Saturday, April 23, 2011

As promised my dear readers, here is your second peek into life on the road with the wiley and ferocious March Fourth Marching Band. We have now departed San Francisco, where we had a fun infused booty shakin dance party at the Independent Theater on Divisidero.

It was about a 7 hour drive from Ashland, and when we arrived in SF we were pleasantly surprised to find that we had to take off our sweatshirts, finally!! It was a beautiful mild day in the city, though unfortunately we had to spend the remainder of it loading in gear, and soundchecking. While the band was figuring out monitor mix and whatnot, I spent an hour or so on the bus crafting my finest trophy yet. If you haven't had the fortune to witness one of our trophy giveaways, well then you have something sensational to look forward to! We have a pile of old trophies in the bay under the bus, and each day we select one to be the prize for our all out, balls to the wall, get freaky dance off with your pants off dance contest. On the day of the show, each trophy is hand selected, modified, and blinged out by one of the fine members of this band. For SF I chose a giant cup with a hockey player. I broke off the hockey stick and with the help of my trusty glue gun I added a hula hoop, and decked him out in pink sparkly boot covers, a sparkly silver cape that I added wire to so it looks like it is flying in the wind, and a feather bustle. We always hold our dance contest near the end of the show, once the rubes have been good and juiced up. We announce that there will be a dance contest and then we scan the crowd for people who stand out above and beyond your average freak in the crowd. We end up pulling a couple of rare individuals up on stage and they get crazy freaky, and eventually we choose one of them to take home the magnificent trophy! We started doing the trophy giveaway on the fall tour. Our very first giveaway was at the Belly Up Lounge in Aspen, CO, and the winner won because she got up on the bar and started gyrating like crazy! It was that moment that I knew we were on to something. It has become clear that in each and every crowd there is someone that WANTS IT and they are willing to go completely insanely crazy in front of the whole crowd in order to get their sticky paws on that trophy. The thing that I absolutely love about this part of the show is the variations that present themselves, each and every show. People are totally rad! I have seen them do the wildest things, from the gyrating bar lady, to doing flips, to using their shoe as a fake telephone, to going into writhing convulsions on the floor, flopping around like a psychedelic induced fish out of water. And then of course there are the hot chicks grinding the drummers (they rarely win but are fun to watch) Then there was the guy in the graduation hat who threw it into the crowd graduation style, when he won. And the guy who started beating Ryan's cymbal with his newly acquired trophy, breaking off all the bits that we carefully glued on, and breaking Ryan's cymbal in the process. Needless to say he was our least favorite trophy winner. Then of course there were the two contenders in Whistler who decided to share the trophy since they each felt bad about out dancing the other. Oh Canada! Or the times when the crowd just starts bombarding the stage, jumping up and filling the stage, grasping and clawing for their moment of fame. After several chaotic mishaps, we have decided that this is not ideal and we now strongly discourage people from jumping on stage unless invited. That did not stop our lovely half naked dancer in San Francisco, who was told no but jumped up a minute later anyway… And speaking of San Francisco, there was some fierce competition. It was between a Rosie the Riveter awesome dancer and nose picker, and a super funky guy who was a mover and shaker with his own silly style. In the end we gave the trophy to him and he rocked out with us for the rest of the song. I was pleased with the choice and thought he was a well deserving winner of my finely crafted masterpiece.

Our show started off great for the sheer fact that the Blazers had just won so the bass section was in particularly good spirits ;) We had a moderately sizable stage but almost every stage is too small for this traveling band of gypsies. We decided to do our new stilt chair dance on stage, but once we got up there we realized that this may or may not go well. Luckily it went over swimmingly and the crowd LOVED it! It was definitely a tight squeeze and hopefully I was able to mask any facial expressions of paralyzing fear. Imagine yourself standing on a stage that is about 4 feet off the ground, and then put yourself on 3 foot stilts. Then just to add to the mayhem, why don't you slap about 15 musicians around and behind you, and a bunch of cords, monitors, and mike stands. Carpet the stage so it is a little sticky and weird, and then shine some lights right in your face. Step to just about the front edge of the stage. Add a screaming crowd. It was awesome.

After the show we had to swiftly pack up and get out. It was tough to do since SF is teeming with our people, and all we wanted to do was revel in the post show afterglow with our bay area loved ones. But we kept our eye on the prize and soon the bus was skillfully packed. Who knew all those seemingly wasted hours of Tetris as a kid would pay off? At this point our bus officially became a clown bus, as we brought on 5 extra people for our journey South to la la land. We left the fair city of San Francisco behind in a trail of diesel smoke and whisky breath. The amount of partying that this bus can handle is massive, and i think we maxed it out that night on the drive to the glorious city of Modesto, Ca.

When we got to Modesto at 3:30am we were welcomed with open arms by Taylor's 84 year old grandma. She has a whole extra house and we were given the run of it, stocked fridge and all.

The next morning, bellies full of grandma food, we were on our way to San Diego, Solana Beach to be exact. Our show was at the Belly Up. We have played a few times at the renowned Belly Up in Aspen and in my opinion they have been some of our best shows (that might be the influence of the oxygen tanks in the green room, but whatever)

Our show was in conjunction with the CD release party for a sister band, Vokab company. They are so awesome! And I feel particularly fond of them because their lead guy, Matt Burke (Burkie) is an old high school friend. I also have an old high school friend in the Yard Dogs (Leighton) and it is so fun to run around the world in these crazy bohemian bands and continuously run into people that you knew and loved way way back in the day. Yea!

Our show was sold out hours before the doors opened, which is always a pleasant surprise. Solovox played first and there was no need to warm this crowd up, they were ready to go. The Vokab rocked the place down and we closed it with a hot sweaty bootylicious dance fest that went way into the night. There were some sound issues (no sound check!) but over all it was my favorite show of the tour thus far (3 shows in, wooooooo). The energy was SO high and we were all on fire! My hoop piece was one of my all time bests and our new dance piece Fat Alberta was smokin. We had just enough space on stage to do the stilt chair dance, which even though we were in a tangle of monitors and cords, went over smashingly and the crowd especially freaked out when we turned around and flashed them our asses. I saw a girl cover her boyfriend's eyes. Damn, success!

After the show we party bussed it back to our lodging, a super swanky burner oasis in Escondido, about a half an hour away from Solana Beach and one of our favorite places to stay of all time. It is a plushy deluxe accommodations belonging to our friends Touch and 13 Dollar Bill, complete with palm trees, black light party room with projector screen for movie watching, giant wooden penis sculpture, pool, naked hot tub, and kitties. even thought it was 3am when we got there, a dip in the hot tub was in order before crashing out on one of the plethora of memory foam pads and sheepskin throws that were laid out all over the house for us. I want to note that Touch and 13 Dollar Bill's playa names are Greg and Stanley. Just sayin'.

A short nighttime nap later and we woke up to the southern cali sunshine and naked hula hooping guy by the pool. We hopped back on the bus, headed out to the Grilled Cheese Invitational in LA. Finally!!!!!!!!! I've been waiting for this event for months!
I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

4/21/2011 Long Strange Trip, Day 2

Well my dear loyal fans, it seems that I have forsaken you for a long stint. As the band began to tour more and more, I found the job of documentation to become tedious and well, I think I just got lazy about having to use my brain on the bus. Tour brain sets in and all of a sudden joking about balls and coming up with dirty lyrics for Manhandel songs become top priority. Well I am here to tell you that I am back and ready to disclose all, the good, the bad, the epic. We are currently barreling down the highway at an alarming speed, trajectory: San Francisco! We set off on our noble steed at 0h ten hundred, waving good bye to the egg, a tear in our eye as we would not be returning for almost a double fortnight. We have Solovox on board, he is playing with us for Ashland, San Francisco, and San Diego, and then he takes off for some of his own gigs in LA. Solovox on the bus is a horsicorn of a different color, I tell ya.

We got to Ashland and it was raining. I know Southern Oregon is in a rain shadow so they generally have much nicer weather than up north in Portlandia. I was super excited to hop off the bus and frolic in the warm spring weather, sniffing the flowers and being showered with petals from the blooming pink trees. Sun! Warm breeze! Fresh squeezed carrot beet ginger jui-.... wah wah… It was icy cold and totally wet. Sounds check was late and we had many hours to spare before the gig. I was so unmotivated to do anything outside, so I just went to the Ashland co-op where (of course) I ran into people I know, and laid around on the bus. Lots of spare time on tour, that's for sure.
Our venue for the evening was Culture Works, a nice little place with a small stage, a vegetarian wheat free gluten free sugar free food free etc.. menu, and fantastic wood floors. By the time Carl warmed them up, the crowd was definitely energized and we had a great first show to kick off our tour. Only 16 more to go! Overall the band sounded great and the crowd definitely appreciated our new material. All of that back breaking work over the winter has really paid off! If I had to pick the best moment on stage, I would say that it was definitely during Fuzzy Lentil, when our snare drummer Mr. Moore was doing his head banging devil tongue freaky thing, and he bashed himself in the face with a drumstick and gave himself a bloody fat lip. ROCK!!

We had a few friends from Portland in the crowd, Melissa Orion graced us with her streetcar, Inspire, and parked it in front of the venue. The streetcar named Inspire used to be a little raw food cafe parked on Alberta St, but now she has relocated it to Ashland and will sell handcrafted locally made whatnots. Our friend Kevin had helped her tow it down, and he is just an all around awesome and helpful guy! It's always great to have him around. Tucker and Jess have recently moved to their farm in Ashland so we had the pleasure of spending Tucker's birthday with him. Yea! I also got to see my sweet friends from Ashland, Chad Dalish, Solus, Jasmine, Serena, and Peter. Fun times!

After the show we had the great fortune to stay at Asha's house. Asha is this amazing woman who lives above Lithia Park in downtown Ashland. She has a lot of kids and an amazingly beautiful huge purple house. She has a plethora of luxurious bedrooms and a big geodesic dome in the back yard. She is notorious for hosting bands as they pass through town, I have stayed there several times with Vagabond Opera, and she has hosted March Fourth a few times in the past. Thank you Asha!! It makes such a big difference to be able to have a good night's sleep. And on the first night! What a luxury. Did I mention she has king sized beds and high thread count sheets? And a decadent carpeted bathroom with a victorian style bath? And CATS? Aahhhhhh. When we are used to sleeping like sardines, a king sized bed can feel like the great plains.

As we pulled away from Asha's this morning, unbeknownst to us, we were missing a very important member of our band. It was only when we got into downtown Ashland that we stopped and realized we had left behind our trusty bandleader, John. oops! Sorry! It seems to happen to everyone at one point or another. I'm still waiting for my turn..

We are now headed South, about to stop at one of my favorite places on the planet, the Shasta headwaters. This amazing gushing spring of life feeds the entire Sacramento River. Indeed a true majestic wonder and spiritual center if nature's your thing. And if it's not, what the hell is wrong with you?

All in all I am completely excited to be embarking on this journey. Yesterday I was feeling a bit apprehensive, feeling the anxiety and a touch of sadness about leaving my yummy Portandia life behind me, in particular I'm going to ferociously miss my kitty, my roomies, my friends, and a certain special guy. Plus the weather has just started getting good and being a fair weather rider, I've just started riding my bike to work downtown. As I cross over the Broadway bridge, wind in my hair, blue skies above and the city skyline ahead, I can't help but marvel at the utopian awesomeness that is our city and the Northwest in general. It's funny how I can be out having the most epic time of my life, but I long for the simple things like laying in the grass on a quiet sunny day, the distant sound of a lawnmower lulling me into a sweet daydream. But hopefully all of that will be available to me upon my return :)

More juiciness to come as we hit up
San Fransisco
San Diego
Los Angeles
Hermosa Beach
New Orleans
Lafayette, LA
St. Louis
Iowa City
Bloomington, IL
Sandpoint, ID

And now, for the quote of the morning: "Someone who lives here is sleeping in that room with the harp. So don't go in there and play the harp and talk in a Monty Python voice, like I just did." - John Averill


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween in New Orleans!

Ah the moment you have all been waiting for! My tour blog has sat empty while I was livin it up in New Orleans, but I have not forsaken you dear readers, I'm back at the computer and ready to divulge the deep and dirty shenanigans of the March Fourth Marching Band, back in the Big Easy once again. We are now on the tour bus, on the second 12 hour bus rides, heading towards snowy Denver.
We arrived by plane into Austin, Texas, and were scooped up at the airport by our bus, complete with our driver Aaron AKA Breathalyzer and Richard, Jeremiah, and Dan Stauffer, who had stayed in Texas over the tour break. They had even stocked the fridge for us which was totally rad after our whole day of airplane travel. Our home on wheels, it doesn't matter where in the world we are it feels safe and cozy on our trusty steed and I for one was glad to hop on and settle in for a long drive towards Lafayette, LA, where we were playing the next night. We made it part of the way there and got a few motel rooms somewhere along the way. After a good night's sleep and a shower, we were back on the road Thursday morning, and we wouldn't stop till we got to Lafayette. We pulled up at the Blue Moon Saloon and hostel and were greeted with open arms. At that point we had many hours until our gig, so a few of us set out for a local thrift store, but when we got there it had closed down :(
We ended up checking out the downtown area, sticking out like sore thumbs with our crazy hair, unusual bling and funky m4 style... on our walk we definitely noticed that there were thunderclouds forming but didn't think too much of it. That night Sabrina took over the kitchen at the Blue Moon and made us the most delicious dinner of fried chicken with bacon and mashed potatoes... yum!

Our show was super fun, we had a bunch of people there that had seen us last time we were in Lafayette, for the International Festival de Lousianne, and lots of new people too. March Fourth rocked it of course! Midway through the show the heavens opened up and poured on us some good old Louisiana rain, complete with a beautiful thunder and lightning show. At one point a HUGE bolt of lightning shot across the sky and simultaneously some of the loudest thunder I have ever heard cracked up above. It was exciting! With March Fourth's Dynamite in the background it was an almost perfect cacophony. After the show was festive as usual, with the band making new friends and spreading merriment throughout. That night we did not have a house to stay at or a hotel, so we slept in various places throughout the property, on our bus, and on the floor of the Blue Moon Hostel. I think they were a little surprised when they woke to find us on the floor in the living room, but it was so soggy outside it was almost impossible to camp!
In the morning we packed up and got on the road to New Orleans! One of our favorite places to play in all the world, we were excited to get there and get this party started. March Fourth rocks NOLA like nobody's business, and we fit in there like a puzzle piece. This time we were especially looking forward to it because we just released our new album called Rise Up, and it is dedicated to the city of New Orleans.

As we drove over the super long elevated expressway over the Louisiana swamplands, we watched out for alligators but didn't see any. Then we crossed Lake Pontacharain and we were in the frying pan. It was hot and humid, and it looked like the thunderclouds had followed us from Lafayette. We got to Richard's house, a friend of Keith's who lived uptown. This would be our home base for the next 5 days. Many members of the band opted to get hotel rooms and whatnot down in the Quarter, but Chad and I decided to stay at Richard's, along with a handful of other people. The Carrolton line would take us right down town for a measly $1.25 (though I never ended up riding it!) The first night there everyone opted to go out and get into trouble on our only night off in the city, but unfortunately I was feeling totally crappy and headachy so Chad and I scrounged food off the bus and made a yummy meal and then snuggled up and watched a movie! It was nice to just totally chill out and go to bed relatively early.

Friday's bus call was actually a van call, the Voodoo Fest provided us with vans to cart us to and from the event, which was great so we didn't need to deal with parking the bus quite so much. The vans picked us up at 1:00 and took us in to the festival. We didn't have a show until 4:30 but it was nice to get there early and get our bearings. As soon as we got there we started running into some familiar-unfamiliar looking people! They looked just like they were in March Fourth, but they weren't! They were a band called the Noisician Coalition, and they sport the black, red, and white funky alternative marching band style. But that's where the similarities end. They have all sorts of crazy new fangled instruments, made out of speak and spells, industrial tubes, and various noise making digital and analog devices. Totally cool! From what I perceived, they didn't really play any songs per se, just kind of made a lot of noise in an organized disorganized way. I felt in the beginning there was a bit of standoffishness on both band's parts, but we were fast friends and will definitely hang with them next time we are in New Orleans.

Our show was at the Bingo Parlor, which was the circus tent put up by the New Orleans Bingo Show. For me the show wasn't perfect but that's just because I misjudged my space capabilities and when I went out to hoop I realized that I simply did not have enough space. I did what I could but It was definitely not my best show, I could only hoop above the waist because of the monitors and when I tried to do any sort of tricks I would hit a drummer or a mike stand. I think I even dropped the hoop once because of a mike stand. Oh the shame! All the while I was pouring sweat in the most unusual way and I think the band had created one of the great lakes on the stage, which made it extremely slippery. Falling on stage would be the height of embarrassment so I was super careful. I ended up leaving my song early which has never happened before! I usually can pull it off even in a small space, or else I make the judgment call not to go on. Ah well... you can't win em all. But I try! The rest of the show was incredible, and the circus tent went wild! They loved it! Because of the heat of the day, the humidity, the lack of airflow in the circus tent, and the stage lighting, it was so sweaty in there it was like we had jumped in a pool. The drummers were having trouble holding on to their drumsticks! One kind of funny, kind of annoying thing that happened was there was a smoke machine blowing a haze on the band, and Faith asked the guy to turn it off because our horn players sometimes have a hard time breathing with the smoke... and the guy didn't really know what he was doing and accidentally turned it all the way up so there was this giant cloud of smoke enveloping the band, so for a minute you couldn't even see the band! Even though it was not so cool, I couldn't help but giggle a bit at the absurdity of it all. After the show, we quickly got our things together and started a march through the festival to one of the other tents where the Preservation Hall All Stars were playing and wanted us to march to their show and play one song with them. We were joined on our march by these fantastic older men who were so old school New Orleans. They were decked out in dapper peach suits and they had on beautiful feathery sashes with giant feather fans. Loved them! They continued to be part of our Voodoo Fest experience throughout the weekend. As we were marching one of the most strange weather phenomenons happened. We were marching along and a big wind came up. It was swirling up all the leaves and blowing them around, and as it hit us it was a wall of air that had to be about 25 degrees cooler than what we were leaving. It was so strange! It was a great relief and instantly almost froze the sweat that was on us, making it a lot easier to finished the march. We got to preservation hall just as the downpour started. It must have been that same storm from Lafayette, but it seemed to have gathered some intensity on it's way over. We played a couple of songs with them and then headed over to hospitality where there was yummy eats and an open bar for us all weekend! It rained a heavy rain all throughout dinner and then we hopped in the vans and they took us back to the house where we had a short break to dry off and whatnot before hopping on our bus down to the French Quarter to play a show at One Eyed Jacks. It was a cool club right off Decateur street in the Quarter, filled with fun like minded people. The party was put on by Captain Morgans and Rolling Stone. We went on first and seriously slayed it! We didn't even give the audience a chance, filling it with heavy hitters like Knightmarrika, Lesley Metal, Fuzzy Lentil, and Pilo. The only bummer was that the set got cut one song short so we didn't get to drive it home with Crack Haus. The audience was super stoked, even Captain Morgan was blown away. After us was some other band and then the Meat Puppets were playing. I tried to stick around for them but they took sooooooooooo long to go on (WTF? Why was our set cut short?) that I was totally over it and a bunch of us headed over the Anjalie's on Decatuer and got a yummy burger complete with a mound of bacon on top. By the time we were done with that it was like 3 am so Chad and I grabbed a cab and went home to bed. Lots of other band mates partied till dawn so you'll have to check their blogs for the juicy details ;)

The next day was Halloween! We woke to a beautiful sunny day, you really couldn't ask for a nicer day on October 31st. It was sunny and beautiful, yet that cold front had stuck around so it was not vary humid or hot. Just nicely warm. Voodoo Fest itself was pretty cool, though the warring sound systems was a little bit overwhelming at times, and the amount of butt rock there was indescribable. On Halloween day we did not have any big gigs, mostly marching around and we had a cool short little set at a radio station booth that turned out to be super fun. That day was ridiculously muddy in patches which was OCF reminiscent. We did get to see Gogol Bordello from backstage up in the rafters which was SO AWESOME! They are totally awesome, and their dancers are so hot!!!!!! Then, later in the evening, we got to see Jane's Addiction which was amazing too!! I have been listening to Perry Ferrell's sweet sweet voice for like 20 years and this is the first time I actually got to see him in person, I felt kind of star struck. Next up.... Kiss! I am SO not into Kiss but we had to go see them just for the spectacle.

It was well worth it, the were so silly and glammy and cliche it was hilarious. Complete with fireworks and fire cannons onstage. Loved it! We could only handle a few songs though, and then we were outta there.
After that the band was heading down to the Marigne, to march down Frenchman Street for Halloween and then parading to the Always Lounge in the 9th ward. Somehow we were short a van or two and ended up piling 20 people into the 12 passenger van. We had a totally awesome van driver who kept getting us to sing to him, and he stopped by his friend Doc's place on the way so he could come out and meet us. New Orleans is so like any other place I know, people are not really uptight about anything, rules are kind of lax and open for interpretation :) On our way out of the Voodoo Fest we saw Perry Ferrell right by his van, and our driver stopped so we could talk to him. IT WAS AWESOME!!!!! We gave him our sticker and told him that he would love us. Our driver told him that we were family and if he didn't come down to see our show that night there was going to be some problems. :)

When we got down to the Marigne it was total madness!!! As we were circling up, all hands in the center, gathering our group energy, I could feel the excitement in the air and the zing of the unknown, knowing that we were about to head into something extremely crazy, good or bad I wasn't quite sure. Either way we were at the point of no return, and there was no going back. We were in it. We started on Royal Street and made our way up to Frenchman. We started playing and quickly were enveloped in a crowd so incredibly thick, all you could see was a sea of costumed faces in all directions. Looking up, all of the beautifully detailed porches were packed with revelers as well. We passed through the drunken jovial crowd in a single file line, Chad bringing up the end with the bass amp. It was complete and total MADNESS! The front of the band could hardly hear the back of the band and vice verca! We had to push through the crowd to keep from getting separated. We stopped at the corner of Frenchman and Chartres and played for about 15 minutes. Even stopped it was mayhem, the tightest crowd I think we have ever played in. They say that Mardi Gras in NOLA is even crazier, but truthfully I don't think you could pack another person onto that street corner! We decided it was time to move, and headed down Frenchman pushing through the celebratory crowd. Luckily I only felt happy vibes, I can imagine if there was any kind of conflict that it could get hairy pretty fast. We went down a couple of blocks to Decatuer and found a little empty space and played a bit more. This was much more fun as it was still crowded but there was some breathing room. After about an hour it was almost 2 am and time to head the march down to the Always Lounge where we had a stage set.

We headed out of the Marigne with a huge crowd in tow. As we marched on through the neighborhoods we maintained a lot of our crowd but lots of people dropped off as they realized how far they were getting from their original location! I was near the front of the parade, as I usually am because it gives me ample room to spin my hoops. As we neared the venue a car was coming down the street. This is common when we go guerrilla style and take over the streets. A lot of times people will back up and go another way, or they will just sit there and either be annoyed as the parade passes, or they will love it and rock out, sometimes they will even get out of their car for a little bit! This guy did none of those things, it looked to me like he speeded up a little. I moved to the side of the street as he looked a little unstable. I was standing next to a parked car just as he rammed the car and kept going, heading at an alarming speed towards all my friends. I jumped out of the way to the sidewalk, and then headed after him to hopefully warn people that he was not looking like he was going to stop. I ran along side of him and tried to tell people but in all the merriment no one was hearing me, and also everything happened so fast. I think he realized in that moment that it was probably a bad idea to run over a parade, so he stopped but kept jerking forward into the crowd as people jumped out of the way. Annie ran up along side of his window and started scolding him, as I ran behind the car and tried to take a picture of his license plate. I didn't get a good shot of his plate but Faith managed to memorize it and write it down to leave on the car that got hit. whew! That was totally freaky and I was shaking for a while after it happened. I'm sure the guy was totally drunk, along with the entire city of New Orleans it seemed.

After that, we went into the Always Lounge and played a great show. it was a tight spot so there were no dance pieces, so I found a spot on top of a railing near the back of the bar where I had a good view and could dance up high. Sometimes simply being part of the ambiance is in the job description. The show was super hot and smoky, New Orleans is kind of like Europe in it's smoking tolerance. After the band totally slayed the place, I was more than ready to go home. Aaron fired up the bus and we were outta there. Well, a few of us. Most people stayed on and danced to a rockin Global Ruckus set, but by that time it was like 5 am so I headed home to get a short nap in before we had to be ready to go again on Sunday.

Sunday we had a later set at Voodoo, we were marching at 7 and doing a stage set at 7:45. We got there a little early so I got to catch the Squirrel Nut Zippers at the Bingo stage, so awesome!!!!! I went backstage after the show and met the lead singer, I gave him or sticker and told him he should come to our show! He said he would but who knows.. Then I headed over to the Flaming Lips to meet the rest of the band. Cool show! I wasn't totally into the music but the show itself was really cool complete with massive amounts of confetti being shot off with cannons. A bunch of March Fourthers totally dig the band. Apparently the lead singer Wayne Coyne hung out on our bus for awhile but I missed that one. He told us we were living the dream! After the show we marched to our stage set which was my personal favorite of our shows at Voodoo Fest. We were at the Preservation Hall stage and it was just sweet. We played lots of awesome songs and ended with Gospel. The dance team had all painted our faces like El Dia de los Muertos and they were so beautiful! The Noisician Coalition showed up in full regalia and were shining faces in the audience. Our New Orleans feather fan guys were there too!

When we were done with that show, that was the end of our Voodoo experience, and the end of our run of shows in New Orleans. A bunch of us hopped on a van and headed down to the Quarter to get some food and kick around. We ended up eating at Coop's, a great spot in the Marigne that serves traditional cajun eats. We had to wait a long time but it was totally worth it. There was even a cute little kitty that lived in the restaurant! That would so not fly in Oregon...
After our yummy dinner of jambalaya, roasted duck quesadilla, pesto pasta with blackened shrimp, gumbo, and so on, we met our crew next door at Molly's. This had to be the crowning glory of the weekend for me. It seemed like almost everyone was there, including all of our Portland peeps who had flown in for Halloween like Keri Chang, Mischief, Kurt and Sia, Joe, Ariel, Anne Olivia, Tabor, and more that I am forgetting in this moment. Also present were a few people from the Noisician Coalition that we had become particularly fond of. We had hijacked the jukebox and were playing a bunch of Ning Nong songs, and of course we were all singing along at the top of our lungs. Everyone was so happy! It felt like we were there for hours and hours. The silliness commenced until the wee hours of the morning. At some point Chad and I decided to slip out, grab a cab, and go back to Richard's.
The next morning bus call was early and we rolled out of New Orleans feeling fulfilled and happy. We had come with a purpose, and we did it. We all win! Team Awesome strikes again!
Monday we drove for about 12 hours, to our destination of somewhere in the middle of Texas where we got a few hotel rooms and slept a few hours, then early bus call again to drive another 12 hours to make it to the amazing home of Marsha, Andy's amazing mom! She took us in and fed us a real live home cooked meal!!!!! It was incredible! She is like a mother to all of us, providing us with all that we need and more! She even has us trace our hands on prayer flags so that she can decorate her backyard with them. We just rolled away from her house a few minutes ago, bellies full of an amazing breakfast and the fridge full of food that she sent with us. Thank you Marsha and Antonio!
We are now on our way to Denver to play a show tonight at Cervante's, and hang out with our friend Dave Clay. More to come!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

March Fourth takes on Southern Cali

Captain's Log: Third and final blog for this leg of the tour.
I am on an airplane careening towards the home base: Portland. My heart is full, my mind is wandering, thinking, feeling, reminiscing. Best tour yet, because of Team Awesome! (That's all of us) The really amazing thing about this tour is that Team Awesome embodied all of us at different times, and I feel that we reinvented the word 'teamwork' for ourselves.
Last I left off we were heading towards San Diego, to play an underground speakeasy at the Barrio Warehouse, put on by Steel, a super amazing do-er.
We arrived in Encineda and we had a few hours to spare. Somehow magically through a friend connection (Thanks Bethany! And thanks to the magical world of Facebook and our March Fourth mobile wi-fi unit!) we ended up stopping off at this amazing house complete with giant pool and more importantly, a great hot tub. We relaxed there, swam and soaked in the rain and sun, and had the great fortune to see a beautiful double rainbow! Our totally awesome hosts cooked us a delicious and satisfying dinner that gave us the steam to power through the evening and in to the night. Thank you soooooooo much!
When we got to the venue it only took us a few minutes of unloading to realize that something was terribly wrong... we were missing a snare drum. Jenny Pancake's drum was definitely not on board. After carefully tracing our footsteps we realized that it went missing after our gig in Joshua Tree, whether it got left somewhere or nabbed we will never know, but we called the venue and it definitely was not there anymore. Boo! There were a few minutes of frantic searching, confusion, and anger but that quickly passed and luckily Aspen had an extra snare drum (He sometimes plays snare) so even though it fit her terribly and poked her in all sorts of weird spots, Jenny rocked his drum that night and we had a great show! The people of San Diego were great, and our host Steel even got up on his stilts (made by our stilters!) and danced with us. In a moment of synchronisity this giant satan puppet came out into the audience during Knightmarrika (written during the Bush era) Our spirits were great after that show and we met lots of cool people to chat it up with after the show. A couple people of note that we met were a woman named Gabry who happens to be the lady friend our our fantastic friend and New York host Mark Ettinger. Gabry ended up coming with us up to LA just so we could bask in each other's presence a little bit longer. Another beauty who followed us up was a woman named Clover, who turned out to be a rockin' lady and she became our satellite car in LA and drove people all around to and from the airport and other such missions. Thanks Clover! You have no idea how amazing a gift you gave.
After the speakeasy we headed over to the Tour de Fat Site, where we camped out because we had to play the bike parade kick off the next morning at 10 am. Since our heads didn't hit the pillow till after 3am that night, I considered just sleeping in my costume and make up but I thought better of it and washed up. Even if it's just a few hours, it feels good to be clean! The next morning cam early and the bike parade was kind of a haze but by the time our stage set came I was ready to dance! The show went over fantastically and I began to realize just how much I love to play the Tour de Fat shows! Each one we do is pretty much the same as far as the day goes. We wake up, do the bike parade for 20 minutes or so, then we have some time off to rest up or eat, then Dave Clay does some opening MCing and a guys dance contest as the bike parade arrives, then we get to check out the other acts which usually include the Handsome Little Devils, Sean Hayes, Nanda, and the Sprokettes, to name a few. At some point they do the Slow Ride where it is a contest to see how slow you can ride a bike and the last one to the finish line wins, they give away an amazing bike to some lucky winner, we play a funeral procession for a car, someone in the audience donates their car to charity and vows to ride their bike to work for a year and TDF gives them a RAD bicycle all pimped out while the Tires of Fire Choir (usually a combination of us and other bands there) sings "Higher and higher' and then we play our stage set as the closing act. The energy is always AMAZING there and we finish the day feeling tired, energized, and fulfilled. (And filled with as much Fat Tire beer we can drink) (except for me I don't like beer) San Diego was no different. Right after the show we packed up and drove straight to LA, we had a gig at the Eagle Rock music festival. Drinks service and dinner on the bus were compliments of Team Awesome, Andy Sterling. As far as the festival went, we had no idea really what to expect, and when we got there we found that we were one of many many stages competing for sound, and our stage was a puny little youth stage. The entire band had fallen asleep on the ride up and was still asleep literally 10 minutes before we were about to go on. We jumped up and patted our faces, were off the bus and tuning the instruments in a matter of minutes. While the musicians were warming up I stood in front of the bus and warmed up the audience with a little bit of double hooping. They loved it! They were definitely hungry for a show. When we were all ready we took a little marching loop around the block and gathered a crowd. We lured them back to our mini stage and had a wild dance party! They absolutely loved the show and were one of our most lively and enthusiastic audiences of the whole tour. Yay eagle Rock! It goes to show that you never know which shows are going to hit the sweet spot. Hopefully next year we can rock a bigger stage.
After the show we headed over to our residence for the night, the Mutaytor Loft called Theory Lab. It is a really cool area, there are a ton of artist live work spaces in this one big complex and a bunch of really cool and creative people reside and work there. Our host this time was Kevissimo, a super cool guy and great artist. He does photography infused with oil paint, absolutely stunning. I nabbed a couch and had an alright night sleep, and I continued to sleep until morning had passed. When I woke up I got a text from my friend Wally, who happened to be in LA on business ( His company does security for burner type events and LA Burning Man decompression happened to be the night before) Yay! I love me some Wally time! We had the day and night off and had been invited to a BBQ over at some friends of the band's house, Tonya and Arturo. So we headed over there and Wally met me there. We ate some ribs cooked to perfection by our lovely hosts, and then we headed out. Wally was borrowing his friend's beautiful Audi so we cruised LA listening to Beats Antique on an amazing sound system and I felt pretty damn good about it! Getting away from the band for a short period of time can be a saving grace. We went back to the Mutaytor space to visit some other friends, and ended up at a nice restaurant downtown eating gourmet mac n cheese. Heaven!!!!! After that I got to meet Wally's friend Mad Chatter and play with her two kittens. Heaven!!!!!!
When we got back to the band that night I felt so happy to see everyone, sometimes a little break from them I appreciate them even more! We were staying at Funky Bunny's house in Venice. THANK YOU FUNkY BUNNY!! She let us take over her entire house and front yard for 3 whole days! That night was pretty mellow, she has a little fire pit in the front yard and when we got there everyone was sitting around giggling. The next day we had mostly off and we walked down to Venice Beach and checked things out. It was fun to watch the skaters at the skate park and peruse the shops. The ocean was beautiful and rejuvenating. That night was our show at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. the Handsome Little Devils happened to be in town and decided to open for us. Their show was hilarious as usual, and then we were up! The show went smashingly, lots of familiar faces in the audience including Wally and Mad Chatter, Buck, Alfie, Joseph and Rosalie, Scott and Aumelina. As usual March Fourth masterfully sculpted the energy, starting out with a bang, bringing it up, down, up, down, up, down, up, up ,up ,UP!!!! And then riding the wave in with a sweet tune like Rise Up or the Finger. After the crowd's hearts are full to bursting, we join them in the audience and play with them up close and personal. ~sigh~ it's so amazing. After that show I think the band was more riled than EVER! So much energy swirling and spinning and teeter tottering to the brink of combustion! We headed outside and spent close to an hour carousing with all the fun people that had come to se us. Then a helluva wild bus ride back to Funky Bunny's, and there the wild ruckus continued on and on into the night until the wee hours of the morning. Everyone was so damned silly and I think we all fell in love with each other just a little bit more. It's like each uplifting experience tightens us up together one click at a time. I think we got about three clicks that night.
The next morning people were up surprisingly early and the silliness soon followed. Bunny pulled out an old costume bin and, well, a photo is worth a thousand word so I'll save my breath. The funny thing about Bunny's house it is contains all things bunny! Cups, potholders, etc.... I think it just calls for constant ludicrousness whenever you step over the threshold onto her property. We had a full day off so we deemed it art therapy day. Richard busted out his stencils and spray paint once again and the band commenced to spray bling all over any possession with enough blank space. Shoes, shirts, luggage, drums, jackets, pants,,, Aspen and Richard worked on Jenny Pancake's new drum and harness, respectively. Team Awesome! Luckily Bunny had a welder so Richard was in business. Aspen also took apart his bass drum and cleaned it, put on new heads, and painted it up, it looks beautiful! I headed back to the beach for a bit and enjoyed a nice lunch with Jason and a quick peruse of the ocean and shops again. Then for the final peace de resistance of the entire trip, John's old friend Paul came over with his guitar. Jason got out his banjo guitar and they sat on the living room floor for I think about 5 hours and sang every song they could think of that contained 3 part harmony. It was so incredible! I love these people! I love that I love these people! It was another 4am night but well worth it.
Today has been a flurry of packing up and airport travel, La Tisha and I are about to land in Portland, where we will commence with our city lives until September 28th when we fly out to New Orleans and continue this wild ride for another 2 weeks! This time Chad will be coming with, I am excited to have him on the bus and I hope he loves it! It takes a little getting used to and a bit of time to really sync up but I can tell you this, there is nowhere else on this planet that I would rather be than on that tour bus with that group of people. THIS is the time of my life.
I FUCKING LOVE YOU March Fourth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Well my dear readers, it is that time again, time for the next installment of..... LIVE VICARIOUSLY THROUGH MARCH FOURTH! First, go get a frozen hash brown and grill it in a panini maker. Now, find 20 of your closest friends and sequester yourself with them in a 8 x 40 space, and bring all your stuff. ok, lets get started.

Last I left off, we had left Earthdance in the wee hours of the night, and drove all night to San Francisco where we played the most awesome Tour de Fat show ever! The day was unusually sunny and warm for San Fran, apparently it had been pretty bad weather in the week leading up to it, so all the people were out enjoying the amazingly beautiful day. We were in Golden Gate park, surrounded by beautiful trees, with the ocean air fresh and breezy with no nip to it. It was a welcome change from the dusty hot grounds of Earthdance. I got to see a few friends that day, Eileen, Katherine, Peter, and Julianna showed up and cheered me on, as well as Amy Johnson and Tisina were both there! I haven't seen Tisina in over 2 years and she is one of my best friends! She has been living in Japan teaching English, and she just moved back to the states.
After our show we met up with our great friends the Lloyd Family Players. At this point we had some time off in the city so some chose to meet up with friends and peel off from the group. I would have loved to do that and you would think that I would have, being from around these parts and all, but everyone I wanted to hang out with was either out of town or not getting my messages. I ended up staying with the band and hanging out in Oakland at the Lloyd's warehouse, and it was fantastic! I got two nights of 10 hours of sleep, (!) I got to go to the Albany Bulb with LaTisha and our friend Marnie, and I got to have some wicked games of ping pong, practice with my hula hoops, have a great sushi dinner with LaTisha and Jeremiah, meet some new people, and generally feel like I was actually on vacation.
Monday morning we filled our water tanks and waved goodbye to Oakland, we were on our way to LA! We showed up in LA in the evening time, and were greeted by our fantastic hosts Buck and Noosha from Mutaytor. They just bought a house, complete with 2 kitties and a pool! We had to park down the hill from there house in the piss cave (freeway underpass) and then hike up a ridiculously steep hill with all our gear. (good for our noodly tourbus legs) Our first night there the Seagrams was flowin and everyone was having a rockus time out by the pool. I took a little bike ride with LaTisha to a burrito cart for a yummy late night dinner. It was nice to have the LA night time air whizzing past my face and hair. Awhile back the Tour de Fat guys gave us a couple of awesome bikes that ride on a rack on the front of our bus, and they have definitely come in handy on countless occaasions. The next day we didn't have to be to the venue until 3:30 so we had all day to lounge by the pool and eat a yummy breakfast. Richard busted out his spray paint and stencils and we had some luggage and t shirt decorating by the pool. Then it was time to clean up and jet down the mountainous hill to the piss cave to load up the bus and head off to the venue, the Edison in downtown LA. Holy shit! I had heard how beautiful the venue was but really I had no idea until I saw it. It was an underground club that actually used to be the Edison power factory, and they have converted it into a beautiful bar and club that is rustic and swanky, decadent, steampunk, and PERFECT for March Fourth! Perhaps one of the most beautiful clubs I have ever seen! We parked our bus in a nearby parking lot and I spent a lot of time out there before the show, practicing with my double hoops. I haven't been hooping a lot on stage on this tour, since the stages we have been on so far haven't really called for it. But I have kept my two mini hoops on board and have been practicing with them at almost every stop, it feel so good to be inspired and motivated to work on some new stuff.
Our show at the Edison was EPIC!! We had a great stage that allowed to band to feel totally connected to the audience, and also there was room for the dancers on stage. (A tiny bit more room would have been ideal but it was pretty close) The band was in great spirits before the show, John and Andy did an interview that yielded a witty and zany article (Floating around Facebook somewhere) We marched in and down the stairs on to the stage. We were to do 3 sets of 40 minutes or so, which turns out to be a great form for us. We had a little dancer pow wow with John and Jason, and we crafted the perfect setlist so that the musicians and dancers were all happy, and we even fit in a couple of guest dancers who did a hot little burlesque number. The first set the crowd was a little stiff, doing the old crossed arms head bob, but by the second set they were groovin and third set they were rockin out! I had many friends show up to this gig, which made me super happy!!!!!!!!!!! This was a special night for the Edison, once a month she flies in special guest bartenders that are masters of their craft. This month it was a guy form Miami and a guy from Oregon. They call themselves mixologists and they offer a small menu of drinks that they have personally created. The band each got one drink ticket (The drinks were between $10 and $15) so I ordered a drink with the intent to try a couple of sips and pass it off. I got a Red pepper collins. It was so good! I was having so much fun talking with friends that all of a sudden I looked up and realized that the band, who had just all been around the bar enjoying the fruits of the mixologists, had disappeared up the stairs and into the bus. i grabbed my hat and followed suit, making it onto the bus in the nick of time. We rolled out of there blissfully happy and artistically satisfied. When we got back to Buck and Noosha's the good times continued into the wee hours of the morning. I finally put in my earplugs around 4:30 am and the party was still goin strong.
The next day was a day off and we were going to spend it in Joshua Tree! We drove about 4 hours out of LA and made it to Lazer's house. he is a longtime friend of the band and has a eclectic ranch style house in the desert. His house seemed straight out of Fear and Loathing. He was out of town but let the band crash there for a couple of nights. Thank you Lazer! The first night we were there a group of people went out to Joshua Tree National Park to camp for the night, while a handful of us stayed behind at the house. I was part of the latter. We went out to a nice dinner, came back to the pad and chilled out, talking and laughing. I thought it was a fantastic night of group bonding and I got a great night's sleep with LaTisha on her air mattress. The next morning we got up early and headed out the the national park and have a day of climbing around the rocks of Joshua Tree. It was SOO AMAZING!!! The whole place is desert terrain with Dr. Seuss looking Joshua Trees all over the place, with HUGE outcrops of granite that look like they were deposited by an alien tribe. We climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed! The stillness there was profound. The silence was deafening, and the acoustics were wacky! You could hear a private conversation that was happening way across the desert. No secrets for THIS band! After a full day of play and a sunset in the desert, we headed back to Lazer's to get ready for the show. We were playing at a bar in Yukka Valley called Pappy and Harriet's. Nathan maneuvered the bus up a windy desert highway and just when we thought we were in the middle of nowhere, there appeared Pappy's. When we walked in the bar we were greeted with Trumpet Katie playing with her other band, Warsaw (She used to live here) she was playing electric bass and singing, and we all agreed that it was going to be a David Lynch sort of night. As it turned out it was not quite the right venue for us, there were about 10 people totally rocking out and about 15 more sitting off to the side watching the show. It was fun to play there but not economically viable and there really was no room for the dancers, but of course we made due and managed to rock the place down. After the show we went back to Joshua Tree and camped for the night. I took a solo walk around the desert floor and it was so jaw droppingly gorgeous! The weather was perfect, slightly brisk with an occasional warm breeze, full moonlight, and complete and utter stillness. I could hear every one of my footsteps on the gravel road, and every time I stopped all I could hear was total silence. The giant granite piles were standing majestically in the moonlight. You could hear a pin drop all the way across the plain. I must return someday!
In the morning, with the sun beating down, we packed up the bus and we are now headed for San Diego where we will play an underground speakeasy called the Barrio Warehouse tonight ,(not-so-secret password is TUBA) and the San Diego Tour de Fat tomorrow. The bus is mellow, everyone is playing on the computer, sleeping, or having quiet conversation. Gotta store up that energy whenever we can! We have some long days ahead of us. Until then, be well!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My dear readers, I know it has been ages since you have followed my tour ramblings. I know there have been many adventures that have occurred, enjoyed, and sent off into the ether, never to be recorded and thus not making it into written history. This will not be one of those tours.... My pen is back! Here goes....

As we rolled out of Portland I was feeling somewhat reluctant, after this crazy summer I was feeling pretty ready for some down time. The thought of cruising down I5 in a noisy alcoholic bus sounded slightly dreadful. Much to my surprise it was a fairly mellow quiet ride to Ashland. I could feel a collective sigh of relief as we headed out of Portland, everyone's pre tour rush finally coming to a close and we could just relax and know that we had about 6 hours until we needed to do anything. First stop in Ashland: The Jackson Wellsprings where we would pitch our tents and call home for one night only. Quick dip in the tub before heading out to the Stillwater for a medium attended, but super fun show. I was pleased to see that my friend Neal was one of the sound guys there, so I got to hang out with him and his dog Atlas, and that always makes me happy! Since the club was very small and there was no way we were going to fit any dancers on stage, (You would be surprised how small a space we can squeeze ourselves into!) We opted to do a couple of quick dance numbers at the top of the set and then just rock out for the rest of the show. I got up on my stilts and had a nice little dance party with Sid and Scarlett. The band played great, though i could tell that we were just getting started, the first show of a 7 week tour!
After the show we headed back to the wellsprings, where some opted to go straight to bed and some opted to move the party into a big teepee complete with campfire. In the morning (After several hours of rooster crowing) I managed to wake up and pack up camp with enough time to take a little dip in the hot tub and then take a nice refreshing sulfur shower. sweet!
Time to hit the highway! Time fir our first full travel day of the tour! 8 or so hours down to Laytonville, next stop, Earthdance! The travel day was long and slightly brutal, but I always take some joy in those days of extreme band bonding time. You always manage to have some sort of deep connection on these days, whether it is having a nice conversation, crazy beatbox session, laughing hysterically at a movie (e.g Air Guitar Nation) or in this case, making balloon animals. I have been interested in making balloon animals for quite some time now, so I decided to get everything together so I could work on my art on the bus. It is always nice to have a project to work on so that the hours are at least a little bit productive. So by the end of the ride there were bees, hippos, elephants, poodles, and one loan octopus hanging from every window of the bus. And to be expected, there were animals transformed into everything dirty you could think of....
We arrived at Earthdance Thursday night, before the event opened. There was some confusion about our camping situation, so it took a little more time than we expected to get settled. Tents finally up, we enjoyed an AMAZING dinner prepared by AnneOlivia, a beautiful being who is getting a ride down to SF with us (we are thinking of kidnapping her and not letting her go. She keeps saying she has to go back to Portland to teach a class at PSU but we know she is staying with us) Bellies full of our first warm meal of the trip, we had the chance to have a good night's sleep before the mayhem. Some of us did, some of us didn't... With the way the bus shaded the sun I got to sleep until 10:30, yippie!
Earthdance was super cool, a beautiful festival on beautiful grounds, complete with nice showers and a river. Jeremiah and I spent some time riding our bikes around the land, checking out the scene and definitely people watching a bunch. It was HOT HOT HOT on Friday! Lots to see and do, lots to buy. I am proud to say that though I saw many amazing goodies to take home, I did not buy one single thing there. One really annoying thing that happened to me was this afternoon, it was finally cool enough to think about going into my tent, so I was laying down in there having a little pre show nap, when out of nowhere the water truck comes by and sprays the shit out of my tent! Luckily I had already packed up my bedding or I would have been so pissed! I jumped up because I was all wet and I ran out and shook my fist at them. As I was trying to get all the water out, the assholes came back by AGAIN and sprayed me again! WTF?!?! Luckily there was just enough sunlight left to find a little patch to dry the tent out before I had to stuff it back in the bag. Sheesh!

8:00 showtime! we were a tweener band, meaning that we were playing twice, and between big acts at the main stage. Apparently we were booked at kind of the last minute, and since we were heading down to SF anyway we just jumped in and filled in the cracks at main stage. Unfortunately what we didn't know before hand is they had us playing on this tiny stage in front of the main stage, while they were getting the stage ready for the next act. In perfect March Fourth style, we rocked the house down anyway! Horns pirated the front of the main stage, drums hung out on the little front stage, dancers took the side wings of the little stage, and stilters took the lower side areas. The crowd was totally stoked! We rocked the hat dance and the crowd went crazy. Next up was Blvd, and then we were up for another set. Again, confusion about where we were supposed to be, because this time they didn't even have the little stage for us! So we went into the crowd and played our whole set in the crowd, and people were dancing like crazy! The energy was great and it seemed like we all left feeling high spirited and fulfilled.
Time to pack up and pack out! In true rockstar form, we rolled out about midnight, on to foggier pastures. San Francisco! We drove all night, the sleep was not so good. Lights went out in the bus and everyone slept, though fitfully. I couldn't quite find a comfortable spot, I started out on a double seat in the front, and when I decided I was no longer comfortable the bunks were all full so I headed to the back of the bus on the triple seat. It was marginally better but I am definitely tired today. We played this morning at the bike parade send off, then Jeremiah rocked the grill and made us all bacon (yum!) now we are chillin here at the Tour de Fat all day and we have a 3:00 show. I am looking forward to seeing the Perkins' here later in the day!
Sorry there's not many photos, but the internet is very slow right now. More later! For now, a nap.....
see ya!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ashland, SF, SM, and LiB

Back on the bus again, this time we were heading down to the Lightning in a Bottle music festival in Santa Barbara, making stops in Ashland, San Francisco and Santa Monica to rock the house down briefly before moving on.
First stop, Ashland! We played in a place called the Inner Child, a cafĂ© dedicated solely to children. The place is filled with playhouses and fun couches and things for kids to play on. The audience was lots of kids and lots of adults too… we marched in and played a fun set, it kind of seemed like we were a cartoon band!
After a restful night in an amazing house lent to us for the night by our gracious host Freddy, the original maker of Dagoba Chocolate…yum! (I personally had a more snuggly place to crash in Ashland) and bellies full of bacon and eggs we were southbound once again on the Mad Wretching Spam Boat, getting our sea legs back after a long land stay. We had a brief delay due to the fact that Russ, our trumpet AND saxophone player woke up with an unbearably painful arm, and he had to be taken to the hospital to get it checked out. He left with a diagnosis of nerve inflammation and was handed a cortisone shot and a bottle of pain pills and was sent on his way, $300 poorer. Normally not an ideal situation but the show must go on. Next stop, the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco. This show was particularly exciting for me because I got to see some of my best friends, Shalene, Cortt, Hilary, and Ryan. They had never seen March Fourth before and I think we put on a pretty good show for them! We played there with the Loyd Family Players, a post punk/ghettotech/samba band from Oakland, CA. We had played with them at High Sierra last year and instantly fell in love, so this show was a match made in heaven! After the show they let us crash at their warehouse space. This place was so crazy and amazing! There were so many rooms and each one had a totally different vibe. The main space was cement floored but there was art all around and super cushy beds here and there spread throughout the room. Upstairs was an elegant kitchen complete with couches to lounge on and a huge dining room table. Another room was all white, and looked like some sort of workshop. Through that room was a little set of stairs that led to another room clad in pink (this would be my room if I lived there, of course) and you could step right out of that room onto a balcony of sorts that looked over the whole space! After a somewhat restful night (ha!) we answered bus call at 9am and we were off to La La land…
When we rolled into Santa Monica we were all a little unsure of how this show was going to go. We weren’t really sure what our LA crowd looked like and LA on a Friday night has a LOT of options… also we were going on at 9, before a couple of hip hop shows! Apparently in LA when you come in to a club you say at the door what band you’re coming to see, and your cover money goes to that band. And people usually come to see their band, and then leave. Or don’t show up until their band is on. When we got there the place was empty, and that sight always makes me a little nervous.. the place was called the Temple bar, a beautiful dimly lit red and black velvet joint that felt very intimate and slightly spiritual with statues of Ganesh and altars all around. It stayed empty until the moment we came on, and then all of a sudden it filled up and there was just the right mixture to create some rockin’ energy! The dancers had to dance on the floor but there was a nice little dance square there that was just the right size. Ya know the ones, like the little wooden checkered dance floor you might find yourself on while rockin out to your favorite wedding Dj ☺
After the show we stepped out the back door to find that it was raining! This did not bode well for our upcoming weekend campout. We loaded up all the gear and got ready to head straight to Lightning in a Bottle. We had a parade at 12 the next day and figured it would be better just to get there rather than try to get up early and make the drive. A few M4thers stayed in the Temple Bar for a few minutes to catch some of the next band, apparently they were off the hook! I missed it because I was busy taking off all my makeup and getting warm, but I heard I missed out. Then we headed out and had a really fun ride to Santa Barbara, everyone a little tipsy and high off the energy we had just gathered. I spent most of the ride at a table with Dom, LaTisha, and Andy, discussing exactly what ‘cock blocking’ means and how to use it in context. The mobile party rolled into LIB around 3 am, where we continued our party at the gate while waiting for our passes and such. My friend Wally came to see me and we got to have about 10 minutes of hugs and love before he had to head off to bed, he was leaving the next morning for Flipside, the Austin regional burn. Rockstar!! After a long process of calling out names one by one and cheering (my name got called first, and I jumped up like I was on the Price is Right…. And the mayhem, just got sillier and sillier), we got our bracelets and drove off to find our spot. We were parked right behind the main stage, a perfect spot! Most of us just did the things we needed to do and headed off to bed, we had to get up at a reasonable hour the next day. In the morning we were all a little bleary eyed for the parade, I think a few of us were even sleep marching. But it was a great hit, and an amazing way for me to first lay my eyes on the land and the festival! It was a really cool piece of land, wooded with oak trees and next to a river. Off in the distance there were beautiful rocky hills. The only thing that was kind of a bummer was there were little ground squirrels peeking out of their holes, and as cute as they are, I felt really horrible that we were invading their homes with rowdy people, cars, and extremely loud grinding bass till all hours of the night. Poor little things… I bet they are glad we’re gone now.
After the parade we were free to do whatever we wanted until 8:00 the next evening. Our bus was parked right next to the Yard Dogs, some of our great friends! We shared a communal space with them and had meals together. This time we had Yvonne and Sabrina with us and they made us the most delicious food. The festival was out of control! I have never seen so many beautiful people concentrated into one space. And the clothing! The fashion was completely off the hook… the longer the festival went the more outrageous the fashion got, with people buying up stuff left and right and immediately adding it to their already multi layered leathered n feathered garb. Crazy. I managed to save my duckets, there was a LOT of stuff I wanted to buy but with no income flowin I didn’t really feel that it would be the best thing for me right now…. Pat pat pat (that’s my back) it was tough, easy to get swept up in the fashion frenzy of this culture.
The ambiance of the place was so beautiful, particularly the treehouse stage, a multi teared Dr. Seuss like treehouse dripping with Edward Goreyian found objects. When I first saw it I almost cried with joy over the talent, creativity, and imagination of our kind. And of course all the hot Dj’s were there, Tipper, Ana Sia, Glitch Mob, Bassnectar, etc… the place was goin off every moment of music hours. At some points there were hordes of tribally scantily clad ladies and gents on every tier and platform, dancing the glitchy writhy hot sexy feathery raw dance of this generation, and all I could think of was MTv’s spring break: counter culture….
Sunday evening we had our stage set on the main stage… we marched in playing SubSwarma, Luke’s new tune. We marched in acoustic and when the awesome bass line came in John was already on stage and played from there, it hit so hard and I think the audience all of a sudden realized what they were in for.. it was an incredible show! The band was on fire, the dancers had great space and lighting (makes all the difference) and the crowd was drinkin it up! For the first half they didn’t even dance, they just watched in wonder… then they started to get down and do they know how to get down! After our set Cirque Berzerk did a show at our stage and I became entranced in their awesome talent. After that I feasted my eyes and ears on Zilla, so nice to see them again and they had some great guest performers including Anahata, Kyrian, Lynx, SoulEye, and Spiral, an AMAZING hula hooper that I had the great fortune to get to know a little bit. Sunday evening was sweet as Sunday evenings often are at festivals, probly my best evening there. Saturday night was a bit intense for me…. So many people getting so crazy, it’s a bit overwhelming.

Monday morning early it was time to get back on the road and we spent 16 hours on our steed, heading north and bombarding gas station mini marts at various points along the way. Though exhausting, sometimes the bus rides are the most amazing and revealing aspects of our journey. This is where we REALLY get to know each other. I got to play a two hour round of Spades with Nayana, LaTisha, and Scarlett. And thank you Aspen for the most amazing massage, I needed it so bad.
Now I am back in Ashland, getting pampered by Chad and rejuvenating myself with lots of sleepin, lovin, and plenty of chai. I’ll be back in Portland in a few days and I look forward to snuggling with my kitty and seeing all my friends there! Hey, anyone have any ideas on what I should do next? I’m taking suggestions. I really need to start generating income!
Sadly, I have no pictures because I lost my camera on the way to Louisiana last month. There’s lots of fun ones out there though!

Special thanks to:
Aaron (AKA Breathalizer) for driving our asses around and all the many other things that you did including helping me pour the 5 gallon buckets of pepper brew repeatedly into ½ gallon jugs ( I went around to camps and gave away cups of Mate Fire.. they loved it!)
Yvonne and Sabrina for making us scrumptious food.
Robin for making me hula hoop on stage at LiB when I didn’t want to because I was intimidated by all the kick ass hoopers there.
Alix for making me the most awesome hat ever!!!!
M4 managers for keeping us in line and making sure we all got fed, etc.. you guys do amazing work, you are an inspiration.
Aspen for giving me said massage. Aaaahhhhhhhhh!
Chad for driving to Shasta in the middle of the night to pick me up so I didn’t have to camp in the rain on the last night when I was exhausted and filthy.

Until next time! (Reno 4th of July/High Sierra)