Sunday May 10, San Francisco to Isla Vista to Los Angeles1
Our main concern for our Sunday show was: would there be a Sunday show? Isla Vista is an unincorporated community just north of Santa Barbara (a lot of UCSB students live in Isla Vista) and, if you've been following the news, Santa Barbara was having some troubles of the blazing inferno variety. With 30,000 evacuees making international (well, at least Canadian, according to my family) headlines, would there be an Isla Vista to drive to? Well okay, there was, and I guess the fires had been contained by the time we showed up. So, lucky us.
Our exit from San Francisco via the 280 Freeway (the "World's Most Beautiful Freeway" according to Wikipedia, which somehow strikes me as implausible. I always thought the 126 leaving Santa Clarita was the world's most beautiful. Why? Because it's heading away from Santa Clarita) was entirely uneventful, and indeed scenic. Tour food options in this stretch were scanty due to time restrictions and not knowing anything decent in the area, so we wound up at a Baja Fresh in San Jose. "Oooh, Baja Fresh, that's my jam," said Jillinda. I had three tacos containing various fish/meat substances, and did not get sick from them, so they accomplished their purpose. Señor Fish it is not.
We did stop somewhere near Pismo Beach to visit the ocean and maybe see some tide pools with some creatures in them. Tide pools yes, creatures no. There were some kids molesting a crab. I hope the crab ate them. There was also an older dude in a tank top and flip-flops revealing his long, scraggy, unshorn talon-esque toenails to the world (see upper right above, just not as good) (sorry, that was kind of a letdown re: using that picture, wasn't it?)
So there was little else to do but to hurtle down the 101 past various farming communities (Salinas, Lettuce Capital of the World...Gilroy, Garlic Capital of the World...Argyleopolis, Argyle Capital of the World, etc.) in fruitless search for a Sonic Burger, which apparently does not exist anywhere near the coast. Note to self: next time book a more Sonic-Burger-friendly tour itinerary. So no Sonic for us, although there was more than enough garlic out there. I had originally hoped to see something along these lines, too, but no--maybe next year:
Late in the afternoon we arrived in Isla Vista at the venue, the Biko Garage, which looks like this (courtesy of LA Underground...I think that's Ray in the picture):
I think it is only fair to call the Biko Garage a commune. Okay, officially I'm sure it's a cooperative, but yeah. Commune. It's a large, kind of sprawling complex that looks like it might have been an apartment building or a small dormitory at some point. There's a chicken coop, an organic garden, a compost heap, and (I am told) about 20 people living there. Apparently it's supported by UCSB, and bands are paid via check written by the school. Cool. Shows are held in (surprise) a large 2-car garage to the left of the above photo.
I have to admit that I was a little unsure about playing a show there, as it didn't really seem like our kinda scene. But! It was totally great! Everyone was nice and the crowd that showed up were all kids who wanted to dance, so we were ready to oblige them. It was really more of a Smell/Sean Carnage kind of scene, which was great. And it was wonderful to see Jeff Koga of the LAist there, as well as LA Underground. Thanks for making the trip! NOTE TO PHOTOGRAPHERS PRESENT: please please please does someone have a picture of me being hoisted off the ground mid-guitar-solo by Evan Parsons? Please please oh pleasey please say that you do.
It was, not surprisingly, a bit sad to play our final tour show with the Parsons, who very kindly allowed us to join them onstage for backup vocals on "State Line/Steak Fries!" But end it must, and so we all stuck around for a great set by Franklin For Short before reluctantly getting back in the van for the last hour or so down the 101 to Los Angeles. Some pictures from the show (and a nice writeup of the Hemlock show) via LA Underground:
Franklin For Short:
...and so it was that the Walking Wounded 2009 tour wound its way to a close. Time to drop everyone off at their respective hovels (well, Ashely's place is a lot nicer than ours, so not really a hovel) and clean out the van. I have to say that this was just about a perfect little tour--except that it was too short and there was no Sonic Burger. Getting to see the Parsons every night was a joy and I have many new favorite songs by them. And, very importantly, as far as I could tell everyone in the Monolators camp had a great time, we enjoyed each others' company, and we are antsy to go back out again. I was genuinely a little sad when we started dropping people off at their homes, although I'm also happy to say that the whole band is coming over for dinner tonight, so that'll be fun! I heart this little band.