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July 12th – Day off in Portland, OR:

We woke up in Portland at our friends Joni & Mary’s house after a late-night drive from Boise. We spent the day seeing why Portland is a haven of music, culture, progressive thinking, and, overall, good things. We went to The Doug Fir for a show, but only saw a SOLD OUT sign on the ticket window. Some friends of ours were going to be there; one, in fact, playing in the Portland Cello Project who was on the bill. So, we did the old shove-our-hands-in-our-pockets-and-kick-an-imaginary-rock-thing as we started walking back to the van. We commenced with Plan B and headed down the street to Dante’s for a sweaty, drunken two band bill: Jacuzzi Boys from Miami (Aaron McAllister twin on lead vocals and guitar) and King Khan & The Shrines. King Khan’s is like a James Brown-meets-punk show: horn section, cheerleader, 2 of the members were French, and by the end of the night, the girl who kept hopping up on the corner of the stage so she could lift up her skirt just enough for her boyfriend to take a picture of her, her panties, and the band…still with me?...well, she hopped up one too many times and her arms, weary with whiskey, lifted her 2 inches short of a complete hop and she quickly made friends with the floor, her face being the handshake. It was rough.

July 13th – A House Show in Condon, OR (population 750):

This music appreciator named Tara hosts touring musicians in her tiny town 3 hours east of Portland. So, we played in her backyard at sunset to her family and 12 friends, followed by a king’s meal of fettucine and garlic bread, and then a long night’s sleep.

July 14th – A 10-hour driving day to my family’s house just outside of Sacramento:

My family is the definition of a supportive family. We ate a huge meal, they bought a lot of tour t-shirts and EPs, we spent a few hours between the hot tub and heated pool…it was resort-esque. It’s funny how good planning prevents you from roughing it too much. I’m still unconvinced that you HAVE to suffer to be successful in the music business. If you bring the good fortune, you’ve worked just as hard as the hardships brought on by lazy ass-sitting. Hoo-ah!

July 15th – The Stork Club in Oakland, CA:

This is a DIVE bar the way dive bars are supposed to be. The walls are still sweaty and smelly from every show they’ve ever had and the PA seems to be holding tight since MacGyver gave it a chewing gum and paper clip tune up in the 90’s. We played REALLY well this night! We drew 13 people our first time in California and made a beautiful FIFTEEN DOLLARS. The local headliners also drew 13. When we sarcastically commented on this to the door woman, she said, “Next time, if you know you’re gonna draw a crowd, you can pre-arrange to get paid more.” What a thing to hear. Thank you, Stork Club. We’ll be back in a few months, pre-arrangements made.

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July 16th – Monterey Live in Monterey, CA:

We spent most of the day sightseeing in Berkeley with our dear CU friend Darrin Drda and his new housemate Steffy Sue, who plays the ukulele and sings beautifully. We ate ultra-health food and walked up the side of a small mountain. Yum and yum. Then, down the coast to Monterey. This club was built with musicians in mind. It’s nice like the Cowboy Monkey is nice…red curtains, overly clean, and PERFECT FOR LIVE MUSIC. It was a Wednesday, so 20 people opened their ears and hearts for us. Our wonderful booking agent’s aunt, Jennifer, had been telling friends for 2 weeks about the show and 10 showed. So, we love her now. We even stayed with a friend of her’s who lives in a mammoth house with 5 other people. Their dogs Jack, Ecko, and Charlie were nice to hug. We all miss our dogs about as much as we miss our lady friends, I think.

July 17th – Silverlake Lounge in Los Angeles, CA:

A few words. We played the best set of the tour, Chloe Sevigny was at the club watching her friends in the second band (her hair was messy, she had a flowery thrift store dress on with hi-top boots, and seemed very out of it), and I’ve never sweated more. It might have been the tacos we had across the street before the show with our friend Shannon, or the fact that there were 6 people from Illinois in the room and they made us all feel exTREMEly welcome, but Silverlake was ours.

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July 18th- The Experimental Cafe in Oxnard, CA:

This place probably used to be owned by someone who put on great shows and tried to make musicians, especially ones on tour, feel very welcome in their small beach community. Now, the PA is messy, the vibe feels like the new owner is coasting downhill on the goodness left by the old owner, and there were just a handful of people at the show. But, these handful of people welcomed us and our music. Gas money and a few EPs sold helped round out the night. Of course, when you want to REALLY round out a night, you do what we did after this early show got over. We got back in the van, drove the 45 minutes back to L.A. and caught the Jon Brion and Friends 2-hour set at ‘Largo at the Cornet Theatre’ featuring John C. Riley (sic), Maya Rudolph, & Fred Armisen doing small skits with Jon playing Vaudevillian piano behind them. He is amazing the way Andrew Bird is amazing. He makes me want to do nothing but practice and learn more about the instruments I play and re-attack my songwriting from every angle. Absolutely worth the twenty dollars I handed the over-anxious, multi-tasking, L.A. door guy.

Week #2 in the books.