Thursday, June 26, 2014

AATS 6000 Mile Tour Day 13, Salt Lake City UT

Tuesday May 27, 2014

We awoke at a somewhat leisurely pace despite having another 340 mile drive to Salt Lake City. Sharon made us coffee and wanted to make us breakfast, but we did have to hit the road. So she stocked us up on some food to take along. Again, nothing but nice people and gracious hosts on this trip.

A long trek through the high desert plains until the mountains around Salt Lake City.

Passed the time watching these weird/cool clouds form and dissipate. Always interesting to watch the sky in places far from home. Sky doesn't look like this in Texas very often.


(((And please... before you post "chemtrails!!!" in the comments below, (a) I am an amateur weather buff and can identify and name most types of clouds and what they signify (google search 'alto-cumulus' and 'cirrus' clouds), and (b) I was watching them form all damn day with my own eyes, and did not see ANY planes, commercial air traffic or vapor trails, lingering or dissipating. This is a touchy subject for me and I'll leave it at that.)))


As the day rolled on we were getting excited about this show, as we were opening for the mighty METALACHI!!! And in a great venue to boot, The State Room!

All I knew about them was that they play metal songs in a more traditional mariachi way. And that's all I wanted to know. I could have easily investigated them online, but I wanted it to be a surprise!!!!

Eventually the scenery began to change a bit and we left the awesome clouds behind.

Damn, time to clean the windshield again. I mean, check out this new Instagram filter: Bug Splattered Windshield!

Lotta sage brush, or whatever the hell this fuzzy stuff is. Looks like a hill in a model train village.

Scrub junipers coming in with another increase in altitude

Yay more mountains!
Just about there

Arrived at The State Room with plenty of daylight left. Salt Lake City is a weird town, all the streets are numbered instead of named, and all are in reference to their proximity to the main Mormon Temple, which we could see from the road. Talk about Castle Grey Skull.

So the addresses are weird to anyone who's not a mathemetician: 1200 E 2000 Street South. Huh?

Metalachi had already sound checked, and didn't have any gear to leave onstage other than tape marks indicating the placement of their microphones. So we were able to load straight onto the rather sizeable stage.

With the help of THIS!!!

May Crom bless and keep the human being who invented the ramp. My bass rig weighs more than I do.

I've been moving my Dietz 2x15 on a furniture mover as opposed to my usual dolly (the dolly is weird shaped and doesn't pack so bueno) and had at some point began experimenting with playing the cab on the stage vs on the wheels. In certain applications it was superior, and I was still figuring it out.

On this stage I don't remember what I did cause it was a month ago. And in some cases (when we had to tear down quick) I left it on the wheels to have one less step required to get my shit offstage.

Nothing beats a leisurely sound check:

Not only that, but in the cavernous backstage complex, we had our own proper dressing room!

So we immediately got to work doing what all rock stars do: party like rock stars!!!

Photo by Armando Reyes. (I hope my mom is not disappointed in me for partying in such a manner, hee hee)

Was pretty swank. Had some snack food, waters, and a cooler of beer. Nice!

In the Metalachi room next door, we could hear them playing and warming up. Very beautiful traditional mariachi music and other classical music pieces. Was rather moving, as players they are highly trained and the real deal. And of course, walking past their open door to smoke outside, you can't help but miss a set of GWAR-esque spiked football pads lying on a road case. Bad ass!

Met their tour manager outside, very nice guy. He explained them: If you are in on the joke with them, you will have a blast. If you aren't into bands that have a gimmick/image/schtick, you will easily write them off.

Couldn't wait to see them, and couldn't wait to be in on the joke as well!

Our set went great, and the crowd was already great considering it was a Tuesday night.

Don't remember much, other than remembering to breathe a little more often to compensate for the altitude. We had a blast and the crowd loved us! May have been too many people for Adrian and I to jump off stage, but she at least got into their faces \m/,

Tear down was a snap, the ramp helped immensely and there wasn't another band loading gear on as we are trying to get offstage. Stash it in the hallway, pack it to move, and lets go check out Metalachi!!!

Met some of them before our set and in between the bands, and whether in and out of character, they were very nice dudes.

However, the only oddity of the backstage are of the State Room: there is no side door to get to the front audience area. You have to walk up the ramp and across the stage, or you have to walk around to the front.... Hmm, this could be a problem. Luckily the State Room staff had taught us the key code for the backstage door.

Needless to say, Armando and I made it across the stage and into the crowd shortly before the lights went down hahaha! Could hear the Indiana Jones theme song playing in my head.


Wow! No drums. Just electric violin, bajo sexto, nylon string guitar, trumpet, a metal singer, and another guy who was like a rapper's hype man/wrestling announcer. In costumes. It was definitely a show, that's for damn sure!

Not only were they top notch players, the singer was quite gifted and their arrangements of metal songs at times rivaled the originals! Gimmick and costumes-bordering-on-ridiculous aside, as players and performers they BROUGHT IT.

It was an absolute blast, and a great way to end 9-days in a row, by having fun and getting our faces melted off by of all things, a heavy metal mariachi band!

I mean, just look at this shit:

The trumpet player, CUCUI (Spanish for "monster" or "the boogeyman", and very fitting)

And it only got better. At one point they brought a lady from the crowd onstage, sat her down in a chair, and serenaded her with "More Than Words" by Extreme. And knocked it out of the park. All taking turns singing the verses while giving her lapdances that ranged from comic to quite suggestive. Hahaha!

Just, wow. If you are not having fun at a Metalchi show, check your pulse. You are probably dead. And you have not truly lived until you have seen a guy in a studded sombrero and spandex shorts NAILING  the guitar intro to Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher" on an electric violin.

And fuck yeah, I bought a T-Shirt and coozie!

Adrian and the Cucui-ness!

Awesome. What a blast and what a great bunch of dudes!

Stayed the night at Adrian's friend Jamie's place, who I recognized as one of the many people I had rocked out next to up front during the show. Hey! I remember you!

Again, great people and gracious hosts. Drinks and laughter for a bit after the show before we all soon succumbed to 9-days worth of exhaustion.

Another couch, and again it was glorious. (And I made sure to pee BEFORE I went to sleep this time).

However, there was still the matter of 13 days worth of dirty laundry I had still not yet been able to remedy...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

AATS 6000 Mile Tour Day 12, Boise ID

Monday May 26, 2014

Bellingham WA to Boise ID -- 588 miles.

Fuck. No wonder I seem to be missing entire sections of this particular 24 hour period from my memory banks. And it's kinda weirding me out.

I know we played Liquid Lounge. According to my journal, it was a fun show considering it was a Monday night. Checking with Adrian for any details, she confirmed that we had fun, and the other bands were dancing and having a blast. I remember where we stayed and who we stayed with (there's a story there). I even looked up the Liquid Lounge website to check out pictures of the club. Still drawing a blank.

But at the same time, at this point (a month after the fact) I also can't recall where we stayed in Bellingham.

I attribute this to fatigue from this being show #8 of the 9-gig straight run, which has stretched from Tempe AZ, all the way up the California coast thru Oregon and Washington State, up to the last fucking corner of America. From Bellingham, you could walk to Canada and wouldn't need to pack a lunch. Now we are headed back towards Texas, roughly.

I do recall most of the day, because it was an incredible drive. If I receive any information that finally jogs my memory, I will sure as hell update this blog.

Being the PNW is Adrian's stomping grounds, she knows all the cool places \m/,

Checking the fluid levels and adding coolant before hitting the road

Our long as fuck day began on the right track, with a visit to Snoqualmie Falls! But first we had to get there, which meant traveling back through Seattle and veering East from there.

According to Adrian it is the highest water fall in the continental US at least, if not North America. Regardless which fun fact is factual, it was beautiful!

Adrian and the Snoqualmness!

If we kept walking along the overlook trail we could have climbed down and walked along the river below us. As awesome as that would have been, we simply didn't have the time.

So we hit the road and continued to Boise, through the Snoqualmie Pass through the Cascade Mountains. Just, WOW.

Still snow on the peaks.

As we climbed in elevation, believe we got up to almost 9000 feet at one point, again there was the crinkle/crackle of empty plastic water bottles swelling from the drop in pressure. It's a really cool sound \m/,

"Dear FB friends, we have made it through the mountains!"

Soon we were in high desert plains, the "rain shadow" of the Cascade range. Still hours to go and hundreds of miles to cross. Somewhere along the way, we stopped to make tour tacos!

Photo by Armando

Checking the map on my iPhone ("Are we there yet?!?") Noticed this little area of the upcoming drive, east of Pendleton, OR. Something tells me this will be interesting, and I even posted the photo to Instagram with a similar caption:

And Holy Shit, did I call it. And won the lottery. This little crooked-as-fuck stretch of road was AMAZINGLY beautiful!

Beautiful rolling emerald green hills, afternoon sunlight at the perfect angle. It was a photographer's dream.

It took awhile to post these photos online because I literally could not stop shooting (iPhone) for however long it took to wind our way through this little corner of paradise.

Then this national forest happened (Google maps not telling me what the hell it is, darn you weak internet signal)

More mountains

Then this

And finally this:

To the best of my recollection it was dusk by the time we got to Boise. That, and I have always pronounced Boise as rhyming with "noisey" or "New Joizey." But Adrian was pronouncing it with a harder S sound, as if "messy" rhymed with it. Huh. You learn something new every day.

And here is where the files are missing.

According to my journals, we pretty much drove straight to the venue, set up, and played. And had a fun show. But again, I literally cannot remember what the venue looked like, what the stage looked like, who the other bands were, how long we played. Until something jogs my memory, that is all "file not found." But we did just spend way more than 10 hours in the van  (and there were several drives like this in the past 8 days) so my brain was understandably running out of cylinders to fire.

And it's kind of weirding me out. Not finding any pictures that either the three of us took or that people posted. It's almost like we were abducted by aliens or something.

But we stayed with Adrian's good friend Sharon at her house. I know Sharon, have met her few times in the past. Used to live in Austin, and travels there to visit from time to time.

She's all kinds of cool, and her place was nice. We all stayed up for awhile over beers and conversation. I slept on a couch in the living room, and it was glorious.

Until I woke in the middle of the night having to pee so bad you wouldn't believe it. Like, the timer was going off in my head. I had 30 seconds tops.

Tried to locate the bathroom. Three or four doors in the hallway. All closed. One of them is Sharon's bedroom, one a closet, one might be another bedroom, one might be the bathroom? I didn't want to barge into Sharon's room in the dark and hit the light thinking it was the bathroom.

Shit shit shit.

10 seconds.

I had to act quick, and I sure as hell wasn't going to use the kitchen sink. So I went to the patio out back (I knew where THAT door led) and went off the patio. Sorry Sharon! But it was dark and I don't think the neighbors saw anything. And looking down there the next morning it was grass and plants down below.

Crisis averted.

I remember that much.