Monthly Archives: November 2008

SLO wed. 29th October 08

Well, we managed to get rolling on the lovely, typically sunny, california morning of October 29th.  My body was extremely pleased that I had hit the hot tub the night before.  Collectively, we had to do a little laundry and got some of the killer crepes from the killer crepe place in Pismo Beach.  Yumsters.

Then it was off to San Luis Obispo.  The first gig we booked on the tour.  A gig we had obtained press for.  A gig that we had lined up a local band for.  We had heard that SLO is a great college town and we were ready for a little juice bar and coffee shop action complete with a great gig.

SLO is actaully not far from Pismo beach, so we got there early.  Early enogh to hit the park for some relax time:  Some folks read, some slept.  Scott and I wote a new tune.

sleepin in da park\

We killed a lot of time, and tried to stave off drinking until a somewhat reasonable hour. We made it until about 4pm, when we hit Downtown Brews.  DTB do actually brew their own beer, but being the northwest beer snobs that we are, we didn’t think it was amazing, well except for the happy hour $2 pint.  Half Light supports $2 pints of microbrew.   We also really want to play at DTB next time we hit SLO.  Some band called Senses Fail was playing there that night.  A lot of cute little punk/goth teenagers were lined up to see them.  I have to say I pretty much loved every single concert I got to see as a youth, but looking back on how it felt compared to how it feels now – well, I wish I would have known to love them even more.

we found a nice bar called the library directly across from the Frog and Peach where we were to play.  Now, they too had a nice happy hour and the extremely lovely bartender actaully topped off my generous pour of saphire gin before I left the bar for a comfy window perch.  This place could easily be a location for a scene in a David Lynch movie.  Half Light loved it there:

library

Well we cheked out the Frog and Peach, it was going to be a new record for fitting HL on the stage.  Luckily, the extremely cool and nice booker Hank, had let me know that we would be running our own sound that night, and the house PA was small (no monitors.)  I put my amp on the bar itself.  I have been a sound person before, so I dusted off the PA and got my mic plugged in and off we were.  The band we were going to play with had had a recent falling out with their drummer and were not going to make it, we weren’t checking our myspace regularily so we did not know that.  We waited a bit for them then we went for it.  We played ALL of our songs.  Dayna S., with her broken wrist and all.

Have you heard a band say, “well if it meant something to one person then it was worth it?”  I would like to extend a gracious thanks to the tye-dye hippie dudes that were dancing, and the nice young gentlemen at the bar who listened to our whole set and bough our CD.  The place was so not full, and the majority of people so not paying attention that i actaully manufactured cricket noises in my head after our tunes, beacuse most people did not notice that the band was playing.

FNP

We went back to the hotel, the first night that we had two rooms, and after the boys downed a 12 pack of PBR and the girls hit the Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, we got some sleep. It was the first night that I had slept in a bed in a week, and it was nice.  Next off to Fresno, then home….

October 30 and 31 – 2 days in 1 – Fresno and Seattle

We required the requisite 2 hours to get rolling in the morning.  Barb and Mr. Breakfast located the best breakfast in the Tri-county area.  It was big, it was greasy, the coffee worked.  It was Barb’s birthday.  She bought us breakfast.  We thought this was kinda upside down given it was her birthday, but she would have none of us buying her birthday breakfast.  She had informed us that she would not be repsonsible for driving after the show.

breakie in SLO

So off to our next show in Fresno.  Mega thanks to the Sleepover Disaster, who set us up with a gig.  I was nervous to play with them because their recordings sound amazing.  They were playing with lablemates Light FM. We were excited and hit the road.  The scenery reminded us of our own Eastern Wa.  I got to see the backside of the “Plains of Giant Webbed Feet,” from the Half Light tune, Golden West, one of the first songs I wrote, many years ago, on my first tour ever.  This is alot of what we saw:

boonies

We made it to Fresno in the afternoon.  We weren’t sure what to do there, we found the venue:

Tokyo Garden

The venue was not open, and there was no where to drink in the immediate vicinity.  We called our friend C-monster, to hook us up with the local microbrewery. One can always count on Charlie to be at or near a computer, ready to hook you up.  We eventaully made it to Seqoia brewery where we found a parking spot that would allow us to keep an eye on the gear (the van), always essential.  Here is some artwork in the parking lot:

They also had a happy hour, and well it was still Barb’s birthday.  They had the best Stout we had ever had, on nitro tap and everything.  I seriously considered getting a growler of it to bring home, but quickly realized that it would never make it, and someone would be too drunk to drive and that would not work.

We still had hours to kill. Some folks hung out in the van, some went shopping.  I needed a feline fix, so went walking in the neighborhoods, it wasn’t long before I was treating a sweet orange tabby to a killer petting session.  Finally I went to a great record store where I couldn’t afford the records I wanted, but I did pick up a sweet paisley dress for a Halloween costume.  Because, at this point it still seemed reasonable that I would survive the mega hour drive and make it home in time to go out (and want to).

Finally, we got to the Tokyo Garden and it was open.  It was quite some time before the other bands showed up.  Of course, we drank in the meantime.  Check out the Karaoke this place offers:

karaoke books

The proprietor is super nice.  He poured stiff drinks.  A super nice guy, who also served as soundperson, opened the show.  He had a really tasty Gretsch guitar, and great songs.  I am sorry I don’t remember his name, thought he is partially responsible for that, since he bought us all drinks at the end of the night, and that was a full Markers Mark.  Next up, Light FM, they were really cute and great.

light FM

We played, it was really fun.  Then Sleepover Disaster took the stage and slayed.  Anytime a guitarist is playing a Jazzmaster and splitting the signal between a vox and fender…well I’m a sucker for that, throw in some Ride-style drumming and killer bass and vocal harmonies….

SD

Please buy all of Sleepover Disaster’s CD’s.  You will enjoy them.

Alright – we somehow managed to get our stuff into the van (it was actually raining in Cali) and get on the road about 1:30 or so in the morning.  Thus began our 18 hour drive home.  The first driver was Brian.  It was rainy.  The road between Fresno and Sacramento totally sucks.  Barb was co-pilot.  I got a bit of sleep.  So we have 6 people- driver, a co-pilot, 2 to the next seat, and 2 to the next seat and then a bunch of gear, surrunded by our backpacks and such.  It really isn’t very comfortable.  I slept for a couple of half hour stints.

Next it was Scotty’s turn to drive.  It was dumping rain.  It was dark.  I don’t remember much of it.  It was then about 5:30 am.  Scotty was beat, no one was up.  It was my turn.  I put in 7% solution’s classic “All About Satellites” and tried really hard to stay awake.  I had only been up for about 20 hours at this point, so it shouldn’t be too hard….I only hit the rumble strip once.   I assured Scott that I was just fine and finally found a place to get crappy coffee.  The crappy coffee burned such a hole in my stomach that I was kept awake not by the caffeine, but by the pain.  Ah, the road.

I played Lupine Howl, “Bar at the End of the World.”  Finally, it was almost getting light, but still dumping rain.  Scott had had it, and Jefff took over as co-pilot.  We made it to a pass, and put in Neko Case’s new record.  We found a hippie mart in Shasta and I got a great sun-dried tomato and corn Quiche.  It was awesome.  They were playing the Dead in the store which made me happy, because Half Light would not let me listen to the Dead (though, my accomplice slipped some in while they were sleeping…).  At about 9 am, Barb took over driving and I took co-pilot, which I was pretty useless at.  We finally made it to Oregon, and the sun came out, and we saw a rainbow.  Remember when I said the van wasn’t that comfy to sleep in?

teh van

I finally managed to utilize some skills I’d seen cats do, and curl up on the floor somehow.  I got a little sleep it was great.

Eventually, we made it to WA:

jeff

Brian drove the last shift, and we rolled in around 7:30 pm.  I rushed home, didn’t even take a shower, threw on my paisley dress and go go boots (it was Halloween) and headed off the the Hight Dive to see Black Daisy.  I should have been tired, I’d been up for esentially 36 hours, but my body would not stop.  They were great.  I went home, and still could not go to sleep.  I thought this would be my last tour ever, but it was actually really fun, and I’m ready to do it again.

LA to SLO – driving route 1, the other direction

Our next gig was on Oct. 29th in San Luis Obispo, or as the locals say SLO. SLO is not very far from LA, so of course, Half Light decided to spend the day at the beach. Pismo beach to be exact. We had a stellar time, relaxing, playing guitar, numbing our bodies in the mighty Pacific and drinking. There was a swing set on the beach:

We stayed at a fancy motel:

We saw yet another awesome sunset – from the bar of course, they had pitchers of margaritas too:

Now, if you haven’t read the Purr’s show updates, you should. When they stay anywhere “Planet of the Apes” is always on TV. Well, when Half Light stays anywhere “The Omen” (any version or number) is on. Tonight was no exception. We watched the Omen. We ate snacks. We went to the beach at night:

While at dinner, we picked up a copy of the New SLO Times, where we got a write up for our show the next night, “Seattle-based act Half Light will roll though town this week to promote their debut self-released CD Sleep More, Take More Drugs, Do Whatever We Want, a swirling semi-psychedelic rock album fueled by the ethereal vocals of two Daynas: Dayna Loeffler (rhythm guitar, pedal steel) and Dayna Smith (bass). Between the harmonizing and soft-fuzz guitars, Mazzy Star certainly comes to mind. They play Wednesday, Oct. 29 at Frog and Peach with local band Quality Fridge Buzz (never heard of them!).” Thank you kindly to Glen Starkey for listening and helping us out!

Half Light – Los Angeles

Glorious Los Angeles… after a pit stop at a gas station to remove the jellified carcasses & entrails of the teeming hordes of insects who decided to have the last thing pass through their minds be their arses before they became acquainted with the Silver Bullet’s windshield & a rather ripe gas station bathroom, we departed for the last stretch towards the City of Angels. We passed right by the club, The Scene Bar on the first attempt, but managed to circle the block & arrive safely.

The Scene L.A. The front door had the look of a bomb shelter, and there were no windows to the venue at all. Our friend who had recommended it (thanks again Amy!!) had described it as her favorite dive bar. After some waiting around & deciding the cruise the neighborhood for some Thai food, we returned to find the club still closed. Finally, someone showed up & let us in (load-in is evidently a little later in LA than we are accustomed to in Seattle).

Once inside, we were impressed… it was a very cool venue – with “Poltergeist” playing on the projection tvs & a mammoth green room behind the stage large enough for all 3 bands to store/stage their gear. Seattle clubs could take a nod from this place to step it up (before Mayor Nickels tries to shut them all down).

We’d like to thank our friends in LA who dropped my to check out the set (as well as our Seattle friend Patrick who was in LA for a conference & came on down to see us)… we definitely dug this venue & had a great time paying here.  This bill was kind of scrambled together at the last minute (so I couldn’t find a listing with the other 2 bands names on it), & I confess to throwing back 3 or 5 too many catching up with friends to have caught (& most importantly RETAINED) the names of the other two bands.  They were both ver cool & super nice to us non LA folks.

Oct 26th – Driving Route 1

Sleeping in the van, in the parking lot, next to the highway, in Half Moon Bay was really nice. The heavily oxygenated sea breeze carrying the ever-present hint of eucalyptus was soothing. Thanks to the Jamaica and Vodka drinks I should have had a hangover but did not. By the time I went up to the hotel room Mr. breakfast had already let us know where to go get breakfast. At the airport of course:

30 cafe

I started the day off with a fresh squeezed orange juice mimosa, and plenty of coffee. Everyone was most pleased with their breakfast, though this place is packed and you will have to wait..but its worth it.

After everyone had enough coffee to make decisions we decided to continue on down the 1 to check out Big Sur and eventually find a place to sleep. The road was windy, the scenery fantastic and I was really glad it was not my day to drive!

We stopped in Big Sur, which I always imagined amidst the crashing waves, but is actually in a nice little forest along a river. Barb knew of some pastry place – Big Sur bakery – I think, and well, we all needed more coffee so we stopped. This little stop had the bakery / resataurant, a gas station, a lovely garden and some shops. The garden had all these cool places to chill, including very large human sized nests that you could climb up in. Dayna S found an mbira tuned to aqualung. No kidding. I got two loaves of incredibly delicious free bread because it was closing time. This bread saved many a hungry Half Lighter on multiple occassions. Here is the surrounding scenery:

big sur yo

We continued down to San Simeon, but we were too late to tour the Hearst Castle. We went to the pier, and saw pelicans!

Half Light on the pier:

By now our Mexican food and Margarita jones was getting bad. We found a strip of hotels, and checked in. After a short walk, and a frogger-like jaunt across the highway we were at a sweet little family run joint. They had pitchers of margharitas, we had many.

Of course, the only reasonable thing to do when you’e had pitchers of margaritas, and you see a motel 6 with a bar, is to go in for tequila shots and/or beer and/or whiskey:

After all those drinks Jeff and Barb and I thought it a great idea to hit the hot tub. It was great. Cool, fresh air, PBR, a buzz and a hot tub is a fine combo. It was time to pass out after that. Folks had starting catching on to the joys of sleeping in the van, and that night Dayna S took a turn. We did see a family of fierce looking ‘Coons underneath it, but all survived the night.

October 25 – Half Moon Bay

Well, I started my 36th year by waking up in a van in a parking lot in Portland, next to two strip clubs and an hourly motel. Playing a rock show in Davis later that night was great fun. Much thanks to my co-worker Cate, who braved the “girls gone wild” crowd to support Half Light. Turns out, I had so much fun that I had a bit of a hangover as I started my second day of my 36th year waking up early, in the van, in the parking lot of some motel next to the interstate. Turns out its really hot in California and the “Silver Bullet” quickly turns into an oven. I scrounged around for some water, not really caring who’s it was or how long it had been in its container and tried to make the head quit hurting before it was time to go up to the room and get the troops rolling.

This is the day that I learned of Mr. Breakfast. Apparently you give Mr. Breakfast your coordinates and Mr. Breakfast gives you the best breakfast nearby. Mr. Breakfast did not let us down, Jeff and Barb scoped it out in the parking lot.

We decided to not make any decisions about what to do that day until we had coffee and food. Half light are pretty useless until we’ve had coffee. We decided to take advantage of our days off and head to Half Monn Bay then leisurely drive down to LA on the world famous highway 1.

We made it to Half Moon Bay, and it is a lovely place. The fragrance of eucalyptus and dill slowly roasting on the surroundign hillside was splendid. We got to see the afterglow of sunset on the Pacific:

All of Half Light wanted Mexican food and Margharitas. Lots of Margharitas. There was a great mexican reastaurant within walking distance from hotel. They did not have margaritas, so we drank beer. The food was awesome. We bought some Jamaica, that we took back and mixed with the bottle of vodka Dayna S had so wisely brought with us. A good night was had by all.

Davis CA, 10/24

After some excellent bagels & coffee @ Tiny’s Coffee, we trudged forward onto the I-5 & began trekking towards Northern California.  Trevor Child & The Beholders opened the bill that evening, followed by Half Light, & finally Weird Harold.

The G Street Pub has accurately carved out its niche & game plan by charging no cover & luring the kids in to drink their livers to death once inside (and oh yes, believe me when I say that was the case this particular Friday).  I chatted with Chris from Weird Harold before the show, and he informed me that his band had been kicking around the area for quite some time & had built quite a respectable following… and this was their first show after a 2 year hiatus.  I can attest that during their set, it was so thick with people that it was nearly impossible to navigate  through the crowd at any point on the map in the bar.

Davis is definitely a college town.. lots of young kids getting their drink on in hopes of scoring after last call… or in the case of one couple during Weird Harold, of actually scoring in one of the stalls of the ladies’ bathroom while still at the bar.

We had a very kind offer from one of the patrons to offer us up the floor of his studio as a crash pad, but at the end of the evening – the allure of a shower in the morning steered us towards yet another motel.  Who knew there was a dog show in Davis that weekend?  We were made Best In Show’s biatch as we had to drive quite a ways outside of Davis to find anywhere with an available room.  So ended the northern leg of the tour, and 2 days before the Monday show in Glendale at The Scene Bar.

Portland – 10/23

The “Silver Bullet” van had not yet been tested when it came to loading 6 bodies, & 6 bodies’ worth of gear & junk before… luckily for us, Dayna L’s heritage of proper packing technique (her dad would be proud) saved the day in making the impossible possible.  After some false starts & last minute “Oops – forgot that” moments, we actually hit the road a few minutes ahead of schedule.

One of the few upsides of high gas prices & an economy in the toilet – less vehicles on the road.  The normal quagmire of traffic/parking-lot that had become expected in the Tacoma/Ft. Lewis area did not materialize, and the drive to Portland was close to what it should be (3 hours) as opposed to what many have come to expect over the last few years (4-5 hours).

Barb guided the Silver Bullet masterfully down the I-5 corridor.  As stand-up comics have observed many times over in the past, why does every city choose to locate Martin Luther King Way/Blvd/etc in the dicey areas of town?  Portland proved to NOT be an exception to this rule as we located the motel we would be crashing at for the night in a seedier section of town.  I can’t recall the particular name of the strip club down the street from our motel, thus failing Portland Landmark 101 (using strip club names to indicate which part of town you are in).

Half Light gear onstage @ The Tonic LoungeAs for the Tonic Lounge, this was our first visit.  Seattle could use a few more venues like this -ample stage size, nice monitors, friendly sound guy, decent sized room.  We liked it a lot & had a good sound/set this evening (well, except for my fussy pedals shorting out at the most inopportune moments).  The Angry Orts & King Hen were a lot of fun as well.  Should any of the other HL members wish to chime in on the post, they may/may not have their own recollections for the evening.   A big thanks to all who came out to see us on Thursday evening!

As first nights of the tour go, several of us did choose to cram the transmission into fourth or fifth gear as for the drinky drink, so several folks were less than Perky Patty come morning time ritual of shower & “get yer ass in the van” which came quite early.  Through a blurry early Portland gray morning, we managed to hit the road before 7 am for the trek down to Davis.

Half Light West Coast Tour 2008

Hello, hello, hello.

As some (or all) of you may know, Half Light embarked on a mini West Coast tour on Thursday, October 23rd, to play 5 dates down to LA & back.  We were uniformly slackidasical on the road when it came to providing blog updates, so I guess it shall have to be retroactive with what we might or might not recall now that we’re back in Seattle.  The next few posts will attempt to stab at what we should have been doing night by night on the road.