Saturday May 9, Sacramento to San FranciscoAh San Francisco, fairest of the fair. We've had some good times together, we've had some miserable times. I remember them all. I was trying to make some kind of analogy between our relationship and the Cupid & Psyche story, Psyche being inhumanly beautiful and unattainable all, but that would make us a small naked fellow with wings and a quiver and I think the analogy falls apart at that point. Never mind.
ANYWAY. Suffice it to say that Saturday was not a miserable time in SF, it was a great time, the bestest time, to be exact. The only problem was that it was TOO SHORT. Next time around we're going to play some more shows around the Bay so we can hang around longer.
We roll across the Bay Bridge at around 11 AM or thereabouts, on the good half (that would be the upper half where you can see things). They're building another bridge alongside the Bay Bridge--is that going to replace the Bay Bridge? Does anyone know? Anyway, they were working on this thing about the same time last year and they don't seem to have made a ton of progress. Thanks, crippling recession!
Instead of going to the hotel right away we took a request from a certain hungry Monolator and went here in the West Portal:
Oh YES. Crepes were devoured in the space of milliseconds. Mary Monolator had some kind of dessert crepe (for breakfast, of course) containing Nutella and maybe five bags of sugar. I ate a pesto crepe plus a pomegranate Italian soda and looked around for more. So that was the Gobble part. Later in the hotel room I developed an interesting case of The Poops, which, I presume, would be the Squat portion of the agenda.
Afterwards we headed over to the very extremely lovely campus of San Francisco University for an acoustic session and interview on KUSF with Dennis "The Menace" Scheyer. Many, many thanks to Dane at Yukon Promotions for setting this up for us--it was so very very cool. We talked about our various interests and influences and played acoustic versions of "Ruby," "Such A Fool," and "Eagle Fighting Zebra." The first two went well but the last number was a little shaky, so I wouldn't be surprised if it gets edited out of the final show. At the end Dennis said "wow--that was sure DIY." He told us that he would probably edit down the interview to about 3 minutes in length and that it would be ready to go in a few weeks' time. I will post it here when it goes up. Many thanks to Dennis for having us and I hope we can come back to do it again.
Then it was time for dinner, which was to be had around the corner from The Hemlock Tavern at Maharani, an Indian restaurant which, while not cheap, was absolutely superb ("magic cuisine of India, featuring The Fantasy Room, according to their card. I somehow missed the Fantasy Room). BEST FOOD OF TOUR. They had these spicy pickles that I stirred into everything...ohhh my goodness, that was tasty. Sadly we could not linger and had to split right away straight over to the...
We have hardly played in SF at all (only once, back at Thee Parkside with E>K>U>K and Electric Eel Shock in 2006) and never at the Hemlock. The Hemlock is a big bar with a very not big live room in the back, separated from the main room by a curtain. The space is long and narrow and probably smaller than most LA venues that come to mind, maybe Echo Curio-sized. We loved it. It was not only the best show we ever played on tour, but easily one of our best shows ever, no exaggeration.
Opening the show were our dear friends and SF locals Excuses For Skipping, whom we first met at, I think, Mr. T's some years back, and played with again at Blake's in Berkeley last March. They are a fantastic and super-tight all-female experimental dance punk band--it's a standard 2 guitars/bass/drums lineup, except that Tammy (on guitar) gets synth sounds via one of those Electro-Harmonix Pog pedals that I kind of covet, and also Linda (on guitar and lead vocals) plays additional percussion with drum sticks on bike frames and big pieces of sheet metal. Here they are playing "Tonic For Hysteria," not at the Hemlock show but at Blake's (possibly at the show we played with them last year? Not sure):
They basically blew down the (packed) house and set the bar really, really high for us. We love them and are working on a show for them here in LA in the next few months that you all need to see!
And so it was our turn, and we discovered that the SF audience, which had all turned up for Excuses For Skipping, did two things LA audiences are not too good at: they stayed for BOTH of the unknown-to-them out-of-town acts, and they danced their asses off. We played as dancing a set as we could and it was perfection--packed house, wonderful show. We want to come back to The Hemlock as soon as we possibly can--Ray commented at one point that it was the best show he'd played in San Francisco with any band (he's been in lots) and I gotta agree. It was magic.
The Parsons also had a wonderful dancing audience, played their hits, and got three encores. THREE ENCORES! I'm not sure if I can pinpoint my favorite Parsons song (they've got a lot of good 'uns) but for the tour it was "State Line" with its owl-hooting "ooo ooo" falsetto line and the shouted "STATE LINE!" refrain, which somehow morphed into "Steak Fries!" by the end of the tour. At least that's what we were singing in the van. EXCELLENT SONG!
Our day in SF was wayyyy too short. Mary and I ended it by trying to find an open convenience store near our hotel to buy chocolate. There wasn't one! What's up with that? WHERE'S YOUR CHOCOLATE AT 3AM, SAN FRANCISCO?
Anyway--thanks Hemlock Tavern, we will be back soon!