As his former project, Lydia, began to disintegrate in the summer of 2010, guitarist Ethan Koozer relocated from Arizona to the Garden State, collected a few friends along the way, and began conceptualizing the early line-up of New Jersey’s latest indie outfit, gates.
With the January 2011 release of their six-track EP entitled, The Sun Will Rise and Lead Me Home, Kevin Dye (vocals/guitar), Ethan Koozer (guitar), Dan King (guitar), Mike Maroney (bass), and Dan Crapanzano (drums) caught the attention of Rival Schools, Catch 22, Jaguar Shark, and former The Movielife and I Am the Avalanche frontman Vinnie Caruana, earning gates an opening slot on several east coast tours.
By August of 2011, gates was ready to embark on their first headlining tour, weaving through the Midwest on their way to Lincoln, Nebraska and back during their two and a half week stint.
The following is an exclusive photo diary constructed by the members of gates during their recent summer tour:
We decided that standing on the beach of Lake Michigan in Chicago was as good of a setting as any to take a photograph with all five of us in it. The boat and the seagull just happened to fly into the frame as this photo was snapped.
This is our guitarist, Ethan, at Lake Michigan.
We arrived super early for our first show of the tour, so we typed “park” into the GPS, found our way to Danbury Park, and played a few rounds of frisbee. This ended up being the go-to option when we would get anywhere ahead of schedule. I swear, we really did play shows on this tour!
We spent a total of over 48 hours of drive time on the road during the tour and another 48 hours or so hanging out in the van when we had down time between sets. Luckily, our van had some pretty sweet amenities, including mood lighting, pull-down shades, and a “leather” scented air freshener Dan purchased at a truck stop.
Lincoln Lake – Lincoln, NE:
Ethan is originally from Lincoln, Nebraska, so when we got there, he took us to Lincoln Lake for a relaxing afternoon before playing in Omaha. We hung out, drank some Jeremiah Weed, and enjoyed the fresh air. Overall, the weather couldn’t have been better on this tour.
Load-In – The Zoo Bar:
This shot was taken in the alley behind the Zoo Bar in Lincoln, NE, a venue that was kind enough to host our show after the original venue we booked unexpectedly flooded due to a water main break. We went from waking up that morning with a hole in the calendar, to playing one of the best shows of the tour.
After playing a show in Worcester, Massachusetts, we drove for hours through the darkness and stayed at a new friend’s place way up in the mountains. The foggy drive out the next morning was beautiful.
Kevin’s hometown of Detroit yielded another great show. This was another case of an early arrival and subsequent street strolling. It was pretty interesting not knowing what to expect from the shows each night; either we were dead-on, or completely surprised by the outcome. On our way out of town, we stocked our cooler with Faygo before heading to Kalamazoo.
We nabbed a skateboard in Lincoln and shredded every city thereafter. Skating provided an alternate way to get to the closest liquor store, gas station (to stock the van with cough drops and beef jerky), or kill some time before a show.
Surprisingly, our van made it through our two and a half week tour without any major breakdowns. Life on the road was a little cramped at times, especially when packed with five people and all of the things we picked up along the way, but we made it work. When we step into the van for a ride now, it feels like home.
Special thanks to Kevin Dye for the commentary!
Photo Credit: Mike Maroney