Ratz Fest ’11

This past weekend brought me to Bloomington, Lafayette, Muncie and Warsaw as a part of Ratz Fest Tour Fest ‘11. Also along for the ride was Th’empires, Humans, Ryan (Inventor of Ratz) and Noah (first mate of Ratz). Despite having to work a couple of early mornings at the salon after some very late nights of rock and roll, the experience was a highlight of my summer. In Bloomington we played at Jake’s and in addition to the three touring acts, Chicken and Whisky played some amazing synth driven anthems (including a life changing cover of A Whole New World) and Buttonhoof delivered sweet tunes. Jeff from Humans had pneumonia and James disappeared, so Joel and Zachary had to carry the responsibility of rocking our faces off as a two piece. Everyone got onstage to help support, and I jumped offstage to take a picture of the awesomeness so I could tweet it from my new iPhone(!!!), twisting my ankle in the process. I had the foresight to drink whisky before that so it didn’t hurt very much at the time. I picked up a Chicken and Whisky shirt from the band of that name, which became the official tee shirt if Ratz Fest.

The next day was one of those early mornings, but that night brought us to an amazing pub in Lafayette called The Black Sparrow. They treated us very kindly, and I enjoyed a vodka red bull on the house that gave me a second wind and possibly future heart problems. I started the evening with some acoustic jams, and Th’empires followed. The crowd was great and much dancing ensued during Th’empires set. It was 2 am and I had to work in the morning, so I cut out before Humans played. Apparently I missed all the excitement of Zachary being told to put his shirt back on and rooftop partying.

Saturday night brought us all back to our Ratz home where everything started; Muncie. Last year we played in Ryan and Noah’s back yard, and armed with a noise ordinance the police couldn’t even stop us (They tried!). Other memorable moments from last year include tasting my first sip of Four Loko, Joel pooping out of a tree, being covered in a blanket made of napkins, and meeting Eddie Price of Th’empires. This year we played at a sweet little spot called the Refresh Art Gallery and there were 8 or 9 bands in the lineup. During the course of the evening I downloaded the instagram app on my iPhone, ate a sloppy joe a few doors down, and generally enjoyed myself. Toward the end of the night I became annoyed by an overly forward 20-year-old boy (kids these days!) and left the venue, missing the last few songs of Th’empires. This was a grave mistake, as I was told later that J-Boy climbed his upright bass whilst playing it, a sight I would have loved to see. After the show we all went to the home of some lovely people who would later let us fall asleep on thier floor. Ryan had obtained Peaches and Cream MD 20/20 for me, which was on my rider and was was thoroughly enjoyed. At some point a permanant marker was produced and I tattooed the state of Alaska on Zachary’s side. I ended up with tattoos of a windmill and armpit hair. I think we gave muncie a run for it’s money.

The next and final show was in Warsaw, IN which is where every Ratz is from with the exception of Th’empires. We performed in beautiful Center Lake Park, and Oreo Jones, milk’s favorite emcee, joined us. We had pro audio and lights, so everything looked and sounded amazing. It was by far my favorite show of the weekend. My whole family came out, so I made sure to work a nice song about my mother into the set (I owed her a nice song due to a misunderstanding about another dark and thickly veiled song that mentions a mother but is entirely metaphorical). I also played Dinosaur Bones at the request of Ryan and Zachary, which hadn’t seen a performance of any kind in years. My nieces and nephews danced along and were the cutest little gang I’ve ever seen. I love coming home. Afterward we headed to Zachary’s parent’s house where there were the most delicious meatballs, serious bro-downage, and night swimming. In order to keep the progression of madness going that had been growing over the tour, my final Ratz Fest beverage was a mixture of Mad Dog and Red Bull. It hit the spot.

Our adventures end with me waking up on a cot at 7:45 am with lake hair and running out the door to make the appointment I had to get my car’s A/C looked over. I must say that it was such a nice change of pace to just show up at a venue and play music. Many thanks to Ryan for doing all the work and making such an awesome weekend possible.

XO, LKB

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