Touring is filled with ups and downs, highs and lows. And really, you’ve just gotta roll with it. Otherwise, you’ll surely end up miserable.
Saturday, Oct. 10; Las Vegas, NV. We had never been to Vegas before, and had even determined that we’d be perfectly content never visiting that city. Our trip across the Mojave Desert was golden and beautiful. Then lots of seizure-inducing flashing lights welcomed us into the city. We had some trouble finding the venue. The GPS led us to a Taco Bell next to a strip mall in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Hmmm…we must have the wrong address, we thought. But a call to the promoter verified we were in the right place.
In the strip mall, next to Jamba Juice and Panda Express, was Meatheads Video Poker Bar. Apparently, Meatheads is in the process of changing its name to MEET Bar/Lounge, but has not yet changed its sign. Inside, video poker machines lined the bar, with a screen every foot. We weren’t feeling very hopeful about this show, but much to our surprise, the crowd came up close and listened, and many of them took CDs home. People we met at the show (locals) advised us to not go near the strip. Despite their advice, we did drive down the strip before leaving town at 3 AM. Hello, light pollution.
Sunday, Oct. 11; St. George, UT. The next day we drove down the road to a coffee shop called Mojo Underground in St. George. We were greeted by some exceedingly nice gentleman who helped us carry in and set up our equipment. We hung out for awhile and ate a great pumpkin spice waffle and a veggie sandwich. Then eventually, we got around to playing.
The crowd was small, but respectful and attentive. In banter between songs, we learned that Utah is home of the 3.2 beer—meaning beer sold in Utah is 3.2% alcohol instead of the typical 6%. Beer producers actually bottle special pseudo booze for the state of Utah. Further, the state mandates that beer only be sold in conjunction with food. The crowd also informed us that there are lots of fundamentalist Mormons in the area, which we were already aware of thanks to This American Life’s story on Warren Jeffs and the FLDS Church. Thinking we could discuss this further, Nic asked the crowd if they were familiar with This American Life. Collectively, they responded no. NPR? Nope.
Monday, Oct. 12; Flagstaff, AZ. Our drive through Northern Arizona was one of the most interesting thus far—natural beauty juxtaposed with extreme poverty and the Navajo Reservation. We got to Flagstaff early, which allowed us to explore their fairly happenin’ downtown, eat some more good Mexican food, and practice for the night’s set. We played in the cocktail lounge of historic Hotel Monte Vista. It was a pretty posh deal, and much like our Vegas show, we were pleasantly surprised by the vibe.
The audience was a combination of Flagstaff locals and hotel guests—traveling from places like California, New York, the UK, and elsewhere. We had a longer-than-normal set time, so we dusted off some old Casados tunes and even pulled out a few covers. All in all, we had a really good time in Flagstaff.
Tuesday, Oct. 13; Tucson, AZ. Our show in Tucson was a huge waste of time. We loaded all our gear into The Hangart—an obscure art gallery—and then found out the show was not actually going to happen. The local (Forrest Fallows) forgot about the show, but then sent us a myspace friend request the following day. And the promoter, Jake, was not expecting anyone to show up because he claims people in Tucson are flaky and don’t go out to see live music.
Jake basically gave us a couple options—either (a) we could play at The Hangart for an empty room, but he could record and stream our performance, or (b) we could go play an impromptu show at some 24-hour diner called The Red Room. Having just driven about 387 miles out of our way, neither option really appealed to us, so we loaded our equipment back into the van and started driving toward Santa Fe.
Thanks to all of you who have been keeping up with our journey! Stay tuned for one more blog post about this tour.