Sunday, June 26, 2016

Tales from the Road - KIND Tour 2016 -- Good music, Polish Sausages, and Craziness -- Tour Report from Darryl Shepard

Here's a tour recap if you want to check it out. Some names have been omitted to protect the innocent. Some have been left in because fuck it. We had a great time. Huge thanks to everyone involved.

Day 1: Seattle. No show so we were able to hang out and walk around and drink a lot. Found a great bar called Shorty's with cheap beer ($2.75 for a Hamm's), video games and pinball so we planted ourselves there for a while. Apartments next door said "starting at $400" and everyone who came out of there had a dog. Walked through a park across the street from our hotel where junkies and hookers congregate so that was fun. Girl walked right up to me and asked if I had a needle. Unfortunately I was all out. Then went to the 5 Point bar which rules in every way. $2.50 beers, big old CD jukebox loaded with great tunes and good food. Also, in Seattle "chicken carnitas" is a thing. Still not sure what it is. First show tonight at the Funhouse. Need to stay somewhat sober.

Day 2: Seattle. Second day here. Walked around some more. Seattle has awesome/bizarre sculptures, seems to be a thing out here. First show of the tour. We finally meet Salem's Bend, very cool guys. Robert the singer/guitarist is wearing a vintage Dokken shirt, which immediately impresses. Food at the Funhouse is amazing. Chicken and waffles from heaven. Local bands Big Bad and Skullbot were impressive, Skullbot in a "WTF are these guys doing" kind of way. Salem's Bend bring laid back riffs and grooves. Good shit. Small problem with guitar amp during our set but we overcome it. First night playing on borrowed gear, it's like wearing someone else's clothes. Looking forward to the next week, Portland's next. Onward!

Day 3: Portland. Who knew there was brutal traffic in the Northwest? We didn't. The drive to Portland seemed to take forever. Once we got in we went right to an oyster bar, met up with Hez Aronson, then hit up a brewery and then a restaurant where the food tour continued. Fried chicken in Old Bay seasoning had me weeping tears of joy. Cool venue, two locals opened. One of them butchered "Green Machine" by Kyuss so that was unfortunate. Good turnout. No vocals onstage. None. Apparently there's some parade in Portland, we saw people camped out on sidewalks in tents for it. Shit's serious. No sign of Fred Armisen yet.

Day 4: Chico. Day off so Craig drove about eight hours. Stopped off in Weed, CA because duh. Very sleepy little town. A small dog in a pick-up was barking at us at the gas station so I yelled at it for a little while. That was fun. Pull into Chico around 9:30, go to the Sierra Nevada brewery, start drinking. Get hotel, then hit the bars. Bar across the street closed at 11:45 on a Saturday. Fine, we'll go down the street. Finish night at dive bar, don't know what it's called, don't care. Oh, the shower is right in the hotel room, not in the bathroom. Interesting design concept. Coffee then Oakland.

Day 5: Oakland. Played at the Golden Bull, which is basically metal central for Oakland. Ex-Bostonian Justin Ennis set up the show, did sound and supplied shots all night. Blacked have a great name and some cool riffs. Taarkus were heavy mellow, female vocals, keyboards and flute. Beastmaker destroyed. Drummer was a monster. Singer's father played bass in Montrose. Like, the original Montrose. How bad ass is that? Salem's Bend stepped it up again. J├Ąger shots flowed like water. Hip hop club next door had the music cranked. Dude out front grilling polish sausages, had to get one. Ruled. Then hit up a taco truck which ruled even more. Met a Penguins fan who was obviously psyched. Matt got into arguments with two different strangers, including a hotel employee and a guy at Whole Foods who thought Matt pissed all over the toilet seat. Need to keep Matt away from people today. Breakfast sucked. Oakland ruled. Doll Hut in Anaheim next.

Day 6: Anaheim. This was the day we hit the legendary LA traffic. Headed to Anaheim during rush hour because we're nuts. It lived up to the hype. Rolled into Anaheim a little after six, club wasn't open, so we hit up the Green Cactus nearby for burritos and tacos. Yes, it was awesome. Club opened a little late but it didn't seem to matter. The Doll Hut is a small roadhouse whose walls are covered with band stickers. Singer of first band chuckles when I ask him if 20 people will show up. Cool. That's reassuring. They're called Kosmic Halo and play to the other bands. Woman in her seventies wearing a Gorguts shirt shows up and becomes my new hero. People start to show up so it turns into a decent show. The sound guy is also the bartender. Band after us is nu metal. Singer was wearing flip flops. Last band is possibly the worst band I've ever seen. It was like someone gave them instruments and they had never heard music before. No reference points whatsoever. I think the guitarist's amp was a microwave oven. Stunning. Ended up staying with Tom Davies of Nebula and the Freeks in LA after the show. The Complex in Glendale tonight.

Day 7: Los Angeles. Where to start? Not at the beginning, that's for sure. Show kicked ass, maybe best so far of this run. Great club (Complex) and staff. Plus a fog machine. Some old school Bostonians came out. The Rare Breed kicked ass. So much good Mexican food that my brain can't handle it. Taco truck blew minds. Amazing hosts Tom and Pamela, thank you so much. Hearts everywhere. San Diego here we come.

Day 8: San Diego. This is it. Last show of the tour. On the way out of LA we stop by Vacation Vinyl to say hi to Mark Thompson, who takes a couple of KIND records to sell. VV is a great store, tons of cool stuff. We also get mind melting breakfast tacos before we hit the road. Once in San Diego Riggs secures us a hotel room in Ocean Beach, then we hit up a bar called Tony's for $2 beers and I load up the jukebox with Steely Dan. Seems fitting. Then head to Brick By Brick. We have to go on first at this show but some people make it out early. Locals Beira and Garth Algar put on good sets. Salem's Bend closes it out. They get the girls dancing. Dude at club will be playing drums for Unearth when they play in Boston soon. I drink a vanilla cream ale. It's gross. We say our goodbyes and then go out for last call. Great little tour, it's been a fun time. Much thanks to Salem's Bend for letting us use their gear, and to Aaron Gray for booking this. Know what I'm sayin? I'm out.

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