the tour.

A huge thank you to Kevin and the rest of the guys from Escape Fantasy for opening up the night and lending us some equipment.  The show wouldn't have been possible without you!  And of course thank you to the Buffalo Sabres who also played a large role in packing the place.

After the show we went out with Liz's friends and got our dance on at the Thirsty Buffalo.  We partied for a few hours and then made the drive back to Liz's parent's house for late night lasagna and sleep.

When I woke up in the morning we all felt rested and ready to take on the 9 hour drive back to Chicago.

Flash Forward:....ok so as you noticed these last couple posts have been "back logs."  That's because I wrote them after we got home on Sunday night.  We were really busy the last couple days of the tour watching cartoons and Walker Texas Ranger...so naturally there was no time finish these while we were out there.

Now that I've been home for five days, I've had plenty of time to take it all in and get resettled.  There's some things I wished I'd said earlier that I'd like to say now.

First THANK YOU to all the people we met who showed us kindness and encouragement.  It means so much to know that our music is connecting with you, and that you were happy to hear we are in town.

Next, if we were new to you and you were new to us.  I'm happy our paths crossed.  Thank you for sticking around and checking us out!  Your enjoyment is what keeps us going.

Finally, I wanted to extend our extreme and sincere gratitude to all of you who opened your doors, showers, refrigerators, or driveways to us.  We cherish all the time/drinks/stories we share with you guys.  You make us feel loved and most importantly we want you to know that WE LOVE YOU!

& Verona Red


Back Log: Tour Recap Day 8: Arlene's Grocery (New York, NY) - 10/14/2011

I woke up half-naked in the van around 9 AM.  We were parked in Astoria several blocks away from Lauren's apartment.  We left the windows up and apparently the van had gotten so hot that I had taken off my clothes at some point in the night.

My feet were propped up against the window and from where I was laying I could see 10 to 15 small children and what I assumed to be their mothers crowding up around our van.  It seemed strange until a  large green sign indicated to me that we had parked right outside of Adventureland Day Care.  

My mind immediately went to all the Verona Red promo condoms and Jenna Jameson playing cards that typically sit strewn atop the dashboard throughout our journeys.  I looked to the front of the van and sure enough there was a group of disappointed mothers glaring right through the condoms onto my half naked 27 year old frame laying in the back seat of 15 person passenger van parked in front of their children's' preschool, thinking "this is why I made sure my child gets a head start on education"

I slunk back into my clothes and waited for the parents to leave.  Once the coast was clear I woke up Mike and we exited the van, laughing all the way back to Lauren's apartment, where Chad had already gotten started on the morning's breakfast. Pancakes and bacon.  Awesome.

We killed the day with some Walker Texas Ranger, watching Chuck Norris burst through several glass window, round-housing pedophiles like only he can. 

By 4 PM we remembered that we were in NYC and that it would be really lame if we didn't go out and do something touristy before the show.  So we packed up our bags and stepped outside.  Unfortunately, the second we opened the door, sheets of rain came falling from the sky.  Mike was brave enough to make the long walk to the van.  Once he came back, we jumped in and headed over the river to Manhattan. 

We arrived at Arlene's Grocery with enough time to load in our stuff and grab some cheap Mexican food.

Everything in the Lower East Side seems to be confused about what it is.  For example, one might assume Arlene's Grocery sold foodstuffs.... but they would be wrong...

Or one might assume that El Sombero was a hat store...but wrong again...it's a hat restaurant.

We navigated around town for a bit, but the rain was too much.  We headed back to the venue drenched.  Luckily we had our clothes with us, so we all got changed and grabbed a seat at the bar.

We didn't have to wait long.  The show got started promptly at 7 PM.  The K's played a great opening set, and then we took the stage around 8 PM.  It was the earliest set we played all tour, so it was nice to have plenty of time to relax and shoot the shit with the crowd after the show.  We took some shots and got our gear loaded back into the van to make room for the subsequent groups.

Kassini, the band that followed us, absolutely killed it.  Think the Eastern side of George Harrison meets Radiohead and the Black Keys...it was awesome.  They've been working on a record for some time, and had originally planned to release it at the show that night.  Though it wasn't finished they promised to send a free download of the new record to anyone who singed up for their mailing list.  This was a really cool gesture, however, it seemed that someone had forgotten to set up the band's mailing list on the venue's merch station.  

Needless to say Verona Red got quite a few emails that night.  Looks like we'll have a lot of downloads to send out on the behalf of Kassini when that record is finished :)

By the time the show got done, the rain had let up and we were ready to hit the town.  We went from bar to bar taking it in and meeting a lot of fun people/eating pizza.

When the night came to an end we realized we didn't get quite the bitch slap from NYC like we did the first time around.  We figured this was a good thing, especially since it wouldn't be the last show of the tour and we had a long drive to Buffalo ahead of us.

Thank you again to all the NYC fans who came out to support us.  We love you!


Back Log: Tour Recap Day 7: Bar Thalia (New York, NY) - 10/13/2011

After scarfing down some volcano burritos we began the the two and half hour drive from Philly to NYC around 12:30 AM.

I was getting pretty tired after all that burrito, but Mike said he was feeling good so we hunkered down and slip and slided our way through the rain into NYC around 3 AM.  This gave us ample time to meet up with Mike's friend Ben for a couple drinks and a few games of darts before we headed back to our crash spot for the night.  We'd be staying with Ben's girlfriend, Lauren in Queens.  She had room for two of us in the apartment, which was awesome because it meant two of us would also get to stretch out in the van.

After an hour of searching near her place we finally found a parking spot around 5AM.  This meant someone would have to wake up at 8 to move the van for street cleaning, a ritual they celebrate nearly everyday in NYC which was odd to me as they only do this once a month in Chicago.  The argument over who would be the unlucky soul to wake up and drive around for another couple hours in Friday morning traffic looking for another non-street cleaning spot was underway.   None of us had gotten any sleep really so far this tour so this was a tense debate.  It was decided that either Adam I would do it, and that we would figure it out in the morning... a plan I could already see failing miserably.

Adam and I went up to Lauren's apartment to use the bathroom before we would head back down to the van, when Ben suddenly remembered the greatest news I would hear all trip.  Apparently, Sukkot, the Jewish "feast of booths" happened to fall on Oct. 13 this year.  And according to the NYC parking website there would be no street cleaning on the 13th or the 14th or any major Jewish holiday for that matter...  At 5 AM on Thursday, after not having got a real night's sleep for 6 days, I almost broke down in tears.  Adam and I embraced each other in reverence to our new favorite Jewish holiday.

We skipped to the van like little girls and slept like babies.  The blaring horns and screaming cabbies that would try to wake us up two hours later didn't stand a chance.

We woke up around noon feeling refreshed and decided to kill the day using Lauren's internet and watching Flintstones cartoons.  Chad cooked up some awesome potato, cabbage, sausage breakfast casserole and we all ate some home cooked food.

Around 6 PM we made the drive over to the Upper West Side to perform at a private party at the bar that Ben manages called Bar Thalia.  Bar Thalia was a ritzy little lounge located right under Symphony Space theaters.

Ritzy would be understating it.  The clientele looked like this.

And by day 7 we looked like this

It was an obvious match.

We homelessly launched into our set around 10 PM and after about 2 and a half minutes into the first song, the mic's went down and the power to the amps behind us suddenly disappeared.  After a few minutes of assuming it was because we smelled, we were informed there was a Celtic musical going on in one of they Symphony Space theaters above us.  It reminded me of the good ole days, when the neighbors used to call the cops every time we got together to practice.  It was understandable though, and we were happy to push back our set an hour when the theater goers would leave the show and come down to the bar.

We began our set around 11 and performed for a small but lively crowd for an hour.  We had a great time hanging out with Lauren and Ben after the show, and it turned out most people were not offended by our smell, probably just a few.

The Celtic group eventually came down from the theater upstairs and serenaded us for the rest of the night while we took shots of Irish whiskey and played Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Thank you so much to Ben and Lauren for all support and hospitality!  Night one was a blast!


Tour Recap Day 6: The Grape Room (Philadelphia, PA) - 10/12/2011

Our last trip to Philadelphia ended in a bar brawl, cops, the venue closing early and none of the bands getting paid.  We were hoping to set the bar a little higher this time, and kept our fingers crossed as we arrived in Philadelphia around 6:30 PM.  We were happy to see the neighborhood we were playing in was a lot more happening than last time.

That said parking was a lot more difficult.

The Grape Room was a cool place.

There was a fan that spun like a fan...and a lot of pictures of Abraham Lincoln getting high.

We enjoyed two really great sets by Mackenzie and Flux Capacitor.  It was another small turnout, similar to the night before in Pittsburgh, but we met some really cool people.  Quality over quantity can be alright on a Wednesday night so we were happy.

We grabbed some Taco Bell after the show and started the drive to NYC, excited for back-to-back dates this Thursday and Friday in Manhattan!

Tour Recap Day 5: The Thunderbird Cafe (Pittsburgh, PA) - 10/11/2011

We woke up around noon on Tuesday morning and thought we may have lost Chad.  I remembered he crashed in the van, but was nowhere to be found in the morning.  We couldn't get a a hold of him for a while and for a moment thought maybe he was kidnapped.  It turned out he was just at a coffee shop down the street.

Relieved to find Chad, we got on the road to Pittsburgh around 1 PM.  I'm always excited to visit my family in Pittsburgh, so the drive kind of flew by.

Once we arrived in the city we were quickly reminded about the uselessness of GPS in Pittsburgh.  There are just too many hills, windy turns and overlapping roads for the Garmin to handle.  After the Garmin recalculated our route 75 times we ended up in the Penguins parking lot...right before a game... It was a bitch getting out, but we eventually did and Google Maps guided us to my Uncle Randy's house another 20 minutes away.

We ate a great lasagna dinner (thanks Aunt Cindy) and headed out to The Thunderbird Cafe at 6 PM.

We bandaged up Adam's hand, still unable to find a normal band-aid and then settled in for a great set by The Hawkeyes. I was really excited to get these guys on the bill.  I've had Double E stuck in my head for a few days since.

We performed after The Hawkeyes and then watched another great performance by Triggers.

The bands were great and although we had a small crowd (not totally unexpected for a Tuesday night), it was still a fun time.

We made the trek back to my Uncle's house and were happy make it an early to bed kinda night.

Tour Recap Day 4: Skully's (Columbus, OH) - 10/10/2011

After a quick rest area sink shower we got back on our rout to Columbus.  Luckily when we got there we were able to connect with one of Adam's old roomates who let us use his shower to get a proper wash.  Thanks Brendan.

We arrived at Skully's shortly after and sat down to watch the Bears on Monday Night Football for an hour or so while we waited for the other bands to finish loading in/sound checking.

The Bears ended up being the low point of the night.  Hubbard Stew and The Up All Nights set the bar pretty high in terms of good times.  Hubbard Stew played a great opening set, and The Up All Nights turned Monday night into party night in Columbus.

After the show it was off to party with The Up All Nights.  Drinks had been flowing pretty steadily all night, so although we had a trip planned to the next bar, the party was rerouted to the sidewalk.

For some reason this tree became a the focal point of our good times...  Adam and Yo Yo, the drummer from The Up All Nights, basked in it's falling leaves and climbed it's sturdy trunk.

Then a random ex-stripper who caught sight of all this and was equally enthralled by the tree, decided she wanted to re-live her glory days.

From their the party moved from the sidewalk to the street where Adam and Yo Yo wrestled in the middle of 3 AM traffic, which luckily isn't that busy on Tuesday morning in Columbus.  This was the result.

After stopping at a gas station to try and unsuccessfully find some kind of bandages we gave up and crashed in the van for the night.  It was a fun and random night.  We were worried Monday would be slow, but not so. 


Tour Recap Day 3: The Rutledge (Nashville, TN) - 10/9/2011

We woke up in the van sweating Double Down sandwiches around 9 AM in a driveway next to the house where hung out with some new friends we made after the show at Third Street Cafe.

We split for McDonald’s and then spent about a half hour retracing our steps trying to find the house where I left my backpack with all my belongings from the night before. Losing stuff on these trips is becoming my forte. This one was a new high point.  Whereas I usually just lose a phone, or a charger, or a coat, this time I nearly lost everything I brought, which would have been a new personal best.

Close but no cigar.

Luckily, Adam remembered how to get back to the house where I found my backpack sitting on the porch…right where I left it apparently.

The drive into Nashville seemed longer than what we had expected, but we still made it into town with enough time for Mike to practice his parkour moves.

The show was a lot of fun. The Rutledge has a fantastic stage, sound and crew. And again Nashville provided a fun crowd on a Sunday night.

A huge thanks to Frankie Diana from 17 Stories for taking some really cool photos of our set.

Frankie was a cool dude, and it was awesome meeting him and the rest of the guys from 17 Stories. We had a great time sharing the stage with them and Abbot Martin who closed out the night.

We got on the road and started our trip to Columbus right after the show, stopping after about 20 minutes when we all started to fall asleep.  So in short, we had a great time and I still have my all my shit.  Success.


Tour Recap Day 2: Third Street Dive (Louisville, KY) - 10/8/2011

We woke up around 9:30 and got on the road to Louisville.  When we arrived in the afternoon, we decided to usher in our upcoming show in Kentucky with Double Down sandwiches at KFC.  It was the best I ever had.  I suspect the bar is pretty high for any KFC in Kentucky though.

After that it was off to the Walmart Supercenter to pick up a new merchandise bin.  We've been carrying around a pretty dilapidated bin for sometime now.  Bloomington proved to be the last straw for the old bin, and after two years of transporting our merch it finally ripped to a point beyond repair during load out.

We took careful measurements to ensure the new one would fit in our Tetris-ish packed van.

After Walmart it was off to Starbucks for coffee and some free internet.  They commemorated the restaurant that formerly owned the site with a mural on the wall.  It was kind of like having the moose head of the small business you displaced on the wall.  They probably didn't put them out of business, but the idea was entertaining.

We played some football and frisbee in a giant parking lot of an abandoned theatre across the street for a couple hours and then headed to the Third Street Cafe for load-in around 9.

The folks at Third Street Cafe were great.  The crowd was amazing too.  We had an absolute blast, and cannot wait to come back to Louisville soon.  We met tons of cool people and enjoyed an awesome set from Izzy and the Catastrophics to end the night.

Next stop... The Rutledge in Nashville!


Tour Recap Day 1: Bear's Place (Bloomington, IN) - 10/7/2011

It feels so good to be back out on the road.  Just four cool guys having adventures and snacking on Oreos.

Touring can be stressful when you haven't done it enough to know what to expect.  This is the most relaxed I think we have ever felt and so far this one actually kind of feels like a vacation.  It could also just be that night one went really well.  Bloomington, IN shows get better and better and our fans always show us so much love and hospitality.

We left Chicago at 4pm and rolled into B-town around 9:30 local time.  It was a hectic load-in and we caught bits and pieces of Apollo Quad's set which was a lot of fun. They dropped it like it was hot several times ... on its head. I had to stop setting up guitars completely during their rendition of "99 Problems."

We got going around 11 and got the first date jitters out pretty quick. This was our first time performing with guest bassist Chad Mowbray. He did great and it was a pleasure to have him up there with us.

We closed out the night with "No Way Home" featuring guest percussion performances by Kris Murphy and a tambourine girl.

Fluffer closed out the night with real mind-expanding jams. At one point they were joined by a guy who looked freakishly similar to out friend Joe Wilson.

Who's the real one ... go ahead, guess.

We closed out Bear's Place and headed out on the town with our friends Kris and Kate. We stopped in The Bluebird Nightclub to catch the tail end of a Dot Dot Dot show.  The Bluebird was a cool place.  Like most hipster joints it was even better in 2004.

After that we grabbed some pizza and called it a night.


Night One is in the books and we 're feeling great. Looking forward to good times tonight at Third Street Dive in Louisville!

Oh and I almost forgot the Indy-pants-off tradition ...


Tonic Room (Chicago, IL) 9.16.2011, Plus Good Times in Champaigne and Decatur

Wow the days have just gotten by me here. Getting ready for our fall tour (kicks off this Friday!) has taken away from my all my precious blogging time. I sat down today and realized that it's been nearly a month since I posted pics from any of our shows. eeeyikes.

So here's the short and sweet of it.

Memphis on Main (Champaigne, IL) 9.10.2011
On Saturday September 10, we rolled into Champaigne for a show at Memphis on Main with Neoga Blacksmith and Devout Sinners. Both sets were really fantastic. It felt like a dark stormy night on a backwoods porch somewhere in Mississippi. Lots of talk of devils and moonshine, and amazing harmonies from Devout Sinners.

The fuel tank bass above was pretty awesome...I'm not sure if that's what it was, but it had one string and you had to wear construction gloves to play it... nice.

We toasted the night with beers in jars.

Tonic Room (Chicago, IL) 9.16.2011
Six nights later we were sobered up for our Tonic Room show in Chicago.  This was our first time at the Tonic Room and I have to say it might be one of my new favorite places to play here at home.  There was a "who gives a fuck attitude" to the night.  You were all clearly cramped and hot, and I'm sure all the dancing only made it worse.  You absolutely made it the kind of night we wait for.

Oakwood Block Party/LSB After Party (Decatur, IL) 9.24.2011
The following weekend we strolled into Decatur with guest bassist Patrick Byrd (back of head pictured below) for the Oakwood Block Party.  It was grand ol' time and always fun to catch up with our friends in Decatur.  We played an after part that night at Lock Stock and Barrel with Ashley Riley (big ups to Doosh Mcgoosh).  The good times rolled on through the night and we even made some new friends, one of which was an investigative reporter for the local news (I'm expecting a 10 PM news shout out, Paulina).

So that brings us to today...a little over 24 hours before we embark on our fall tour. Getting the bags packed and the fantasy football roster preset as we speak.  Check out all the dates HERE!  See you in Bloomington!