It’s Day Two of two Dispatches From The Road in a row — with a twist.
While this occasional feature is usually an opportunity for a local act to send the Atlanta Music Scene a “post card” before a homecoming performance, yesterday Janelle Monae and Daddy A Go Go “penned” a “How I Spent My SXSW” after their big music weekend in Austin.
And today, Ansley Park rocker Butch Walker has gone all Zagat on us – offering up travel picks, based on his recent tour stops, before he and His Gang of Merry Musical Melodymakers hit the Variety Playhouse stage tomorrow night. (And the 40 Watt Club in Athens three days later).
Already have your ticket? Picked up his latest CD, “Sycamore Meadows”? In no way surprised that “Here Comes The…” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s singles sales chart earlier this month?
Then you’re probably a fan, who will (hopefully) enjoy the following:
Toronto: This city is one of my favorites in the world. The art, the culture, the architecture. It’s like New York, Miami, and Berlin combined. This is a broad answer but you can’t go wrong with Queens Street. It’s got an amazing gallery scene, awesome bars and restaurants (Reposado: a tequila bar and Sweaty Betty’s located right off of Queens St.) And my favorite hotel to stay at is called The Drake. (They also have a popular restaurant/bar and club below it, so you sort of have to be selective about when you hang there, but it is real close to your bed and that’s always nice). This city is the coolest city America doesn’t own.
Chicago: Probably my favorite American City, especially in the midwest. The architecture is through the roof. Some of the most beautiful Art Deco buildings and history are on the Miracle Mile. Michigan Ave is cool if you want more high-end shopping but I prefer to thrift it up, and there are tons uptown around North Clark Street and West Belmont Avenue. Plus, I have a bar in Chicago that I’m part owner of called Angels and Kings (we have one in NYC also), so I drink there for free. My favorite guitar shop is The Chicago Music Exchange. It’s like a high-end boutique hotel for vintage guitars. Over-priced? Yes. Do I give a crap? No. It’s awesome window shopping, if nothing else. I spend my P!nk money on guitars there. Wooha..
Grand Rapids: I gotta say this has been a dead-end town for me as far as anything outside of playing amazing shows for amazing fans, but now this has changed. There’s a new venue in town that is also a coffee shop called Mixtape. Yep, like the song I wrote from my Letters album that I put out a few years back. In fact, they named it after it. They contacted me online and said that they were fans and wanted to know if they could name their new establishment after the song. I said ‘yes, and I also would like to play there’. Life is pretty cool sometimes. Definitely check it out if you pass through the area. It’s a cool spot for indie bands to play.