Belated Tour Wrap Up

Hey Folks. Two weeks ago we returned from an 11-day West Coast tour. We realize that we’re incredible slackers whilst on tour as far as blog updating goes; However, we will try our best to piece together some highlights for you:

Firstly, we’d like to thank Tim Marcus for taking off a week of work to come on tour with us. This was our first tour with Tim who is an amazing pedal steel guitar player, and an extremely hilarious and knowledgeable dude. We learned quite a bit from him about how mushrooms and American Bison will one day save the world.

Thurs. Nov. 1st. To kick off the tour, we played 12 Galaxies in the Mission with Matt Bauer (SF/NY), Shortstack (DC) and The Parson Red Heads (LA). Musically speaking, we were really excited about this bill. The night felt relaxed and was paced well. Matt Bauer’s set was haunting and captivating, Shortstack picked things up with their loping, jangly, rustic sound, and the family band, The Parson Red Heads, rounded things out with their psychadelic folk pop. Our set included three new songs that we’ll be recording over the coming months.

Friday Nov. 2nd. The Pearl Lounge in Eureka, CA. We played with Strix Vega, and Side Iron. Both projects include former members of beloved Que La Chinga. We always have a good time at the Pearl. They give us free drinks (which includes Great White beer!) and the crowd is always nice and rowdy. This was our third time playing the Pearl Lounge and definitely our most successful night at the venue. The place was packed and we noticed that there were people in the audience who were singing along to our music. Thanks to everyone who came out, especially to Graham and Elizabeth (and the belly), Mullaney, Curtis, Damion, Chris, and Kyle. We had breakfast at the Wildflower the next day. They have amazing local honey and the Marvelous Muffin is just that - marvelous! The drive up to Portland from Eureka is something everyone should see. The redwoods and the ocean views are truly magnificent.

Sat. Nov. 3rd- The Tonic Lounge in Portland, OR. This place is divey - REAL divey. Neon signs, wood paneling, mozzarella sticks, and the distinct smell of smoke and stale beer. One great thing about the place? Their taste in music. They book great bands and the sound was surprisingly wonderful. We shared the stage with Drunken Prayer, and our BFF’s Bark, Hide, and Horn, This show was a lot of fun. We love coming to Portland. We recognize that most people in the crowd are either artists or musicians themselves, or at least are truly there for the music. People really listen- and DANCE! Thanks to Andy, Brian, Dusty, and Peter from BHH for being awesome and getting on stage to play our last song with us. And then later for inviting us on stage to help sing “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac. Also, thanks to Paige, Jessie, and Leon for putting up with our antics. Our Jesse is real sorry about the broken lamp. Thanks and love to the Chabots and Yona and that girl doing that very involved photo-shoot in the park.

Sun. Nov. 4th- Healthy Times Fun Club, Seattle, WA. I think collectively our favorite thing about this night was Grr, the dog. He is a full-sized poodle with polar bear paws. He gives doggy-hugs by putting her face in between your knees and he looks sort of fake - like one of those old-timey stuffed animals with the wooly hair. Rebecca and Jake were our amazing hosts at this basement live/art space. They made us burritos and opened up their whole living space to us for the duration. The show was intimate - it being a small space. But the people who were there were incredibly attentive and supportive. Alex lost his voice the night before at the Bark, Hide, and Horn house singing Michael McDonald songs at the top of his lungs, so we improvised - Matt, Julie, and Lindsay took over some of the leads and it worked out OK. Thanks so much to Daisy and her roommates for housing half the band and for generally being awesome. Thanks to Scott McChane, who opened the night with dark, dreamy folk, and to MiniVan, an acoustic duo just coming home from a five-week tour. These guys were captivating. They used mics on only a handful of songs, and pranced around the room with their guitars, singing tight poppy harmonies, and occasionally beating a drum with maracas or whatever they could find. The next day we went to brunch at the Coastal Kitchen. They do a rotating regional menu every few months and this time, they were featuring food from Basque. Julie and I (Lindsay) split crawfish crepes and French toast with dates, figs, custard, and pistachios. It was pretty freaking great.

Monday Nov. 5th- Someday Lounge, Portland, OR. This venue is fairly new and is the sister endeavor of brothers Kris and Eric Robison. Their first business located next door is called backspace - a cyber/gaming café complete with vegan prepared food, coffees, and a live dj. The cool part about playing this venue is that we got a discount on food, free gaming (Matt got computerface from many free hours of Portal playing), and we could generally relax in there with friends before the show. They also have a shower! (not that we used it, but we COULD have used it). Our soundcheck was long and slightly chaotic, however when we eventually played, both the on and off-stage sound were really great. We shared the night with The Meredith Brothers Band (who have a member in common with Drunken Prayer, with whom we played at The Tonic) and The Clampitt Family. Thanks to Erik Clampitt, Jessie and Andy, Yona, and everyone else who made our Monday night feel more like a Wednesday or Thursday.

Tues. Nov. 6th- The Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA. The Tractor is a pretty well-known and respected venue in Seattle, so we decided to pull out all the stops and put on the best show we possibly could. The set order was switched at the last minute, which was kind of a bummer since we had some friends coming out, but there was a healthy audience to hear us. We shared the night with local artist Carrie Biell, Dax Riggs (formerly of Deadboy and the Elephantmen), and Beaten Awake. Carrie put on a great show - she has a heart-piercing raspy twang, and her lyrics are poetic, but accessible. Dax Riggs is a creature all his own. Coming from a punk and metal background, he has matured into a rock/blues style, but has still managed to keep the metal aesthetic apparent in his lyrics (lots of blood and death), and his fanbase (lots of black clothes). His voice is unlike anything we had ever heard. Love it. Thanks so much to the Sam and Ben from Ghosts I’ve Met for hanging out on Wednesday and for introducing us to some people at KEXP (and for sharing that weird blue cheese, potato, and jalapeno concoction with us. You saved us from our impending digestive doom). And also thanks to members of Conrad Ford and family April and Molly, Jordan, and Andy, for coming out, housing/feeding us, and carting us around town.

Wed. Nov. 7th- ABC House, Olympia, WA. We had been hearing about the house show scene in Olympia for some time, so we booked a show with Margaret at the ABC House. This show was weird, but fun. Apparently there were a host of other events going on as well as an anti-war protest happening on this particular night. We shared the night with two other acts - one guy singing songs on his ukulele and a really cool/trippy cello and violin duo making odd sounds through distorters as a live soundtrack to projections of shapes cut into old film. It was really cool and made me wish I were into psychedelics. Our crowd was “intimate” and extremely appreciative. We had a little jam session with our host Margaret at the end of the night, and then a little jam session the next day at the New Moon Café (they make their own homemade blackberry jam, and we were pounding it.)

Thurs. Nov. 8th- Stonehenge, Eugene, OR. Picture a college party house with its dingy furniture, empty beer bottles and food containers, bongs and pipes, mountains of dirty clothes, and lots and lots of college-aged people milling about. That’s Stonehenge. They put on basement shows almost every week and usually bring in some pretty impressive acts. On this particular night, we shared the stage with Muke, a local girl/guy duo and World’s Greatest Ghosts from Portland. The crowd was really great. They were really into it. One guy was playing along on his acoustic, trying to figure out the songs on the spot. Thanks to Jim, Rebecca, Ben, and Katie (happy 7th!!) for making the trip out. We actually ended up crashing at the house….it was interesting. In the living room there are two huge spiderwebs complete with gigantic house spiders. Some of us had to sleep in this room. I slept in a room with a broken window. There was one of those dirty clothes mounds on the floor, so I just stuffed the window with some jackets. Oh college…

Fri. Nov. 9th- Crux Arts Collective- Chico, CA. This day was probably the most grueling drive-wise, so when we pulled up to the Crux Arts Collective, we were a bit road-beaten. We had heard good things about the live music scene in Chico, but it was still early and seemed slightly deserted. The Crux is a really interesting venue. It’s also an art gallery and artist collective. After the live music, they hosted a 48-hour art-making event, open to anyone with a paintbrush. We assume lots of coffee and other substances (like soda and cookies) were probably consumed to help keep the creative juices flowing. We got tacos next door, read the paper, and snoozed in the car until the show started. Around 8 PM, more and more people started filing in. Local bands Sleazy Earl Ray and the 2 Drink Minimum, and the Shankers book-ended the night. Thanks so much to Brian Kreb and Christy for coming out to the show (and for buying up our merch!).

Sat. Nov. 10th- The Prospector, Long Beach, CA. What a quirky venue this place is. At first glance, it looks sort of like a sports bar with hokey cowboy paraphernalia on the walls, but like The Tonic Lounge in Portland, this neighborhood spot comes to life at night. The staff was wonderfully accommodating and the sound was pretty decent. We played with Jessica from Deep Sea Diver (solo set) and Greater California. Both bands were incredibly interesting. Deep Sea Diver is sort of like moody pop, and Greater California plays surfy, folk-pop with amazing harmonies. Go check out these Long Beach bands!! Thanks to Matt’s friends Greg and Lindsay and Greg’s parents, and to Julie’s pals Leah and Chris for coming out and housing/feeding us.

Sunday, Nov. 11th- The Robins’s (Alex’s parents’ house) Del Mar, CA. So after lots of back and forth between San Diego bookers and bands, it turned out that we could not get a show together in Alex and Matt’s hometown. We decided to take advantage of the fact that Alex’s parents are awesome and suggested we play in their living room. Alex’s mom invited neighbors, friends, and family, and some of Matt and Alex’s friends who happened to be around came by for this impromptu show. Also our friends Parker Street Cinema, an awesome instrumental band from San Francisco who also happened to be on tour in Southern Cali, showed up for the show/party. Before the party, we relaxed and watched America’s Next Top Model, where for half of the show Tyra Banks talks about how great she is. Julie and I relaxed in the hot tub while the guys went out to see Darjeeling Limited. The show was pretty laid back. Julie played the piano and Jesse stripped down his kit. We played a mellower set and the carpeted warm room lent itself well to our adapted sound. Afterwards we had drinks and food, and everybody basically cleaned us out of merchandise. Thanks to Amy and Mitch Robins, and everyone who came out!

Monday, Nov. 12th- The Echo, Los Angeles, CA. When we arrived at the Echo we still weren’t sure if we were actually on the bill or not. We originally booked the show with a local band that had to drop the show at the last minute, however they assured us that we were, in fact, on the bill. We showed up and the sound guy told us that four other bands were scheduled to play that night. The thing is, we had like 30 or 40 people headed to the show. We found a Performer Magazine that happened to be sitting outside the venue. We flipped to a blurb on us with our LA show listing and showed it to the sound guy and he called the booker. It was all very strange. Eventually we got confirmation from the booker and were granted a 25-minute quick and dirty set. The other bands on the bill included The John Walter Johns- an experimental/improvy group. Their singer stood in back, and their drummer sat in front. They had a bassoonist, and other odd instrumentation. They gave out their CD, which consisted of about 30 or so minute-long songs (more like sonic ideas). Before they played, there was a solo act. I forget his name, but he sang to beats and played one song on guitar. At one point he put a Louis Vuitton scarf over his head and sang a cappella. Later in the night he went around asking if anyone had seen his Louis Vuitton scarf. Weird. The headliner was a bluesy/garagy duo called Restaurant. The lead singer had an incredibly raspy New Orleans twang. They were pretty captivating. Thanks to all of our friends and family who came out. Especially to Matt’s dad and and Lori for putting us up and feeding us, and sis Autumn for being our t-shirt model.

--Lindsay and Or, the Whale

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