Friday, September 26, 2008

Northwest America and Vancouver

Vancouver was a smooth ride. No thefts. 'Twas a quick drive up from Seattle, despite a little traffic jam at the Canadian border. Customs were surprisingly easier here than on our entrance to Montreal a few weeks back. Vancouver's city line is quite remarkable. The most fascinating thing about it is that almost all of the high rise buildings look the same... as if they were designed by the same architect. Mountains topped in fog are just off to the side, and the view over the water is really cool. We had about an hour to kill before the show at The Media Club. Wes, Mat, and I walked around downtown and encountered two of the strangest, strangest things we had ever seen:

A young woman, eclectically dressed, shouts at us as we walk by on the sidewalk, REALLY rapidly, "hey hey, you guys have any change? I know you have some I hear it clinking around in your pocket! C'mon c'mon I'm not gonna spend it on crack or anything I just want to do ACID tonight c'mon c'mon" (we are now passing her) "no? no change? ok. ok thats cool AT LEAST IM NOT F#@&ING EMO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I don't think she liked us. We later realized that we should have arrogantly refuted; "WE'RE NOT EMO, WE'RE INDIE."

Right after that, we witnessed a man scavenging the streets for used cigarettes. He had a little bag full of butts, and kneeled down just in our path on the sidewalk, took a cigarette out of his collection, put it on the ground, picked up another one, and placed it in his bag. It seemed that he had made a good decision.

We drove back into the US after the show and stayed in Bellingham, WA, where we would depart from the next morning down to Portland. The Doug Fir Lounge is a restaurant/bar/venue/hotel complex, decorated in an interesting, contemporary-rustic vibe. The facility is actually incredibly nice, the stage is spacious, and the PA is extremely well built. While the performance was great, the crowd actually wasn't too interested in making a party of the show. It was a Monday night, so I think everyone was a bit tired. Apparently Ra Ra Riot and Walter Meego weren't though. We extended the night up at the bar and hotel rooms. Oh, and make sure you check out Wes' sweet V-Drums Power Ranger illustration on the hotel door chalk board in the pictures below.

We then drove down to Oakland by late the next night, just outside of San Franscisco because the hotel rate was cheaper there. The next day, we drove in over the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge and up to Ghiradelli Square, where we got some super decadent shakes. Gabe noticed that his body ached afterwards. I think we all sort of agreed, but they were damn tasty. We then climbed all the way through the city to the center where the venue was. Rickshaw Stop was a delightful place to play because of its large room, dual balcony, and comfy backstage. Our sound check was particularly successful, which made me happy. The show would go on to sell out, hosting about 350 AWESOME audience members who danced, jumped, shouted, sang, and rocked out the whole time. Great night.

We are now heading down I-5 to LA. I'm hella excited to get there, play a show, and then enjoy two days off to catch up with all my Syracuse film/TV grad-mates who moved out here. And go to the beach. And hang out with Walter Meego at their house. Because they have a pool. Yes.

(For those of you who follow this blog in "real time," pardon the one or two day delay in story telling. Internet is sort of hard to come by on the road)

Monday, September 22, 2008


Ok, this is a long one. The documentation continues at the Lawrence, Kansas show at the Jackpot Saloon. Tiny little place. More like a bar with a stage, but the crowd was sizable considering the demographic. Some great fans attended, including Megan Do; a long time superfan of the band. She baked some of the best cookies I've ever had in my life. Kudos! We topped off the evening with a great bonding event with Justin, Colin, and Andrew of Walter Meego at our hotel that night. Check em out at They absolutely rock, and are really fun people.

Moving to Denver, the sunrise was breathtaking... and the one in Salt Lake that we woke up to in our 17th store balcony hotel room blew my mind. Picture below. Attendance was great in Denver. In fact, I believe it sold out, or almost sold out. Salt Lake City's show was probably the most unique show on the tour so far. The venue was actually not a venue, but an interesting cul de sac that has been transformed into a garage-concert-complex. Separate stage, green room, and merch table sheds make up "Kilby Court," all surrounding the dead end of the humble neighborhood road. In our time before the show, we enjoyed a fantastic spectacle, in which Mat and Wes riffed at the ping pong table. It has officially become a highlight of the tour that I catch them doing the silliest of things on film without their knowledge. The show was cool though, and the crowd was a unique, genuine collection of music fans.

Boise took us into the beautiful mountainous region of the country; Although we opted to drive around them because of our high gas consumption and heavy freight. Regardless, the views were incredible. We played an in-store performance at The Record Exchange, which is attached to Neurolux, the venue in Boise.

Our through-the-night drive to Seattle was a rough one. Another floor slumber for me. But damn, Seattle is a cool city. I've never been, and instantly fell in love with the way it feels. The air is refreshing and the geography is unique. The streets are clean, the trees are green, and there seem to be so many different nooks and neighborhoods throughout. I could do without the constant drizzling rain though. We played live on air at KEPX, Seattle's biggest radio station. The performance was a bit nerve racking given its large live audience, but it was solid nonethless. Ra Ra Riot's newest "family members" at Barsuk Records trickled into our travels throughout the first day in Seattle. Josh, Adam, Vanessa, Grant, Becca, Gabe, Milo, Elise, and myself went to see Menomena (a Barsuk band as well) and The National perform at the Moore Theater in downtown Seattle. After that, went out for some late night sushi and drinks. The other stragglers of the band opted for a rivaling McDonalds run and hot tub session at the hotel that night.

The next morning, we had brunch at the lovely home of Josh Rosenfeld (Barsuk Records' founder). Bagels, lox, tomato, basil, and cream cheese later, we left for King Cobra, the Seattle show that drew a very complete, 300-person crowd. The Barsuk staff and Ryan Hadlock (Producer of The Rhumb Line) all loved the show. It was a proud night for sure.

We're now on our way to VanCouver. Josh Roth and I are joking on BBM right now about how incredibly armed we are going to be for any attempted robbery. Don't even try. Actually, we just decided that we're going to return to the US border after the show.

See you somewhere down the west coast!