"Tour Brain" with Slingshot Dakota - THURSDAY night at New Brookland
One of my favorite memories during my days as a bartender at New Brookland Tavern was a Slingshot Dakota show. So when I saw the band would be playing in Brooklyn last Friday night, it solidified a stop back in New York amid my 2588 mile road trip through the northeast. When I run into Carly Commando at a DIY space in Brooklyn called The Aviv, we have a bit of trouble with our days of the week. Or maybe it's just me.
"Tour Brain," explains the Emmy award winning composer and singer/keyborardist of the Pennsylvania based duo, "is when you totally lose track of what day of the week and date it is. Especially for us, we currently book everything ourselves and manage our schedules while on tour, so we have to make sure to set alerts on our phones to remind ourselves what we have to do that day. We lose track of time from all of the traveling that sometimes it's hard to remember where we were a week before. We do the best we can, but as a tour goes on, we definitely get a little more "fuzzy" on details. It's a part of this lifestyle and we just have to make sure we keep all of the appointments/interviews/pre-show sessions that get set up before we leave for tour."
I hit up Commando via email a few days ago and asked her some questions about life on the road, New York and the band's realtionship with Columbia, SC.
Slingshot Dakota will be at New Brookland on Thursday night with support from MyBrother MySister, Allright, Oneforall and Quinn Cicala. Tickets are $8 and doors open at 7 p.m. The band has a new record that came out last month on Topshelf Records. It's called Break.
Besides the essentials like toothpaste and clothes, what are some things that you bring with you on tour that make it more manageable and or enjoyable?
We bring huge soft fleece blankets from home. I think it's a way to keep us grounded when we're really far away. I can curl up in the van and pretend I'm on my couch, or if the house/hotel heat doesn't work, I can go grab my blanket and not worry about a thing. We also rely on podcasts to get us through our drives, so an Ipod loaded up with those is a must. We see and hear so much music on a daily basis that we need podcasts as a nice palate cleanser :) Other than that, having a phone is a nice way to keep in touch with friends and family. It's hard to feel super homesick (at least in the US) when you can get everyone to video chat with you at almost any time.
What are your previous ties to New York?
I was born and raised on Long Island. I grew up in the LI DIY punk scene and it was a home that nurtured me and helped me grow. I wasn't necessarily into all of the music that was a part of it, but I loved the community aspect so much. I lived in the Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn for a combined 12 years, so part of my heart will always be in NYC. I will forever love the breaded goods that are made with NYC water, but my bank thanks me for moving to PA where I can get a lot more bang for my buck. I also lost the huge chip on my shoulder that is necessary to have when you live in NYC. I'm a much happier person out of the city, but I love it for helping shape me as a person.
Describe the Aviv and your experience preforming there?
Aviv is awesome and specifically, our record release show was amazing because it was not as smokey as it normally is (and I heard that's changing, YAY!). Aviv is an amazing all ages, chill space and Tyler and Olivia that work there are the kindest people ever. It's hard for DIY spots to stick around for a long time, and in Brooklyn, they're always coming and going. Aviv has existed for more than a year and I hope they can stick around for a long time. Aviv feels like home to me.
You guys have played Columbia a number of times over the years and have built some relationships with folks in town like Dwayne and Beth. How typical is that and what are the perks of such?
We've been a band for over 10 years, so we've played all kinds of shows. Good shows, bad shows, shows with a few people at them that end up being friends for life. Dwayne and Beth have been in our lives from the first time we ever played Columbia and they're an example of why we do this. We create and play music because we absolutely love it, but to meet people all over the world and create long-lasting relationships with people who you wouldn't meet in your hometown is the most special thing ever. We love connecting with people not only on a musical level but an emotional level, and there's no better tour than when you return home with a ton of genuine new friends. Columbia has always welcomed us with open arms, to the point where it feels like a third home. It's also the city where Tom and I hooked up for the first time, so we always get super nostalgic and mushy when we play there.
You talked about being really pleased with the new record. What are/is your favorite song to play live from it?
I honestly love playing all of the songs because they're still "new" to everyone. But, "Doreen" and "Monocacy" are a blast to play each in their own way. "Monocacy" has really fun vocal parts that I have to push out, and Doreen is just a heavy crusher that encapsulates our entire journey. Doreen is about quitting your job and doing your thing, whatever that is. Doesn't necessarily mean "following your heart" in that empty cliche way.. It's just about ending a chapter of your life that no longer serves you and choosing to start a new, positive path. I love singing that song because it reminds me of a drunken conversation with my best friend about our dreams, and I get to revisit that feeling every night.
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