They say all’s well that ends well, but there’s something to be said for getting off on the right foot. The magnificent drive through the vineyards and rolling hills of central California into the mountainous region of Lake Tahoe was certainly a sunny beginning to the events surrounding and including the Achachay! show at Rojo’s (as in Row-Joe’s). Our hosts were an ever cheerful group of ski-bums, who tend to move in large packs and almost exclusively on bikes. They also get seriously amped up for shows, so when their excited state was bombarded with the absurd amount of energy Achachay! puts out during their shows, the basement of Rojo’s broke out into ballistics.
We awoke at 630 am Friday morning to drive a ridiculous 12 hours to Otter Rock club in Morro Bay California. We arrive to a beautiful bar on a beach harbor, play a fun long show to a decent crowd of entirely foreigners, and pop on over to SLO for the night. The show is brilliant; its a great crowd and atmosphere for our almost a capella song (ryan’s now on djembe). We also sell some Keep Austin Funky shirts to some friendly Arizonans.
Anyway, there are two stories even more worth telling here. The first is about a sweet jacket. The second is about shitting in a bucket.
(1) Flagstaff and the jacket… Ryan already mentioned the jacket but let me elaborate. There is a group of four people hanging out, waiting for us to play. One guy says he doesn’t want to stick around because he’s really cold. I’m heading to the van to warm up vocally anyway, so I grab him my one and only jacket. It’s a stylish, tight green affair from H&M that I got on the last tour. He wears it, they stay and have a really good time. Good enough that he gets drunk enough to walk off with my jacket!
A little cold, and a little bummed. We head home to Dan’s. Dan is about the most generous guy you’ll ever meet. He loves to make people feel good. He’s in the process of getting rid of as much of his stuff as possible to go traveling in a month. As soon as he hears about my plight, his face lights up. “I’ve got the coolest jacket you can have. It’s going to look perfect.” He goes to the closet and pulls out a freakin’ sweet crazy tan cow hide and sheep fur masterpiece. I don it; it fits. “Thanks Dan!” I throw a leathery wooly hug around the man, and have hardly been able to take off the jacket since.
(2) SLO and the poo bucket… Our couchsurfing hosts in San Luis Obispo (SLO) are a bunch of badass dudes. They were totally welcoming, and down to host us after our Morro Bay show even though we’d be getting in late and never met them before. We had a sweet jam with them in the morning (made hooch and I want to buy a banjo), and in general they made us feel like home. More mentions will be made of them as we stayed with them another night. The important part here is that we walk into the bathroom and there’s a red Home Depot funnel labeled “Pee here,” going through a hole in the floor, and there’s a bucket – just a bucket - with a toilet seat that says, “Composting Toilet. Poop here, cover with sawdust. No pee! Save 1.6 gallons.” Yeah, that was the deal. They poop in a bucket.
I have read about this before, but I had never had the pleasure of getting to participate. It really does save a lot of water, and investments into sanitation equipment and sewer systems (if you properly compost it. Here’s the wikipedia article about it). I’m not ready to jump on the bandwagon, but I’m glad that people are experimenting with more environmental ways of disposing of waste. It wasn’t too bad to use, and it seems to be going okay for these guys (For the record – they’re very normal people. They study mechanical and civil engineering).
Just some savory tidbits from life on the road.
monday we played in san luis obispo (forgive the failure of the shift key on this computer, there will be no capitals) at a place call the frog and peach. san luis obispo (heretofore known as slo) is a college town – cal poly – and a perfect crowd for our style of music, so we were excited to get our foot in the door, impress some people, and get a better night for the next time we are in town. we did just that. we had a lot of fun even with a small crowd, and we’ll definitely be back in late september – playing a weekend or possibly frog and peach’s 1 dollar pint night on tuesdays.
after the first set we took a break and most of the crowd left. i suppose college kids do have to study sometime… thats good i want the world full of educated interesting people. we like that kind of crowd. anyway we started the second set and quickly played “sad sad city” by ghostland observatory. a couple guys that are show promoters heard the sweet phase shifted notes from down the block and were instantly drawn to our show like starving men to a free buffet. they stayed and danced for the entire rest of the night, even running out into the street and convincing people to come and see a song.
comically, every fifteen minutes or a so a huge group of 20 people would come in for some girl’s (always a girl, i dont know why) 21st birthday, take a shot, and leave. we would pick a good danc-y tune and get them to groove for a song or two, but they had their list of bars to take the lady on her first legal day, so they went off on their journey. it kinda felt like we were back at the dizzy rooster, thirsty nickel or chuggin monkey in austin. fun times.
another good aspect of slo is that we got to be the first time couchsurfers for our buddy nelson111 (pretend those 1s are exclamation points). he is a great guy and a great host. in his initial message he said something really funny about us being the first at his house. it was something along these lines, ‘my roommates are all cool with it, except one who is worried that you’ll be really messy, but even if you are i dont mind.’ needless to say we were immaculate. nelson came to dinner with us and then stayed up a bit to chill after the show, so we got a chance to know each other a little better. couchsurfing is so wonderful. it always makes me happy about the state of the world we live in. i dont think something like it could have existed that long ago, because people just didnt have as much trust for strangers, or openness about their lives. even now most people think that the idea of couchsurfing is crazy, and they cant believe that it works, that there arent more horror stories. there is an evolution of culture over the course of history, and this couchsurfing is one positive manifestation of a more inclusive, egalitarian sense of self and other. pretty sweet.
We had the distinct honor of hosting Hodi’s Halfnote’s funk jam for our first night in Ft. Collins. We got to know the Nu Classics, the usual hosts, the last time we rolled through town and became fast friends. Some of you may remember – we even had them play at our house party during SXSW.
This jam is a really good time. We kicked it off with about 45 minutes of original music to set the tone, and then invited different players to come up and switch out. I recognized a few of the great guitarists from the last time we jammed there – Josh, Nick – and some of the horn players that stood out. The talent that shows up at these jams is quite impressive, and a lot of non-musicians come to just dance and groove.
People dug our music, and we made friends just like last time. We even got another show offer. We also got to get back up and improv with some of the guys later on in the night. We exchanged numbers with a few of the guys and hopefully we’ll get them to play some horn parts with us next time we come through town.
All in all it was a highly enjoyable night. If you’re in Ft. Collins on a Monday I suggest you check it out. We’ve been talking about how cool it would be to do something similar in Austin. I’m not sure we’re around consistently enough to build up the scene, but who knows it might be something we do in the future. We got to build the skills this time- we hosted in every sense of the word, with the different people who wanted to jam talking to us to find out the order of when they want to play.
This picture is one I took with a new friend Sean who took me and some of his buddies out to rock climb in Poudre Canyon on our day off. It was really fun, and really beautiful. I’m extremely grateful to get the opportunity to take advantage of the natural beauty surrounding us on tour. We move so quickly from town to town that when we do get a chance to do something like this I tend to appreciate it even more. It’s also great to make new friends, and then be able to hang out with them again when we come back a few months later. I’m looking forward to climbing with Sean and company again one day!
Ryan and Hooch took good advantage of Ft. Collins as well, going on a brewery tour of New Belgium, Odell’s, and maybe even one other. They might tell you about it in the next post.
Our show was killer, as usual. Willie’s is the bar where Garth Brooks got started playing in the early 80′s so its a cool historic venue. It has an intimate feel because of the really shallow stage. I was excited and honored that a lot of people came back to see us again after catching our show Monday – both new and old fans. We didn’t repeat a single cover that we played on Monday, so it was a very different experience.
Side note – at the VFW on Saturday we pulled Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Sangria Wine” out of thin air. Even without having ever done that before, it was apparently good enough to warrant being requested at Willies.
Oklahoma is a non-stop party. Wednesday is “free beer night,” at a lot of bars on the Strip, which means you pay $7 and you get all you can drink draft beer all night. Basically everyone wants to drink and be social all of the time. Seems like no matter what day of the week, you’ll find people looking for fun in a college town sort of way. This makes for enjoyable shows, rowdy crowds, and after-parties that last until dawn or beyond.
Wednesday at Willie’s was no exception. A crew went back to Jared and Megan’s where the band stayed, and I was the first to go to sleep at 5:30 AM. Thursday we had a “rest day” but lo and behold I ended up out again, with a bunch of new friends who at dawn started talking about getting tacos and 40s now that it was early enough to buy beer again. Stillwater is like Vegas, just less ritzy, a lot cheaper, and much more genuine. Therefore, I have more fun in Stillwater.
We’re all glad to hit the road and head on, but we’re all looking forward to being back soon.
Monday the 8th we played in Albany with a great band called Spaceland. They’re super nice guys, and have a very polished and pleasing sound reminiscent of Coldplay. There’s a little U2 / Keane thrown in there as well. I highly recommend them, especially if you like Coldplay. We were super excited to jam out to them since we see many, many bands. They are at the top of my list for this tour.
Plus they are just really friendly and approachable guys. They also worked hard to bring out a crowd on a Monday night- not an easy feat. Their fans all stayed for our entire show, and some of them even offered us a place to stay. The whole affair just put a big smile on my face.
After the show, we went to the house of Kristoph, a couchsurfer. There was another band called World History staying with him that night too. They’ve been on a relentless six month tour as a duo and it was awesome to talk shop with them. One of them set up a diy site for booking shows called dodiy.org as well.
We started talking deep philosophy, social action, brainstorming ideas, sharing stories, all while playing Megaman on the SNES. It was a great night and it really pumped me up about life. Kristoph and I both lived in Ghana and had many other shared experiences. Good times all around. We’ll be back.
Added a new gig for tonight! We’re playing Murfreesboro tonight at “Liquid Smoke” around 9:30. Should be a cool college town show!
Big thanks to Trey of Dirty Proper for hooking us up with the gig. After they played a rocking set last night with us at 12th and Porter in Nashville, he made a few calls and we were on. I love being on the road!
Hey everyone we got caught up with the end of the tour and coming back to austin and getting Kickstarter out there and getting our next tour up and running and . . . so on . . . and so on . . . so for now I’ll sum up the last few shows in a few sentences. They deserve more attention, of course, but alas ce’est la vie.
Sept 14, Carbondale, CO:
Awesome to play for my sis, garrett, and friends.
Sept 15, Gunnison, CO:
Love this venue (The Gunnison Brewery), because everyone dances and gets into the show immediately. It’s always packed. Lori and crew take care of us with delicious micro-brews, and Ty hosted us again couchsurfing style. He then took Amanda and I out to go bouldering, despite all of our slight hung-over-ness, and we nailed a cool overhanging climb.
Sept 16, Telluride, CO:
Bubble Lounge gave us free oxygen which is cool. Never done that before. At the show a decent sized crowd loved our originals and old funk and soul covers. Crazy thing- we took a 5 minute break and the whole, drunken, fun loving, sing-a-longin’ crowd ghosted by the time we got a beer and bathroom break. Telluride is a beautiful town, and a bonus is that our friends/multi-show/multi-state acquaintances run a SWEET coffee shop in town, the Steaming Bean. Downside: didn’t get to hang with our hosts.
Sept 17, Grand Junction, CO:
Great support from the bar and staff. Crazy how most of the time no one danced or came close to the stage, but people would walk by and tell us how awesome we were playing. Very friendly CS host. Hear that GJ is the meth capital of the world, which augmented Hooch’s methhead paranoias.
Sept 18, Durango, CO:
Jack, Jess, the Leggetts in general, and Kat were awesome hosts. Bar was fun and show rocked. People danced. We made a possibly very useful connection for future musical possibilities. Bonuses galore:
- Kenny was in town for a mountain biking race and we got to catch up
- Experienced Mesa Verde Nat’l Park
- Saw a deer gutted for the first time (nuts!)
- I helped tan the hide a TINY bit
- Rode a two -story bike
- Food not bombs is cool
- the Ground Up Art Collective our friends hang out at is badass, and very welcoming
Played Settlers of Catan for the first time and loved it.
Sept 21, Amarillo, TX:
Show got moved from the historic Nat Ballroom to the 806 – a coffee shop across the street. This turned out to be AWESOME because we met and listened to the amazing, powerful, emotional, stunning music of Jenny Wood. Check her out if you get the chance to see her live. You will be happy you did.
Sept 22, Lubbock, TX:
Played with my old bandmate and good friend Nathan Glenn. That alone made it just lovely. Recorded the show and will put a track or two on the bonus live CD for Kickstarter. CP brought a crowd.
Sept 24, Austin TX EP release:
Technically not part of the tour, but being only two days later, should be included. How sweet to play at home! So many familiar faces, so many lovely people. Knowing the words, singing and dancing along, telling us how we’ve improved so much, glueing googly eyes on their hands.
Check out the pics on facebook by clicking here, and forgive all my run on sentences and lack of proper punctuation, like semi-colons.
We pulled into Salt Lake City late Monday night and after a good nights sleep we headed out to the great Salt Lake to see what it was all about. From what I can tell it’s a big lake with salt water. It wasn’t the prettiest thing I’ve seen or smelled…. Later that afternoon we headed back into SLC and made a stop by Sam’s Club to get a cheap slice of pizza. We then had a few hours to kill before we headed to the venue. So some more site seeing was in order. We ended up ata hidden park called Gilgal Sculpture Garden. It’s a little known park in the middle of a neighborhood. The only way we found about it was by doing a Yelp search for the area… Thanks Yelp! There were 12 rock sculptures and over 70 rocks that were engraved with scriptures. The rocks were carved using an acetylene torch . Pretty crazy stuff as you can see from the pictures. The artist Thomas Battersby Child, Jr. went to the trouble of moving up to 62 ton boulders for the garden and it’s pretty incredible really. There’s a funny quote from him that goes “You may think I am a nut, but I hope I have aroused your thinking and curiosity.” I have to say that he did make me think about spirituality and well moving rocks… so he was right! After the Garden we headed to The Bar Deluxe to get ready for our show. We played with a rock band called Little Black Pill. They brought out a good crowd and we made a bunch of new fans and had a blast. I’d like to thank the guys from Little Black Pill for letting us flop on their couches and making us feel at home. So many great people in so many cities! Awesome times! Check out more pics at our facebook pics page for the west coast tour. http://www.facebook.com/#!/album.php?aid=208452&id=45765158606&ref=mf