Austin, Houston, Pensacola, and Exploding Turtles
I would like to begin my post today by remembering the thousands of brave bugs who have lost their lives over the past three nights due to the painful sting of our windshield. It seems like every gas station that we stop at requires that we scrape off a thick layer of "bug cake" in order to maintain visibility throughout our hours and hours of daily traveling through the hot and humid air of the American South. What makes matters worse is that every time we step out of the car, we get attacked by bloodthirsty mosquitos that are currently responsible for roughly 17 itchy bumps on my feet and legs.
With the exception of the above, our travels since we left off in Brownsville, Texas have actually been much more successful and the shows have finally been consistent. After we played our Brownsville gig we headed for Austin, Texas to play at Ruta Maya. This was by far the best show so far. The sound was great, we played great, there was a great turnout, and we sold a bunch of merchandise. Fortunate Youth also put on a stellar performance and we both made our California presence known positively and effectively to the hundreds of people who were in attendance.
That night after the show we rushed our way to downtown Austin because we were dying to see what all the hype was about. Let me tell you, it lives up to everything we have heard about it. There were thousands of people walking down 6th Street (the main drag) that Saturday night and we were excited to get in the mix which we did until the bars closed at 2am. We ended up at an Irish pub that had an incredible blues guitarist performing. He would wander off the stage and play overly extended guitar solos to each and every patron in the bar as everyone tried to gulp down their drinks before it was time to retire for the night. We were lucky enough to meet a new friend Erin earlier in the night and she welcomed us over to sleep on her couch which was a lifesaver. It wasn't the greatest night's rest due to her four kittens running and jumping on us, but they were pretty adorable so you couldn't be too bummed about it.
The next day we headed for Houston to play the Texas Hippie Connection (THC) which we quickly discovered was a head shop. We were initially a little skeptical about how the show would go for obvious reasons, but it ended up being pretty successful as we played to people who were relaxing on couches smoking hookah. It was interesting to say the least, and we certainly met some really cool people.
After the stoner gig we headed to New Orleans to get some miles out of the way for our show in Pensacola, Florida the following night. We stayed with our good friend Sherif Shoucri of Ofersures fame who is currently going to Med School at Tulane. He gave us an awesome tour of the city the following day and took us to the Parkway Bakery where we ate Po'boys and some alligator sausage. After a quick jam session and many laughs we were headed to Pensacola.
We learned an important lesson in Pensacola and that is that you can't go into a gig with any expectations. Sometimes the shows that seem to be less than favorable can turn out to be some of the best shows and visa versa. Since none of us had been to Pensacola before and we were playing at a brand new bar called Berryhill Lounge that had no PA system, we assumed that it was going to be a tough night. It didn't help that when we told one of the people at the bar where we were from she replied, "What did you take a wrong turn or something? How the hell did you end up here?"
Oddly enough someone said something similar in Brownsville. This definitely begs the question, why would you live anywhere where you can take absolutely zero pride of residency? It's pretty sad, but I digress… The moral of the story is that we ended up playing for over an hour to a bar packed full of people who loved our music. We sold more merchandise than we have sold the entire tour, and a nice lady offered a place to stay for the night which turned into another wonderful little story.
We followed this lady back to her house about five minutes away from the bar where we were greeted by her husband, and her ex-husband who lives in an RV in the yard. We soon came to find out that she also had three children, the oldest of which was thirteen and was skateboarding on a half-pipe until about 2am. I cannot imagine how confusing it must be for a thirteen-year-old kid who lives with a fully pierced and tattooed step-dad in the house, while his real dad lives in an RV about 18 feet away. To make matters worse, the kid was really unhappy with his mom for allowing us to sleep over at their house. We all shared some really odd conversations throughout the night, but managed to actually have a pretty good time. It was one of the strangest and most dysfunctional situations that we have been in thus far, but we made the best of it and got a few hours of sleep before leaving for Orlando.
That was this morning and we are currently about four hours into the seven hour drive to Orlando. We are driving through some of the heaviest rain showers imaginable where visibility is essentially gone for several minutes at time which is always makes for an interesting dynamic. Oh crap, we just ran over a pretty good sized turtle and a bunch of shell fragments went exploding down the highway… Every minute is an adventure.