Friday was an overcast cloudy kind of morning when Devin and I went to pick up Andy from his house and meet everyone at the Flying J in Rapid. We somehow crammed all of our gear in one little car to get to the gas station. Everyone in Judd Hoos showed up and we loaded up for another rock n roll weekend filled with music, traveling, and… rain! All of us were in such a great mood despite the overcast weather and we cruised down I 90 as we almost always do with Shane Dawg in the captain seat. I think he likes to drive in the mornings. Or he just too nice to tell us he doesn’t want to! But that is Shane in a nut shell, he is the nicest human being that walks the earth, and he could also squish any human being like a bug.
We were headed to Fargo, ND. It was a long haul but it didn’t seem too bad. We played a not so kid friendly game of Would-you-rather that kept each other entertained for a good while. We stopped in Watertown, SD to get a quick oil change in the ice man. Little did we know how long this would take. They finished the change quick and on the way out of town the oil pressure light kept beeping at Shane. We pulled over and tried to reset it multiple times. Finally we went back to the auto shop and they tried to reset it multiple times the same way we had. Pulled the van in and found out they had put in the wrong filter and had to get someone across town to get us the right one and get it to them. It was frustrating but the guys were nice about it and finally we were fixed up and on our way out of town with the right filter and no beeping.
When getting into Fargo we headed straight to the venue. This place is called the Max Lounge and is a martini bar. Not your typical Judd Hoos venue. It was weird walking in to set up and not see our huge PA set up. This tiny little stage was the second most if not THE smallest stage we have played on yet. It was bare minimum across the board for set up. Andy and I were not using our cabs, mic stands were set on top of subs, we were elbow to elbow, and had a decibel limit of 90! We finally got it figured out and had a really quick sound check. Some friends of ours showed up to say hi. Bryan Loweree from the band 32 Below came to support us and have fun rocking out to Judd Hoos. He was coming back with as many people as he could get to come later when we were starting. Since set up and our oil change took a lot longer than we had hoped Judd Hoos was pressed for time. We got some quick sandwiches for dinner and went to our hotel. The hotel was amazing! We were really living it up this night in Fargo. Everyone got ready really fast and went back to the venue to start rocking out.
There was a decent amount of people in the bar. I think we took them for a surprise. The show went on pretty well. There were not that many people up to dance through out the whole night. But Bryan and his crew were having a good time. Bob got Bryan up on stage on a couple of songs to sing with us. Everyone that was there really liked us. The majority of the crowd stayed for at least two sets. The last set was probably the most fun but there were probably only 20 people in the whole place including staff. The staff was super nice to us and helped make it an awesome night. All in all the show was as much of a success as it could have been and we all had fun. It was time to load out. We took our time and enjoyed some free drinks from staff and fans a like. Bryan insisted we go to Krolls Diner and get some food. So we all met up at the diner and enjoyed some very late night and not so necessary food. I don’t think we were too disrupting or inappropriate. We all said goodbye to Bryan and friends and got to the hotel safe and sound.
The next morning Andy and I got a head start on the morning and went down to drink some coffee and found a Wii and Tv in the lounge. Before we knew it, Andy and I were head to head in a very serious game of Mario Kart. The rest of the guys joined us. We all decided to skip out on breakfast considering we had our bellies full of Krolls Diner food still. Judd Hoos hit the road for our drive to Fairmont, MN. Not as long a drive as Friday. We stopped in Sioux Falls to pick up a very cool guy who has worked with Judd Hoos before, Scott Gooch! We were all very concerned about the weather for the night. It was going to be another outdoor show and there was a very good chance of rain.
We showed up and there was not a lot set up yet. We all worked together to get everything done while watching the clouds dodge us and the wind blew through the microphones during sound check. After the sound check we decided to put instruments aways and tarp everything just in case. After the tedious process of making sure everything would be safe if it rained we conveniently went across the street to our hotel to relax a little bit and get ready for the gig. I know I speak for everyone when I say that we were all checking the radar on our phones to see if the storm was going to hit.
Judd Hoos tried to start as early as we could in case of the weather was bad. We finally played our first two songs and it started raining pretty hard. We all scrambled to tarp everything just in time before it down poured. Most of the crowd retreated inside the club while the band and some fans took shelter in the JH trailer. We had an acoustic guitar and beer and started playing some songs while it rained. It just kept sprinkling so we took the party inside and kept playing songs acoustically for the anxious crowd inside. Shane made a makeshift drum set out of a trash can and cooler while Bob took over some lead vocals on the bingo mic! It was fun but it got a little loud and we decided to just keep chilling until we could get back up on stage. Finally the storm slowed down enough we could untarp most of our stuff and try to play some songs. But before we even began it started to rain pretty hard again with some lightning, so we tarped again. It seemed like we might not even play at all at this point. I remember putting away most of my stuff. Everyone hung out for a while longer staring at their weather apps on their phones. It looked like there was going to be a short window of time where there was going to be no rain.
So we hit it hard as soon as we could. The people were so anxious to hear us play. We finally got rolling and it felt great to play. The crowd was so into it and there were way more people that stuck around than we thought. There were some bumps through the set. Like me bumping my lip against my teeth while trying to throw a guitar over my shoulder. We started Counting Stars while my mouth was full of blood. Then Andy’s guitar stopped working. Luckily we made it work and gave Fairmont the best show we could. I don’t know how long we played but it felt like a pretty long time until the rain came again. This time it came super fast and hard so as soon as Bob said thanks and goodbye to the crowd everyone was in a scramble to get all of our stuff put away. It started out that we were going to put as much stuff away as we could and tarp again, but then it turned into an all out load out! There was mud everywhere, wet cables and lights, tarps galore, people yelling out for help with this and help with that. It was insane. At one point I could see the rain coming down through the lights of the forklift shining on the stage, and I was so drenched in sweat and rain that I didn’t even feel it raining anymore. Judd Hoos worked as a team to get everything in that trailer as fast and dry as we could. While we were loading the last few things one of our good friends brought out some food. We stood at the end of the trailer stage and munched on hot dogs and walking tacos, drenched to the bone. I heard Bob tell Chris Walker to get the tarps in the trailer and then said, “This band is going drinking!” It was a long night and everyone deserved some relaxing around each other. The night ended in a tiny hotel room with everyone singing, jamming, drinking, and laughing at the crazy night.
The ride back home was full of rain storms as well. Judd Hoos just could not escape the wet weather this weekend. And a weird weekend it was at that. Such a small and different kind of show on Friday and then this wet almost rained out gig on Saturday. Everyone had so much fun and I know we made new fans both in Fargo and Fairmont. A huge shout out to Scott Gooch who came out and helped us so much. It was so worth loading the back of the van to the ceiling to fit you in for Saturday. It is always so cool to see so many guys put their egos and their own wants aside to all work towards one goal, to put on a kick ass show and get everything loaded up to do it all over again. Without any complaining, everyone loves it so much. I felt such a strong bond between everyone this last weekend. I imagine it is what players on a football team or soldiers in the same unit feel. Maybe not to the same extent but Judd Hoos is a team and unit just as much as a band. Anyways hopefully the weather is going to copperate for us this next weekend in Martin, SD and Gothenburg, NE. Thank you everyone for supporting Judd Hoos and making everything possible. And thanks to everyone who reads my blogs! Stay tuned for more on the road with Judd Hoos!
Highlights of the Weekend:
when it stopped raining