Sheboygan, Madison,  Chicago,  Grand Haven … ahhhh the exotic destinations of the upper midwest … These are the cities and towns that made up half of my last tour,  which I titled “The Partial Great Lakes Tour” (didn’t see Lake Erie on this one!)  In this blog we’ll continue on our way with attempt #2 at a travel blog and head to Detroit,  Calumet, Marquette and back to Duluth, Minnesota just in time for the snow …

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Mary Bue Partial Great Lakes Tour 2014

I consulted Huffington Post for some tips on travel blogging so that I can keep you enraptured (LOL) and one of the tips comes from La Carmina who blogs about fashion,  japanese culture, LGBT nightlife & body modifications:
Be personal. To me, travel blogging is most compelling when you put yourself out there and open up. Share your struggles and passions … – La Carmina
Thanks, La Carmina.  Follow your bliss!  And I will share some struggles down below (Sleep deprivation?  On-stage meltdown? Yep). As I mentioned in my last blog post, Part 1 of the mini-tour,  I was invited to speak on a panel about “DIY Touring” at the MN Music Coalition’s Caravan du Nord last month so my spin on this blog is to sprinkle in a few tips on indie touring.  Here we go!  (P.S. – if you’re a Minnesota musician,  join the coalition!  Excellent opportunities, workshops,  discounts – www.mnmusiccoalition.org)

Do you have any touring tips or road trip stories burning to be shared?  Please enlighten us with a comment below!

I left you all in Grand Haven, MI with Nietzsche the dog (let’s see him again – he’s so AWESOME) and a belly full of hot sauce & a mind full of good company.  Thanks again to Joshua & Katie and the Walk The Beat crew – can’t wait to hear the podcast!

nietzsche the dog

1. Detroit, MI – Union Street Pub 10.21.14

I get by with a little help from my (twitter) friends … no,  SERIOUSLY,  I have connected with some rad rad people through a sweet web community called GoGirlsMusic.com.  GoGirls hosts weekly twitter & facebook “chats” where you are hanging out with whoever chimes in – musicians,  industry pros,  novices,  dreamers,  wheelers, dealers and the occasional heckler.  I performed in the “Invasion of the GoGirls” SXSW showcase last March and met this incredibly badass band called White Shag who rocked my knee highs stockings off at 11:30 am. The front-woman, bassist Laura Mendoza is a raging hottie who flings that bass around like it’s late on rent (in a rough-love kind of way).  Humanoid & me bought a bunch of their merch (like the sweet shirt shown below) and totally want to hook them up with a cool rock show in MN when they tour through.

White Shag's velvet, vintage,  screen-printed by hand shirt

White Shag’s velvet, vintage, screen-printed by hand shirt

Anywhoo, I connected with Laura because she lives in Detroit and she introduced me to the stunning musician Audra Kubat who won Detroit Music Awards “Best Folk Artist.”  She curates an open stage every Tuesday at Union Street Saloon and hooked me up with the “featured performer slot.”  More on this in a bit.  First,  I want to discuss what I ate for dinner that night with my brewer friend Patrick Ahrens who suggested PJ’s Lager House – PERFECT.  I ate the Vegan Bahn Mi and you must hear the description:
Marinated and deep fried tofu triangles served over lettuce, our cucumber, carrot & jalapeno slaw and topped with our homemade peanut sauce & chopped red peppers. Served on an open faced toasted bolillo bun with veganaise. – PJ’s Lager House
Ummmm,  another?  Anyway,  Patrick biked over and met us at Union Street.  We met Audra and buckled in for one of the most incredible open mics of my life – EVERYONE was fantastic.  It was like a variety show and you know how sometimes people truly kinda suck at open mics?  Not the case in Detroit.  Detroit rock city!  A hotbed of talent!  It was here that I met (via GoGirlsMusic!) Music Publicist Stacey Sherman of RSP Entertainment Marketing.  It’s so cool to meet a real live person who exists outside of twitter chats –  like in Chicago when I met Christine Infanger (also a regular on the chats).  Stacey lives full her life full throttle – what a HOOT!  The night carried on and Detroit-native blues legend James Montgomery made an impromtu appearance jamming on his harmonica. He has toured w/ Aerosmith,  Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen! He told me to “keep in touch” – hopefully wasn’t blowing smoke up my ass.  😉 He also rocked my socks off.

Tip. 1: Keep the business cards you collect  (or,  make business cards and have them always on hand, duh)!  You never know when you’re coming through Detroit … or when you’ll meet a blues legend or a bad ass bassist …

 Here’s a Facebook post RSP Entertainment made about the night:
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RSP Entertainment Marketing Facebook Post

Awesome to meet you, Stacey, Patrick,  Audra, James!  WOOT.  Detroit was ending too soon … we hung out late w/ Laura & Jorge from White Shag and sampled some tequila (they are so badass that they are sponsored by Tequila Cabresto).  My massive gratitude to White Shag for the love.  Give them a listen AND toss them a few $$$ to support their next album here: www.whiteshag.com
Mary, Humanoid,  Laura & Jorge from White Shag

Mary, Humanoid, Laura & Jorge from White Shag

2. Calumet Township, Michigan – Shute’s Bar 10.22.14

We went to bed about 2:30 and up at 6:30 because silly me booked a show in Calumet Township in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  That is a ten hour drive.  Without stops.  Twelve hours with stops …
I got some recommendations for venues through my other brewer friend Ken who owns delicious Borealis Fermentery and used to be a Yooper. One friend recommended another friend and last minute,  a week before the tour,  I booked a show at Shute’s Bar,  which hosts one of the oldest bars in Michigan.  Literally – the Tiffany stained glass canopy over the bar is owned by the historic society!  Here’s the canopy,  decked out for halloween.
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Shute’s Bar, Calumet Township, MI

We were treated excellently and played for a decent crowd on a Wednesday night.  Can’t wait to visit Shute’s again and toss back a cold one.  Thanks for having us, George!  We stayed with my dear friend Lisa’s dear sister Christa. THANKS LISA AND CHRISTA – you are both SO kind, generous, helpful.  Giant kudos for Lisa for all her UP suggestions … Toasted after the 12 hour drive and 3-4 hours in the bar,  we crashed like never before.  Kudos to Christa’s fam for letting us sleep in til noon!

Tip #2: Don’t drive 12 hours to gigs.  In fact, don’t drive sleep deprived!  Have a buddy,  take a nap at rest stops.  Coffee & red bull work but are no replacement for sleep – sometimes can make you even more loopy.  Be safe out there on the road!

Tip #2: Don't drive 12 hours to gigs.  In fact, don't drive sleep deprived!  Have a buddy,  take a nap at rest stops like me here,  crashed out in the leaves ...

Tip #2: Don’t drive 12 hours to gigs. In fact, don’t drive sleep deprived! Have a buddy, take a nap at rest stops like me here, crashed out in the leaves …

3. Marquette, MI: Ore Dock Brewery – opening for Chris Bathgate 10.23.14

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A quick stop at the Keweenaw Coop recommended by Christa (Kim Chi tofu soup,  anyone??) and we were off to our last stop in Marquette, MI.  I was thrilled about this gig from the get go.  Opening for Chris Bathgate – fantastic!!! The show got off to a late start,  we didn’t take a sound check (rookie mistake!) and halfway through my second song my keyboard sustain pedal stopped functioning.  If you listen to my music,  you know that my sustain pedal is VERRRRRRY important.  I started sounding like I was missing notes,  like an absolute nutcase on the piano.  Humanoid was like, “WTF???!!!” I switched to guitar and my damn tuner screwed me up – I couldn’t tune the freakin’ guitar!!!! At this point,  I was an absolutely failure in my mind and making a complete ass of myself.  I mean, after 8 incredible shows,  THIS has to happen????? Of course it does! Well, maybe it doesn’t HAVE to but it did.  And I probably didn’t make as much of an ass of myself as I thought I did BUT it certainly wasn’t my top performance.  A gal told me the next day that I handled it well with my positive attitude & sense of humor,  so I guess that’s something … Gahhhhhh

Tip 3: ALWAYS SOUNDCHECK AND CARRY BACK UPS in case your gear malfunctions.  Classic Boy Scouts motto: BE PREPARED.

Anyway,  Chris was so gracious and sounded incredible solo with his loop pedals & sweet effects.  We went to a dive bar with a few folks and Ore Dock awesome people in spite of my head full of gremlins and heavy heart … but Chris B. even bought us a shot of whiskey and how can you turn that down?  Thanks CHRIS!

The next day,  my dear pal and Pilates instructor Allison Cherrette, owner of Bird On A Perch Pilates combined our teaching efforts for a Yoga/Pilates lunch power hour class at Ore Dock Brewery.  The brewery smelling sweetly of fermenting barley in the morning,  we rolled out the mats and had a sweet class.  This was such a positive and healthy way to end an epic mini-tour!  Thanks Allison – can’t wait to do it again.

 

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Allison of Bird on A Perch - Pilates for Real People and me at Ore Dock Brewery after our pop-up yoga + pilates class

Allison of Bird on A Perch – Pilates for Real People and me at Ore Dock Brewery after our pop-up yoga + pilates class

The drive home along the shore of Lake Michigan was balm for our eyes.  Autumn leaves,  blue sky.  We ate tons of tortilla chips.  We basked.  We talked about the next tour …

 

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SO GRATEFUL for Humanoid/aka Kyle MacLean for being my musical partner in crime and allllll the new friends and old friends we met along the way.  Thank you so much for reading.

Do you have any touring tips or stories burning in your head?  Please enlighten us with a comment below!