November 2018: We have returned to the PNW for the winter. The Portland to Portland tour was a blast. Two months on the road supporting the release of our new EP, Threshold, and it's accompanying videos for Drug For That and Afterthought. There was some really great press for this material, coming from here in the States, Europe, the UK, and Mexico. Check out some of the reviews, premiers, and interviews on our BIO/Contact page. Special thanks to Clovis IV and Shameless Promotion PR for helping get our music in front of people across the globe! You can download Threshold from our site HERE. Currently, our limited edition screen printed Threshold CDs are only available at shows. Or if Spotify is your thing, our entire catalog is now available to stream to your hearts content.
Before I get to the tour wrap up, we have some shows coming up in the Northwest. We are very excited for our first performance at Wildwood Hotel in Willamina, OR on Friday, November 30th. We are joining Alex Salcido of The Harmed Brothers, I think this one is worth a road trip! You should book a room at the hotel and enjoy a cozy autumn night with us. Go HERE to check out the rooms at the hotel.
We are returning to Seaside Brewery for our yearly holiday season visit. Our chance to hang out with the coastal locals! Sunday, December 2 starting at 7:30p. It's going to be a grand reunion. Speaking of reunions, we will be back at Trap Door Brewing in Vancouver once again for the Ugly Sweater contest on December 15. Our third year in a row? It's all a blur of atrocious knitting... We haven't played in Vancouver in about a year, it will be good to be back in town. See you soon.
Back to the tour... We raced out of California once again as the fires were exploding and this time, in the wake of a tragic bar room shooting spree. It was hot in SoCal in November. Everything is parched and/or recently burned. The landscape looked drastically different from when we moved there in 2006. Mass shootings at music venues had not yet become a trend. What a difference 12 years makes.
But within our world of playing music in SB, Ventura, and LA, those 12 years have led to some happy progress. The Cinema Bar in Culver City was a really positive night for us, once again, with thanks to Jay Souza of Patrolled By Radar. Hoping we can build on that and continue to explore LA this summer. That was followed by one of the most fun shows Merry and I have played. Maverick Saloon was a bit of a risky bet for us. We hoped we could get folks to come out from across the county to help us fill up that big honky tonk, and despite the somewhat sketchy mountain drive from SB, you did not disappoint. I was coming off of a cold that had left me pretty lifeless since North Carolina. It was the first night I felt 100%. Earlier in the day we went to Seven Bar in Santa Barbara to check in with our roots. It's the bar that was founded by our fallen bandmate, Michael. There's a small shrine to him tucked above the bar where we pay our respects. It's also the place where Merry and I were married. Stopping in always gives us a boost of energy and confidence. It's exactly the same boost we would get from Mikey before a show. So once Matt Armor had gotten the crowd moving with his incredible set at the Mav, and our sound check gave us exactly what we needed, and we were fueled by our pilgrimage, it was the perfect formula for a rocking show. There were great dancers, people getting up on stage to rock out, lots of voices singing along, dead quiet when we played our ballads, and a lone "circle pit" enthusiast during Drug For That. An incredibly positive night for us. Thank you all.
We were still on cloud 9 the next morning, after being cared for by our friends at Lion Eye Farms, when we started out for our Ventura gig at MadeWest Brewing. Our set was graciously received by an audience that had clearly come out for beer more than music. It was a happy surprise for us to get that giant room's attention for our set. But the real bonus to the show, from our perspective, was hearing our friends, The Detroit Sportsmen's Congress, bust out a version of our rarely heard song, "Sayonara, Senorita". It's a waltzy, indie-folk song off of our EP Nihilisteria from 2009. The DSC is a fantastic band with a soulful groove behind their Americana rock. Their set was amazing. They took our quirky and halting indie folk song and passed it through The Pogues/Dylan filter, with a big assist from Ben Saunders' accordion, and smoothed our waltz into a great jam. Well done my friends. It really is an honor to have someone play our song. You can see a clip of it on our FB feed.
That weekend was a real high point of the tour, and it was perfectly placed towards the end of the schedule. A two month tour has its peaks and valleys. Here are some other peak moments:
Charlotte, NC at The Evening Muse: We've played many shows with Drunken Prayer in our history, but this one was clearly one of the best performances by Morgan Geer we have seen. Solo, with his new Gretch Country Gentleman through my Fender Deluxe, the guitar tone was juicy and rich. But it was the vocals that really put the show over the top. Morgan played a bunch of tracks from his forthcoming album along with the best of his catalog. A beautiful room, it was an honor to play there.
Washington, D.C. at The Pie Shop: What a great new venue. Some of the best staff we have run across. Top shelf equipment. And The Highballers! Those guys rocked our worlds. They release their new album next week. If you are in DC go support The Pie Shop. We need venues like that in this world. And go see The Highballers so they can honky tonk the shit out of you.
Jersey: What can we say? You folks come through time and time again, and you bring new friends with you. It's a huge pleasure to return. Special thanks to Rob Miceli for the hospitality. And to Gerry's Place for making us feel at home. Our second gig in NJ, in Jersey City at Pet Shop, was the surprise show of the tour. On a Tuesday night, with bands we hadn't met before, in the basement of a club we have never played, in a city where we have never played, we had a great show. I won't forget the odd moment while we were loading out. People had been really responsive to our set and saying positive things to us afterwards. A member of the following band stopped me to say he enjoyed the set and "Don't give up! Don't quit!" It was oddly unsettling and comforting at the same time. It was a refrain we heard throughout the tour, all across the country. People know that the odds are against anyone trying to make a living playing original music. They understand that the world is always hinting at you to move on to something safer and more secure. They see the grind of loading and unloading for our 40 minutes under the lights (if there are lights). They know there isn't much money in it. They guess, correctly, that we often have no idea where we will sleep that night. But they want us to be out there doing the thing night after night. I think it gives folks some kind of happiness to imagine a band on the road, living a free life. It's nice to know that they recognize the struggle and offer their support. Those are almost always the same folks who shop at the merch booth btw ;)
Becket, MA at Dream Away: It was our third stay at Dream Away. You've probably read me gushing over it in previous tour posts. This time was no different. After much experimentation with the electric guitar in small rooms, we finally tuned up our sound to work with an all acoustic guitar show. Most of what we changed was on the sound engineering end, but we also approached our more rocking tracks with a different style that leaned more toward Velvet Underground than X on our heavier material. We also put most of the emphasis on the vocals over the guitar and drums. The audience response was great and we felt like we had hit on something really good. I predict an acoustic album in our future.
I won't linger on the low points. They can be fun to laugh about in retrospect, but most of mine involve sweating profusely in the van in 36 degrees or being in a fever haze while on stage. That didn't last for more than a few shows tho. Kansas needs to learn how to Autumn. I mean really? 95 degrees in late September? sheesh. I feel lousy we didn't play in the midwest on the way back to the west coast. I would have liked to try Nashville again as well. Oh well, we will get em next time.
We will be playing in the PNW through the rest of autumn and the winter. Spring plans are already in the works. Hope y'all are doing well out there. Thank you to all the new email list members! Thanks for all the support.