No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Be More Kind

June 8, 2018

Frank Turner

Be More Kind

Living in Key West, it takes quite a commitment to constantly have to travel to attend things that most of the country takes for granite, and while the expanding musical offerings are a welcome addition to our island there are still some things that just don’t make it here and thus if you want to attend you need to plan for, travel to and basically make sure they are worth the effort.

Four Simple Words

I tend to be much more discriminating in what I will travel to see and which concerts, plays, movies or sporting events are worth it. This week I made the decision sort of at the last minute to travel up to Orlando to attend a concert featuring Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls at the House of Blues on a Sunday night. It involved a 6.5 hour drive each way, a couple of nights in a hotel and getting up well before the crack of dawn on Monday to get back to Key West to go to work.

There are not a lot of bands that I would be willing to make that sacrifice for and even though I had previously purchased tickets, I was on the fence right up until the last minute on whether to go or not. I decided to go and am so freaking glad that I did because it turned out to be one of the best shows that I have seen in ages.

I have seen Frank Turner three times previously, twice at festivals (Coachella and Lollapalooza) and once at the Double Door in Chicago and I am a big fan of his work and his high energy live shows, but even though I sort of knew what to expect, I was happily surprised at just how freaking great the show turned out to be.

First there were some real quality opening acts including the Homeless Gospel Choir, the Menzingers and Lucero. Each of these artists were radically different, but all share a common love for performing and they all put on really great opening sets. Lucero was especially good, playing their entire new upcoming release, “Among the Ghosts” straight through before adding a few of their older songs to close the set. It was a cool and brave move as no one in the crowd had heard any of these songs, yet they pulled it off and the crowd was really in to it. I know I will be picking up a copy when it comes out in August.

The Menzingers


The main attraction of course was Frank Turner and his band the Sleeping Souls. On tour in support of their latest release, “Be More Kind”, Turner and the band played an amazing set full of old hits and some awesome new stuff. Turner is British and comes from what can only be described as a Folk-Punk background. He is hugely popular in the UK and much of Europe, but has never really caught on here in the USA other than a very strong cult following.

His shows mostly sell out here, but they remain in smaller venues like the 2000 some seat venue that is the House of Blues. Personally I much prefer the intimate venues rather than the expanse of stadiums like Wembley where he plays in London. The crowd tends to be a mixture of his more punk era fans and newer more moderate fans who like his quieter acoustic stuff. Turner is one of the few musicians who has this sort of crossover appeal.

Make America Great Again

Slam dancing and crowd surfing is pretty common at his shows, even Frank himself participates, but at the same time he admonishes the crowd to not be assholes and not to ruin their neighbors having a good time in their excitement. Somehow it all works and the show is an exciting, energetic sing along with the devoted fans. It is a pretty intense experience that is truly rare in most concerts.

The show featured a full twenty-three song setlist and lasted a full two plus hours and was truly remarkable. The energy, skill and enthusiasm of Turner, his band and the fans was a fusion that created about the perfect setting for a rock and roll show. I am so freaking glad I made the trip and encourage you, if he plays anywhere in your vicinity to go see this guy.

Be More Kind

Bang, Bang, I am the Warrior

June 5, 2018

Patty Smyth

Lazy Dog Crew

Bang, Bang, I am the Warrior

Kathy and I are really products of the 80s, Somehow, that decade has had the most lasting impact on each of us, certainly when it comes to our musical tastes. We rarely pass up an opportunity to revisit that era if a band that was popular back in the day happens to come around. The Key West Theater has done a pretty good job at bringing bands from that era to Key West and it happened again the week after we got back from Indianapolis when the band Scandal with their lead singer Patty Smyth played here.

Ironically I was never a big fan of Scandal and had never seen them perform live, even back in their 80s heyday. We were both certainly aware of their hit songs such as “Goodbye to You” and “The Warrior”, but I really was not even aware that they still existed until I saw the announcement that they were coming to Key West. As a lover of 80s music and a big supporter of the Theater, I thought what the hell, let’s take a flyer and get tickets.

I got seats at our regular spot up front and pretty much forgot about it until the show date approached. Sadly there were not many tickets sold and I am guessing the total crowd numbered around one hundred, which is too bad because it was a really awesome show. It was almost like getting your own private concert and the band and Patty Smyth proved why they are still touring after all these years.

I am not sure how many original members are still in the band other than Smyth, but really she is the heart and soul as well as the voice of the band and she still sounds fantastic. A seasoned performer, she is also a great storyteller and told tales ranging from their heyday in the 80s when Jon Bon Jovi was briefly a member of the band to current stories such as how her college age daughters feel about her being a rock star ( they love it).

It was yet another great evening at the Key West Theater, which it just so happens is under new management as Rams Head Live has officially taken over as the new owners. Kudos to Michael Marrero, Tap Johnson and all involved in creating such a wonderful venue in Key West. Michael has moved on to become the Director at the Tropic Cinema, which is a great fit and the management of the Theater has passed into the capable hands of Kelly Norman who will guide Rams Head into a bright and exciting new chapter.

Being back in Key West and the fact that we hit a beautiful patch of perfect summer weather means that we love getting out on the water when we get the chance and thanks to our friends Martina and Jen, we had a chance to spend just about a perfect Key West day boating.


You could not have asked for a more perfect day to be on the water, it was absolutely flat calm and the visibility was incredible. We headed out the NW channel to Cottrell Key where we donned our snorkel gear and plunged into the clear azure water. The snorkeling was fantastic, visibility was pretty much unlimited for the area we were in and there were fish and sea creatures a plenty.

The coolest thing we saw was a huge group of nine or more southern stingrays, including a couple that were absolutely massive in size. There were plenty of other fish, lobster and other fun creatures to see as well and huge groupers and stingrays even surrounded the boat as we were leaving, including the spotted eagle ray that I got a couple of surface photos of.


We headed over to Woman Key to join the crowd at the isolated beach there and to enjoy lunch and some liquid refreshment as well. It was crowded as expected, but not uncomfortably so and it was wonderful lazing around in the sandy beach nearshore waters. A fairly magical day, thanks so much to Jen and Martina.

This week also marks the twentieth anniversary of Lazy Dog Outfitters. It seems like just yesterday that our friends David and Sue started Lazy Dog. Dave moved on leaving Sue to build the business into one of the iconic businesses in Key West. They do so much for the community that I really wanted to show up at the bar stroll party they were having to celebrate their achievement. It started at the Conch Farm and though I could not do the entire stroll, I was at least able to say hello and congratulate the Lazy Dog crew.

Finally I had the great privilege this week to be asked by my friend Renee to photograph her and her daughters in her team USA uniform. Renee has qualified for the US team in the World Triathalon event that will be held this summer in Denmark. She has been training like crazy and wanted some photos with her girls as they will not be able to travel to Denmark for the competition. The photos were taken at sunset at Ft. Zachary Taylor and turned out pretty good. We are proud to be able to call Renee our friend for nearly thirty years and proud of her accomplishments. Wishing her the best this summer.