Friday May 8, Sacramento to Davis to SacramentoThe problem with writing a tour blog is that usually there is no time to actually write anything while on tour (especially if you're driving the tour van) so here I am, back in Los Angeles post-tour, trying to remember everything that happened. Jillinda/Ray/Ashley/Mary, if I'm forgetting stuff (I'm sure I am), let me know.
Davis is only about 15 miles from Sacramento via the 80 freeway, and we didn't have to be there until evening, so Friday was the relaxing day of the tour. Some of the Monolators slept, some went (I think) to Target, and others (Mary and myself included) went to this place:
It was pretty overwhelmingly awesome and I learned some stuff. What more can one ask? One of the best museums I've ever been to of any kind.
One of the best parts was, of course, the toy train exhibit. I had Lionel trains as a kid and I always loved how fake they looked. I never really cared about train layouts that tried to look like perfect little versions of a real railroad--I liked that they looked like toys. I think I was heavily influenced in this respect by this wonderful film from 1957:
Of course my favorite toy trains from the exhibit were the really old 1920's and 1930's ones by Lionel, Marx, American Flyer, Ives, and Marklin, and of course those are the absolutely most expensive ones out there on the used market. So I don't think I'll be collecting toy trains anytime soon.
But my favorite part of the museum was going through an old restored Pullman sleeper coach, which looked REALLY REALLY comfortable with the pull-out beds and made travel by airplane look brutal and miserable in comparison. The sleeper car was connected to a dining car and they had displays of beautiful original menus and china from the first half of the twentieth century, of which you can of course purchase reproductions. Mary bought a little cookbook of diner car food and it's genius because, due to limited space, ingredients and prep time had to be limited in the kitchen, but the food still looked damn good. Beef ragout with biscuits. YEERS.
So that was fun.
At noon we met Mary's cousin, who lives near Sacramento, for lunch at the Indo Cafe in Old Town, which, amusingly enough, was about 15 feet away from the fish-and-chips place we ate at on Thursday. It was Indonesian and really good. I would mostly give Old Sacramento a pass in the future (apart from the Train museum, which is nearby), but the Indo Cafe was great. We did stop by Sock City and Mary picked up some florescent pink and black striped knee socks, but I passed because I knew I could spent waaaayyyy too much money on socks and I'm far too broke right now.
Later that afternoon the whole band reconvened in Jillinda & Ashley's hotel room to practice an acoustic version of our set. We were going to play at Sophia's Thai Kitchen that night and, because the stage is basically a corner of an outdoor patio right on the street (E Street, to be exact), there were significant noise restrictions. We decided to bring our acoustic setup (same as when we played the Where Gallery, except with the addition of Ashley on bass but turned down really low) and also decided that it would be a really good idea to practice this before actually trying to play a whole show this way. This turned out to be a good idea. This here is a video of us in the hotel running through Ray's "Such A Fool," with obvious Parson Red Heads influence on the vocal parts:
Davis itself is your typical small college town. Lots of trees (which is nice), lots of bars. Lots and lots of bars. Lots of kids riding around on really expensive fixed-gear bikes who apparently can't figure out how to pedal their way through an intersection and out of the way of giant tour vans (I make no apologies). We also noticed that there were multiple places that were dual-function, like: pizza-restaurant-plus-dance-club. So you can eat pizza AND dance to "Hot In Herre" at the same time if you want to. Who wouldn't?
As I said, the stage at Sophia's Thai Kitchen is a corner of a patio right off the sidewalk on E Street. The patio has a wooden railing that is maybe seven or so feet above the ground. There is a nice PA with cute little bagel-sized monitors. We squeezed in, not an easy feat with multiple injured band members, and played our set, which went over okay. There were some people watching, there were also a bunch of drunk frat boys right in front of the stage who were not there to see music, they were there to get drunker, and I sang to the back of their necks. Response overall was fine, but I wanted to liven things up a little, so in the middle of our last song ("Best Friends In Space," I think) I put down my banjo, squeezed past Ray and Ashley, hoisted myself up on the patio railing, and jumped off. I landed awkwardly on my wrist (ow), managed to startle a co-ed, and ran around back up the stairs to finish the song. I'm not sure what the overall effect was but I was diverted. I didn't really manage to hurt myself to speak of but my wrist is still kinda sore, three days later. Oh well, I did TRY to join the ranks of the Walking Wounded.
Here we are playing "Eagle Fighting Zebra" at Sophia's--it cuts out early but gives a good idea. The blurriness is only in the beginning:
Then Parsons went on a went down A STORM. Seriously, Sophia's Thai Kitchen belongs to them, the patio was packed, and there was a dance party after their set until last call. I believe there is video from this gig as well, if we can locate it. Then we packed up and rolled back to the hotel in Sacramento (La Quinta Inn, right off the 5, if you're curious) for the night. We decided to stay in Sac for the night because it's so close and WAY cheaper than Davis hotels. Oh yeah--I forget, as we were loading up the van in Davis we were near a bar where a cover band was pumping out "Come On Eileen" and then, later, the theme to "Footloose." It seemed fitting.
I'm embarrassed to say I didn't bring a camera, so I got these images from here: