Summer 2013 Tour – First Blood

…from the Manhart logs, July 2nd, 2013. 


…And silence settles over the land.  The Silver Bullet rumbles to a stop outside my house, and I pick up the last few pieces of trash and luggage that were left behind and take them into my house.  I feel a bit tired, but also energized with a sense of accomplishment.  8 gigs in the books out of a 13-gig Summer Tour, and overall it’s been a great trip!


We were unable to play any shows in April and May because Trevor was rocking the bass at the Lincolnshire Marriott’s production of South Pacific.  Not to mention, Devin got married in May as well!  Congratulations to Devin and Jacinta!  It was quite the busy couple months, but we were definitely ready to get back on stage once June rolled around.



St. Louis, MO – 6.6.13

First show – a brand new venue called The Demo in St. Louis.  This was in a cool part of St. Louis called the Grove.  From what I understand, there were a lot of gay bars on this strip, and I think there were also a lot of biker bars.  Seems like an odd mix, but what do I know.  Maybe they were gay bikers.  Anyway, we definitely dug the area, and can’t wait to go back!




I especially enjoyed the funky fire hydrants they had:  IMG_0491









and the sweet bike rack:IMG_0494





Anyway, awesome show, awesome venue, we played with some awesome bands… good times!


Kansas City, MO – 6.7.13


<—and then this happened.  Dancin Ricardo, my new best friend in KC!  You should’ve seen this guy’s moves.  Seriously.  It was borderline scandalous at times.  Video HERE


We played at the Riot Room, which was very cool.  The Westport area of Kansas City is nuts.  We tried to grab food at one place and there was a line out the door and a break dancing battle going on inside.  The place we finally did end up eating at was also packed, and there were a trumpet and trombone player playing directly outside all night.  It was awesome.




Omaha, NE – 6.8.13

What’s up with the weather in Omaha?!  I swear to God, it’s rained every time we’ve played there.  The show was great, though.  We played at the Barley St. Tavern as part of the Omaha Entertainment Awards.  It was awesome!  We met some great people and made a bunch of new fans.  We’ve been getting some great responses in Omaha.  What can I say, Omaha is always rainy and awesome.



After we got home, we started our “Makin it happen with the Cap’n” press campaign!  I attached postcards featuring our tour dates and copies of Equinox to boxes of Crunch Berries cereal, and shipped them to music critics and DJs all around Chicago.  I was banking on the idea that no one can resist opening a package of that size, so all these people would HAVE to see the name “Molehill” along with our tour dates.  It’s all about spreading awareness, folks!


Shelbyville, IN – 6.15.13

We played the Hearing Aide Festival in Shelbyville on a beautiful June Saturday.  The forecast called for rain, and things were looking a bit dark, so we were nervous about the gig.  This was an outdoor festival, so we parked the Silver Bullet directly behind the stage for a quick pack up job in case it started raining.  Thankfully, the clouds parted and it ended up being a great day!  Outdoor shows are always tricky, but apparently this was the start of a lucky streak for us.


Chicago, IL – 6 Corners BBQ Fest – 6.16.13

The next day, we played at the 6 Corners BBQ Fest in Chicago.  First ever Chicago street festival, woop!  It was a fun new experience, I started getting more used to not being able to see the LEDs on my guitar pedals, so I couldn’t tell which ones were on or off.  Good times.  The show went well though, and afterwards I challenged Amanda, who played violin on that gig, to a BBQ eating contest.  I’m not sure which one of us was the winner… in hindsight, it was a pretty terrible idea.


Libertyville, IL – 6.21.13

Mickey Finn’s is always cool.  Always feels good to rock some faces back in my hometown.  The sound guy, Brad, kept talking in his “tranny voice” during sound check… it was pretty amazing.  We’ve been imitating it ever since on the road.


Chicago, IL – Green Music Fest- 6.22.13

2nd Chicago street festival!  This was awesome, what a great location!  There were great bands playing all weekend, tons of people, great food, what more could you ask for?  We played great and made a bunch of new fans, and plenty of our old fans and friends came to see us as well!  The Blackhawks were playing game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final that night so, unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to grab any of the delicious-looking festival food after our show.  I had to run to the nearest bar to catch the game.



Mansfield, OH – 6.28.13

This was our second time in Mansfield, and it was very interesting – we had 2 bands cancel the day of the show!  One band’s drummer’s wife gave him the ultimatum – “me or the band!” – ouch!  We’ve definitely been there before!


Anyway, Planet Rock in Mansfield was cool as always.  We love the owner and all the patrons.  Highlight of my night was jumping off one of the 4-seater tables in the middle of I’m Okay.




And that’s that!  5 more shows to come, and then yours truly gets married as well!  It’s marriage season, folks!


So we are back in Chicago for the 4th of July, but in one week we will be loading up the Silver Bullet once agaIMG_0518in to head out to the East Coast.  So until then, thanks for tuning in, and we’ll see you at the next show!





-The Heat

Spring 2013 – Recap- Part I

…from the Manhart logs.  March 11th, 2013


Well, that was fun.


After taking 2 months off to hibernate, write new songs, and have a crazy drunken Molehill merchandise photo shoot, we got back to playing shows.




photo(2)First, we played Subterranean in Chicago on Friday, February 22nd.  This was a great show, though we got in a bit of trouble with Officer Corchoran for putting up posters on abandoned store windows.  After a brief, intense interrogation period, and after we took the offending posters down, he was nice enough to give us back our IDs.  No messing around on Corchoran’s beat!



MILWAUKEE – 3.1.13

Lisa told me earlier this week that Mercury was in retrograde.  Apparently, this means that everything’s about to go wrong.  Thanks Mercury…dick.

Now, let me start this by saying that I love Milwaukee, probably more than most people.  Milwaukee stands for 3 things that I love in this world – cheese, sausage, and beer.  In fact, other than the Green Pay Packers, I think I love everything about the state of Wisconsin.  Especially cheese curds.

BUT playing in Milwaukee has been difficult for us, not sure why.  I don’t know what it is, but it’s just been tough to build up a following.  This particular Friday, we were playing with two other very cool bands, but the crowd in the bar wasn’t really paying attention to either of them.  Devin told me before our set that he wasn’t feeling the crowd… yeah I’m not surprised, that first band kicked ass and they got the quiet golf clap after every song.  By the time we played, there were about 12 people in the bar – 4 of them were our friends, the other 8 were the members of the other 2 bands.  We still gave those 12 people the best show we possibly could, but it wasn’t the most fun drive back home that night.  These, friends, are the lows.  Better than one of the other Milwaukee shows we had, where at one point the only 2 people in the crowd were my sister in law and the sound guy…. I guess.


 LIBERTYVILLE – 3.2.13photo

The next night, we returned to my hometown of Libertyville, Illinois.  Libertyville’s always been good to us, but Mercury had to come F this one up as well.  We played with 2 other great bands, but there was a huge miscommunication amongst the bands, and we didn’t end up starting our set until TEN MINUTES BEFORE THE BAR CLOSED!!!  You’ve gotta be kidding me.  I was sitting backstage the whole time, getting progressively more and more amped up.  “Okay, we WERE supposed to play for 1 hour, but it looks like we have to cut 2 songs <scratch, scratch>… shit, looks like we’ll only have 40 minutes, couple more songs <scratch, scatch> WTF SOUND GUY TELL THESE GUYS TO STOP PLAYING, ONLY 20 MINUTES!!!  <scratch, scratch, scratch>. ”

The band before us was very apologetic.  They had been told they could play for 1 hour, 15 minutes.  If you add up the times every band was told to play, plus changeover time, that would add up to a nice 3 hours and 40 minutes.  Funny, there were only 3 hours of open bar time available for the bands to be playing. Thankfully, the bar let us play past closing time, so we got a nice 23 minute set, and dammit if that wasn’t the best (and only) 23 minute set we’ve ever played!!photo(3)

Afterwards, we came home, and I attempted to keep Greg awake with beer from Mickey Finn’s and the movie Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.  He did an admirable job staying up.  But I had some serious adrenaline keeping me awake that night, so that made me the guy taking the picture…




photo(1)MUSE 3.4.13

The following Monday, the 4 of us went and saw Muse at the United Center.  I took a cab from work to the bar where we met up, and I told my cab driver that just about everything had been going wrong for me lately.  He said “you’ve got to just keep on going.  Every minute, you can make things better, that’s what life is.  The only people who can’t say that are the ones who won’t live past this minute”.  I said, you know what man, I think I’m gonna turn things around right now.  Things have been off lately, but I think I’ve taken my hits, and now it’s time to bounce back!

Needless to say, Muse was incredible.


We played a live set on in the afternoon.  Very cool.  People from other offices at the Ohio Center for Broadcasting complained that we were too loud, so we had to cut our set short – rock and roll!

Then, that night, we played Mansfield, OH, at Planet Rock.IMG_0339

We had never played Mansfield before.  First thing I noticed – the venue had a huge goalpost at the end of the parking lot.  Somehow, I think that’s a good omen.

The show was great.  The sound was great.  I won’t lie and say there were a lot of people there, but the people who WERE there were awesome.  We got a fantastic response.  We’ve played shows at crowded bars in front of 300 people before where nobody gives even the tiniest shit about the band that’s making them have to yell to be heard by their drunk friends.  If I had a choice, I’d play in front of 20 people who are really into the music rather than 300 people who don’t care every single time.  It makes a world of difference.  Mansfield, while maybe not so high on quantity of people, was definitely high on quality of people, and that’s what’s important.  We can’t wait to go back!

COLUMBUS – 3.9.13

We drove back to CIMG_0343olumbus on Friday after the Mansfield show.  First time we’ve ever stayed at the same hotel for 2 nights – pretty sweet!  The next day was super relaxing – as opposed to Friday, where we loaded and unloaded the van 3 separate times in the same day.  Saturday, we got to have a relaxing breakfast, and we even had time to go see Zero Dark Thirty for $1.75 at a second-run theater in C-bus.  That night, we had a fantastic show at the Scarlet and Grey Cafe in Columbus.  Great turnout, all the bands kicked ass, great night overall.  A couple people we met in Mansfield the night before even drove out to see us again in Columbus.  Awesome.  This was possibly the best show we’d ever played in Columbus.  We got a great response from the crowd, and had a great time.  We all had a good feeling about this night from the onset, hence Greg’s sweet bass warmup in the green room before showtime…

The Silver Bullet’s check engine light had been going on and off all weekend, and the van started making a pretty disturbing thumping noise on the drive back to our hotel… No bueno.  Thankfully, the noise eventually stopped.  This was the one unhappy moment of my day, really.

BACK HOME – 3.10.13

After 4 hours of sleep, we hopped in the van and drove to the Waffle House, then back to Chicago.

IMG_2207After 6 hours, a time-zone change, and daylight savings time (bastards), we finally arrived back at our place in Chicago.  I was incredibly relieved that the Silver Bullet made it the whole way without dying, and I decided to celebrate with some delicious beer and 5-year aged gouda.  Note the determined look on my face while I try to slice up that cheese.

It feels great to be back, and it feels even better to be back after a successful tour!  We were feeling great after the Subterranean show, then pretty low after Milwaukee/Libertyville, and then feeling great again after Ohio.  Trevor said on the drive back that he’s glad this band is made up of people with positive attitudes.  I don’t think it would be possible to keep going if we had anything else.  I said to somebody over the weekend that I think the people who are successful in music are the ones who can keep getting back up after being shot down.  It’s about repeatedly banging your head against a brick wall until you finally get through.  Well, this is certainly a band that can keep doing that!  I must say, though, it’s a lot easier to handle when you end on a good note!

Until next time,

-The Heat