Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It's true...

we're back! In true Colorado fashion, it was a beautiful 75 degrees yesterday - and now there are flurries of snow. I have every intention of updating my blog and completing our trip experiences, as I did in fact write them all down to remember later to type out for you.

There are just a feeeewww things to do first: like buy food so I don't starve and start not-living out of suitcases (which means I have to unpack)...

Monday, March 31, 2008

a slight, almost update


We have just finished an AMAZING 9 days in San Diego - don't worry - I have pictures and stories to post (including my experience eating a live cricket today)! But not yet, because I'm not ready for another blogging all-nighter.

I love San Diego and want to move here. Seriously. Even though gas is 3.65 and I'd have to live in a cardboard box and eat ramen... so if anyone wants to come with...

We're off to LA tomorrow and will be playing a Spin magazine showcase in Hollywood on Tuesday! Then we keep traveling up the Cali coast and have shows every night Tues-Sun. I tell you this because I'm not sure when my next blogging opp will be.

But stay posted.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

day 40: tempe/phoenix/scottsdale

The day started off with scrambled eggs, homemade biscuits and apple butter. We're staying with Robbie and Carissa, friends of Juli's and mine from Baylor. (Among other things, Robbie and Juli played in a band together, and Carissa and I were in the same group who traveled to Turkey during one of our spring breaks.) With their light, open apartment featuring great modern decorating and furniture, recycling and composts, and organic foods, I felt so at home. Again, I have to say one of my absolute favorite things about touring is reconnecting and hanging out with old friends.

Leaving Texas has brought a new energy - especially after realizing we had been there almost a full month! Arizona is gorgeous - sunny, no humidity to be felt, and not a cloud in the sky. Carissa took Dann, Juli and I on a little tour of downtown, right by the campus of Arizona State. An interesting thing about the area: Phoenix, Tempe (pronounced Temp-EE), and Scottsdale are all essentially the same city.

Carissa and Dann. I think the building to the right has some sort of significance, but now I don't remember. That's what I get for writing this a week later...

Tempe Beach Park

Juli and Dann fighting to the death... see how angry they look... and how effectively they punch.

Our show was at at place called the Rogue Bar. The sound guy didn't actually show up until our set had started, but a "new guy" named Manny held it together for us. Again, we didn't have a huge crowd (I think we brought 7 people?) but everyone else in the bar was pretty receptive. We played with a great band called Princess Lady Friend - I enjoyed their set so so much (check them out!).

Yay Arizona.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

day 39: in the car

The drive to Arizona was our longest day in the car yet: 16 hours, baby! As we passed through 2 time zones following the sun, it felt like the majority of our trip was during 4-5pm.

The most exciting thing to report about this day was that we experienced the official Worst Band Meal Ever. Just a preface before you start to get all judgmental and roll your eyes because of the "restaurant" we chose: we rarely ever eat fast food - and this place was the only possibility in the desert of New Mexico. It was either eat or starve. (Ok, ok, I know I'm making this way too dramatic.)

After waiting about 15 minutes to get our food at an otherwise customer-less Taco Bell, we decided it was more enjoyable (and probably cleaner) to eat outside.

I should have gotten more pics of this. Notice the dog by Juli's head. He was the most pathetic dog with the saddest-looking eyes I have ever seen.

Reid and Dann are staring at him, too, while Juli continues to laugh.

We took a few bites of the worst Taco Bell of our lives, and offered the rest to the sad pup. Well, the food was so bad that even this poor, starving dog wouldn't touch any of it. I wanted to save him from the cruel existence of Nowhere, New Mexico - but the rest of the band wouldn't have it. They said he was most likely on drugs along with the rest of the town.
So we grabbed some gas station "food."

And hours and hours later, made it to Tempe.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

day 38: san antonio

Today our plans changed about a zillion times. By the end of the day we ended up in San Antonio. Once again, we were originally supposed to play in Waco. Once again, there was rain. We figured we could just have the girls play an acoustic set inside, since Juli and I have a lot of friends there who were planning on coming. But after a few phone conversations with a few different people, it turns out there was some miscommunication when our show was rescheduled... and we didn't really have a show after all. Even though we had a guaranteed audience, they didn't want to go through with it. So, whatever, Waco. We've tried to play there 3 different times and each time has fallen through. Funny as it sounds, Waco is one of the places I really really want to play... a way of me saying, "Take that, Baylor music school."

So we came up with a few different options for where to stay the night, since we were playing in Lubbock the following evening (one beautiful Texas metropolis to the next!) only to discover the booking guy for the Lubbock venue was lame, too. So we cancelled that show. A few minutes later we had a new route to follow, and decided San Antonio was a good place to stop for the night.

We stayed at our friend Amy's parents house, which is more like a mini-village, with different houses and driveways and fields. At dinner, Tifah had one of my favorite quotable moments of the tour as she tried to explain: "You know, that thing, that big game, with football, and lots of people." (Yes, that would be the Super Bowl)

Even though it was late, we went out to the Riverwalk. On our way there, we drove by the Alamo, since Dann had never seen it. Not wanting to get his hopes up, Tif and I kept telling him how tiny the Alamo actually is - unlike the way it's often portrayed on film. We'd point to small structures and say: the Alamo is smaller than that! So it was pretty funny that Dann didn't even see it the first time we drove the loop around it (to be fair, he was driving and we didn't exactly point it out).

Here are some pics of the Riverwalk, one of my favorite places in Texas. You might just have to use your imagination, since it was so dark outside:

A red tunnel I was fascinated with.

We came across an Irish pub, and decided to celebrate St. Patrick's Day a day late.

We played some darts. By "played" I mostly mean Reid made about 274 bullseyes.

The evening ended with a mysterious man following us. At least, he kept showing up where we were. Luckily we are sneaky and devious and made it back safely (whew). Plus, Dann and Reid are pretty confident they can beat anyone up.

Monday, March 17, 2008

day 36-37: houston part 4

So... back in Houston after a last minute request to play at Ecclesia for the second week in a row. The third time in a city must be the charm, because at the end of the day we were standing in a 5,000 sq. ft. house that our friend Chris wants to buy us. Seriously - he wants us to live rent-free in a massive house so we can have more time to create and play music together. Perks? Well, the obvious: free large house to easily get lost in, golf course out the back yard, garden, lots of windows. Non-perks? Living in Houston. So we'll see...

We went to lunch with one of our favorite people/sound guys, Zach, in the artsy part of Houston called Montrose. Within the hour or so that we were there, the weather went from sunny and warm to windy to rainy to cool and then back to warm. I guess Colorado isn't the only state that has unpredictable weather.

While I know weather is the most exciting topic to write about, the above paragraph actually is a perfect segue way to the next day. We had planned on going to Waco to do some promotion for our show, but because of a sudden weather change (ie: rain) there, we stayed in H-town. We had a nice long band meeting (blah blah blah) to establish leadership roles (yawn for you), and realized a little too late that we missed celebrating St. Patrick's Day...

Regardless, my sis Malia turned 25 today - Happy Birthday, Mimi!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

day 34-35: austin part 2

I loooove Austin! Pretty much every 5 minutes the thought of "I could totally live here" crossed my mind.

Then it occurred to me that I have actually lived in Austin... although I don't think it counts, since it was in the early '80s and before I turned 4 years old. If only as a toddler I would have known the vast treasure of music to be discovered and enjoyed in the great capital city of Texas...

When we first got to Austin I experienced culture shock. Well, I'm pretty sure that's the best way to describe it. Why? Probably because it was hot outside both days we were there (92 degrees, anyone?) and because there were people ev-er-y-where. Definitely a far cry from the majority of our tour stops in the last month. (ie: Camden, AR - where we saw 0 people)

Our first day, we made sure to stop by some of our favorite locations: Sno Beach (if snow cones could be gourmet, this is the place to find them) and the Hula Hut, which is right off of Lake Austin:

Yeah, this is a stolen picture from the internet... but since I'm just now recharging my camera batteries, I thought some form of picture would be better than none.

Later that night I was supposed to go to the Blender party with my cousin "Jonny Hey" (which started at midnight and went to 4am), but unfortunately was not feeling well. Bad timing!!!

SXSW ("South-By-Southwest" for those of you not music-festivally inclined) is one of the largest music festivals in the US. This year there were 1,700 bands playing in the span of a few days. Literally, everywhere you walk down the street, there is live music - not only in bars, but restaurants, alleyways, and even hair salons. Absolute craziness, I tell you!

So it's only fitting that our show turned out pretty crazy...
We played at a place called Guero's on a little outdoor stage:

(Another lame picture from the WWW. And I know it looks just like us, but that is not The Autumn Film you see pictured.)

So anyway, there is a little "window" in the back of the stage to load and unload all of your gear through - we had a total of 45 minutes to unload, set up, sound check, play our set, and load back up. After 20 minutes, nothing of my violin equipment seemed to be working. We were unplugging and re-plugging cables, trying out different amps, switching between computer gear and non-computer gear - all to no avail. The only sound I could produce was an annoyingly piercing buzzing sound. Time was wasting away and everyone was getting anxious, so I just decided to play all my violin parts on my keyboard. Problem solved. It felt odd with no violin, but I was so anxious to play that it didn't matter as much. We gained some new fans and sold even more T-shirts (apparently Texans love the cotton) so it was worth it. Jonny Hey took some pics, so maybe he can send them to me to post later.

After unloading everything out of the trailer to change a tire (another missed photo-op), we got back in the car for the 3 hour drive to Houston... as we had a last minute request for an all-day playing gig the next day. It was hard to leave Austin so soon, but the trip back was one of my favorites so far - I was driving with Juli doing a fine job DJ-ing it up - and a massive sing-along