And Then There Was Awendaw

On the 12th we landed ourselves in Awendaw Green located in Awendaw, SC which is roughly 15-20 minutes outside of Charleston, SC. This was to be our first time playing Awendaw Green. From what we were told this is a weekly thing held every Wed. There was a barn like building where they have the stage set up. Several lawn chair were put out in front of the stage in rows and they had several canopy tents set up for vendors to hawk their wares or sell food.

We were the first band to arrive and we were blown away by the sure size of the place. There were brass insturments hanging from tree limbs throughout the entire place. The general feel was what it would've been like decades ago where the whole town comes out to have fun or get together. We took a few pictures which were posted on our Instagram account.

Several acts were to play that night. They came from all over and each one was as good as the last. The line up was incredible. Everyone was super friendly as well. We were sitting kind of off to the side of the stage when a lady from New Jersey came and sat next to us. She made a point to tell us it was her first time and how excited she was to experience this weekly affair. We also informed her that this was our first time being there as well. We made small talk for a couple more minutes then she thanked us for the company and went to find the group she came with.

One of the bands to play was called Chelsea Lovett and the Boys. Well, the Boys quickly learned we were from Florida and went to tell us they were from St. Augustine. We tossed a few names around and discovered they were good friends and even room mates with some of the people we knew. They even had another band called the West King String Band. We heard a great deal about these guys from our friends in St. Augustine but it wasn't until we were in SC that we met them. It's moments like those that show you just how small the world is.

We were third to play that night and the crowd grew tremendously. Some of you might have even caught the live stream they did of the night. When our set was finished that same lady we spoke to before hand came up and she stated she wasn't aware we were one of the bands playing. "You tricked me!" she said playfully. She ended up buying a CD and kept telling us how much she enjoyed the set.

The guy who sets the whole thing up is named Eddy. Believe it or not he's the town dentist who is a hug music lover. He offered up his swamp cabin for us to stay the night. I could go on and on about how amazing this place was so instead we took some pictures. We felt like a kid in a candy store. The 13th we were off to Willow Springs, NC to play the Panther Lake House but we'll have to catch you up on that later. For now enjoy the pictures and we'll see you out on the road!

Swamp Rats

 





Charleston on a Sunday

For those of you keeping up as of today we are gearing up to head on out to Awendaw Green in Awendaw, SC. We talked about our time in Savannah, GA in our last post and now we get to reminisce about Charleston, SC. We played the Tin Roof July 9th which was a Sunday.

The story really starts in Savannah. We woke up in the house of one of the members from Jeff Two-Names who, by the way, was an amazing host. We all got up, our host brought us coffee then we packed up to see one of the biggest cemeteries we have ever seen. It was Bonaventure Cemetery. We literally spent a couple hours walking around. If you ever find yourself in Savannah we strongly recommend taking the time to venture around. Once we we got our fill of walk among the dead it was time to hit the road.

The ride wasn't too bad at all. Charleston is maybe 2-3 hours at most from Savannah. We arrived fairly early and went to go see Patriots Point. Patriots Point is essentially a WWII museum on a retired battle ship. We found our destination but as luck would have it we realized it was 5:30 pm on a Sunday. Needless to say anything we probably would want to see was going to be closed. Bummer right? So we went on to the venue.

The Tin Roof is known as a destination venue which means there really isn't any foot traffic that would attract people to come in. If there isn't anything going on no one really shows up. This is also true if you don't have any one local on the bill. We could not find a local to save our lives despite our efforts and that of the venue. There wasn't really anyone in the place from the time we got there up to the time we left but not all was lost. Sometimes you gotta roll with the punches. The staff was super friendly and helpful.

We had Andy open up the show with her solo stuff dubbed The Andeeks Roadshow. The people there clapped and enjoyed it but we started to get a little discouraged. When she finished her set we all went outside for a smoke and a bit of a pep talk. Once we got prepared we hit the stage. Big shout out to Todd the sound guy. That guy killed it and made us sound so much better than we actually are and a good sound guy makes a huge difference. As the set went on people started to really enjoy what we were doing. How do we know this? We made a dead room move. They were dancing! It was a really good, humbling feeling. If for nothing else this show was really enjoyable because of the response. They kept asking for one more song. Since Kale hasn't been playing with us for more than a few weeks we ran out of songs we all could do together!

After we got done playing and chit chatting with the people who were left we packed up, collected our pay and was on our way. We drove 3 hours that night straight to Clover, SC where we stayed with family for the last couple days. We did end up busking in Charlotte, NC for a couple hours the other night. So for your information if you plan to busk uptown (which is their downtown) you are able to busk in the public spaces as long as you aren't blocking the flow of the walking traffic. Private property is recognized by the grey bricks while public space is the red brick. If you head up there you'll see what we're talking about.

Now it's time to get off this thing and start heading to Awendaw Green! Hope to you all out on the road!

Swamp Rats 

Next Stop, Savannah

Like I had mentioned in our last post we are in Clover, SC. We had just finished up our adventures in St. Augustine and were about to head north out of Florida. Our next stop? It was The Jinx in Savannah, GA.

Before we left Howl in Ft. Myers were tasked by the owner Andy Howl to deliver a stack of stickers to his friends tattoo shop located in Savannah. We started out of Florida with this in mind. We were more than happy to oblige since Andy Howl has been not only good to us but has been almost like a knight in shining black armor to our local music scene. The first stop of our GA adventure was to find Anonymous Tattoo. A simple task. This was to be our first time in Savannah. We discovered in St. Augustine that parking is not the easiest thing to find for cheap. Once we got in to Savannah this was again a burden we needed to rectify for at least most of the day. We found the tattoo shop we were looking for then we found a parking garage that was relatively easy on the wallet. We parked and headed towards the shop. It was maybe a block or two away. We went in and dropped the stickers off. Talked about our show that night for a moment and left. It was that easy people. Were you waiting for some kind of climactic bump in road? Not this time.

Once we left the tattoo shop we headed out to see Savannah and find some food. Savannah is another one of those historically rich cities where you find all kinds of interesting things. We saw a lot just wondering around and the more we wondered the more we discovered some hidden history. For instance we learned about and visited some of the more notably haunted location the city has to offer. Did you know people in history were also assholes? There's a park square where an Indian Chief (if memory serves me) was buried but his grave was desecrated by a monument that was erected for a local businessman. We visited a couple cemeteries as well and River Street as well. Found the exact park square where Forrest Gump was filmed as well as talked to a couple of buskers.

Side note: if you wish to busk in Savannah you must obtain a permit. It's free but, from what we have been told, you can only get it on Wednesdays.

While walking around we stumbled on the Jinx, the venue we were scheduled to play that night. Got the skinny from the door man. Before we went back to parking garage to fetch the van we stopped and grabbed an adult slushy from Wet Willy's. Be careful folks, those things are dangerously delicious! For the record you are allowed to walk the streets with an open container as long as its in a plastic container. At least that is what we were told.

After a long day of site seeing we grabbed the van and parked it out front of the Jinx. Once there we met the guy running the place, he goes by the name of Gil. By the way, that dude knows how to run a show and make it run smoothly. We met the other two bands playing that night as well. It was quite the mix of sounds. You had us, Jeff Two-Names and the Born Again (dad pop punk) and In for a Penny (celtic punk/rock). We were incredibly excited to hear both and both were as excellent as their names. We ended up crashing at the house of one of the members of Jeff Two-Names that night who was an amazingly generous host despite the fact the we all had a feeling that he was going to kill us in our sleep!

The crowd was responsive and engaging which is always a good feeling. Our only complaint was the sound guy but we get it. Our set up isn't the easiest to work especially if you're more use to mixing punk. Either way we are defiantly going to try to book there in the future. After a good nights rest and some coffee we did a little more looking around then it was off to Charleston, SC.

Three Days of St. Augustine

Last time we wrote a note we were in St. Augustine. We are now in Clover, SC hanging out with family since we had a couple days off. We sometimes find it hard to have a safe, comfortable place to stay while on tour but luckily close friends, family and sometimes strangers come in to lend a hand and we are always eternally grateful for this. So we would like to take this moment to say thanks to the people who have helped us out thus far. You all mean the world to us! Now, to give you how our journey has gone and how it has brought us to Clover, SC.

We ended up staying in St. Augustine for a total of three days. If you recall we played Planet Sarbez the first night we were there. A good friend in a band called the Cosmic Groove put us up while we were there. July 6th we went south a bit to Daytona. Smooth ride with no complaints. We were hit up the day before by one of the members of EC's Pickle Liquid to see if they could open up for us at Tir Na Nog which they said was their home town haunt. Of course we said yes. We much prefer playing with other bands rather than by ourselves. We get to the venue and start talking to the staff. The bar tender wasn't aware of our show. This put us off a little but chalked it up to either him not checking the schedule or that it really just didn't concern him since he clocked out at a certain time. A couple hours later another dude came in and again he wasn't aware of us being booked. He said they were planning on having open jam like they do every Wednesday but it wasn't uncommon for the guy who ran their booking to book a band and not tell anyone. Regardless of the miscommunication we did play and EC's Pickle Liquid opened up for us.

The up side to playing their open jam night is that a lot of the local musicians came in anticipation. Even though they didn't get to play like they had planned they stuck around. Tir Na Nog has one of those rooms where the stage is kind of cut off from the rest of the bar so it's a hit or miss on who decides to pay attention. We managed to get some of crowds attention. All in all it turned out well. We packed up, thanked everyone, got our pay and went to crash in St. Augustine.

The next day we were trying to set up a last minute show some where. While we were waiting on responses from our contacts there we ventured around the old city in the U.S. There really isn't a lot to do if you don't have much money but we were able to walk around and visit some of the sites including a couple of their cemeteries. As the day started to dwindle we decided to busk. For those who aren't sure what busking is it is basically playing on the street for tips. We always try to look up the laws or rules concerning this since every city or state is different and some do not allow busking at all. In St. Augustine busking is allowed as long as your positioned at least 50 ft away from the major walk ways. We set up in park. It wasn't the best place but we managed to scrape together about $20. After playing a couple hours we decided it was time to go. We went back to our make shift base and prepared to leave for GA the following morning.

St. Augustine and the people we have met there has always been great to us. We look forward to returning for more good times and memories. More stories are to come so keep and eye out and thanks for taking a gander!

Swamp Rats 

July 3rd - 5th Recap

Hello! So it's been a few days since our last post and now that we have a little down time, let's see how much we can remember! To start we found ourselves in Tampa at the Hub Bar. The show was set up by a good friend of the band by the name of Ugly D, or Santo Feo. We didn't know what to expect mostly because we have never played the Hub before. Early on Ugly D had told us it probably isn't a good idea to head to the venue early and day drink, due to the fact that the place pours their drinks strong. Like responsible touring musicians, we heeded the advice. We ended up hanging out at Ugly D's for a while, where we were asked by him and his wife to shoot a little video in their bathroom. The results of that little venture are below. Afterwards we headed to the venue. We arrived, brought in our stuff, set it all up and grabbed a beer. Now this next part is crucial to remember as it comes back into play later on. When Ugly D showed up with his band he preceded to buy us a shot of whiskey. The shot that was brought to us was a full 3 oz glass of really smooth whiskey. Downed it. The opener went on. He was an odd duck, but had some good stuff nonetheless. Before his set, he was found walking around awkwardly, eyes focused mostly on the ceiling or floor, not speaking to anyone. After having to be tracked down wandering the streets of Downtown Tampa, he was persuaded to start his set. Again, his music was good but at one point he had finished a song and just stared at the mic while making "hmmm" noises for a good five minutes. After the Hmm song he played his last song and got off the stage then disappeared into the night. It was now time for Swamp Rats to take the stage.



We set up and started playing. The bar had filled up quite a bit since the opening act. We faced a crowd of people who hadn't seen us, let alone heard of us before. As the set started we were given yet another 3 oz shot which had to be taken in front of the person who had given the shots. Peer pressure still exists ladies and gentlemen. Not soon after, a third 3 oz shot came our way. Now normally we are very careful about drinking while at our shows but apparently it was Ugly D's mission to see just how inebriated he could get us that night. We finished the set. The crowed wanted one more. We gave them one more then quickly got out the way for Ugly D's band. We all went out side for some air and never made it back into the club. It seems Ugly D had accomplished his mission. Kristen, our tour manager, managed to pack everything up with the help of her room mate. At some point in the night I was asked by her room mate if it would be OK for him to take all our merchandise to Orlando, since Kristen was going to stay the night there and we had made plans to scoop her up on our way to St. Augustine. Long story short we made it back to Ugly D's, passed out, woke up and left for Sebring to spend the 4th of July with friends and family. It was there I realized I had a bag missing. I called the venue in Tampa and luckily it was there and it wasn't stolen or dropped somewhere. After spending the 4th with our family and loved ones, we got some well deserved rest for the night. We took off early on the 5th so we could hit Tampa to grab the items that were left. After we had the items in question in our possession we then headed for Orlando to get Kristen and our merch. What was supposed to be an hour and a half drive turned into a four hour drive from Tampa to Orlando due to three car wrecks, along with the ordinary crazy traffic Orlando is known for.  We thanked our lucky stars that we weren't one of the headlines the next day.

We managed to get everything we had started out with, including our tour manager, and we shot for St. Augustine with zero problems. Played an awesome show at Planet Sarbez who, by the way, have the best grilled cheese sandwiches we have ever had. We ended up sharing the stage with another band on tour by the name of Hivehead. Dude, they were pretty damn rad. The garage rock band out of Johnson City, TN was just a couple of young kids. But they had a great presence and an awesome attitude about life in general. A band called EC's Pickleliquid was also on the bill. Americana Thrash is how they described themselves and boy, were they damn good. They'll be jumping on the bill with us tonight in Daytona at Tir Na Nog Irish Pub.

There are many more stories in between everything that I wasn't able to get to. But that's the meat and potatoes for the last few days. Like I mentioned above we're headed to Daytona tonight and right now I need to shower while I have the opportunity. Below is a link to the Ensuite Songs video shot in Tampa, in a bathroom with awesome acoustics. Click to check it out! For now we say "bon voyage" to ourselves, as we raise our glasses to this tour!

Love, Peace, and Chicken Grease!

Swamp Rats


Ensuite Songs

Tour Kick Off Recap

July 1st and 2nd were the first two dates of tour and were at two of our favorite local haunts. We hear you shouldn't include your home town as a part of your tour before you leave. We figured why not have a couple kick off parties instead of a home coming.

July 1st was at Howl in Ft. Myers. By far one of our favorite places to hit. For those who don't know the venue it's a tattoo shop with an awesome stage and sound system with some of the best people to grace any venue we have run into so far. Yes, we're a little bias! We had quite the line up for this first show. Clem of Clem McGillicutty and the Burnouts joined up for a solo set, Gutterlove came to shower us with his sad tunes, Branden Sensor of the Hoffman Rd Show played a set, Skyler Enrico graced us with his amazing pop styling and our favorite local act The Good Bad Kids kicked some ass both nights! The entire show was live streamed. Below is the link for those who missed it.

Whiskey Park in Naples went down on July 2nd. Clem opened up the night and ended up hitting on some cougars while heckling us from the background. That man shouldn't be allowed to go any where without supervision! Friends and family came out who we haven't seen in a while came to hang out. We ended up getting a jar of strawberry moonshine from a guy who called himself Toast. Ask us about it some time for a more detailed story on that one!

Today we are headed to Tampa to play the Hub. We haven't played this play before but we are very excited to give it a go! Heard we have a couple other acts joining us on the bill. We'll fill you on how it goes a little later.

The roads calling and as much as I'd like to tell you all more about the fine details of the more fun parts of the last couple days we do have some things to do before we leave town for the next month. Stay tuned and see you on the road!

-Scotty

Swamp Rats Kick Off Party

It Was Easier Last Year

Hey there friends!

Here we are about 3 1/2 weeks from our tour starting and we are getting things in order to leave. We still have many open dates left and seems like it was easier this time last year to book. Last year we booked our first tour outside the state of Florida and our trip lasted roughly 2 months. We went as far north as Minnesota and Wisconsin and as far west as Colorado. We met several great people people on the road and many we still keep in touch with.

This year, however, seems to be a bit harder booking 25 solid dates out of 31 than is was booking almost 40 between two months. I've heard the same from a few of our traveling friends as well. At any rate we are still moving forward and will hopefully pick up a couple dates while on the road. We have managed to make enough dough to make some new merch for tour which we are really excited about and hope you guys like what we have coming.

As we get closer to July 1st we will be posting more of what we are doing in order to prepare for tour as well as some tip and tricks to help other DIY artists along in their endeavors and for our fans and followers to keep tabs on us through what we believe is one of the most exciting and frustrating parts if being a serious musician. We hope you check in on us from time to time and give us your thoughts on ours. We have a lot to do with the next few weeks and figured I write up a little something to give you all an update. Until next time friends!

Scotty