If it's Sunday, we're in Birmingham, Alabama, a town that in the past has furnished numerous quasi-dangerous post-show activities. Among the carnage: amateur boxing, "martinis" made from some kind of black sludge, and today it's a near death experience delivered at the hands of a nearly blind and racist taxi driver.
The Bottle Tree is a beautiful little club. It's well cared-for, colorfully decorated, and shines with the obvious love that has been put into it. An Airstream trailer out back serves as the band green room, and the coffee is hot and ready when we arrive in the morning. I can tell it's going to be a great night here.
Tour buses usually don't have showers, so we have one hotel room for everyone traveling to get washed up in. When we arrive at the venue we get our bearings and then call a cab. This is where the pale horseman riding a yellow cab comes in. When he wasn't flying through intersections while showing off his watch ("bought it for $98.10, tax included!") and making some fairly repugnant racial comments, he was eyeing the descending train track barricade we were approaching and making mental calculations. He sped up and made it past the first barricade as it descended. Thinking himself, and us, the Grand Cheater of Death, he chuckled to us as he continued rolling towards the second set. There was no train coming from the right. He didn't bother looking to the left. We did. All kinds of religious and biological imagery was invoked, finally successfully, and we screamed to a halt. This was not the most fun I've ever had. I'm sitting in the hotel right now, wondering how I'm gonna get back...
photos by Austin Nevins