Pretty & Nice: A Tour Diary

On the road from Oregon to Boston with New England's newest Sub Pop signees  
By JEREMY MENDICINO  |  September 4, 2008

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DOWNLOAD: Pretty & Nice, "Grab Your Nets" [mp3]

In February, 2008, Will Spitz profiled Boston's Pretty & Nice as the band was recording its debut for Sub Pop's new Hardly Art imprint. This week, music editor Michael Brodeur breaks down how rising gas prices, a shrinking music industry, and the ubiquity of digital distribution have dramatically altered the landscape of touring. To get an up-close-and-anecdotal perspective, ThePhoenix.com asked P&N's Jeremy Mendicino (with help from the rest of the band) to keep a running tour diary as they gigged cross-country from Portland, Oregon back to Boston in time to play a record-release party on September 7. This is their story, in reverse chronological order. Check back for updates and track their progress as they make their way home.

SUNDAY 8.31.2008
Activities for passing time in the van: read (books, signs, maps, other, books, text messages), iPod (too many notes), sleep (stiff neckening), watch movies, flux capacitor (currently broken), pick fights, drive.

Drive tends to be the best option. I do this a lot. It can be a game. Points are awarded for optimizing gas mileage, in-center-of-lane consistency, smoothness of lane changes, "jumping" the windshield wipers between the telephone poles (don't ask), comfortable braking, minimizing collisions, timely arrivals etc.

Note to Self: Consider pitching these ideas to video game manufacturers for inclusion in future Grand Theft Auto installments.

SATURDAY, 8.30.2008
So there was this hurricane in Louisiana. And Baton Rouge is in Louisiana. Shows + hurricanes aren't a happy marriage, yada yada yada. We had to cancel Baton Rouge. BUMMER. I hate canceling shows. BUT. Our wonderful friend Tania in Dallas helped us out with not one, but TWO last minute shows in town, so we skipped up to Dallas, played a quick set and hustled down the street to play an "acoustic" set at an art opening. It was . . . an experience. Not bad. Strange. A horse is a horse of course of course.

P.S.: We're still poor.

FRIDAY, 8.29.2008
Travel Anxiety #327: Maintaining healthy battery life in all onboard electronic devices. Macintosh computers (two), ipods (three), cellular phones (was four, now three), GPS (one). Have blown one inverter in this pursuit. Inverter two is still holding strong. Austin has always treated us well and tonight is no exception. Biggest crowd, best reception. Best show yet? Austin + Pretty & Nice = Best Friends Forever.

THURSDAY, 8.28.2008
I guess today is a "day off" but there's nothing especially relaxing about a 20-hour drive across the desert. Oh well. We listened to a lot of Tom Waits, the HEALTH remix album (van dance party!), and "Twin Falls" by Built to Spill way too many times in a row. That song is incredible. Seriously incredible. (It really is incredible -- Ed.) Too many oldest memories and several thousand tumbleweeds later, we shacked up at a motel (first and only of the tour) in Van Horn, TX. Checked into a one bedroom and snuck everybody else in. Caught Obama's DNC speech (new classicism, if that's possible) and slept. Slept. Slept. Sleep is good. 

WEDNESDAY, 8.27.2008
Phoenix is hot. Why would anybody ever choose to live here? They (that is, the natives) say it cools down at night. Well . . . 85 degrees is not "cool." 85 degrees is hot. Impossibly hot.

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Related: Photos: Age Rings + Taxpayer + Pretty & Nice at Middle East Downstairs, Boston rocks an Austin gang once again, Out: Never mind the rapture, here's Pretty & Nice, More more >
  Topics: Music Features , Jeremy Mendicino, Built To Spill, Chad Matheny,  More more >
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