Photo taken by Jack Emerson Garland at Everyday Joe’s in Ft. Collins, CO
Our most recent tour started out much like any other, with a healthy dose of optimism about the days ahead. We kicked things off with four great shows—two in Nebraska, and two in Colorado. A particular highlight was our show at the Clawfoot House in Lincoln, NE. Home of Ember Schrag and Bryan Day, the Clawfoot is one of our favorite venues in the U.S. The atmosphere is a perfect combination of relaxed yet organized, welcoming and friendly yet professional. This time through we got to meet Ember’s two-year-old daughter. She showed off some awesome dance moves to Diamond Kazzoo’s opening set of old timey bluegrass tunes. I wish we had video.
Great little Mexican bakery around the corner from the Clawfoot House
Colorado was enjoyable. We played in Greeley and Ft. Collins, and then spent a couple days hanging out with friends around Easter. Our stay in Colorado even included a trip to Boulder to visit the Celestial Seasonings tea factory. When Tuesday morning arrived, we joked about the desolate drive through Wyoming that was in store. Nic even updated his facebook page that morning with, “Preparing for the views of desolation: I-80 through WY, and a jog to the north on a few lesser roads.” Our experiences driving through Wyoming have been something like this: dry, hot, barren land where nothing can grow and no one wants to live. But a few hours later, Nic’s status read, “Nevermind desolation. Just hit a blizzard. I-80’s closed. Shoot.”
They literally blocked off the interstate with gates and police cars, prohibiting any travel down I-80. So at 10:30 AM, we were forced to exit to the Flying J truck stop (pictured below). We scored a booth and hung out for awhile, expecting the roads to reopen momentarily. After about seven hours, we began to lose hope, but at that point, all the hotels in nearby Rawlins were booked, so we spent the night in our van next to hundreds (maybe thousands) of other weary travelers. Eventually, a little community formed at the Flying J.
Heather met a couple who were moving back to Washington state. They were riding in a small, crowded truck, with furniture (including their bed) in the back. They were anticipating an uncomfortable night’s sleep and the purchase of a new mattress, as theirs had been soaked by the snow. Around the 24th hour, a guy in the car next to us pulled out his guitar and started jamming in the snow. Soon enough, Nic had his guitar out as well, playing songs for a random truck driver. Everyone was bored and delirious, and things started to feel like a strange festival. Finally, at hour 26, we were back on I-80.
At this point, we had missed our show in Logan, UT, and it was questionable whether or not we could make it to Boise in time. We rushed along, making few stops, and were able to play our show in Boise on Wednesday night. Following the show, we treated ourselves to a motel, as we were desperately in need of a good night’s rest. Our heads hit the pillows a little after 2 AM, and we didn’t hear anything at all until the room phone started ringing frantically about four hours later. “Hello,” Nic says groggily. “Sir,” the front desk clerk says, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but it appears your car has been broken into.”
It was true. Sometime between 2 and 6 AM, someone busted out our passenger side window and grabbed everything within reach, including lots of electronics (GPS, Ipod, nice cameras, etc.) and a suitcase full of You & Yourn merch. (Sorry to those of you who signed up on our mailing list in NE and CO. That list was stolen before we could enter your email addresses.) The good news is that no instruments were taken and Sadie (our dog) was not in the van. Of course, we did what any person would—talked to police officers and insurance companies, waited for a glass repair person to come fix our window, called our moms, and then pulled it together and drove on to Oregon.
As Nic was settling up with the man who fixed our window, the glass man asked what we were doing in Boise. Nic explained that we were musicians. Then in an honest Idaho kind of way, the man looked Nic in the eye and said, “Huh. How’s that workin’ out for ya?”
We kicked off a tour in Omaha, Nebraska, last night, and we had the pleasure of playing the Clawfoot House in Lincoln this evening. Over the next three weeks, we’ll be traveling to the Pacific Northwest and back. Tour dates are below.
03.31 — Omaha, NE — Barley Street Tavern
04.01 — Lincoln, NE — Clawfoot House
04.02 — Greeley, CO — Zoe’s
04.03 — Ft. Collins, CO — Everyday Joe’s
04.06 — Logan, UT — Why Sound
04.07 — Boise, ID — 208 House
04.08 — Pendleton, OR — The Great Pacific
04.09 — Bellevue, WA — Ground Control
04.10 — Olympia, WA — Chez Puget
04.11 — Seattle, WA — Sunset Tavern
04.12 — Seattle, WA — Shenandoah’s
04.13 — Spokane, WA — Empyrean
04.14 — Missoula, MT — ZACC Gallery
04.16 — Bozeman, MT – Leigh Lounge (MSU-Bozeman)
04.17 — Grand Forks, ND — Rhombus Guys Pizza
04.18 — Minneapolis, MN — Kitty Cat Klub
Later this month, we’ll be heading to the Northeast for some recording and a few shows. More info on that to come!
Take good care,
Nic & Heather
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.
Weekday shows are always a bit uncertain. People seem likely to go out and see a band on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday nights…but Monday or Tuesday? Maybe. Maybe not. Luckily, things worked in our favor this time, and we had three fun shows in Utah!
On Monday (Sept. 28), we drove from Ft. Collins, CO, to Provo, UT. Most of our nine hour car trip was spent on I-80 in Wyoming.
The road to Utah
An exit off I-80. Welcome to Wyoming!
We showed up at Footloose House in Provo not knowing what to expect. It’s a pretty normal-looking house, with a garden and some backyard chickens (yep, the “emblem of extreme foodie street cred,” according to the NY Times). We also learned later that the movie Footloose was literally filmed inside this house.
The show started with Brent from The Awful Truth. During his opening set, people poured into the house. I can tell you that there are not many things better than packing 40-50 people in a living room! As a side note, while in Provo we observed this—a room full of Brigham Young students can make for an intimidatingly good-looking bunch. From stage, Nic noted that this was the sexiest crowd we’d played for so far. They laughed as he assured them they looked classy…thrift-store classy.
Tuesday (Sept. 29) we had a short drive, so we spent the afternoon at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City. It was quite warm—87 degrees and sunny. We walked, ate lunch, and laughed at Sadie as she went into the lake after some geese. Our LPs also arrived Tuesday. They were shipped to our friend’s house in SLC.
Later in the day, we drove to Logan, UT, for our show at WHY Sound—a small, but very cool space. It is a 49-person capacity listening room with a stage and several rows of chairs. Our initial thoughts were, “This place looks awesome…if people show up.” Again, Tuesday nights can be questionable. But people came, and we had a fun show, including lots of dialogue with the crowd. Several comments and questions came from an enthusiastic audience member wearing a black t-shirt with white letters that read, “I shaved my balls for this?”
Wednesday (Sept. 30) turned cold in Utah, with highs in the 40s and snow on the mountains. We stayed inside most of the day, and that night found us at Kilby Court in SLC. We had heard that Kilby was a great venue, but we had never been there. Turns out, it’s basically a warehouse/garage-like space with a sound system and a fire outside. It definitely exceeded any expectations we may have had.
Utah has been good to us, though we are ready to breathe some air with more moisture. Staying hydrated in the desert is a full-time job.