TOUR BLOG: Kiros (Week 2)

Under The Gun Review is excited to bring you the second of many exclusive Fall tour blogs today with an entry from Ain’t No Grave Records’ Kiros.

Currently out on the “Music With A Mission” tour, Kiros will be giving UTG readers exclusive access to their life on the road over the next few weeks, as well as details on their forthcoming Outlaws and Prodigals EP (Out September 27).

Click “read more” to view the group’s full entry and be sure to check back in a week for another installment!

Sept 6. Ada Oklahoma

The MWAM tour has the day off today, so we booked a ‘one off’ (also known as a ‘filler date’) in Ada Oklahoma.

We left out hotel at 9am, and about 10 minutes into the drive, the bus lost power and died on the side of the road. After waiting a couple minutes, we tried starting it again, and amazingly, it fired right back up. We drove to an auto parts store, and had our battery and alternator checked out and everything seems fine. We’re hoping it was just a loose connection. The next 5 and half hours of the drive are flawless, and we arrive in Ada right on time.

Tonight is all about seeing friends. Opening for us is band called Running from Tomorrow. Their lead singer is Justin Logan, who played guitar for Kiros on our last tour when our previous guitarist went home sick. We haven’t seen Justin since the end of our last tour, and it’s great to reconnect.

Caleb, the bassist for RFT reveals the fact he has a hairy back, so I compel him to let me rip a single Nair wax strip off his back in front of everyone at the show outside the venue. He takes it like a man, but for the rest of the night, whenever someone walks past him, they slap him in same spot. It’s bright red and bruised by the end of the night.

The concert is a blast, then we hit up an after party with a bunch of people from the show. This is one of my favorite things, because this is where you can actually have conversations with more depth, and get to know people.

Last time we were in Ada, I met a girl named Stacy who was playing with “magic the gathering” cards. I’d never played, so she offered to teach me. Chalk it up to beginners luck, or her empathy, but I won the match. I found out tonight from her best friend that 3 weeks after that show, she had gotten caught up with bad crowd, overdosed on laced drugs and died. He told us she was a huge fan of our band, and that she had wanted a t-shirt that night but didn’t have the money, so tonight we all signed a shirt to be placed at her burial site.

We leave Oklahoma for Texas. I lay awake for a while wishing I had said something that could have changed Stacy’s ending. I hate drugs for the way they waste and steal life. For the friends I’ve lost to drugs, both dead and alive, and for the the awful impact they have on our culture, our priorities, and our purpose in this life. I hope her death saves others lives.

Sept 7. Plainview Tx

I wake up in the parking lot of Wayland Baptist University, tonight’s venue. We are playing in their main gymnasium, and by the time I walk in, it’s already been transformed into a first rate concert venue. I hit the omelette station in the catering line, and accompany it with french toast sticks. No maple syrup, but hey, life’s tough sometimes!

They university has a free museum. I spend about an hour perusing the exhibits. This region of Texas produced Jimmy Dean (the sausage king!), a Miss America winner, and this university is home to The Flying Queens women’s basketball team, who have won more championships then any other women’s basketball team in history.

We spend the afternoon at the disc golf course. Jason and Daniel from Hawk Nelson come along and we teach them how to play. They learn fast, but Dan ends up having to climb the same fence a few times after he keeps throwing his disc out of bounds. Ryan gets bitten by a fire ant.

The show is great, with about 1000 people attending. After the show, we head to IHOP for food with friends, then hop in the bus and head for Sanger Tx.

Sept 8. Sanger Texas

Today will be the first day of us selling a brand new E.P.! It’s called Outlaws and Prodigals, and it has 2 songs from out upcoming full length, and an acoustic versions of 1 of the songs that I recorded in my home studio. The label sent us a good supply for sale at shows only until the official release date on Sept 27, when it will be available on iTunes etc. A runner takes me to the UPS store to pick them up, and I also stop at Walmart to get clean socks and T-shirts (both of which I’m out of. The night drives have made laundry opportunities non existent.)

Today is a big day for Jonny and Jordan, as family will be seeing them play for the first time, Jordan’s sister, Jonny’s parents and some friends are all in attendance tonight.

I would move to Texas for the BBQ. That alone is enough of a reason, and the beef brisket and home made BBQ sauce tonight is, no exaggeration, the best I’ve ever had. I try to balance eating as much as I can while still being able to perform tonight.

The room is packed tonight, and the crowd gives off a ton of energy. Our last radio single ‘Broken State’ is played a lot in this area, so there are plenty of voices singing along when we close with it.

After the show, Jonny’s parents are glowing with pride and excitement. It makes me really happy to see. All of us are so lucky to have the support we have. My parents have supported me since the beginning. At our earliest shows, it was sometimes my mom starting the mosh pit.

Tonight ends at Denny’s with friends and good conversation.

Sept 9. Killeen Texas

I wake up outside the venue. One of the first things I notice is how perfect the parking lot is for long boarding, and I add it to my mental check list to make use of it later.

I’m restless today, and I struggle to stay occupied, I even ride the slides in the children’s play area. Chik-fil-a for lunch is a delicacy to any Canadian who knows it exists. We did get a shipment of new tshirts in with a brand new design.

About 10 of us from the tour get together to talk about the bible. Benjah, a hip hop/r&b artist from Florida who is on the tour shares about pride and motives. We are playing for big crowds every night, and it can be easy to let that get to your head. I resolve to be grateful and humble that I’m here.

I make use of the parking lot on my longboard. Check.

Another great show! I’m going to try to word this right, because I love meeting people every night, but tonight had some overwhelming people who make it hard for me to not hide backstage (lets call them stage five clingers). Its exhausting to make it through the night.

However, it’s balanced out with great people too, like the associate pastor at the church who also happens to be a mechanic. He replaced our alternator and serpentine belt, spent hours on our bus and only had us pay for the parts. Or the great friends we went out to Rosa’s cafe and had burritos at after the show. Or this cool kid whose name I can’t remember, but we hung out for a while. And Autumn, who kept me company during lunch with tour stories from a traveling ministry her family used to be a part of.

I’m up to drive, and I get us the whole way to Longview Texas, pulling in at 6:30am. I’m asleep right after.

Sept 10. Longview Tx.

About 7 years ago I experienced one of the most memorable concerts I’ve ever been too. It was “the goo goo dolls” at the sold out Jack Singer
Auditorium in Calgary. The venue tonight reminds me so much of it. As I step onto the stage tonight in front of a packed house, I catch a glimpse of what being on the other side of that show must’ve felt like, and for me it’s a huge moment that I’ll hold onto.

Tonight is my favorite night of the tour so far. The venue, then crowd, the hang outs, chick-fil-a for lunch and supper. Everything is perfect. I think tonight was our best performance so far as well. Everything just clicked.

I’m sad to leave Texas. It’s fast become one of my favorite places to play.

Sept 11: Driving Day

A quick thought regarding todays date: 10 years ago, 3,000 people lost their lives in an unacceptable and disgusting act of terrorism. A tragedy for sure, and my heart goes out to the victims and their families.
That said, today almost 30,000 children around the world will die from hunger and preventible disease. It won’t be in the news, there is no memorial for them. 5% of the United States annual defense budget could wipe out world hunger and save every one of those kids. I’m not an activist with picket signs or a lobbyist, but my heart breaks over these numbers. I’m not saying don’t mourn the Americans who died 10 years ago this day, but I’m saying some perspective might make the world better. That and this link:

Today is a driving day. We are going from Texas to Colorado to see Tyler, our drummer, get married! To kill time, I play some xbox, read (I’m reading ‘the hunger games’ trilogy and loving it), and catch up on some sleep.

Sept 12: Estes Park Colorado: Off day, Tylers’s Wedding

I wake up in the mountains. The view catches me off guard as I step out of the bus doors into the light and see a panoramic view of the rockies. A perfect way to start today.
We eat breakfast in a restaurant attached to a gift store. We laugh about how we can’t believe people buy stuff from stores like this. Then a bus pulls up filled with senior citizens who file into the store, peruse around, and line up in droves to buy trinkets and memorabilia.

We head up to lodge where the ceremony and reception will be held in just a few hours. We get a few brief moments with the bride-to-be to say hi, followed by a brief rendezvous with Tyler. Tyler has been playing drums for Kiros since 2006, and this current tour is the first he’s missed. Jordan is doing an amazing job filling in for him, but it still feels crazy being on the road without Tyler. That said, todays event is more than a sufficient excuse to miss a tour! We play a quick game of catch up, before Tyler is occupied with final preparations. The rest of us decide to hike a mountain. We didn’t even make it halfway before the altitude and lack of oxygen defeats us, and we start our decent.

The ceremony and reception are perfect, and I’m thrilled for Tyler and Jessie. A perfect match. Highlights of the reception includes our table singing a rendition of “can you feel the love tonight” to coax a kiss out of the newly weds, an ice cream sundae bar, and some wild foxes that came right up to me on the patio and ate from my hand. We dance and hang out until the party ends, then relocate it to keep it going into the early hours of the morning.

James Shotwell
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