2005 US West Coast

Chicago, IL   10/20 & 10/21     Parallel lines.. so right so wrong

   The drive from NY to Chicago was fairly numbing. If you are ever faced with this drive, here’s a piece of advice: don’t believe the map. At least not the distance chart. There is no distance vs. average speed vs. time for stops formula that will allow you to account for all this truck traffic and Pocono weekenders an single lane construction zones. There’s just no realistic model. This is three body physics final territory.

   Night one of the Shubba’s two night stand was on of the best show’s we’ve ever played I think. I had a lot of fun anyway. Being back in the states, on our own gear, in a city and a venue that we like a lot, Chris Michaels behind the mixing board.. some combination of the above gave this show a weird energy and the show was better for it. Sure I jerked “Hard To Find” a little bit but whatever whatever. “Born On The Cusp” sounded really good tonight. After the show, I played “Aaron & Maria” for a couple that brought their guitar to the show. It was just that kind of night. I had to duck under the counter of the closed up showroom bar and pour myself a nightcap because there wasn’t niiiibidy liiiikin.

   Night two was a slightly different affair. Our equipment troubles returned midway through the first song and we took a hurried but ill timed intermission to switch out amplifiers. We still played pretty well, I think, but the room was a little smokier. The crowd was a little louder. And I led my voice down a few dark allies and it refused to follow me a few a time or two. We spent the night seeing old friends and midway through this tour, we probably needed that more than anything else. Still.. we skipped soundcheck in favor of errands and dinner and because we could. I won’t say the show was flat.. exactly.. but it wouldn’t have killed us to be a band for 45 minutes sometime in the late afternoon.

   The final injustice came late in the game. I went to the main bar in the room adjacent to the showroom and tried to exchange one of my two remaining drink tickets for a frosty Guiness (I’d certainly earned it, right?) The bartender watched me let a nice young woman step in front of me and order, made her a gin & tonic,  and then told me the bar was closed. What? He also demanded that I surrender my two tickets I had laid on the bar. An empty gesture, sure, but it didn’t make it sting any less. I thanked him for his time and made for the closed bar in the showroom again.

“I can take that empty glass from you too, guy.”

Ouch. This is going to make it hard to steel beer from you, guy.

   It was so wrong. Lesson 1: It doesn’t pay to be nice. Which I am. Lesson 2: It totally pays to keep a clean pint glass in your shoulder bag. Which I do. So boom..

10/22   Minneapolis, MN     Zero walk-up? What the f?

It’s freezing here. OK so it’s not SO cold. But I’ve got an extra layer on and I’m one layer past dapper and so I’m pointing fingers at mother nature.

   The Varsity Theater is definitely the most interesting place we’ve even played in Minneapolis. A giant stage and a great soundsystem. Ornate tables and mismatched chairs. Bohemian chic curtains adorning the windows and walls. Three tiers of faux velvet covered mattresses lining the walls for those who might find sitting at an ornate table in a mismatched chair surrounded by bohemian chic drapes a little too tiring. So I had to ask..

“Hi everybody.. we’re the American Analog Set. Thanks for having us.. um.. ok this venue is way too nice for us. What’s going on? OK.. there’s another show tonight, right? Who’s playing the shitty basement club with no bathroom and a shitty PA and a promoter talking about how much better their “skinhead problem” has been lately. Who’s playing THERE?”

   And of course about a half dozen people at once, “Metric!”

   “Yeah.. that’s what I thought”. Cheers to Metric. I’ll send Emily a thank you note.” We were due a good show in the twin cities.

   We found out afterward that the entire show and more embarrassingly the lengthy sound check featuring a less than pc for our ears only version of “Baby Julie” was broadcast on the sidewalk in front of the Varsity Theater. Hmm.. pre sales were great but..

10/25   Seattle, WA     You better be street if you’re looking at me..

   Big ups to the Comfort Inn in Spokane for whipping up the most impressive hotel breakfast buffet I’ve seen in a long time. You pour your OWN batter into the iron so the waffles come up fresh as daisies and my DIY fancy is tickled to the bargain. These eggs are on target as well and unless I’m mistaken (and I’m rarely mistaken about these things) this is a box of biscuits next to this fresh steamer of sausage gravy. Yes.. yes it is.

   The show itself was at a place called Chop Suey. We played there a few years ago when it was called the Breakroom and we had a less than awesome show. We put it right tonight, though. OK some wrongs that we had control over were righted tonight. I was our first show with Vervein who are accompanying us on the west coast portion of this rock tour. They said that they were nervous and warming up to borrowed gear but we all though they were great

 10/26 Vancouver, BC

Oh God, book 2. Dani’s got it hardwired. After finding a safe place to leave all our merchandise in Seattle, and a mercifully uneventful border crossing, we found the Media Club in downtown Vancouver. The show was put on by a productions company called “Sealed With A Kiss” and a woman named Dani ran the show. And run it she did. The show sold out 10 days earlier. Everything ran on time. The opener cancelled on the day of the show (Vervein couldn’t come with us to Canada) and Dani found a surprisingly good band called Bon Tempe to play with us. We also got a bunch of rare rider items like juice, batteries, cigarettes and another book for the van library. Thanks Dani.

   Hey.. this interesting.. here’s how to ruin a show.

“Hi everybody.. We’re the American Analog Set from Austin, Texas. Thanks for having us back..”

“Turd Fergeson!!”

“What did he say? What did somebody just yell at me?”

“Kenny.. I think he yelled Turd Fergeson”

“Yeah.. OK.. why don’t you yell that shit again and we’ll show you how we handle that  in Texas, asshole. You fuck stick”

Yeah.. that’ll do it. That’s where I lost the crowd I think. Somewhere in there.

   Ok cheers and jeers real quick. Cheers to Amber and Mariella and the rest of the K records crew driving up from Olympia on a rainy Tuesday night to show love. Holla back. Big ups. Your status is hood. Cheers to Tim Walsh form the Heedphones et al posting up at the rock show. He’s not on the Headphones dates we’re teaming up for next month so it was nice of you to show out. Holla back. Big ups. Your status is hood. Jeers to Chris Jacobs from Sub Pop though.I thought you were my boy. Blowing off our last show in Seattle for soccer practice. You can holla back. But you get only small to medium sized ups and you status? Not hood

   As an aside. For those of you that don’t know what a rider is, I will briefly explain. In addition to the contract for performance between  band and a club of a local promoter at a club and a booking agent or any combination of those, it’s customary to include a contract rider to address requests made of the promoter / venue by the band or their agent(s). Stuff like PA specifications, mic’s, advertising budgets, all the way down to how many vegetarians are in the group and what kind of beer they like. This is also the place for all the weird stuff you hear artists asking for like Van Halen’s  M&M’s with the green ones picked out or Moby’s new pair of underwear every show or Marc Bianci’s styrofoam chest of ice for his collection of glass butt plugs whatever whatever. Check out the Smoking Gun website for more information about these and other public figures’ indulgences. Flower Booking has been on us for years to push this envelope a little because we’re boring people and we don’t really ask for anything special or interesting so on THIS tour we added “a book.. preferably recently read and recommended” because we go through books in the van pretty quickly. Tonight, the promoter, Roy, gave us our first book of the tour (oh.. bands frequently get straight ghosted on their rider requests by the way). “Middlesex”, by Jeffrey Eugenides. Thanks, Roy. I bestow hood status on thee.

10/27   Portland, OR     He ain’t no gentleman, that one.

OK so the show was great and though we’ve always had decent shows in Portland, this was definitely the best and Portland’s been waiting a decade for a club like this. It’s an amazing set up all the way around. But honestly.. I was lame and went to bed after the show. Lee and Chris need to write the journal for today.

10/28   Eugene, OR     My other soul is also laughing darkly to itself

So I was stricken with what they call adult onset macrame allergy so we haven’t played in Eugene in a long time. 1999 maybe. Since then the legend of the Eugene hippy eco-tude has grown to ancient mythological proportions. Don’t they just have one “not Earth Day” day in October or something? Didn’t we meet someone there that after market modded our their ’81 Accord wagon to run on patchulli oil? That kind of stuff. Both of these could be true, by the way. Check out this bike? My man rolls up the show like,  “OK I’m too eco-conscious to even drive a hybrid, right? But riding a bike doesn’t allow me to treat the vehicle behind me to the various socio-political slogans that I think are important so I added a fake.. rear.. bumper.. to my BIKE SEAT so I can throw bumper strips on it. F the man.”

   I walked down the street to get a coffee and when I came back I had to wait in line to get into WOW Hall (WOW stands for Woodlanders of the World. By the way. It’s an old logger’s activity center] andthe woman in front of me pulls two tickets out of an envelope and FIRST complains about waste of paper and the lack of electronic ticketing options and THEN asks if they have a recycling receptacle FOR THE ENVELOPE!!!I can’t make this up, people. And they had a recycling basket.. AT the ticket counter.. FOR ENVELOPES!! There were even people getting high at sound check for crying out loud.

10/29-30   San Francisco, CA

   Bottom of the Hill is one of our favorite places to places to play in the world. Big ups to Elise from Indie Pop Rocks. Big ups to Jason Munn for coming through with another great poster.