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Friday, May 08, 2009

Walking Wounded Tour 2009: Thursday May 7, Los Angeles to Sacramento

I suppose that while Tuesday night in Costa Mesa was technically the first night of our tour with Parson Red Heads, but since we spent the night after the show at our own house and didn't have the TOUR VAN for the night, it didn't really feel "toury" in the normal sense. It was a good show, though, and it was great to share the stage with sometime Parson Red Head Mr. Raymond Richards.

Anyway--Thursday morning, got up far too early to collect various Monolators and go pick up the TOUR VAN. In the absence of touring our own custom Pullman train in the style of Duke Ellington or Cab Calloway, it is more or less essential to tour in the USA via a massive Ford 12-to-15 passenger van. Ours is grey and is VAST. I heard someone cry out "it's like a palace" when they saw the inside. Also the air conditioning system is brutally efficient. I am pleased to say that even if the US auto industry is in its death throes, we still can build an incredible air conditioner. USA! USA! USA! USA!

None of us got much sleep the previous night (I'm afraid I woke up Jillinda when I called her to tell her I was dropping by to pick her up, and it was like calling someone in the afterlife. "Hello...oh...oh...oh, okay. Okaaaayyyyyyyyy....byeeeeeeeee...." Poor Jillinda's hand is not much better. Her fingers are about five different colors and look like lizard hands. The rest of us are more or less healthy although I have just noticed that have a weird infected scratch on my hand. Like a little infection zit. It doesn't hurt but I don't know where it came from.

The drive up to Sacramento was pretty much uneventful, except for the goddamn wind. A gigantic van is hard to drive anyway (Jillinda refers to it as "swervy") and I had to wrestle with the steering wheel to get it not to plow into the 18-wheelers in the next lane. I'm afraid one of my VERY witty observations on Neil Diamond's denim jumpsuit on the cover of "Hot August Nights" was interrupted by a rollercoaster style swerve out of the sky. DAMN WIND.

I'm sure I am the 9 billionth person to note this in a blog, but on I-5 heading up to Sacramento there are these freeway exit signs that would make the best names in the world: "Shafter Wasco" and "Buttonwillow McKittrick." I assume these are signs for towns called "Shafter" and "Wasco," but still. Shafter Wasco. SHAFTER WASCO.

We roll into Sacramento at about 5:00 pm and wander into Old Sacramento in search of somewhere to eat. I gather that Old Sacramento is the old 19th century commercial/portside section of the city that has been recently remodeled into a Fisherman's Wharf-style shopping area. So, all of these beautiful wooden and brick Victorian buildings with Shakey's Pizza and Candle Land stores in them. There is something there called Sock City that appears to sell nothing but novelty socks. I hope we can visit Sock City before leaving for San Francisco, which has many wonderful things to offer but not, I am certain, a Sock City. So yeah--Old Sacramento is kinda touristy and awful, but we did find a place called The Delta House that served fish and chips. It boasted a total of one employee, an older woman who looked dimayed as we wandered in and ordered five rounds of battered cod. Fire up the deep fryers! She also appeared to be kind of sick and disoriented, so we were grateful that the pulled on some plastic gloves after wiping her runny nose. Verdict on Delta House: GOOD FISH AND CHIPS. Although this may have possibly been influenced by it being the only solid food we'd eaten for the day, tour van food consisting of chips and gummy coke bottles. Verdict on gummy coke bottles as tour van food: UNSURPASSABLE.

Tonight we played at a venue called The Blue Lamp, which is just off the 80 freeway and is essentially Spaceland-sized. I gather that Airborne and the Henry Clay People played there on their last tour. We get there a bit ahead of the Parsons who are driving up a bit later so drummer Brette can make a callback audition for a largish TV ad, which we all hope she gets. I didn't know she acted! As someone with .5% acting ability I am impressed with anyone who can convey any emotion on demand convincingly beyond my personal speciality, Looking Confounded. I spent much of the time waiting to go on talking with Parson acoustic guitarist Aaron, who discussed various nonessential clothes items (cummerbunds, for instance, of which I happened to have an example in my Monolators suitcase. He says that the pleats are supposed to face up to catch crumbs. Is this true?). He also sported very wonderful bermuda shorts with cowboy boots, a look which I would have a hard time pulling off.

The first band on for the night were Sacramento locals In The Dust, a bass/drums/guitar trio who were kinda 70's hard rock. Really cool and they were VERY POLITE, which goes a long long way with us. They mentioned us and the Parsons, and you would be surprised how few bands do this.

The show was one of our better ones recently, and probably our best version of "French TV" so far, which is always a dicey proposition, song-wise. Lots of energy, the crowd was petite (30?) but responsive. Roger, the very nice guy who booked this particular show, invited us back, so that's good.

It's a privilege to see the Parsons on tour; they are pared down but I am struck by how versatile their sound is--they can segue between super tight pop songs and space rock jams with ease, and their harmony singing is fantastic. Neither of these things is our forte. So far this tour is delightful.


At 6:25 PM, Blogger Heart of Fire said...

Thanks for the newsy travelogue, Eli. -- Jillinda's mom


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