Portland to Chico
We headed out of Portland on Thursday night so we could knock a good chunk out of our long drive, planning to nap in the van somewhere after the pass into California. It was cold on the mountains and we stopped to get beers and turkey sandwiches to help with sleep, but ended up just being full and cold instead. So by Friday morning we were not in the best of moods as a group and then had to pass through Redding.
The last time we were in Redding we came to play a show that we were hired for and when we got home the check bounced. The late fees are still adding up from that one. Sleeping in the van may indicate to you, dear readers, that we don't light our smokes with burning hundred dollar bills. So the grumbling in the van built up by a few notches. We are buoyed up by one thing: sitting in our trailer are boxes of our new album that we just got from the pressing plant. They still smell new.
Then we pull up to the loading door of the Senator Theater in Chico and the familiar faces of that amazing crew (Abby and Ben, you guys ROCK!) come hopping to our rescue. Gear is loaded in, sound check is flawless, things are looking more up than up can be, and then the main doors are opened and the show begins.
We have played in Chico more times than I can even remember, but there is something very different about the first show after picking up copies of your new album. It's the closest thing to your first show ever that you can re-create. It's a nervy, heady, wild feeling. Like anything can happen. The crowd was great, something we are happy to count on from Chico, and that night none of us could get to sleep for hours.
After so many months of labor, it was really nice to see our bouncing baby "Wake" come into the world in those incredible surroundings.
"And there never was an apple, in Adam's opinion, that wasn't worth the trouble you got into for eating it." - Neil Gaiman
Got to the Red Devil about an hour early, which is always nice to not be in a giant rush. That's when the promoter comes up and says that due to noise complaints they haven't been having shows for a while. We're playing an acoustic show so we're not worried about noise, but it's not a good sign if the venue is keeping its doors closed.
The sun started to set and I walked all up and down Polk as the sky changed colors. The shades of orange and indigo like watercolors dripping all over the coffee shops and restaurants made me feel like I was dreaming. There was a broken down trolley car stopping traffic in an intersection and nobody seemed to mind. They just sat in their cars, tapping the steering wheel to music or laughing into their phones. San Francisco has a knack for seeming unreal.
By the time the opener was finished up we could tell that the turnout was going to be pretty bleak. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly through the whole show, and felt really good about it, but man was that little cluster of people quiet. Wow. Between songs felt spooky. I don't think that my whispering to them helped. After the show some generous souls bought us drinks and said how much the acoustic performance meant for them, and it changed my perspective. The quiet worked on some strange level and that night as I drifted off to sleep in the van my dreams were suffused with tranquil scenes of San Francisco.
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