Saturday, July 2, 2011

West Coast Tour Memories

***June 24, 2011 San Diego, CA Soda Bar***

we left LA around 3pm on a friday afternoon. not the smartest decision in the world it turns out. traffic stretched for miles and miles and miles but we were excited to be on tour so our excitement to play rock music in foreign towns trumped any annoyance traffic could encite. the key to the drive to SD from LA when traffic is horrible is to tell yourself "just make it to the coast". about 10 miles south of irvine, once you have the ocean on your right side and a nice ocean breeze blowing through the van, a peace with the situation settles in and the traffic becomes much more bearable. we passed the time in the van rocking to cassette tapes of slayer and metallica and talking about our plan to rock the hell out of this world, the jackass movies (which i passionately hate and jerry loves) and henry rollins' onstage banter. 3 and a half hours later we arrived at soda bar where a kind gentleman named joe showed us where to store our gear and poured us some cold draft beers. we had some time to kill before the show so we walked a mile to a pizza place near the kensington club and a dude on a bicycle tried to sell us some pot brownies but we declined; they were probably just real brownies which i would have loved but i have a rule against buying baked goods from shady looking dudes on bicycles. after pizza consumption, we went back to the club and played pool. i played horribly, jerry was a true pool shark. the show went off. the short eyes warmed the room up with their 60's garage rock (in a vein of black lips, black apples), gloomsday was a 2 piece with angular riffs and pop vocals, they reminded me a lot of LA's pity party. then we hit the stage and tore through our 9 song space rock set. the crowd seemed to eat up arizona state highway that night, maybe because of san diego's close proximity to arizona? maybe because of regilio's sonic landscapes? either way it was a success and a fine young man named mike came up to me after the show and told me it was good to hear a heavy band in the indie rock world for a change. grand tarantula took the stage next and gave their hometown crowd a rocking cap to their evening. jordan from GT is a great frontman, charismatic and confident. i went outside to load out and this cracked out lady with a cute dog was asking for change to make a call on a pay phone. do people use pay phones anymore? her dog kept trying to run down the street while she wandered in the club (looking for her crack dealer i'm assuming). then she eventually came out and set off her car alarm for 15 minutes. it was quite the spectacle and a good reminder that you shouldn't do drugs kids! somehow she got her dog in the passenger seat and took off. davin's cousin danny was at the show and treated us to burritos at his taco stand. i had the dragon salsa. we drove back to LA and got into town around 3am. night one was a success.

***June 25, 2011 Visalia, CA Cellar Door***

holy shit. not to insult any band we have ever played with but japan's buffalo daughter was without question the best fucking band we've ever played with. they sounded like gang of four meets brian eno's 801. people were freaking out including this one young man with a massive afro that head banged to them for an hour like he was listening to anthrax in 1989. i met buffalo daughter's dj/vocalist mooog and was completely entralled and inspired by him. he's been in buffalo daughter for almost 20 years, touring the world, playing countless shows but he sat and watched and filmed our entire soundcheck. his love for music was evident. we left LA for visalia around 4pm and arrived at 7. only 3 hours to visalia but almost 4 to SD, go figure. someone once told me that a glass of wine was good for your vocal chords so i decided to test that theory and have a couple glasses. the theory held up! my voice felt strong and UK's played with great confidence. white noise seemed to be the crowd favorite. i loved the venue; one giant wall was nothing but glass windows so while you're standing on stage playing, you can look out into the street and see people driving by or looking inside trying to scope out what's going on. we played our set to about 100 people in the fine town of visalia and they embraced us with a positive and loving vibe. i met two dudes from san diego that stood at the front of the stage the entire set, glad they made the drive and thank you for the kind words dudes. i encourage all of you up and coming and established bands to stop at the cellar door in visalia and play a show. it's nice to see a small town has successfully put themselves on the indie rock map by treating bands well, promoting shows and having strong attendence. after the show, we thanked aaron at sound and vision and headed to our hotel in fresno where we set up home for 2 days.

***June 26, 2011 Fresno, CA Fulton 55***

fresno is a hot place to exist on this planet in the summer months. i tried to beat the heat by going to our hotel's pool but there was not any shade to be had so i went next door to the days inn pool and read a book for 10 minutes before a hotel employee kicked me out. yes, i was kicked out for reading a book. we all had dinner at tokyo garden, soaked in a little light jazz in fresno's arts district, and then loaded in to fulton 55. johnny, the venue manager, was a super cool dude that took good care of us. the mallard was a two piece band from san francisco (had one former member of Rademacher). i loved their set, it reminded me of a lot of bands that are getting attention these days like cults and sleigh bells, i can see them doing well with their clean reverbed out guitar lines and 60's inspired pop vocals. they are a brand new band so i'd expect to hear a lot from them in the next year or two. quiet americans were a solid classic indie rock band full of capable musicians as well. thanks to eli for putting the show together. our set was sandwiched between the two local bands and the people of fresno took a trip on the space rock train with us. i was really surprised that people embraced us so much on this tour. i figured we'd get a splattering of applause here and there simply because we are a brand new band to each of these cities, we don't have a record out that they know, we're from out of town, but people seemed to dig the UK wall of sound and "get it" immediately. someone shouted "i loved that song" after we played "radiation burns" and that made us all smile and super confident going into "white noise" and "sleeping underneath the covers". thanks for that extra bump of love whoever you are. after the show we hung out with johnny and the dudes in quiet americans and the two kids in the mallard for a few drinks before heading back to the hotel to sleep.

***June 27, 2011 San Francisco, CA Kimo's***

the drive to san francisco was relatively painless. jerry is sponsored by craviotto drums and we were going to try to swing by their factory located in watsonville (near santa cruz) but time didn't permit us to do so. we'll have to stop by on the next west coast tour. after arriving in SF around 3pm, we walked a few miles to north beach for some italian sandwiches at a restaurant owned by a pittsburgh steelers fan, judging from all the memorabilia on the walls. there's something intangible that i love about san francisco. the fresh air is amazing, the hustle and bustle of packed sidewalks is energizing but there's some other quality that i can't quite put my finger on about SF that makes me love being there. kimo's is a pain the in the neck to load into. you have to carry amps, drums, guitars up two flights of stairs, not to mention that finding parking in SF is no easy task. we lucked out and got a spot for the van right outside. the bartender gave me a free shot of jameson. thank you! regilio's brother, cousin and friends came to the show and we gave them the best damn space rock show we could. we ended our set with "white noise" and then had the task of loading out down the stairs again which wasn't as bad going down as going up. jerry's friend took us out for pizza at victor's next door. he even ordered 3 sandwiches to go which we devoured the next morning.

***June 29, 2011 Portland, OR Doug Fir Lounge***

the doug fir lounge is fucking awesome. the floor near the back bar is lit up from underneath with an amber color. it reminded me of the sidewalk michael jackson walked down during the "billie jean" video. the decor inside makes you feel like you're in a cabin, high in the mountains. we had the night off the previous night so we were well rested and ready to rock Portland. to add a cherry to the top of our proverbial sundae, we played the doug fir with our good friends in good night billygoat. good night billygoat consists of nick woolley (my former band mate in The Front), david klein and corey nelson. to start my day, i went for a 5 mile run from nick's house to the venue shortly after eating a massive breakfast burrito. i'm not going to do that again. we had a solid soundcheck and shortly after doors opened the venue filled up. we had been closing our set with "sleeping underneath the covers" but decided to switch it up and play "white noise" last. the last song we soundchecked was "sleeping underneath the covers" and like an idiot i forgot to put my guitar back into standard tuning before we went on stage so as i strummed the initial chord to start "sea bells" a horrible noise came out of my amp and i was completely confused. quick thinking jerry roe mouthed to me that i had forgot to retune and he thus saved the day and i just didn't play that one wrongly tuned string for the rest of the song. these are the kind of secrets you get to know by reading our blog, don't you feel special? we blistered through the rest of our set playing new songs "comets", "said you'd never" and "sympathetic/pathetic". the security guard for backstage came up to me after our set and told me he was sick of hearing indie pop shit and was happy to be working for the first time in a long time. thanks kevin, i appreciated your pat on the back. good night billygoat was amazing, per usual and the show was an overall lovefest. afterwards, we had a few drinks at the upstairs bar before eating at sizzle pizza on burnside. then i sat by this campfire with my friend nick and we talked till the doug fir closed.

***June 30, 2011 Seattle, WA Crocodile Cafe***

the crocodile has a lot of history. nirvana played there. the melvins have played a ton of shows there. the venue was a center piece for the grunge movement in the 90's. it was pretty awe inspiring to get to play this place. we arrived in seattle from portland around 4pm and loaded into the venue. having a couple hours to kill, davin went and checked out the first starbucks coffee shop ever and then we all walked down to puget sound to get a view of the sailboats and city skyline. we ate pizzas at the back bar attached to the crocodile and watched music videos from silversun pickups, interpol and red hot chili peppers (the cool video where they're all painted in silver). i kept trying to figure out what channel we were watching that never showed commercials and showed only music videos. the bartender explained to me they have this special computer video jukebox that is basically like youtube and you just set a playlist and it plays all the videos for the songs you choose, it was pretty rad. we shared the bill with good night billygoat again, the glass notes and the great um. thanks a ton to the great um and glass notes for playing with us, hope to see you dudes soon. before we went on stage i could sense "last show of tour" energy from my bandmates. i thought we all played our most energetic show of the tour in seattle. the sound was spot on and "sleeping underneath the covers" sounded live that night just like i imagined it would sound in my head. "white noise" was as epic as it is suppose to be. thanks to the people of seattle for embracing our heavy space rock. thanks to jerry streeter for coming out and supporting us, good job getting the job at the new studio buddy! thanks to good night billygoat for being amazing artists and human beings. we hope to be back in your town very soon. we are currently plotting our return. see you next time.

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