Tour 3: Spring 2010, Western US Tour (1)
In Boise, Boise is pronounced Boy-See. Not Boy-Zee. Remember that. Saturday after our amazing Seattle show, we drove 8 hours to Boise to a show at the Bouquet. The Bouquet is a cool place that we played last time we came through town. It has a great stage, awesome sound equipment, and a massive selection of mixed-whiskey drinks. I don’t really drink whiskey of late, but the other guys in the band were trying concoctions all night. We played a good show to some very receptive fans.
Boise is home to one of our favorite couchsurfers, Michelle. She hosted us last time and we were stoked to hang out with her again. We also made a new friend at the bar that night, Lauren the bartender. After the show we all went back to her place and had a hot-tub party on her roof-top deck. It was awesome to relax after the show with friends in the hot tub. The night was capped off with a 5 am trip to Beto’s for burritos. These burritos are extremely cheap and extremely big. I’m talking $3.50 for a massive, arm-sized burrito of your choosing. Good times.
Hello all of my Achachillians! I write to you from a lovely coffee shop in sunny El Paso. Last night was the first night of the tour and it was a great start to our 2nd west coast (western US) tour. Our first show was at the Deadhorse Saloon in San Angelo, Texas. It was our second time playing there and we were happy/excited to be back. We opened up for a popular local band called Bugota. There were a few familiar faces in the crowd from the last time we played (which is always nice) and we ripped through a 70 minute set. It felt nice to be back on stage after not playing together for about 3 weeks.
So after the show it was time to find a place to sleep. We typically can get away with couchsurfing in most places we play, but unfortunately San Angelo doesn’t have a couchsurfer community, so we were forced to ask around at the bar. This time around we couldn’t find any takers– the most popular response being “my old-lady is really strict about that sort of thing…”. So it was up to us to find some where to sleep. Luckily Jordan brought two tents with him this time, and everyone was game to find a camp ground for the night. After driving through some fairly spooky terrain outside of San Angelo we came across a state park. We decided the safest thing to do would be camping out right in front of the welcome center, so as to not piss any park rangers or other authority figures off. It was clearly a permit only situation, but at 3:00 am we couldn’t give two shits.
I should take this moment to introduce the newest addition to our group: Amanda the merch-girl. That’s right, the three road warriors have welcomed a new member to the fold for this tour. Her name is Amanda Shaftel, and she is a friend of the band who volunteered to come on the road to help us sell merchandise. She’s a trooper as on her first night with us, she was subjected to a night sleeping in a hot tent (and yes it was FUCKING HOT).
Anyways we all tried to sleep the best we could, all of us expecting to be accosted by some random vagabond or park ranger/cop at any second. Personally I slept for possibly a grand total of 90 minutes, finding the heat and my own paranoia unbearable. We managed to make it until about 8:45 am before a stereotypical mustached and southern-drawled park ranger asked us for our camping permits. Luckily we explained that we had arrived too late to register, and he didn’t give us any gruff as long as we would leave or register.
Hell of a first night! I’m running on a ton of caffeine and a giant Mexican torta right now, but I know I’ll be crashing at some point. The fun part is we don’t have a place lined up to sleep tonight either! Yeah! Well, until next time folks…
Our time in Carbondale started with flashing lights and the local authorities. Apparently bands aren’t supposed to park in the street to unload. Ryan said in passing “This is just where most bars tell us to park to unload.” The officer then asks sarcastically “And where are these bars?” I proceeded to name off the 29 cities we had played and parked at in the past 6 weeks. Then I walked off to keep from getting thrown in jail for running my mouth…. The officer fortunately ended up giving us a warning and after our little brush with the law Carbondale was awesome. There was a birthday party at the bar so spirits were high and the booze had been flowing. We had people singing, dancing and just having a great time. We met a fellow Texan that particularly enjoyed the show. “Big Will” is the self-proclaimed “only black man” in Carbondale. He loved the funk and had the quote of the night. “White people can’t dance but they sure do look good when they got tits.” For the record; I think we dance just fine but the girls were… let’s say… finer than the dancing? Anyway…. Carbondale was a blast and I can’t wait to go back. Colorado I think I love you!
P.S. This relates the story of March 13th, 2010
We didn’t end up playing a strip club after all. Turns out the PT’s “Inferno” is upstairs, above the “showclub,” and is solely a music venue. Downstairs though, is the most impressive strip joint I’ve ever seen. Granted, I’ve only seen one (PT’s). Luckily, if you paid to see Achachay! you also got free admission to see nudity – of both sexes. That’s right, this place was massive and featured male and female strippers, as well as a big dance floor and a DJ. I was astounded by the skill of one woman, who was able to hang upside down from a pole and slide down FULL SPEED, seemingly about to smash her head on a table, only to catch herself with her legs JUST at the last moment.
Enough about the club, the show itself was very fun. We had a sizeable crowd with a lot of old friends! I loved it, of course, because my lovely girlfriend Jane was there (Long time fans of Achachay! will remember that she toured with us on our first run to the East Coast, and was featured in some entertaining blog posts). I got to play for her, her roommate, and some of their good friends. She had never heard a couple of our new songs, so it was extra exciting. Plus we got to play for Julie and Kenny – who are the only people I know of that have seen us play once during every single one of our tours. Some of my good friends from high school made it out (go Kate!), and some of Ryan’s friends from Tulane, study abroad, and elsewhere, also got to see us for the first time. The fact that we knew so many people made it feel like playing at home. It was a fitting second to last show of the tour.
Today we played in Tulluride, CO. Tulluride is set right in the middle of the mountains and from all sides there is a beautiful view. We arrived just in time to get a view of the mountains on the way into town before sunset. Our show at “Fly Me To The Moon” went really well. We had a small crowd that danced and ate up the funk. We heard from a new friend of ours that the Seinfeld’s hang out in Tulluride regularly. Unfortunately we didn’t run into the Sein’s. I think Jerry Seinfeld would be one of the few people that would get me star struck. What can I say I’m a sucker for the Sein…. After the show we got the “How can a bunch of white boys be so funky.” Never get tired of hearing that! So you can chalk up one more mountain town as funked by Achachay!
Gunnison was our first show in Colorado that had us driving West from the Front Range into the mountains. We covered some good ground on the way from Denver and saw some really amazing sights: giant frozen lakes, dozens of snow-capped mountains, and some of the coolest vistas of valleys I’ve ever seen. Gunnison itself is a small town just past the Monarch Pass in Colorado. It actually is surrounded by mountains, and can be completely cut off from the rest of the state (and world) if the weather gets bad enough. The Monarch Pass is an amazing mountain pass that stretches for only a few miles, but is truly a sight to see. The road cuts right through leaving huge 200-500 foot drops and nearly vertical rock faces on either side. Oh yeah, also there are little to no guardrails! We considered it lucky we couldn’t see very far due to the amount of falling snow on our way in, because the pass is treacherous, and conditions had us sliding around for a few miles going 25 mph at the most. Hooch, our designated snow driver, already has some anxiety (like any other cautious driver) when driving through frozen and snowy roads, and I think if Hooch had seen just what waited below the road, his anxiety would have tripled.
The town of Gunnison is nice, and we played at the local brew-pub aptly named the Gunnison Brewery. They offered a great selection of their own delicious beers, as well as others. The show was awesome. We hadn’t played in a few days at the time, so we were primed to ‘go-off’ and that’s exactly what we did. Three hours of funky jams, funky originals, and awesome covers kept the place jumpin’ the entire time. The local university supplied most of the patrons that night, and we were happy to play to an energetic college crowd.
Highlight: some dude with none of his front four teeth tried to play harmonica with us at the end of the night. I let him yell in my mic during a stirring cover of “Fight for Your Right (to Party)”. His near halitosis kept me away after the show, but he proved un-shakeable for young Hooch.
Once again couch-surfing covered our asses and I’d like to shout out to our great hosts Ty, Buck, and Natalie: we had a great time hanging and staying with you guys! SO I recommend you go to Gunnison if you are ever in the mountains around Colorado because its fucking gorgeous, the people are really friendly, and they have great beer too! Cheers!
We should probably mention that these posts reference events that happened about a week and a half ago, at the tail end of our tour, and that we are now back in Austin and geared up to play the Flamingo Cantina on Friday March 26th. This post relates the events of March 6th.
We’re getting ready to play our set at George’s Union Station in Colorado Springs, CO; our first show in Colorado. The manager and booking agent comes up to us-
“You guys want to play with Sammy Hagar’s guitarist?”
Um… yes. (For those who don’t know, Sammy Hagar was initiated into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Van Halen)
“Give him a guitar he’ll just jump in on a song. Come on, I’ll introduce you.” That’s when I first met Brian Flynn, a guitarist “appreciated worldwide as one of the best guitarists on the planet” (according to his Myspace). He’s played with Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck, and countless others. He’s a man from a different generation, with long, curly hair, and a friendly smile that seems to say “I’m ready to f*** s*** up at the drop of a hat.” We picked Fever, one of our few songs that seems to stick to one key and a regular chord progression, and told him to let loose.
Holy crap he did. He played so fast. There were so many notes in a second it was overwhelming. I tried to just hang back and let him do his thing. He’s the kind of guy that you can hand him anything and he’ll play with it. Apparently Union Station is his bar when he’s not living in Cabo San Lucas Mexico, and they’ve even gotten him to play using a keg as a slide. Fortunately Fever has a lot of room to jam and solo, so we just drew it out and had fun with it. We did some improv to close out the set. Afterwards, people told Hooch that watching us play with him (or him with us) was the coolest thing they’d ever seen.
That was sweet. Big thanks to Union Station for hooking us up with that, and making it a legendary night with a legendary guitarist.
Non-sequitur : The next day we visited a place called Garden of the Gods. It is seriously a Garden of the Gods. It’s so beautiful, and for someone like me who loves to climb on things and jump around, it’s a giant playground. Check out these sweet pics.
So the title is a terrible Chris Farley reference…. But on our way from Boise, Id to Ft. Collins, CO (a 14 hour drive) it’s absolutely beautiful driving through the mountains in Idaho and Oregon. Then it gets dark and we we stop at IHOP to eat and the waitress asks us “How are the roads?”. At this point in the trip the roads are fine. So we just shrug it off because it was raining a little bit and tell her they’re fine. We leave IHOP and probably 45 minutes down the highway we run into one heck of a snow storm. Because I grew up in Oklahoma I’m the designated snow driver so I get to take the wheel…. At one point there was a foot and a half of snow on the road and the only way I could tell where to drive was by the sidemarkers on the highway…. It didn’t help that I was driving at 11 PM but luckily that meant there was very little traffic. So after driving 2 hours on 2 feet of snow we get to Laramie where we find out the interstate and the state highway we would take to Ft. Collins are both shut down. So after some slippin’ and slidin’ around Laramie we find a closed truckstop (they’re all closed) and decide to set up camp for the night in the van. We watched a terrible tv show on Ryan’s computer and tried to sleep for a few hours. At about 7 am Jordan decides he’s going to brave the conditions and see if the roads are opened. We get to hwy 287 south out of Laramie and it’s still shut down…. We sat parked on the highway for an hour or so before they finally open the highway and we could make it to Ft. Collins. So the moral of the story is if it’s going to snow and you’re traveling in Wyoming you’re going to want to book a hotel in advance.
After our Washington shows, and a few days spent exploring Seattle, we traveled to Boise, Idaho. We drove straight to our show at a place called Bouquet that was on the main drag in downtown Boise. We walked in to the bar and what did we see? Another band playing on stage! Apparently, there had been a mix-up with the booking and the show we thought we had no longer existed (this is probably the worst thing we could have heard after driving 8 hours). This is just one example of the day-to-day music industry based struggles our band goes through. Each show is booked in advance, but little things like set time, pay, and set length are often times up in the air until we get to the bar. There is a certain bit of anxiety before arriving at the club because of this uncertainty, and on this particular occasion it looked like we were hosed. Jordan had in fact booked the show for that date, only the booker had fumbled the date and accidentally forgot to put it on the calendar: it just slipped through the cracks.
Luckily for us we had 3 key things going for us. First, we didn’t have a show booked for the next day which allowed us to seek a new show, secondly after some finagling we managed to get the venue to book us for the next day, and third, our couch-surfing hostess Michelle was kind of enough to extend our stay with her for one more day. So with a new show on the books, we spent our day working in a coffee shop and doing some grassroots style promotion for the show that night. We actually managed to get some people we met during the day to come out, and the show went fairly well. I have to give it to Bouquet: even though they messed up our original show, they more than made up for it with the show the next day.
We enjoyed Boise and made some new friends via couch surfing.
Who got to catch a fish at the market in Seattle? I did! We were strolling through the market and the guys working behind the fish counter were totally cool and tossed me a fish! Check out the video!
Besides catching fish at the market we checked out the shops and got some of the famous Seattle coffee. We had to check out the Seattle public library because it’s really an amazing building. It’s a strange looking diamondish shaped glass building downtown Seattle. Let’s just say it’s hard to explain, but the design is awesome and you have to check it out if you’re ever in Seattle. Later that night we played a show at the Central Saloon. We had an awesome show thanks to all of our friends and family that came out to see us! It’s great when we can bring a crowd even when we are 2200 miles from home. Gotta’ give a shout out to my cousin Sam who I hadn’t seen in years. Thanks for coming out and bringing friends! It was great catching up with all our friends and well it was just a great day overall.