PropertyOfZack Road Blog : : Mansions (Update II)

by Zack Zarrillo - Mar 25, 2012

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From Chris Browder:

Sxsw 1: we finish the drive and arrive at the gypsy lounge for the top shelf records showcase. I’m immediately overwhelmed by how many people we know are there, try to talk to everyone but there’s just so many. We take some cool promo photos, robin and I walk into the shit to get some kimchi burritos and hang in the Hilton lobby, just like old times. Go back and get some hanging in before we play, the room is tiny and packed and awesome and we sound like a rock band. Hellogoodbye plays in their undies, we get to sleep at 4.

Neversaynever fest: we wake up at 6 to drive to mission, overtired always feels worse than I remember, I drink about 20 caffeinated drinks, the fest is hot and dusty, mostly screamo bands, I’m convinced no one will watch us, our merch and van are right next to we are the in crowd. We play and people actually watch, dan from young statues is filling in on drums and he sounds great, but its hard to hear anything because the hardcore band on the stage next to us is louder than we are. Oh well, its fun and we wear sunglasses and kids are really nice and responsive afterwards.

Sxsw 2: sleeping in feels better than ever, robin and I go to target for like 3h and it feels great to do normal things, at night we play at mellow mushroom and it is so much fun and every band we’ve ever met is there, including my bb’s in now now and slingshot Dakota. We go to a diner with them afterwards and eat nachos and it feels great to catch up.

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PropertyOfZack Road Blog : : Mansions (Update I)

by Zack Zarrillo - Mar 21, 2012

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Mansions are out on tour with A Great Big Pile Of Leaves and Young Statues, and Chris Browder will be keeping us up to date on the tour with a new Road Blog. Check out the first update below and be sure to come back in a few days for a SXSW recap!

From Chris Browder:

Let me start by saying that Young Statues and AGBPOL are both ridiculously good and some of the nicest most genuine people we have had the pleasure of touring with. Here we go:

Brooklyn - Knitting Factory: stressful, 4am practice the night before, first show with Tyler from AGPOL on drums, he slays it, lots of friends in attendance, great time

Asbury Park - Asbury Lanes:  venue doesn’t look like much from outside, we go get dunkin donuts, inside the venue is totally awesome, we bowl and drink great tequila+tonics, everyone sounds great, we stay at Carmen from Young Statues place and stay up till 4 blabbing about whatever.

Philly - The Fire: I eat the best sandwich of my life down the street at Paesano’s, show sells out, it feels like we’re a real band.

Baltimore - Ottobar: Carmen’s family makes us incredible food before we hit the road, they are amazing, ottobar has cool secret green room, good cafe nearby, I heckle young statues from the balcony, we stay in swanky weird hotel for dirt cheap.

Day off: we pick up young statues trailer after their van catches on fire, go hang with our friend in Arlington, get Mexican food, drink hilariously large margaritas, do some trivia, get some sleep.

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PropertyOfZack Road Blog : : Mansions (Final Update)

by Zack Zarrillo - Feb 20, 2011

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From Christopher Browder:

The last two shows of the tour were thankfully pretty uneventful. We arrived early to Seattle, and spent the afternoon exploring the block around the venue, which was fun since it was a cool part of town. It’s always weird to pass through home while you’re still on tour, but this was especially weird since we had only been living in Seattle for a week before the tour, so it wasn’t quite “home” yet. But we found some cool record stores, and then the venue gave us some awesome and free pizza, so we started to feel more comfortable. A kinda alt-country band opened up the show, and then it was time for us to go on. After getting everything set up, Robin went to plug in her bass only to find that the input jack had fallen into the bass. So we had a moment on panic while we got a hold of a screwdriver and plenty of tape to make a temporary fix as quickly as we could. Then our set went pretty well, the crowd was reasonably attentive but intimidatingly hip looking. It was good to finally have our first new “hometown” show over with, and we met some good people after the show and had a good time overall. I’m excited to play in town fifty million times.

That night we got to stay at our apt, and then woke up early to run some errands and hit the road down to San Francisco. We split up with Jarrod and co. at this point and took our own car down, since their tour continued down south after San Fran, which was our last show. It was weird driving without them, and we quickly became aware of how used to Jarrod’s random and hilarious mutterings we had become. We will definitely miss driving with those guys. We spent the night a few hours north of San Fran and ate some good diner food for dinner.

Next morning it was on to San Francisco for an early show/recording at Different Fur studios. It was pretty weird, but awesome. Weirdly, I had never really recorded in an actual studio before. Like I’ve been in legit places, but they always happened to be in someone’s house or basement or wherever. So that was immediately intimidating, both for me and for Robin, since this was her first tour on bass. Plus, for this live recording session, 25 people got to come watch live in the studio. It was a great idea, especially as an all-ages thing since the show that night was 21+, but the kids were so polite and attentive that it was extremely nerve racking. But I think we played reasonably, and hopefully we will release the audio sometime soon. Kids seemed to have a good time, and we sold some stuff and got to hang out with some old friends and the dudes from our label. Then it was on to the real show, which was in this awesome old bar with awesome food and a great vibe. Packed house and a really good response, maybe the best show of the tour, so it was a great way to go out. We had a delicious breakfast with Casey from our label and his girlfriend the next morning, and then sadly we had to get on our way back home. All in all, this was one of the easiest and most fun tours I’ve ever been a part of. Hopefully we can play with Jarrod again sometime soon, and I can’t wait to do a full-band tour with drums and everything. These songs are gonna be a blast to play. Thanks to everyone that came out to the shows, and those of you who read my lame descriptions of them. See yall dudes soon!

PropertyOfZack Road Blog : : Mansions (Update II)

by Zack Zarrillo - Feb 10, 2011

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From Christopher Browder:

Our first time in Minneapolis was bizarre but cool. The venue was one of those places that have a big main stage and a smaller upstairs stage area. Our show was in the small area, and Buckcherry was on the main stage. Hilarious. Them and their tour package had four buses and a semi, while we are in our one shared van haha. So there was a ton of Ed AHardy affliction t-shirt guys around, which was bizarre, but the venue had super nice workers and awesome food and good drinks and a good vibe. Our set went well and kids reacted nicely, and then I got kinda in the dumps as I often do after singing sad songs for 40 minutes, but I recovered quickly enough. Packed house and they ate Jarrod up, then off to the hotel before two days of driving hell.
 
I’ve had my fair share of frightening winter drives on tour before, but this drive from Minneapolis to Portland was easily the worst tour drive ever. It started off ok enough, with powdered snow blowing across the road, then turning a little slushier, and then was full on white knuckle conditions by the time I was driving that evening. But we made it to the hotel in North Dakota ok, ordered some pizzas, and tried (unsuccessfully) to find jersey shore on the tv.
 
The next day started with more of the same conditions, but quickly got worse and worse. After driving most of the day, Jarrod pulled over at a coffee shop to let Chad from To Write Love On Her Arms take the wheel. Chad started driving us back towards the freeway and came up on a red light. However, the ice wasn’t in the mood to let him stop, so instead we slid directly into the car in front of us. No one was hurt and the van want messed up too bad, and honestly, if we were going to get in an accident, then a 15mph love trap didn’t seem so bad. We felt awful for Chad (and Jarrod), but it was still pretty funny that in the five minutes Jarrod wasn’t driving, we got in a wreck.
 
So Jarrod drove the rest of the way, through some pretty bad parts with like ten inches of snow and semi trucks skidding of the road, but we took it slow and made it the rest of the way without incident. I don’t think I will ever do a northern tour in the winter ever again.
 
So finally yesterday we made it to Portland, and it felt so good to see clear and dry roads again. Jarrod had made up some hilarious raps, we loaded in, and then went and ate some great Mexican food. The venue was this really cool place that was kinda like a house inside, and there was a really good local opener. It was a really quiet and attentive crowd, which is great, but also kinda scary and intimidating. We adjusted the set a little bit for the quiet environment, and it went alright. It always feels weird doing the yelly stuff in places like that though haha. Jarrod had a pretty classic opening monologue while he set up, I think kids probably thought he was wasted or something, but no, he is just hilarious. We met some cool kids after the show, and then hotel and sleep, rinse and repeat. We got to sleep in for once, and now we are on our way to Seattle. It’ll be our first time playing since moving to Seattle, so it should be pretty fun. Then just one more show before coming back home to twiddle our thumbs…

PropertyOfZack Road Blog : : Mansions (Update I)

by Zack Zarrillo - Feb 5, 2011

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We are big fans of Mansions over here at PropertyOfZack. That being said, we are thrilled to be launching our second Road Blog series with Chris while he is on a short run of dates with Jarrod Gorbel (of the Honorary Title). Enjoy what Chris had to say about his first few days on the road below!

From Chris Browder:

Right now I am in the back of Jarrod Gorbel’s van somewhere in Illinois on the way to Minneapolis. So far this tour has been probably the easiest of my life. We are sharing a van with Jarrod, his violinist, and a dude from To Write Love On Her Arms, sharing hotels, amps and guitars and basically just making things easy for each other. Robin (my bass player) and I flew out to Cleveland Tuesday night, lucky to be able to avoid the snow and make it in without too many canceled flights. Spent the night at a super nice hotel thanks to Priceline, and got picked up the next afternoon by Jarrod and the whole crew and headed to the show at the grog shop. I hadn’t played there in a couple years, so it was cool to be back and take advantage of the chipotle next door. It was also robin’s first show on bass, so she was nervous but it went pretty smoothly and it felt good to be playing again. We’re playing mostly new songs on this tour too, so its fun and weird to get to try out some new material ands hear what people think. Had some good conversations with some really nice people by the merch table, sold some merch, and had a very good time. Then we were off to the hotel for a good night’s sleep before heading to Chicago.
We usually stay in a hotel maybe once a month on tour, so this feels really weird and luxurious to actually have a bed and a shower everyday. Plus priceline keeps hooking us up with outrageous places. I kinda think there should be a different word for this kind of touring. It feels too easy to be tour.
We woke up and hit the icy and snowy roads to Chicago, which slowed us down but weren’t as bad as I had been afraid they might be. Chicago traffic was another story though, and we got stuck for like two hours. We played at Schuba’s, which was awesome. Perfect size, nice sound people, awesome mac and cheese, and a great turnout. Big crowd, but of course a big crowd mixed with acoustic bands equals lots of loud talkers, but whatever. I felt like we played real well and had a lot of fun hanging out. It was a late show, so we didn’t end up getting to the hotel until three am. The hotel was seriously the nicest place I have ever pooped at. It was extra weird cause it was huge and weird and futuristic and awesome and we were all half asleep not knowing what was going on, felt like a weird dream. Still does, actually. Snoozed, and now we’re back in the van. Its my first time playing in minnesota tonight, so I am pumped but already sick of this cold weather. But I must say, it feels surreal and awesome to be back in a van playing music again.

PropertyOfZack Road Blog : : Mansions (Final Days)

by Zack Zarrillo - Oct 16, 2010

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PropertyOfZack would like to thank Chris of Mansions so much for participating in the Road Blogs feature and we certainly hope he’ll be down to do it again sometime next year. Be sure to read up on the final days of his solo tour below!

From Chris Browder:

So after having a good day off at home in louisville, I headed up to Flint, Michigan. Somehow I had never even stepped foot in Michigan before, so it felt good to finally make it up there. I got into Flint in the early evening and picked up some coffee at McDonald’s before meeting the promoter at the venue, Woobie’s. The promoter had brought some pizza for me, which I gladly chowed down on while the other bands loaded in. That’s the best thing about touring solo-acoustic: load-in is pretty much nonexistant. I claimed a corner table to hold my modest merch set-up, and sat there while watching the other bands. First band was a young country band that reminded me of some bands I know in Louisville, pretty good. Second was a dude alternating between awesome Elton John covers and original songs with lyrics like “You’re not my girlfriend, just because I fucked you.” Interesting to say the least, but dude had a great voice. Woobie’s is essentially a bar, and as I took the stage it was nearing 11pm, so of course the bar crowd starting getting somewhat rowdy, which is never the best for acoustic music. But there was a good crowd of people watching me play and singing along, so the set itself went real well. I even busted out a cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” which sadly didnt go over as well as dude’s Elton John covers. So then the show ended and I went to spend the night at the promoter’s house. I was somehow exhausted, so straight to snooze for me.

Next morning I woke up bright and early to head over to Grand Rapids. I was in no particular rush to get there, but sometimes it feels good just to get back on the road, especially when you’re waking up in someone’s hosue who you dont really know. So I took the drive pretty leisurely, stopping at a bunch of rest stops for some phone-internet breaks. Then I got to Grand Rapids around lunch time, hit a Chipotle for a subpar vegetarian burrito, and then headed to a movie theater to catch a showing of “The Town.” The movie was great, better than I expected. I’m a big Mad Men fan, so it was cool seeing Jon Hamm in a different role. Then it was off to kill some time at Best Buy, which we call “The Arcade” on tour. Unfortunately no good video games on demo, but they had a musical instrument section that was surprisingly ok, they had this new roland synth I had been reading about. Then it was time to head over to Calvin College for the show. Colleges are always a big maze and finding the right building is usually impossible, but I randomly stumbled upon the right building immediately. Unfortunately, after that I couldn’t find the right place within the building, but the promoter tracked me down and brought me to the venue.  It was a cool kinda cafe type place. The opener didn’t show up, which was pretty much the story of this whole mini-tour, but that was fine with me. I got some good and free iced coffee and hit the stage. I was playing longer than usual, so I got to play a bunch of new ones and old ones, which was fun. Then I went and grabbed some Moe’s for dinner before heading over to the promoter’s house, where I was crashing. One of his roommates had turned 21 recently, so they were having a big party for it. After a slow start, people started showing up and the keg got tapped. I’m not exactly a social butterfly, but I did an alright job wandering from group to group trying not to look like that creepy weird guy wandering around alone haha. The kids that lived at the house were all super nice and inclusive, so I had a good time but snuck off to bed pretty early because I had to wake up at 7am the next morning to make the 13h trek back home to NC. The drive was good but long, and now I am writing this from the comfort of my couch. Thanks so everyone who came out to the shows, I had a blast. And thanks to zack for hosting these blogs and being patient with my forgetfullness. Full-band touring should start picking up in the new year, so be on the lookout!!

PropertyOfZack Road Blog : : Mansions (Day Two)

by Zack Zarrillo - Oct 9, 2010

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From Chris Browder:

So Tuesday morning I hopped in the car and made the trek to Louisville to play at skull alley.  I’m from Louisville but live in NC these days, but my family still lives in Louisville so its always nice to be back.  It’s always weird too though, since totally out of touch with everything going on in town, the music scene, etc.  But skull alley is one of my top 3 places in the country to play.  It’s a perfect size, good give, and the dude that runs it rules.  If you’re in the area you should definitely check out a show there.  The show itself was real cool, not a crazy turnout but plenty enough for a good feeling, especially since a couple groups had driven in from Tennessee.  I was opening for a band called Dark Dark Dark that is really cool and worth checking out.  Someone’s phone went off while I was playing with an Enrique iglesias ringtone, so that was pretty great.  All in all, it was great to get to play a nice intimate “hometown” show.

PropertyOfZack Road Blog : : Mansions (Day One)

by Zack Zarrillo - Oct 5, 2010

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I’m extremely happy to add Mansions to PropertyOfZack’s Road Blogs feature. Chris will be updating you all from the road on his mini-mid-west tour by discussing the shows, the food, and the travel right through the site. PropertyOfZack is a huge supporter of Mansions so be sure to read up and enjoy!

From Chris Browder:

So tonight was somehow the first actual show of this mini-tour, and it was in kansas city, MO at Record Bar. We played full band here with the get up kids last november, so it is cool to be back. When I first got into town, I made sure to swing by Oklahoma Joe’s, which might be the best barbecue in the country. It is a restaurant in the back of a gas station, and it rules. So after munchin a pulled pork sandwich I headed over to the venue pretty early to hang out with Josh from Popwreckoning, the music site putting on the show. Josh and the site are awesome and have been really good to us, so it was great to get to hang out for a while and blab and all that with him and his cohorts. Apparently both Deadmau5 and The Mountain Goats were playing in town tonight though, which sucks, cause obviously that hurt the crowd. So not a ton of people, but kids have been nice and I felt like my set went pretty well considering. Mostly new stuff, but some oldies thrown in there too.
Now I just ate a deliciously free pizza (sausage mushrooms green peppers) and am watchin this techno dude play, and then this band Poison Control Center plays, and they are meant to be pretty good. Supposedly they got to open for Pavement, which mustve been ridic. Then i’m staying with Josh before waking up early to drive to KY tomorrow. It’s gonna be a long day.