Better late than never, right? Read on to learn about the final four days of our West Coast tour.
Wednesday, Oct. 14; Santa Fe, NM. After camping in the van somewhere in Arizona, we completed the drive to Brian’s house. Brian is a guy we met about two and a half years ago in Tucson when our former band Casados played with his band D Numbers. This time around, he was kind enough to hook us up with a house show in Santa Fe. The fall fiesta included a variety of amazing foods, with Brian’s soup being our favorite (ingredients: carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, apples, etc.). Yum!
I think this Santa Fe show may have been the first time we’ve had people laugh out loud during our set. As we played in the living room, the crowd was listening closely, processing the lyrical content, and then chuckling at the poignancy. It was pretty awesome. And based on the people we met, Santa Fe seems like a cool city.
Found at a rest stop somewhere between Santa Fe & Norman, OK
Thursday, Oct. 15; Norman, OK. Universe City, where we played in Norman, is a huge house that used to be a fraternity dwelling but is now being fixed up and used as a community art space. There are also 14 bedrooms upstairs, with 12 people currently living there. Much to our surprise, the paparazzi showed up in Norman. Who would have guessed? A guy named Adam asked if it was ok for him to take some pictures of us. We said yes, assuming he would take a few shots during the show. No big deal.
As we turned around to pull some equipment out of the van, the flashes began. Two cameras were flashing frantically during our set, and we tried not to be distracted by Adam climbing on a speaker behind us, then lying on the floor in front of us. (We love you, Adam.)
We met some interesting folks at the show as well. One guy in the front row was doing yoga stretches throughout our performance. Another guy was leaving the show with a huge wooden cross that he carries everywhere. We tried (unsuccessfully) to get the lowdown on why he carries this cross. He didn’t give us much info; I guess he’s just taking that “carry your cross” thing quite literally.
Friday, Oct. 16; Kansas City, MO. Before we knew it, we were back in the Midwest. The West Bottoms of Kansas City provided perhaps the craziest experience of this tour. We were surrounded by seemingly vacant warehouses as we drove into a shady-lookin’ part of KC.
Sunset in the West Bottoms
The night started off as a downer. Two of the three locals had dropped off the bill last minute, and it was questionable if the show was even going to happen. The original plan was a show at The Pistol—an open space with a stage located on the second floor of an old warehouse. But the promoter, Joe, was suspecting no one would show up (since two of the locals bailed), so he proposed we play at some art show instead. He recommended that we head over to the art show, get some food, and check the place out.
We scrunched into Joe’s Chevy Cavalier, with Nic and Heather both in the passenger seat. (The backseat was occupied by salvaged windows Joe had found in a dumpster earlier that day.) As we passed by a police officer who was directing traffic in the middle of the street, Joe repeated, “Please don’t look at the tags. Please don’t look at the tags. Please don’t ask if I have a license.” We made it by with no hassle, and Joe informed us this was just a “rent-a-cop” anyway (an off-duty officer hired to make visitors feel safe).
Our destination: An abandoned warehouse. We took the freight elevator up a couple flights to learn that this building was actually very full of life. Several floors are occupied by artists, and on this particular evening, the artists had opened their studios to display their work. We explored the building, eating hummus and Doritos, drinking beer or wine, and viewing paintings, photographs, pottery, and so on.
We ended up playing two shows that night. We first played a few songs in an elevator lobby situated between some art studios. Then we played our original show over at The Pistol, which turned out to be pretty great despite the bogus start. The underground art communities of the West Bottoms, where lots of people live and work, were unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before. We do love you, KC.
All our gear crammed into a wheelbarrow; Kansas City, MO
Saturday, Oct. 17; Columbia, MO. The final show of our tour was part of the Bluebird Music and Arts Festival. Darling Disarm, a band from Champaign-Urbana, was playing on the same festival. It was fun to run around Columbia with Mike, Kayla, and James, and we enjoyed seeing Chicago Farmer and Death Ships that evening.
We completed our 8,747.1 mile circle on Sunday (Oct. 18), landing at home in Urbana, IL. We returned feeling at peace with the world. It was a good tour. For the next couple weeks, we’ll be sleeping in our own bed and cooking in our own kitchen. Then, come November, we’ll be off again.