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.