Under the sun in Costa Mesa, CA I’m finally getting some time to write this, as this is our first day off since setting off west earlier this month.  It’s always an interesting process of catching up with the rest of your life when you’re on tour – when you’re on the road, there’s a different sense of time, what seems like three weeks ago, really happened yesterday.  Time moves extremely slow and fast at the same time, blurring any sense of routine.  This can be an amazing thing, but when the backlogged emails surface when you have a time to breathe, there’s a couple of stutter steps on the way to resurfacing to your waking life.  It’s been the best tour yet!  So many wonderful people, old and new – we’ve been humbled by the new places we’ve played as well, also the diverse array of experiences have been pretty incredible, I’ll break it down for you…
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3/12 – Spokane, WA

We’ve never been to Spokane before, not really anywhere in eastern Washington for that matter.  So the first show was going to be a first in many different respects.  We played at Brews on Washington, a small coffee shop nestled in the downtown area.  We got a chance to explore around the area, and really got a sense of how large the city was.  There’s a sense of calmness there, and at some points it reminded me of a Norman Rockwell painting – a reflective and celebratory tinge.  We were hosted by our friends in The Terrible Buttons who always bring a massive performance and never disappoint with the energy that they bring.  We played to a packed and warm place, with the whirring traffic outside that laid out a comforting hum.  It was the perfect first show while on the vulnerable road.

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3/13 – Boise, ID

I’ll be honest, we have never really had that great of luck with Boise, ID.  For the last three tours, we’ve been cursed with last minute cancellations (one time due to “fear of rain”). Everything panned out this time, and we played at Grainey’s Basement, a punk rock venue underneath an Irish pub. At times I feel at home in venues like this, they always remind me of the places I would go before I was 21, they always have a distinct casual attitude and  you always know what you’re going to get right when you walk.  Loud music on the speakers, some dude with face tattoos, bathrooms you don’t want to set foot in, and shitty PA systems – it’s great.

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3/14 – Driving day

All I can really say is that we drove an insane amount of time.  We started in Boise and ended up in Denver that night.  Everything between the bookends of our starting and ending cities was great vegan food in SLC and very bizarre conversations.  The terrain was absolutely breath-taking, but always had an urgent feel to it, maybe because we were listening to The Hunger Games.

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3/15 – Boulder, CO

We picked up the rest of our band at DIA in the early afternoon, and then immediately set off for Boulder, CO.  Jessie and I went to school at Naropa University in Boulder, so this was familiar territory.  Boulder is beautiful place where time does not exist.  Each direction that you look, you will find gorgeous mountain ranges and naturopathic remedies and bead shops.  You will know the entire discography of Bob Dylan and Grateful Dead when you walk down the main drag of Pearl Street sung by many a dredded-songwriter.  We played at The Fox Theater on University Hill, which is wonderful venue with a ton of rich history of people that have set foot into the place.  We played with Ukulele Loki and it was our first show of a few with You, Me and Apollo.  The staff was wonderful and we have a great time returning to one of my favorite venues.

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3/16 – Fort Collins, CO

This was one of the busiest days on the road that I have ever experience.  Although it started out picturesque, with Tim, my good friend Lawrence and I hiking up Chataqua Park eating croissant sandwiches in the morning, everything after was a delightful rush.  We started at Radio 1190 at the University of Colorado, a place that dwarfs the hippie Buddhist school that I went to down the hill from there.  The performance was fun, and we answered interview questions in Haiku.  We burned down to southern Denver and played another in-studio at Colorado Public Radio.  We came into a magical studio where they usually host the Colorado Symphony and I would be lying if I wasn’t sweating in excitement and fear.  I was having nightmares of a string breaking during the airing, but alas, nothing happened. We answered questions in a roundtable discussion and made our way back up north to Fort Collins.  We played another show with You, Me & Apollo at a venue called Every Day Joe’s – a really spacious venue and volunteer run coffee shop.  The audience was amazing, and we had an amazing time playing.  We returned tired and happy to Boulder afterward.

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3/17 – Denver, CO

Homecoming shows can be nerve-wracking, it’s the time where you try to prove to your mom that you’re not just smoking pot and strumming chords in your bedroom and call it a “career”.  We started the day with working with one of my absolute favorite artists named Gary Isaacs.  We spent the day taking over Mama’s Diner and St. Marks for our photo shoot.  This experience was transformative.  The show did not disappoint.  We played at one of my favorite venues called The Hi-Dive, a really cool place on my old stomping grounds of south Broadway.  The show landed on St. Patrick’s Day which we knew would not disappoint, but in other ways that we didn’t anticipate.  The show was great, we played to a wonderful audience and with great bands, including Story  & Clark.  It’s always great and overwhelming to see old faces from a past life in places that you play, and it’s always interesting to see how they play into subconscious imagery in the art that you create.  Home always tends to me the best fodder for creativity.  The rest of the night expanded in a blur.  The streets were packed solid and you couldn’t help but be taken in by the wave of people, they would definitely find you anyways.  To give a few examples, between 12am and 3am, most of the band danced around the most macho guys we could find in the streets and Tim reenacted a scene from Dirty Dancing with a stranger.  We watched someone hanging out of a limo get punched in the face, and someone got thrown through a store window. Denver knows how to party.

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3/18 – Colorado Springs, CO

It was a bittersweet day.  We drove the band back to the airport and continued as a two piece down south.  We met up with videographer Kevin Ihles and had a video shoot on top of an extremely windy hill backed by a view of the beautiful Garden of the Gods.  We also got to perform another song in a church on the campus of Colorado College.  This experience was a ton of fun!  We played our final show with You, Me & Apollo at The Zodiac along with our friends in The Changing Colors.  We were met by a handful of wonderful friends that we’ve gotten to know after touring through the area a few times, and I was once again reminded of the beauty of travel and the sense of family and what different forms it evolves into.

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3/19 – Las Cruces, NM

This was the first time we’ve ever traveled this far south, and in New Mexico nonetheless.  I finally got a good sense of the arid landscape the intricate beauty that it possesses.  After a long drive, we were met by Thomas Thorp from The Pioneers of Prime Time TV, which is one of my favorite bands.  We played an intimate house show, that I was told was inspired by the series of house shows that I host at the Christmas Horse, which I found to be immensely humbling.  Thomas played a gorgeous set, and I joined him on kazoo for a song which was the first time I’ve ever played a kazoo at that!  After a ton of great conversations, we set off for La Luz.

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3/20 – Tempe, AZ

We woke up on a horse farm!  I felt that we woke up in a Cormac McCarthy novel (in the most optimistic way possible).  We were hosted by Thomas’s wonderful family and we got a time to survey the land for a bit.  Not to boast, but we sat on the back porch of the house and drank coffee and just stared at the wonderful canvas of southern New Mexico, I got visions of the old man that I wanted to become.  We left for Tempe, AZ after one of the most relaxing mornings yet on tour.  We got a chance to have lunch on the way in Tucson, AZ with my girlfriend’s parents at my uncle’s tamale shop, it was a crazy integration of family and it was the first tinge of genuine home sickness.  When we continued up to Tempe and played a great acoustic set in front of small, yet attentive audience.  There are some wonderful people in Tempe.

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3/21 – San Diego, CA

We set off for San Diego and after a long series of check points, we arrived.  We played at my new favorite venue in San Diego called the Tin Can Ale House.  All I can say is that this place has one of the nicest staff I have ever interacted with, we felt at home here immediately.  We played with two great bands called Tops and Pree, both on really long tours.  I would definitely recommend Tops, they play extremely catchy 80’s throwback songs.

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So there it is.  We’re rested again with clean clothes and we’re heading to San Luis Obispo in a couple of hours, and I will try my best to be more consistent with this blogging thing.  Thanks so much for reading this!  Please send us any thoughts and hate mail to alamedaportland@gmail.com.


 


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