Photo by Sarah Gianetto

Philadelphia—Last night’s gig was at Soundgarden Hall in the City of Brotherly Love. Here’s what it was like, hour by hour:

12:30 p.m.: After a night of about a thousand mini heart attacks with every bump on the road as I tried to sleep, my blanket falling halfway out of my bunk and onto the floor a few times, and almost falling off the edge twice myself, we have arrived in Philadelphia. I am hungry. And I want a cheese steak, along with everyone else, except for Colombia native, KhoMha, who doesn’t knew what a Philly Cheese steak is.

4:30 p.m.: While Markus throws on a track suit and takes his bike on the town to fulfil his Rocky fantasy, I take my “Boy Scout shower,” as he instructed, in order to conserve water after a leak left us potentially low.

6:00 p.m.: “No peppers, no onions,” KhoMha finally decides for his order.

“Where’s your Latin spice?” I ask.

“It’s in your music, huh?” another crew member asks.

His accent only makes his answer more perfect: “It is inside of me.”

10:50 p.m.: The media circus that is Markus Schulz stops to check out his merch booth on the way to the green room. The hosts—a husband/wife team—are incredibly hospitable. Now, relaxation. Sort of.

“Every time it’s quiet for a second,” says Markus, “I’m worried that the sound has gone out.”

11:30 p.m.: I check in with contest winners for the meet-&-greet and lead them through the kitchen where artist and crew had earlier gorged on cheese steaks during sound check. (KhoMha had loved his first cheese steak, and I even got him to eat one with onions in the end. Make that, his first one-and-a-half cheese steaks.)

As they wait for the fashionably late man of the hour, the meet-&-greeters chat amongst each other. Overheard: “I have to smoke weed just to deal with med school.”

Soundgarden Hall is an over/under BYOB venue. Bring alcohol, buy mixers. I thought the over-21 section would have zero kandi raving going on, but I was wrong. (And by the way, why am I at a full-blown rave on a Thursday?)

1 a.m.: A lone partier starts asking me better interview questions than I can ever come up with, like, “What do you think about being surrounded by people with different states of mind?”

“What is your state of mind?” I press back.


“And how do you feel about that?”

“If I weren’t confused, I know. But, you have a very calming aura about you, and talking to you makes me feel less cracked-out.”

Actually, I hear that a lot. From sober people, too.

2:00 a.m.: I return to the merch table for the “rush,” having been told by many that they didn’t want to carry stuff around all night. My ears are ringing from my 15 minutes on-stage, but I can still hear their orders for Unicorn Slayer and World Tour tees. No, we don’t accept credit cards, but we will. No, we don’t have trinkets, but we will. The tour is building momentum in many ways, just wait…