Today would begin the grueling 9 shows in 9 days straight leg of the tour. But only a mere 2 hours and change drive to Tempe AZ for the gig that night.
Had made arrangements to meet Ray and Carol (and the rest of LITP) early-ish at their place before the heat of the day could kick in and go check out one of the energy vortexes, the Airport Vortex more specifically (there are several). Ray explained that the surrounding mountains and hills are high in iron content, making them natural amplifiers of the Earth's own magnetic field. And some areas are more concentrated than others.
Armando had picked us up a vortex map the previous day at a convenience store
Stoked! I find I sometimes pick up on the vibe of certain places, and was curious to go to one and see what happens. A friend said that near the center of the vortexes, the trees grow twisted around them. Wasn't sure what she meant, but wanted to find out. I envisioned a grove of trees growing twisted and crooked into gnarly deformations, marking the spot.
So Adrian, Armando and I helped ourselves to complimentary breakfast at the purple hotel (which Ray says they just painted a boring beige, and facetiously blamed my blog for the change in color scheme, hahaha well shit...) before trekking to Ray's.
From there Ray and Carol led the way, and the drive in Vincent Van Go was as beautiful as it was harrowing. Turns out the parking lot (located on the side of the 2-lane road on the side of a mountain) was full, and probably too small to maneuver a 22-foot long former Fed Ex delivery van into anyway. Well shit!
This video is after we passed the parking lot, and were looking for a suitable location in which we could u-turn without tumbling to our doom (and we were successful, as evidenced by this tour recap heh).
They took us to the Plan B location, The Soldier Trail (if memory serves). Ray explained that it wasn't a "vortex" vortex, but the whole area was an lower-grade energy vortex. Cool, bring it on!
We loaded up on water and sunscreen. I was by now kicking myself for not bringing a ball cap (brought a thicker and thinner knit beanie to keep my hair out of my face in the van as there is no AC).
Ray and company led us out onto the trail, and at a certain point we all stopped for a group shot, and our hosts and their entourage had to bid us adieu and happy hiking!
And wow! Spent a few hours walking on trails, climbing up and down rock formations, and trying not to get lost. We weren't really worried about that, as the trails were clearly marked and there was the occasional but consistent traffic of pink jeeps taking people on tours. So if we got lost (or if one of us had to pee) keep an eye out for the pink jeeps!
What an incredibly beautiful area.
Not sure if someone was marking this spot, or if some kid on acid/shrooms had fun with paint.
(Instagram tilt-shift feature. Not a space/time disruption due to geo-magnetic forces, unless it was Armando's own awesomeness)
Adrian and the Vortexes!
Came across these cool pools. No we didn't swim in them. Ewww...
We hiked as high as we felt safe doing up some nearby rock formations, being mindful of rattlesnakes and resting assured we wouldn't get lost as we never really lost sight of the main trail (part of which crossed a wide and bare outcropping of rock, and there was always the occasional pink jeep).
Enjoying the view
Walking back to the main trail, we saw a not-very-big fallen tree and all noticed and remarked how the grain pattern was corkscrewed. Huh.
Made it back to Vincent Van Go without incident (barring a wrong turn or two, but we knew the general direction we needed to go) and begrudgingly said farewell to one of the coolest places I've ever been and had to get back to the business of playing shows.
Thoughts on the vortexes: I didn't feel or pick up on anything unusual, just an incredibly beautiful day in an incredibly beautiful area. Despite all the walking and hiking we did, just being there was definitely a recharging experience. We all felt very much at peace and centered, and with the grueling string of shows we were now officially on, we very much needed it.
Texting Kim as we left for Tempe, she mentioned that the corkscrew grain pattern that we noticed on the fallen tree is exactly what she was talking about re: how the vortex energy supposedly affects the very growth of the trees near them. Well shit. Should have asked for clarification the previous day, as we just trounced right through the area where the tree in question was, not really thinking about it. Maybe next time...
And yeah, the two + hour drive to Tempe was like a trip to the corner store compared to the hundreds of miles we had been covering in the past few days alone. And we were just getting started. 9 shows in the next 9 days, covering 9 states. Fuck. We planned on taking it easy in Tempe that night to save energy, but see what happens...
Made previous arrangements with Kim to stay at her place that night. Again, the hospitality of friends, old and new, is a priceless asset.
Rolled into the Rogue Bar late in the day, lots of time to kill. Cool place, divey in a good way with a surprisingly big stage. Looks deceptively small from the outside. Band stickers and posters with familiar names, again my kind of place. But we were a little surprised and perplexed that there were like 5-6 bands on the bill for a Monday night...
Adrian parked at the bar to use the wifi to take care of business, Armando went to dinner with a cousin, I divided my time between enjoying the AC inside and standing outside for the occasional cigarette.
The happy hour opener was a singer/songwriter. I don't recall his name and didn't catch much of the set but he was nice when we spoke briefly. AATS was the first or second band of the show (swiss cheese memory), which we didn't mind at all. Short set, get on/get off, hang out rest of the night.
Felt great to be playing again. Usually what happens on days off on the road, you are typically not stuck in a place as interesting as Sedona, or you are driving all day. Which makes you lament having time off and itching to play. And even having the amazing day off we did, we were still itching to play \m/,
Set went great to the best of my recollection. Short barn-burner, maybe 45 mins tops. Sound was good and the soundguy was nice.
Photo by Kim Radke:
Have been getting into the habit of taking pics like these mid song, Adrian rocking out on someone's table
Set was a blast! Pulled our gear out into the parking lot to break down and pack. Once we were done we were off work the rest of the night. Kim arrived shortly before we pulled our gear inside, so we now had four in our little crew.
The show wasn't super well-attended, as it was a fucking Monday, but there were people there and they dug us.
And the really awesome thing about this night as it went on, all the bands were really good! We were blown away by the quality and eclecticness of the bill. Sister Lip from LA (hooked us up with the show I believe) was really good, their female singer has an amazing voice. After them was Sioux City Kid from the Bay Area, tearing it up on old school bluegrass with male/female harmonies. Bands after that, which I watched and talked to, but again Swiss Cheese Memory (hereby referred to as SCM).
That, and the drinks were flowing and we were having a blast. If anyone disapproved of Armando and Adrian rocking out and dancing, who fucking cares because They Are Having More Fun Than You. And their energy and enthusiasm helped the crowd for the rest of the bands immensely. The bands were really good, so was awesome to see A&A being instrumental in keeping the crowd's energy up, which was then reciprocated by the musicians onstage.
Good fucking times! And what an unexpectedly awesome night. It can be understandable to roll into a venue and have low expectations, but when those preconceived notions of how the night might pan out are completely smashed by the way the night actually does, that is just awesome.
Thank you Rogue Bar, and all the musicians I talked to and can't remember who you are now...!
After the show Kim led us to get tacos, which turned into it's own adventure as the initial dispensary of tacos was unfortunately closed, so we then had to reroute to a drive-through 24 hour place. Very gracious of her!
Then back to her house to get settled in, eat tacos, get to know her cats and dog, and have a nightcap/conversation/laughter in the backyard by the pool.
Again, hospitality and generous individuals are an invaluable boon to any successful tour.
That, and the occasional shower.