I started the Allomaternal Tour back in July with hopes of being able to provide a frequently updated series of tour diaries. Unfortunately, I encountered many difficulties in trying to manage the time to do so. The following is my third & final tour diary documenting the Allomaternal Tour (shout out to Focus Magazine for hosting my first two), but a summer tour recap post is sure to find its way over at NoMoonMedia.com - so keep those eyes peeled!
1. Drive day
My last tour diary ended with talks of a 24-hour drive from Houston, TX to Tampa, FL, a drive I endured before a few months back when the South was 20 degrees colder & when sleep was notably better at finding me. This time around, the humidity of the South was worn like a steaming layer of gravy atop six sleepless cuts of country-fried steak. I will, however, admit the heat was not the only thing keeping me awake. The closer I got to the East Coast, stopping frequently for sake of sanity, the closer I got to a lovely little lady in Kissimmee, FL.
During my first official tour with Stolas, I had the pleasure of meeting the ever talented & ever more beautiful @kayla_surico, who had been friends with the Stolas fam for years before I had even heard of them. She came to shoot the Melbourne, FL date of their letlive. support tour & upon meeting me, successfully executed her impromptu plan to kidnap me for a day & make me fall wildly & madly in puddles of heart stuffs as deep as the raging sea. Since that day, she has consistently & effortlessly - through use of impeccably timed emojis, late night phone calls, intricately decided mix CDs, & heavy use of/appreciation for Lost references/Turnover lyrics - brought smiles to my chapped lips, laughter to my life, & inspiration to my work.
Having already been friends with the Stolas crew through years of what I'm sure are Sergio's favourite photographs, it was no difficult task convincing them to let Kayla join the tour for the three Florida dates ahead of us. Additionally, having not seen her since April, it was impossible for me to not spend every second of that twenty-four hours in a hyperventilating anticipation to see my girlfriend.
After what Lucas Worley of Artifex Pereo describes as, "a 24-hour drive in a box full of weird people," we picked up Kayla about an hour outside of Tampa where she remedied my cabin fever with Japanese candy, Mexican soda, & American music.
(photos by Kayla Surico)
With grins (as a product of Carlo's recent discovery of "prism eyes") wide enough to strain our cheeks, we headed to the venue - a musty room smelling of punk rock & an aversion toward personal hygiene, located next to the skatepark where you play your first competition in Tony Hawk's Underground.
After loading in, RJ guided Kayla & me (with help from the artificially intelligent pocket companion, Siri) through the streets of Tampa in search of a caffeine fix.
(left photo by Kayla Surico)
[Pro tip for Apple users: disregard Apple Maps. Seriously. Pretend it doesn't exist. Navigating with Apple Maps is about as easy as describing the number blue to an ice cream sandwich in your uncle's underground street racing circuit]
The first of three "coffee shops," recommended to us by the omnipotent Siri, turned out to be an elementary school. We were then led to an office space for a roaster, dealing only with the wholesale distribution of coffee beans.
(left photo by Kayla Surico)
After being led to an abandoned camper located across the street from a topless Russian man who kindly exclaimed, "we sell drugs!" we decided to try our luck with the Google Wizard before stumbling upon a soul food kitchen.
The walk back to the venue found us purchasing van beers at a nearby gas station & our return was greeted by a half-naked Carlo, crazed by Florida's summer humidity, eating pizza & farting in the van. After some van shenanigans (shevanigans, if you will) & realizing firsthand which new Icarus the Owl shirt is most popular, we headed inside to watch the tour package perform.
After the show, we found ourselves once again at Denny's down the street from the Red Roof Inn where we'd be making our home for the night.
(left photo by Kayla Surico)
The next morning started with classic tomfoolery at Bob Evan's, an IHOP-esque family restaurant that I am only recently finding out about. After breakfast, we drove through the humidity to Anonymous Guitars in Sunrise, FL.
From the outside, the venue resembled a gutted-out storage unit & the inside was equipped with old Nintendo games & fake casino slot machines. Kayla & I spent some time being dinguses (dingi?) & spinning around the parking lot before Gus sent us on a doughnut run where we met RJ at a nearby Dunkin Donuts.
After the show, the tour package rendezvous'd at a Travelodge by the beach. With light-up frisbees in hand & backpacks loaded with beer we headed to the shore that was lit up only by the midnight moon.
Now, I'll admit, whether or not I'm on the road there are hardly any occasions where my camera isn't literally attached to me, let alone within reach. I go to the bathroom with my strap around my shoulder, I sleep with her (my camera's name is Charlie - short for Charlene) in my arms, & when I shower, I place her on top of my luggage bag. This is mostly due to an irrational paranoia of losing her (as I lose pretty much everything else I own) but is also due in great part to my obsession with recorded memories. Lately, however, I've been infatuated by the idea of life's undocumented experiences. I do love looking back on photos & getting flashbacks of emotions, reminiscent smells, & ghostly echoes of the sounds of the past, but sometimes a moment feels more real to me when I'm fully in it & not worrying about composition, timing, or the way the light hits someone's face. Thusly stated, Kayla & I decided to join this rowdy group of beach goers sans cameras. Unfortunately we also decided to go without proper swimming attire, but that didn't stop us from sitting in the water as the tide pushed & pulled us underneath the night sky. With all the shared profanities & man-puss included, this night was a night I'm sure I'll look back on fondly for the rest of my life.
Despite its awful loading situation for bands, Backbooth has been home to some of my favourite memories. After driving through Florida with Stolas twice before, I had made a few friends in the area & it was nice seeing some familiar faces - most notably some of the faces in All Gone Grey, who helped open for the touring acts.
The crowd response through the entire night was most notable as I witnessed dozens of fans screaming along in a frenzied unison that constantly shook the dividing wall I was standing on most of the night. The communal energy within the venue [as observed in this video of Stolas performing "Fair Chase"] was much appreciated & definitely helped take my mind off how much I was going to miss Kayla.
This show, being the last of the Florida dates on Stolas' Allomaternal Tour, was going to be the last time I'd get to see her for a few months so we spent most of the day wandering downtown Orlando, taking pictures of each other in hopes of having plenty of visual cues to take our minds back to a time when we weren't so far apart.
I'm sure you're reading this, Kayla, & I know I've said it before, but thank you for making these Florida dates my favourite three days of tour, thank you for your constant support in my work & the inspiration to be as wonderful as you make me feel every day, & most of all thank you for being the best friend I've ever had. Namaste; peace sign emoji; I miss you; I'll see you soon.