Over the past 11 days, a few events lined up just right to ensure that I wouldn't see my own bed for a while. What started with a killer show on my home turf ended with helping a friend move halfway across the country. Before I was excited, during I was exhausted, and now after I'm happy to have had a chance to share these adventures with good people. Here are the highlights:
It all started out with a killer show at House of Blues Orlando with The Sh-Booms. We played their Ninjapalooza LuWow with headliners Graceland Ninjaz.
Jeff Kraus managed to capture all 12 of us in this great shot. I'm the sweaty one on the far right.
The next morning, we were on an early flight to Detroit. We caught Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston. It was the busiest lawn I've ever seen at a concert, but the venue had a decent sound system that could be heard all the way in the back.
The next day was spent recouping. We were staying at a friend's lake view cabin, complete with horses, chickens, pontoon boats and Colby the pup.
A horse saw me naked today, so Michigan is pretty cool. — Mike Ortiz (@hallpass) July 28, 2014
The weekend in the country did us solid, but it was time to head in to the city. Monday night we caught the first of two Jack White concerts with our friends in Benjamin Booker opening at the historic Fox Theater.
We were asked to not take any photos during the show (which I appreciated) and that Jack would post photos from every show on his site. You can find the live photos here, and this one is my favorite from that night.
We did a little swimming at the hotel pool.
We visited the fantastic Detroit Institute of Arts, which featured Piccasos, Warhols, and, perhaps my favorite piece -
Tuesday night we visited Comerica Park to watch the Tigers take on the White Sox.
Wednesday was a full day, starting off at the home of Motown - Hitsville, USA. Behind these doors, Berry Gordy recorded such acts as The Supremes, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, and many more. Again we couldn't take pictures inside, but outside was fair game.
That night, Jack White played at a second Detroit venue, The Masonic Temple, which is a historic venue that he personally saved from bankruptcy. Benjamin Booker hooked us up with some backstage passes, and it turned out to be one of the best shows in my life.
We watched Ben, Max, and Alex's set from the floor and then moved to the back during the turnover. After getting past the sweet Etta James-lookalike security guard, we all got ready for the main event. From the side stage mixing board, I got to watch one of the best musicians alive today play in his prime.
Consequence of Sound has a great write-up of Jack White's three hour set, along with the setlist and some fan videos. I loved seeing Alison Mosshart and Dean Fertita come on stage for a Dead Weather song, but was just as amazed watching the rest of the set standing right next to them.
We spent the rest of the night partying it up and it almost killed Al.
We Uber'd it back to the hotel, grabbed some coneys from American Coney Island, and packed for the trip home.
The trip home, for me, only lasted for 30 minutes. I flew home to MCO, got to my place to repack, and then hit the road for Austin via New Orleans. My friend Kristina was moving to Texas for a new job and needed her car driven to the lone star state. Kristina and her sister Olivia had left earlier that day, so I had some catch up to do.
Nine hours and four states later, I was dropping off my bags at Hotel St. Marie in the French Quarter. I caught up with the girls at a stereotypical Bourbon St. bar (complete with drunk college tourists and terrible cover band), and soon after convinced them to relocate to The Dungeon. With heavy metal on the juke, rad bar-staff, and some random patron buying us all shots, 4 A.M. came too quick.
In the morning, we hit one of my favorite joints for breakfast before getting back on the road. The Camellia Grill was not as busy or colorful as my last visit, but the food was still fantastic.
By nightfall we we're in Austin. The three of us met up with one of Kristina's old friends and her fiancé, who proceeded to show us around town for the weekend.
Aside from moving in to the new apartment, waiting around for cable guys, and IKEA trips, most of the weekend was food. Great food. And bars. Cool bars. We went wild and out on the local joints and there are too many here to list, but I have to give an honorable mention to Odd Duck for the best meal of the trip. Austin also has an In-N-Out, which I was sure to hit on my way out of town.
Many thanks to all of the great people I met these last few days who showed me and my friends hospitality for miles: Steveo, Darrin, Max, Ben, Alex, Nik, Lindsay, Rachel, Darron, and anyone else I may have forgotten. Bigger thanks to Al, Davis, Kristina, and Olivia for being great travel buds. Detroit and Austin are great towns that I hope to visit again soon.