Saturday, October 1, 2011


Okay, okay, okay I've got to start posting about this amazing tour... we're already just about two weeks into the fantastically fun and amazing Two of a Perfect Trio Tour (and man, it feels like we've been out for two months - I love it).

So the touring for me actually started on the 15th... I had gigs with Drgn King in New York and Philly, which were a blast (as usual), and slight a taste of the adventure on which I was about to embark. The 17th came, I wearily packed up and flew down to Nashville - I even got upgraded to first class - a good sign that things would be going well. I found Adrian and Tobias in the pickup zone waving to me enthusiastically from the white van (aka our new home, as shown above). As expected, Adrian drove us right to Cinco de Mayo, his favorite local Mexican restaurant, for a nice pre-tour meal.

At dinner, we eagerly discussed the upcoming Two of a Perfect Trio tour (ABPT + StickMen + Crimmy encore), and Tobias informed us that he'd be celebrating his birthday on the 27th. I immediately realized what I had to do. See, I'm not sure if you recall the joke that we played on Adrian a few years back (pertaining to the manner in which the crew celebrates birthdays at Cinco de Mayo) - but you can read about that here. Adrian even started to tell the story, but I cut him off, "Geez, Ade that's not the kind of stuff we should be talking about over dinner!" He shot me a confused look, but I silently let him in on my plan with a Larry David-esque stare-down.

After the meal, I excused myself to "use the restroom" and made my way to the wait station, where I informed our teenaged waiter that it was Tobias' birthday. He even joked with me, "Oh, we don't do that anymore... but I will do it for you" As I walked past the other young servers, I could tell they were giddy to have some fun during an otherwise boring shift.

Five minutes went by, and I honestly think Adrian forgot about my plan, because he jumped about a foot in the air when the screeching started. The sombrero was placed on poor sweet Tobias' head, and our server presented the pie, offering him a taste. "Eat the cream! Eat the cream! C'mon... eat the cream!" As the not-quite-birthday boy leaned in for the taste, BAM! the pie was perfectly planted onto his face. Adrian exclaimed between fits of uncontrollable laughter, "Oh, I just love it! That even scared me! The tour has officially begun!"

Tobias tried to prepare for future messy practical jokes:

The next day we drove down to Atlanta to perform the first show of the tour, at the Variety Theater, a place I had never been to before. It's certainly a lot bigger than Smith's Olde Bar, but I was hopeful we'd have a good attendance.

After everything was set up, we practiced as a 6-piece (the first time ever with Mr Markus). I think we were all a little nervous about being under-rehearsed, but were quickly relieved as we ran through the songs - dang, they sounded good... and HUGE!

After soundcheck, Tobias, John and I ran out for dinner, and settled on a strange little pizza spot in Five Points, where they make slices to order... took about 20 minutes... not acceptable on the fast paced East Coast. We then stopped next door and downed some coffee with Tony and Markus (I know, shocking). With the caffeine pumping through our veins, we anxiously awaited showtime.

Soon enough, the night of music began, and Stick Men's roaring rumble of a sound engulfed the theater. After forty-five minutes of heavily rhythmic, proggy, neoclassical rock, it was our turn to take the stage. It was definitely a well-attended show, and the crowd was so exuberant, especially considering the fact that they were seated. After our turn was up, Tobias and I left the stage, and Tony and Pat returned for "Three of a Perfect Pair", "Elephant Talk", and "Sleepless." Then the real mayhem began - the debut of the double trio. I won't give away our set list... you can find it elsewhere, but all I can say is wow... this is a fun, unique show not to be missed.

Next up was Carrboro, where we had another great audience - they gave us standing ovations after every song:

And the trained rolled on to Knoxville:

... and to Annapolis:

... and to Phoenixville (our Philly area date - yay!):

(see Tony's road diary for the photo he's taking in this shot):

It was an excellent home-coming show, about 500 people in attendance in the Colonial Theater (where they filmed some of the scenes from "The Blob"). You could tell it was ancient, because bits of the ceiling were coming down from all of the low-end coming off stage. Oops...

Also funny, we ran out of set lists, so we decided to write them on paper plates backstage. Not a totally original idea (Tony even mentioned doing it before)... but still fun nonetheless. I made mine into a breakfast plate. If only I could still eat toast... don't miss the bacon and sausage links much.

After the show, we met up with some friends at Iron Hill Brewery with the hopes that Adrian could get something

So I enjoyed the rare night at home, but it was over all too soon, as Papa Slick came over at the luxurious hour of 11AM to drive me to the next gig in Vienna, VA. Before we left town, we stopped at my favorite brunch cart, La Copine, which is run by two new great friends Claire and Nikki. Root vegetable hash with poblanos, mushrooms, cheddar and an over easy egg? And it's all local? Um, yes please. Eric surprised us as we dug into our meals, and just as we were paying, we even ran into some of the other guys from Dr Dog, too. A fun start to a great day!

Jammin' Java was great as usual, complete with hoofless veggie chili. "Thrak" in particular was excellent - our improvisations as a double trio are always morphing and growing in interesting ways. D'oh - I promised I wouldn't give away too much of the 6-piece set... sorry!

The next morning we ate at one of our favorite breakfast joints, The Amphora Diner... I realize this is taking a food-centric slant, but hey, this is a food blog too!

So we'll fast forward past my night at home (and lovely seafood feast at Dimitri's), and continue on to the next gig in Boston.

Back in Annapolis, Tony asked me when I'd be cooking on the road. I warned him not to put ideas into my head...

My Dad went out and found a hot plate in Vienna, so when I was home I packed up my pressure cooker, my favorite pan, and other essential kitchen and pantry items.

Mushroom risotto, anyone?

(for pressure cooker)

serves two double trios and a three-man crew

2oz dried porcini mushrooms
8 cups hot water
4 tablespoons olive oil
16oz mushrooms (I would have preferred to use wild, but the buttons were already sliced)
4 shallots
1 tsp (or more) salt
fresh cracked pepper
2 cloves garlic (I omitted this in the batch because I feared our breaths may get too smelly)
3 cups arborio rice
1 Heineken (or 1-1/2 cups wine... I used what I had)
1 lb asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 vegetable bouillion cubes
tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp fresh thyme
3-4 tablespoons butter
~6oz cheese (I'd normally go for parm or grana, but had to settle with the provided pepperjack and mozzarella, so i added a little extra salt at the end)

Place dried mushrooms and 1 cup hot water in a cup and let sit ~30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in the pressure cooker over medium-high heat, add enough mushrooms to coat the bottom of the pan and cook until brown. Set aside in a large bowl. Repeat with remaining funghi.
Add the shallots, salt, and pepper sauté for a few minutes, until translucent.
Add the garlic, rice, and some thyme. Stir to ensure each grain gets coated with oil.
Listen for snap crackle popping, then add the beer/wine, stirring to ensure any brown bits are removed from the bottom of the cooker.
Remove porcinis from the hot water bath (keeping the mushroom broth). Rinse and chop.
When almost completely evaporated, add the rest of the water, most of the mushroom broth (leave a little in the cup because there will be some grit), asparagus, bouillion cubes, and reserved mushrooms.
Put the lid on the cooker and seal according to the manufacturer's instructions. Bring the heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes (for my Presto pressure cooker, the gauge rocks slowly).
Remove from heat and let sit for about 5 minutes. Release the pressure, stir in mustard, the rest of the thyme, butter, and cheese.
Taste for seasoning, serve, and rock!

Despite the compromises, I thought it turned out pretty delicious... I came upstairs to the green room after the encore and it was essentially all gone! Next dish: Soup-er Collider.


Anonymous said...

Hi Julie, I am the author of the Jammin'Java review! You rock even more than I could have imagined... A fantastic musician, and a great cook as well! I thoroughly enjoyed the gig, and hope to see you again soon.

Burton said...

If you make your risotto in Solana Beach, I hope you'll make enough for all of us...

See you soon!