Leaving Texas, I remember thinking on our 13 hour car ride to Santa Fe, “Shit…this is a long drive.” Up next was a series of duo shows for Eric and I. Our marathon trek across ALL of Texas could have been better organized logistically. But the timing was great. Our entrance into New Mexico brought us up a long stretch of highway through the mountains at sunset. We were welcomed to Santa Fe with deep purple skies and some epic mountain scenery.
As soon as we got out of the van we noticed the dramatic shift in climate. Dry air and a cool breeze brought the temperature down into the low 60’s and got my energy flowing. We played at a cool spot that night called “The Boxcar," with a couple of experimental synth and pop solo acts before us. A lot of venues we play at seem to be breaking the mold of their usual local cover bands by booking shows for us, and it's exciting to see the shows be well received. Kudos to Tate and Sylwia at Boxcar for doing something different.
The next night, Eric and I wandered around Santa Fe and got lunch and a beer downtown. The Pueblo style architecture is so present there, and it’s one of the nicest and cleanest cities I think I’ve ever been too. We trekked 40 minutes down the road to the remote town of Madrid (pronounced Mah-drid) for the show that night. Madrid is an old mining town with a population of about 600 and a strip of jewelry shops, coffee shops, galleries, and a couple bars. We played at the Mineshaft Tavern and chatted it up with a lot of the locals who pointed out all the haunted areas and closed up mine shafts around town. At about 3 in the morning I found myself wondering up a hill into the mountains and getting one of the best views of the stars I think I’ve ever had in my entire life.
Arizona brought us through a couple apocalyptic type drives with huge dust storms in the middle of the desert. We could barely see about 5 feet in front of us on the highway, and I felt like I was rolling as part of the "Mad Max" crew. We had a productive weekend playing in Tucson at Skybar and Rogue Bar in Scottsdale. Skybar was a spaced themed venue that had telescopes you could use to look at the night sky. Unfortunately (although not for Arizona), it rained, so no telescoping for us. We were treated to great sets from Dutch Holly, a percussive synth duo, and the Royal Agaves, a baroque pop trio with a smooth sounding vocalist named Juliana.
The next night’s show in Vegas was in a part of Vegas I’ve never seen before. Outside the main strip in the industrial light, we had a good time with Joey Hines and the Semi Aquatic Anthropoids for a casual Monday show. Eric and I ventured down to the strip after the show and spent about an hour at the Rio. I lost 25 bucks, but got 4 free drinks, so you tell me who really won. We met back up with Jeff the next day in LA and played a touristy spot in Newport Beach before heading up the coast.
After a stop over in Atascadero, we found ourselves going over a giant hill outside of San Francisco to land in Bolinas in Mirrin county. If you’ve ever wondered where they film all the car commercials of new vehicles zipping down a winding foggy road, this is where it happens. Like, we actually saw them filming one. The town of Bolinas is a small getaway on the water, and we played at a charming saloon named Smiley Schooner’s. They gave us some lodging upstairs in the Captain’s Quarters, and we met some folks who found us on Spotify. We had a remarkable night hanging out with them. Apologies for thinking we were locked out on our balcony for ten minutes when the door was just in fact a little bit stuck.
Our final stop in California took us outside Sacramento to the YOLO Brewing Co. For those of you not in the know, YOLO is a county around Sacramento, and it has nothing to do with the infamous acronym. A couple of school teachers we met in Bolinas the night before who were venturing up the west coast ended up stopping by, which was a treat. We had some great hospitality and beer and called it an early night for our drive up through the Redwoods the next day.
We had a great jaunt through an area of the country I haven’t spent much time in, but I’m even more excited for the Pacific Northwest, where I’ve spent absolutely zero time in. YOLO!