Feed Us A Live Insect

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

When The Lights Go Down In The City, Whoa whoa whoaaa.

(Prologue)

I’m sitting in…not a railway station, with a ticket for my destination, but rather a hotel in Eugene, Oregon, with a few hours to spare before heading up to Portland, where we have a show tomorrow (Wednesday) night at the Towne Lounge. So, chronologically speaking, we’re about halfway through our January tour.

Last week I thought the trip might be over before it began: soon after coming back from Michigan, probably via a bug picked up on an airplane, I found myself huddled on the bathroom floor with a nice bout of the vomits and the trots. Truly, a bathroom is the kindest, most luxurious place to pass the time when so afflicted, and I was extremely reluctant to crawl back to bed when I heard Mary say “um…I need to go to the bathroom.” But fortunately I perked up by the time we left on Thursday and we began the tour as planned.

(Thursday)

It was 70 degrees out in Los Angeles when we left. I think we knew, vaguely, that it would be colder the further north we headed, but only in the most abstract sense. Theory became reality, though, when we stopped for gas at the Flying J on the Grapevine and stepped out of the nice warm van into a freezing cloud that had descended onto the mountain. No, none of us owned winter coats, hats, or gloves. Clearly some shopping was in order…I believe that the watchword for this tour is “not prepared.”

The rest of the (stupefyingly dull) trip to San Francisco passed without incident, except that I made the mistake of eating three enormous peanut butter cookies in one go and felt vile for the rest of the day.

It now costs $4.00 to cross the Bay Bridge. We stayed at our favorite place in the Tenderloin, the Andrews Hotel (originally opened in 1905 as the”Sultan Turkish Baths”) on Post Street, where there is an abundance on tranny hookers (I missed this one, but heard tell of a young man in long purple braids and insanely short-short shorts, with the weather at about fifty degrees or so). We met Mary’s old highschool friend Dan for dinner at a diner in the old converted Port of San Francisco building (you can see the sign from the Bridge) and then went to bed at some absurdly early hour…9 pm? I’m still fighting off the trots and I’m tired. Waaahhhhh!

(Friday)

Our first show is actually a daytime show, an in-store at Rasptuin’s Records in Berkeley. I don’t believe I’ve been in downtown Berkeley since probably 1990 or so. It looks almost exactly like downtown Ann Arbor, which I wasn’t prepared for; I don’t know why, but I felt a little let down by this. But anyway: we double-parked in front of Rasputin’s and hauled our gear (which is embarrassingly abundant for a two-piece) over the turnstyle into the store. The staff (Bobby and David) were very nice and were kind enough to listen to us play. I think we played well, and now you can buy our cd and a few of our records at Rasputin’s.

Matt, of Master/Slave fame, very kindly helped us set up our two Bay-Area shows, and he arrived to play his own set after us on the Rasputin’s stage. I was a little surpised to see Matt show up alone, with an acoustic guitar, as I’m used to seeing him with a drummer, an electric guitar, and a fleet of keyboards, but fortunately he has a VERY expressive voice (Mary says “I hear Journey in there”) and the songs came across fine. A burnout dude with a busted guitar wandered in and listened with approval to Matt’s lyrics about scoring hookers and drugs in The Tenderloin for a few minutes before wandering back out again.

We spent the rest of Friday looking for decently warm clothes (surprisingly difficult, as apparently all of the department stores have switched their inventory to their “spring” lines…despite that it’s not going to be spring for months…which strikes me as bizarre and stupid).

(Saturday)

Saturday was our gig at The Stork Club in Oakland with Master/Slave, The Red Voice Choir, and, also from Los Angeles, Shiloe.

The day started off well at the Army/Navy surplus store on Market where I got a lovely and warm Navy peacoat, and then down the road at Marshall’s where I found an almost certainly useless (but fantastic) red velvet tuxedo jacket. Now we’re prepared!

The Stork Club is your average bar…reminds me a bit of Mr. T’s, kinda ratty, although I will say that the speakers on the PA system light up when you sing through them! That’s nice. We got to meet Brian, the new drummer for Master/Slave, and it was his first gig with the band: so their full lineup (drums, electric guitar, two keyboards, sequencer, and drum machine) was in force.

The Red Voice Choir, with their fantastically-expensive looking Gretsch guitars, went first, and they were a moody, dark, and very tight band that played (much to our delight) a cover of “This Is Hardcore” by Pulp. Then we went on and played…wellll…not quite as well as the other bands, but not horrendously. And then Shiloe came on and were also moody, dark, a bit gothy, and very very tight, and I certainly wish we could’ve played as well as they did. Ah well, next time then.

Sadly Master/Slave suffered from technical difficulties through their set, as the Stork Club’s PA apparently couldn’t handle all of Matt’s various synths and drum machines, and you couldn’t hear all of their music at any given time, which was too bad. Still: a highlight of the night was definitely meeting Jeremy from creot, who was kind enough to come out to the show and share some of Milwaukee’s Finest. Hi Jeremy!

More of this later…we have to pack up. The weather, which was holding out just fine these past few days (fortunately letting us cross the mountains between California and Oregon with dry roads) has suddenly gone against us, and there’s a steady, slushy snow coming down this morning. It looks like it’ll take a bitg longer to get to Portland…

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