On The Road: The River Monks

Photo cred: Sam Dabrusin

Photo cred: Sam Dabrusin

Our friends The River Monks are out on a month-long tour around the United States. And because we miss them so much, they’ve sent Band Bombshell a little update on their touring adventure. Make sure and welcome them back this Sunday at the Vaudeville Mews with Har-di-Har, Doubting Daniel & the Deliverance, and Dustin Smith & Paige Harpin. Show starts at 8pm, $5 at the door, 21+.

Favorite venue so far: Real tough one. We’ve played some really beautiful places, including Mercury Cafe in Denver and Viracocha in San Francisco. Our favorite shows are a blend of awesome show attendees and good-looking spaces. Those two shows pulled through pretty incredibly.

Venue we’re looking forward to: Also a tough one. Really, every show is an adventure, so it’s easy to look forward to all of them. Oklahoma City is a kick ass place with good friends. Same for Fairfield and Iowa City. But we’ve never played in Kirksville, Missouri or Macomb, Illinois, and whenever we play in a town where none of us have heard of it before we play there, we know it’s going to be a really good time. There’s something really beautiful about playing a “small” town. There’s always a lot of enthusiasm for live music it seems. But let’s be honest, the real answer is our hometown, Des Moines, Effing, Iowa.

Fan stories: Oh man, too many.
Omaha: a friend of mine from an hour southeast of Omaha drove out, and Drew’s brother and future sister-in-law drove from Des Moines. Makes us feel like a million bucks.

Denver: One of our favorite stories… A good friend of Tommy’s came to his first River Monks show, and during a dynamic pause in one of our songs, yelled out “YEEE RIVER MONKS!!” We’ve been saying it constantly ever since.

Provo: One of Tommy’s good friends Ben and his girlfriend from Denver (Tommy’s hometown) came to our Denver show, then they drove to SLC, Utah to visit family the next day and showed up at our Provo show. Again, makes us feel like a million bucks.

San Fran: We had a gal come up to us after our set, and explained she randomly found us on Spotify a few months back. She started following our tour and realized we were playing a few blocks from her place. Her only complaint is we didn’t play a song of ours called “Pelica.” So we felt compelled to take a stroll outside and play it for her unplugged. It was one of the first times I was truly impressed and sincerely grateful for the Internet.

Tucson: A guy came up to us after our set and set it was the best live show he’d seen since Sufjan Stevens (one of our biggest influences)… What!!

Lubbock and Amarillo: Two of our favorite tour stops, such a cool thing to return to a town and see a few familiar faces from a whole year ago.

Vancouver: Sam Dabrusin (the man responsible for the post’s featured image) and his girlfriend came down from Vancouver to our Seattle show. 1 million bucks.

Favorite part of touring: Man… Spending time with your best buds and then making music with those same people who happen to be really really talented… Every day! Also, just playing to a room full of completely silent and attentive people. It definitely doesn’t happen at every show, but when it does, the feeling cannot be described. It lingers for a while. Makes you feel like you didn’t totally mess up choosing music as a thing to do with your time.

Tour tips: #1 would be to be honest and open with everyone else in the band. It’s easy to get on each other’s nerves when you spend every second together. I’d encourage at least once to sit down and everyone say what they appreciate about everyone else in the band. The day we did that in the van… It changed the whole aura of the group and brought us closer. Also, play games in the van. Keep the mood up and fun. Remind yourself that even if you just played a lousy show after driving several hours that it isn’t the last show you’ll ever play. I mean, you’re on tour! Don’t ever take it for granted!

What we miss about Des Moines: Well, lame answer, but all six of us have significant others…. So those beautiful people. We all can’t wait to get our smooch on.

What we’ve learned about each other from being in such close quarters:
Drew: He loves three things more than anything… His girlfriend Shelby, his band, and the San Francisco 49ers. And he will defend all three to his grave. He  also LOVES Panda Express.
Joel: The best chip bag finisher in the history of mankind. Also, a great fake punter.
Tommy: He fully lives every single moment like its the most important one. Tommy has brought a very new and much needed dynamic to the tour van (this was his first tour with us). Tommy also WORSHIPS Chipotle.
Mallory: She’s our tour mama. She takes care of us, is our DD more often than she really should be, and reminds us to take care of our precious tour van, Rosie.
Nick: As our band’s rock, he keeps us a cohesive unit when everyone else is a cranky-pants. Can also speak to animals… And they listen.
Ryan: The band has found that Ryan has a pretty decent Posh British Walrus impression.

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