It’s 11:30pm on a Saturday, April 25, 2015. The SomeKindaWonderful Burn It Up Tour is officially done. Technically it ended a little over a week ago, but due to unforeseen circumstances the tour abruptly ended five shows early.
Some people grow up wanting to be a part of a band or their crew. Over the last few years I have met countless fans who dream of going on the road with their favorite band. I’d watch a movie about that, but it was never something I really fantasized about. I’ve always had music in my life in some way or another, but I actually only started doing the concert thing two years ago. So to say I just fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine in that respect would be a lie.
I do love to travel. I have a serious case of wanderlust. Unfortunately, I don’t get to do it often. A downside of not living near family is when you get time off work you spend it going to visit family most of the time. However in the last month I have traveled from coast to coast. In that respect I did fulfill several bucket list items.
Almost every day I have been asked the same question, and I have even asked it myself a few times… “How did I become the merch girl for SomeKindaWonderful?”
Just take a scroll through some of my previous posts and it is easy to tell I might like SomeKindaWonderful a bit. Their music is unlike anything else in my collection, but at the same time it is a beautiful diverse summary of everything I love about music.
They are a newer growing band. That can be a tough place to be. I believe in these guys. I believe in their music. It’s not the same old shit you hear on every station. At some point during their fall tour I adapted a mission to do whatever I could to see them succeed. I don’t have a crazy amount of money to invest in them. I don’t have any magic connections in the music world to propel them to stardom. What I can give is my time and my enthusiasm for what they create.
I don’t want to repeat the same post I posted here: Pre- Burn It Up Tour. That is the direction this is going though. That post ended with me getting to do merch for their East Coast dates. That blog answers part of the big question…So how did I become East Coast Merch Girl? With creativity, passion, and persistence.
If you have been paying attention you know it did evolve in to more than that. How did I end up going on the full tour? I don’t have a clue. Something changed Nima’s mind and in less than 48 hours I took a risk and took up residency in the sprinter. The weeks to come were incredible. I did so many things I never thought I would do and saw so many things I never thought I would see. I built friendships with people from all across the US. Plus, I joined the SomeKindaWonderful family and now have a few talented, fun, and kind of crazy brothers.
I am so incredibly thankful to cross over from the fan world to crew. It is an opportunity so few get to experience. If you told me a year ago I would go on tour with a band I probably would have laughed at you. If I didn’t feel such a unique connection to SKW I wouldn’t have gone on tour with them. I would have gone to one or two shows, maybe hung out with them a bit, and called it a wrap. I am a woman who had a stable job, two dogs, a house, and two car payments. Dropping everything to join some strangers to help their career is probably one of the dumbest things anyone in my position could do. But they aren’t strangers to me. They may have (and possibly still do) seen me as a fan, but it has always felt different to me. I share the same energy as SKW if that makes any sense (no lol). It made the jump easier to do.
But since I will always keep a foot in the fan world I want to share my experience. I want to share #TourLife with people who may never get the same opportunity that I had. However there are some parts of tour life that stay in the crew. Think of tour like Vegas. There are moments both good and bad that can’t and shouldn’t be shared. Then there are some moments that are too special to share, I’m selfish that way. However I hope if you have some how made it through the word vomit that I have typed already you will enjoy my adventure…
I made this jacket when Nima first told me the name of the tour. He ended up adapting it for the shirt design. While I was flattered he liked it, it made me wish I had put more effort in to it. I really didn’t expect to do the full tour. My magnet needs some updating. I love making crafts and my beer fridge is decorated with band magnets that I usually have signed after concerts.I am so lucky to live 15 minutes from the beach. However if you have ever seen my ghost-like complexion you will know I don’t really do the whole sunlight thing. One of my favorite things in the world to do though is watch the sunrise over the ocean. It is the best place to think. A week before leaving for tour I spent a morning at the beach. I didn’t know what to expect from the upcoming tour. I was nervous. Not in a fan girl “I am going to be with the band” kind of way. The guys themselves don’t make me nervous. It was the unknown. I don’t know anything about tour life or even the music industry. I didn’t know what travel would be like, how our days would be spent before shows, how often or what I would eat, if I would sleep, if the guys would accept me as adopted crew or just see me as a fan. There was so much unknown that I had buzzing around.In the weeks leading up to the show I worked with the tour manager, Jordan aka Big Red on the display. My living room was the first SomeKindaWonderful merch booth with all of my creations. Some of the crafty gifts I made for the guys.Remember when I said I didn’t know what I would eat or how often? Apparently I thought I would starve. Those are all the snacks I bought for just one week. Took this picture for my instagram the morning I left for tour. I was armed with a temporary tattoo and my disney bracelets for good luck ready for an adventure with no idea what was ahead of me.
The day before tour started I made the 10 hour drive to Buffalo so I would get a full night of sleep before the tour started. One of the first things I checked off my bucket list was done by going a little farther and seeing Niagara Falls. After that I made a good donation to a casino across from my hotel before getting some sleep.
To explain that picture the guys were very upset that they somehow missed panties being thrown on stage. They spent some time trying to figure out the origin after the show was over. This picture makes me laugh every time I look at it. A similar one was posted on their socials.
That first show in Buffalo will always have a special place in my heart. It was such a great experience from the moment I showed up. It was great seeing everyone, showing my crafts, seeing the first show set up, and just being a part of it. The show was incredible. The guys were incredible. The production was so sick! I finally got a full SKW set. After the show I had a blast seeing people fan girl at the meet and greet. I even met some incredible people!
Day two was in Philly. Justin rode with me to the venue. This is one of the only selfies with the guys that I took all tour so I wanted to share. The night before Nima rode with me to the hotel. It was great talking to each of them getting some inside information. I was able to put together a lot of pieces of the SKW puzzle with the tour, their label, European success, and future plans.
Jordy was hilarious in Philly. It was the funniest I saw him all tour. I loved the Philly show, because I knew the routine. I didn’t need to stand around wondering what was next. I was able to reconnect with my first SKW friend too which was a lot of fun.
So I mentioned my car rides with Nima and Justin already. One rule I had in my car was they picked the music. This song is Nima’s favorite song in the whole world. We listened to it at least 20 times no exaggeration. Maybe it isn’t his favorite song and instead it was a spotify glitch, but I can’t verify that. That car ride we talked about why I make concerts such a big part of my life. Why I was out there with SKW, exc. I don’t remember exactly what was said on either side. I’m sure it was me telling him how much I enjoyed this adventure and him telling me I was crazy. That weekend a few times one of the guys would ask why I wasn’t doing the full run or they would (jokingly?) say I should just do the full tour. Eventually it stopped being a joke. I don’t know what I did or said. What someone else did or said, but the Monday morning after the DC show I was driving home to Virginia to make sure my dogs, house, exc were taken care of.
March 23- Taking Care of Business
No picture from this day. I was too busy taking care of things at home. Unfortunately I did have to make a hard decision. I went to work to request a leave of absence. That leave may have been granted if I had gotten the tour opportunity back in January or February when I first bugged Nima about it. Since it was last minute though I had to resign when the leave was not approved. It was hard to say goodbye to a job that has been so good to me for three years, but I had to make a call. I would have always wondered what if and regretted not taking the opportunity to go on tour. Ultimately I would have ended up resenting my job for being the reason I missed out on tour, and I probably would have quit for that reason anyways.
The morning of the Atlanta show I drove the nine hours in a rental car and that night I was on the van. I was holding my breath for them to say “no, this is a bad idea you need to leave”. But that never happened. I loved the Atlanta show, because that is my hometown. My mom and her husband came out to the show as well as one of my best friends in the world. On the SKW end it was probably the worst show of the tour if I am being honest. I told you tour had its bad moments. If I remember correctly there was an issue with the sound. Jordy was fighting a funk he picked up after Europe. We had a weird situation with our openers. It was an anything that can go wrong will situation. I was also a little preoccupied with nerves from actually joining the tour on the sprinter that night so I was a bit on edge. I did meet some great people and it was so great seeing familiar faces too!
This was our college town show. It was a lot of fun! There were several people just there for class credit, but there were also some familiar Butterfly Militia faces. One of my friends from back home came out. I was able to connect with a few friends from the New Politics fan base and I was able to meet a few people who I have been dying to meet for a few months! AND they brought gifts! Alcohol and caffeine is always welcomed btw. Before the show Jordy and I got dinner from a food truck. I didn’t expect my first food truck experience to be in NC, but it was actually really incredible! It was fun to be back at the same venue that I saw them in the fall. It was one of my favorite venue set ups too. It had a really charming feel.
March 26 – Nashville, TNI was SO out of my element on my first day on tour for real. I was trying to find my groove. Trying to learn everyones place on the van. It was the first time I felt nervous around the guys too. I was REALLY part of the crew for the first time, but at the same time it was the day I felt the most like an outsider. Guys are guys. They burp, fart, curse, look at pictures of girls with incredible…features. While I was trying to find my groove in their group, they were also trying to figure me out. I knew I was being watched to see how I would react to certain things. I swear though those guys didn’t realize I am a sub wife and submariners make musicians look like prudes. So every time the guys would apologize for being guys it made me so uncomfortable. I get it. It wasn’t my first rodeo and apologizing for being themselves just made it so awkward for me. Thankfully a few days in to tour the apologizing stopped and we were all more comfortable around each other.
So I was dealing with all of that. It was raining. It was a small bar venue and we didn’t know what to expect for the crowd since it was our first time in Nashville. I went out on my own to get food when they were sound checking. Then when I came back the group went out together. So I was alone in the venue for most of the opener and before the show. What was almost my most uncomfortable night on tour turned in to one of my favorites once I met a super fun group of people. I don’t remember how we all connected, but I found a group of SKW fans that I just adore. They were just a blast. I got in a little trouble from Red for drinking with them at their table and not where I could see the merch. They were as in to the music as I was and we all had a blast together though! To say they were my favorite group on tour isn’t fair, because I met so many different people and I love them all so much…. buuuuuut…. Nashville is crazy yall.
March 27 – Travel Day
The guys took such good care of me on this whole tour. It was work for them, and of course partially for me too, but several times they teased me that I was on vacation. One of the ways they took care of me was when they would make sure I was seeing as much as I could. As we drove by St. Louis they made sure I saw the arch and got my pictures. It was a small gesture, but it was the first time I really and truly started to feel the family vibe. I knew those guys would have my back for the rest of the tour and I wouldn’t regret coming out on the road. Unfortunately though everyone was getting the plague. We actually had to cancel our show that night because Jordy couldn’t talk. Which is really funny by the way, because if you have ever been around Jordy you will know he is super chatty. Seeing him mute is a sight for sure. It is a challenge for him.
March 28- Kansas City, MO
Woah! Two pictures today! This was a really cool show! The guys have a great relationship with the radio station. There is a family in the area who I have talked to online, because we have the same desire to see SKW succeed. I met so many great fans. I had no clue KC was so big on music! Some of my favorites aside from the family were two guys who run a concert instagram. I love love LOVE working merch, because I am able to talk to so many great people!
Before the show I explored the area. I just wanted to find coffee, but along the way I found an amazing mediterranean bakery, an awesome local coffee shop, and a house with that sidewalk chalk quote above. Talk about destiny. Just one more thing that confirmed that I made the right decision to come on tour. After seeing that I didn’t have a single doubt for the rest of the tour. I was in the right place at the right time and I knew I was doing what I was supposed to be doing as a whole.
We took our time getting to Texas. We spent some time at walmart and some time pulling over for photo ops and for Red and Justin to play frisbee. We stayed in a small town in Oklahoma that night. When we asked our server what the town was known for she informed us that it was known for being one of the most dangerous in the state. One of our credit cards wasn’t returned to the table after we paid.
We made it to Texas… finally. Again, we weren’t in any rush though. For dinner we went out for an awesome crawfish dinner. Justin and I did I think two pounds together. That was the night we realized that we would be good adventure buddies. Since we were the only two that stayed healthy throughout the tour we spent the most time exploring. If he couldn’t come with me he would at least suggest an activity for me. It was a good relationship. The guy is a pro at adventures since he is pretty much always on the road.
I loved this day! It was really laid back and chill. We found some great tacos and doughnuts and the spent the afternoon in a park overlooking the city. The weather was perfect and it was an awesome afternoon.
We performed at Stubbs BBQ. I was so excited to be at this show, because it was the first non-East coast date. I hadn’t planned to be there. Plus Stubbs is a must see music venue. I loved the whole experience. Before the show I had an awesome BBQ meal there. Then I wandered the city a good bit. I just put it on the map and I walked about four miles that day. I got to see the Texas State Cemetery (coffee shop I wanted was across the street), I walked 6th street and took a $2 mystery shot for fun, then I ran in to Eric (one of our openers) and we went to the capitol before going back to the venue.
It was a fun show. I had a really cool merch space. I met a couple who introduced me to the BEST vodka and in return I photobombed her picture with Jordy. Always fun. I loved Austin so much.
I don’t really remember much about this show. I think I was tired from my Austin adventures. I spent the show blogging in my personal blog about the last few weeks. I did have my very first in-n-out that night. I made the guys order for me so I would get the real experience. I can totally get on board with animal style fries.
This was a fun show. I was able to see a few familiar faces and I got to meet a few people from the world of social media. It was our third and final show with a band called Flor. Super sweet guys, I liked their music and I really enjoyed having them with us for the Texas dates.
GOOD NEWS – This is where I am getting sick of typing so my recaps are getting more brief! Thanks for sticking it out this far… of there is even anyone still with me.
April 4 – Lubbock, TXThis was a crazy town! We got there and this down was DEAD. I walked the streets and the only person I crossed paths with was a homeless guy. It was the night before Easter so we weren’t expecting a huge crowd. It is a college town so a lot of the students went home for the holiday weekend. It was a special show for the guys, because they got to meet two very special contest winners. The girls were as sweet as can be too. We hooked them up with some merch and then Jordy performed Shine on Me for the first time on tour for them per their request.
Here is where the crazy comes in…. after the show Lubbock was a party town! There was an awesome outdoor BBQ taco stand. All the spaces by the venues were bars. One bar had a go-go dancer, there were some with live bands, techno music, metal music, a little bit of everything! It really was wild.
April 5 – Travel New Mexico
This was a good day off. We did some traveling then we found a hotel with a hot tub and a pool. The guys noticed I had been acting weird and I had to explain to them I was just fueled by some PMS. Definitely a downside to being the only girl. We had a great night though. Just relaxing, enjoying the hot tub. We had dinner at a place across the street who had Easter eggs. That was a nice touch. The food was really good too!
We got to Denver in the early afternoon. A few of the guys went off to hang out with friends locally. The rest were sick (i’m telling you, there was a plague curse thing on this tour). I took the opportunity to adventure out and see a concert! I had a blast! I loved the venue. The show was Kiesza and Betty Who, both artists I LOVE. I met some INCREDIBLE people too. It was a great night.
I was in Denver guys. I have always wanted to go to Denver, but I don’t think I ever would have vacationed there. The guys usually rest before a show, but I wanted to explore. So I went to a museum before we had to go to the venue. It was a great afternoon.
This was a great show! I saw some familiar faces of course. Denver loves their SKW. The line was forming before we even got to the venue! We had a fan ask their girlfriend to the prom during the show. We had a local opener with an awesome merch set up that I totally geeked out over. Phenomenal show, wonderful evening!
Remember the plague? Well it hit Big Red really hard. The guys were feeling the effects as well. Big Red stayed in Denver to go to the Doctor. The band all flew out to get some rest at home. We had to cancel our next two shows which really upset them. I was bummed to miss out on seeing those cities too. Since we had an unexpected break and I was kind of in limbo they did something really special for me. That night they put me on a flight to Vegas so I could have a vacation for real! These guys spoiled me!! I spent the day in Denver before my flight making my plans. I decided to spend two days in vegas. I had a few MLife comp rooms at MGM and Mirage that I could use. Then I decided to spend the weekend in San Francisco. I had a lot of planning to do so I could tourist it up when I got there instead of figuring everything out.
I had so much fun in Vegas! I stayed at the MGM Grand the first two nights. I slept in and took my sweet time getting ready. It was my first time truly alone in a little bit. It was both weird and relaxing. I missed everyone for sure, but at the same time I wasn’t complaining. I left my room a little before 1pm and went to NYNY. Sat down at a lot machine and made enough to pay for lunch! I cashed out and went to Gordon Ramsay Burgr. It was incredible. I spent the afternoon walking the strip. Took a nap in the late evening and then went out again for a little more lot play that night.
If you are reading this and saw the band snapchat from vegas and thought they were having a vacation instead of resting, sorry, that was my vacation! I had another fun day exploring the strip. I had some good luck at blackjack and ended up breaking even for the trip.
April 11 – San FranciscoI LOVE this city! I got in around 11am. In the spirit of bucket lists and adventures I had booked two nights in a hostel. Once I dropped off my stuff I spent the day on one of the hop on hop off tours of the city. I ended up doing the main loop twice, then I did the night tour too. I still can’t get over how beautiful the city is. Hard to believe that people really live there and see it every day.
So Saturday was my general overview of San Fran. I went more in detail on Sunday. I saw Alcatraz which has always been on my bucket list. I loved it. I went and checked out some of the landmarks and neighborhoods in more detail. I spent a lot of time exploring Haight Street. I loved all the local businesses. People watching was prime too. I got some incredible socks too! My only souvenir all tour. I had chowder in a sourdough bowl and a penis cookie from Hot Cookie in the Castro neighborhood. That night I got to know my roommates in the Hostel a little more. It made me wish I had just one more day to get to know them better. I had a really good experience in the hostel for sure!
April 13 – Still San FranciscoThis was my favorite day of tour for so many reasons. In the morning Jordy and Justin picked me up and we met up with one of Justin’s friends. She was a total sweet heart. We had espresso at her house before venturing out to a fantastic local diner for lunch. We spent the afternoon walking around the city and we ended up in the park with a six pack, pug, and new friends. The weather was perfect and really everything about the afternoon was perfect. The show was a fun one. We spent time before the show making slow motion magic hat videos (check their instagram). We had a super fun opener, Kiwi Time. They were crazy and a freakin blast! During the show Jordy performed an acoustic version of Wait for Me. It was the first time they ever did it. They have only released it in Europe, I love it. I was able to meet a few girls who I have been talking to on socials for a few months. I didn’t get to talk to them as long as I would have liked though. I learned when I drink at shows I am a little slower breaking everything down haha. Definitely going to use my drink tickets earlier in the evening next tour. Hands down favorite day though.
April 14 – LA/ Santa BarbaraJustin had a rehearsal in LA that morning. We got about two hours of sleep at the hotel then I hopped in the car with him to explore LA while he was rehearsing. I never miss an opportunity to explore. It was a win win, because I was able to take the wheel so he was able to get some rest before the show too. I’ve gotta take care of my guys when I can! He dropped me off on Hollywood Blvd. I loved seeing all the stars and the handprints. I saw so much then haggled my way on to a bus tour of the city. I saw some landmarks and some celebrity homes. It was so great!
Santa Barbara was interesting. I want to start by saying I never got more than the two hours of sleep…. so it was going great! We went to this bakery in a little market by the venue and had this dessert called “The Thing” and something called “Cupcake Pudding” both just incredible. My snapchat videos from that are to funny!
After that we were all just hanging out and one of my friends from back home said something that just set me off. I was so upset and so I reached out to one of my friends from the high school days to vent. Venting turned in to a total breakdown. Y’all, I lost it. I was bawling. I tried to hide it, because I didn’t want the guys to think it was something with them or with tour. Unfortunately I passed Justin when I was going to the parking lot which lead to Jordy coming to find me. They were worried about me and they were so sweet about making sure I was okay. The problem is my breakdown was mostly sleep deprivation, so I didn’t really have an answer for what was wrong. It was a combination of so many things once I started venting. Plus I am better about talking things out the day after the breakdown. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to open up to them when they were trying to get me to talk it out, I just didn’t want to break down again and I didn’t have any one big reason to explain it. Ugh I was a disaster. Great show though!
April 15- LAI got to not only see, but work a show at The Troubadour. So cool! This was a bittersweet show. It was a home town show and the band was on fire. The room was filled with so much love from fans, friends, and family. It was unreal! It was our last show with Marc and Eric which was sad. They had another tour to join. I enjoyed working with them and selling those funky t-shirts. It was also the last show night in California. I loved my time there, it was sad to see it come to an end.
April 16 – Venice Beach and Malibu This day was just as perfect as that Monday in San Fran. I told you Justin was my adventure buddy. We spent the day with him showing me the beautiful California coast. The weather was perfect. We saw sea lions and whales. We went on a little trail then he took me to a few cool spots off the beaten path. That afternoon we met up with the group and spent some time in Venice before going to film something for Snapchat. (Look for it on discover. It is going to be so cool.) After Snapchat we parted ways. Justin had a gig that he was staying back for and Jordy had some business to take care of too. The plan was for them to just fly out to the next date. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way. The last five shows were cancelled. I am still so sad that that was our goodbye. It was too soon. It just killed the guys to cancel the dates too. Remember the plague…yeah. It was our curse. It was for the health of the guys that we called tour a wrap early.
April 17-20 Travel
The last few days of tour were a blur. We were headed east and north. Our next show was in MN. On our way back east we stopped in Vegas for six hours. That was a lot of fun for me. I got a comped breakfast and made a little money. Unfortunately everyone in our group wasn’t so lucky. I really don’t remember much about that weekend, I slept most of it. I was really accustomed to sleeping in the sprinter at that point. Eventually it was conformed that the MN show was cancelled and we changed out gameplan. Getting to Ohio was so bitter sweet. I got to see the studio which was pretty cool for me. It ended up being my bedroom. It was sad though, because I wasn’t ready for tour to be over. Health ALWAYS comes first though. These guys would do anything for their fans. They truly love the butterfly militia and thankfully their fans are understanding and forgiving. I reached out to a lot of the people whose show was cancelled, understanding how upsetting it can be. It is a really great group of people. I really really hope I will be with SKW when they revisit those cities, I have some people to meet!
Tour was incredible. I hope that you enjoyed my recap. I hope that I was able to share enough for you to get a taste for what it is like on the road. There are some hard times, but the good times outweigh those days. I get a smile on my face every time I think about what I just did. I am so thankful that these guys adopted me in to my family. It is a wonderful group to be a part of! These guys are hilarious and they have the biggest hearts. They are passionate about their craft and I want them to succeed so badly I can’t even explain it. I can’t wait until they are healthy and have the support they need to hit the road again!
If you are reading this and you aren’t a fan I hope you are intrigued enough to check them out and catch them next time they are on the road. This is an exciting year for them as they continue to grow. They are doing incredible things in Europe right now and personally I am keeping my fingers crossed to see them in the Fall.
I want to end with a few thank you notes-
Thank you to my friends and family who encouraged me to chase this crazy adventure and who supported me along the way. Y’all are amazing, truly! All of the likes, comments, and other ways you supported me meant the world to me. Thank you for giving me the courage to go on this adventure.
Thank you to all the amazing people that I let along the way. I wish I could name everyone who had such a positive impact on my tour experience. I loved getting to know each one of you and hearing your stories. I loved the drinks shared, the dances danced, and all of the fun times at each show. You made each show unique and I can’t wait to see you all again one day!
If you are a SKW fan, thank you for your support. I hope I got to meet you on the road, if not I hope I will meet you one day! Continue to share their music and your experience with them or with the album if you haven’t seen them. It is critical we keep the US Butterfly Militia growing while they are taking over other parts of the world. We have to give them a reason to come back!
Finally if you are part of the SKW family. Once again, THANK YOU! People say all the time that a band or artist changed their life. It is hard to top the way you changed mine. From the first time I saw you in DC until now my life has been changed for the better. You have brought so much love and positive energy in to my life. Y’all are some of my favorite people and I am so thankful to call you my friends and family. Thank you for adopting me. Thank you for taking a chance on this crafty little Navy Wife from the East Coast. Thank you for being candid with me and letting me in to your lives. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to live my life the way I want to live it instead of living it in a way that is expected of me. Thank you for making sure that I just had one of the best adventures of my life. I really hope that it won’t be the last. I am so proud to have played even a small part of your journey so far and I hope that I will continue to have a part of the future both with SKW and in “real life”. Thank you so so much.