Day 11: Rochester, Sled Dog Studios

Mike’s unparalleled ability to sleep deeply and untroubled by external disturbances filled the Techtonics (and Yellowjackets) with plentiful amusement this morning. Twelve ravenous TTs (and a bunch of Yellowjackets, feeling equally morning-after-the-night-before) were bundled into the cars after a customary slow start, enroute to today’s destination: a brunch generously hosted at David Longo’s Sled Dog Studios.

Jo Vinson told us “I just want everyone to feel really, really full!” – and she held true to her word. In a scene not unlike Jesus’ Feeding of the Five Thousand, an apparently bottomless brunch of (amongst others) the finest home-cooked bagels, cupcakes, American bacon, muffins, scrambled eggs and waffles that we’d had all tour left the Techtonics and Yellowjackets, joined by Rochester Institute of Technology’s 8 Beat Measure and Musae, in need of a long digestive nap.

But the nap never came, as Dave whisked us downstairs to the basement for a tour of his state-of-the-art, brand new recording studios. The more tech-inclined amongst us struggled to avoid drooling all over all the fantastic gear and acoustically treated rooms, whilst the musicians contented themselves with listening to an extract from RIT’s new album on the studio’s speakers and David Maguire found himself unable to resist drawing a large Union Flag-cum-Techtonics logo on a wall of the basement in coloured marker pens.

To compensate for what must have seemed like a small nation invading the quiet suburbia near Rochester, we performed a quick rendition of “I’m a Believer” to Sled Dog’s neighbours, then bid goodbye to the studios before driving over to RIT’s campus to sing a joint outdoor gig in their quad. We were about to head over to our next port of call on the other side of Rochester, but the Sled Dog team very generously invited us all back over to a barbeque dinner. A fantastic afternoon ensued, including several hilarious games of “Cards Against Humanity” and relaxing in the studios listening to a cappella groups on vinyl, picking the Sled Dog producers’ brains on a cappella engineering. Jo yet again delivered in her trademark style – with dinner in not only quantity but quality – huge amounts of quality steak, spicy chicken, macaroni cheese, and beer [for those over 21] left us amazed at SD’s kindness and goodwill!

But all good things must come to an end. Thankfully, the following stop was no step down in quality – with our fantastic hosts Juli and Andy; Miriam and Rich; Pam, Libby and Caitlin, and Gary and Chris welcoming us as if we were long-lost relatives. We stayed up for a couple of hours, made our introductions (after which Juli and Andy were peer-pressured into guessing all our ages) – and, after nights of sleeping on floors and couches, we were all very glad to get back to warm beds!


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