The red van with black wheels rolled south from Seattle, to the crazyopolis of Olympia, double-you eh for back to back shows at Track House, and Le Voyeur.
Track House, a black spray-painted shack that has hosted house shows since the ’60s and looked like it was being reclaimed by the jungle may be best described as an anarchist club house. While we played, its residents prepared a bake sale with dumpstered chocolate to raise money to pay the electrical bill. But it did have its own fog machine. Go figure.
There we met a great local group called The Celestials, who played an improv set after we finished up and then came down the next night to our venue gig at Le Voyeur, a sandwich shop/bar in Olympia’s downtown/skid row district.
That’s where we spotted this baby made out of electrical tape on the wall. Beach Boys like, Boise gets around.
After that, we headed down to my old stomping grounds in Portland. True to stereotype, it was pouring rain when we arrived, despite it being mid-August. We pitched tents and camped in my friend Joe’s backyard anyhow. I woke up early to make a job interview at The Oregonian, and to visit my favorite Ethiopian cart downtown, but the lads and ladette in RHBF decided to spend the day tossing back PBRs and barbecueing as the sun came out.
We played The Kenton Club in No-Po that night with two young locals, Lubec and Comfort Zone. We spent the next cruising guitar shops and sampling Portland’s waffle dispensaries as part of National Waffle Day, which apparently is a thing.
But not only did I discover that there is a National Waffle Day, I discovered this pedal exists, which I really want to add to the Iconoplasty setup once I win the lottery or something.
Well it, or a similar sample rate reducer or bit crusher pedal. There’s a few others that aren’t as pricey, but what they can do to drums sounds is pretty amazing.
We played another night in Portland at Red Room on 82nd, with the strangest bill of all time. AC Luv Ring, a “band” whose drummer looked to be in physical pain from every drum strike opened with a set of bizarre and terrible folk-punk. You could actually see the drummers lips moving as he played, counting to 4. Badly. They were followed by December Rain, a band that would probably call Nickelback visionaries. Then came a pop-punk group, me, Red Hands Black Feet, a laptop pop group in the vein of Owl City with a full light show and then a death metal band. Why so many? Don’t ask us cause we don’t know.
We made friends with the headliners, Ask You in Gray and then schlepped off to sleep away another rainy night.
Before leaving town, we managed to make it out to Saint Johns to catch the final show of the final season of Trek in the Park, a live theatrical performance of The Trouble with Tribbles, from the original Star Trek series. They were selling tribbles at the end, but the line was more than an hour long, so we split to Hood River to play at the Trillium Cafe.
A lady with a slur and a longboard asked me we were “a sick dub reggae band,” and I said, “sure.” Then opened with some improvised dub to appease her. It seemed to work cause she lead the dance party for my whole set.
Then Red Hands rocked the roof off the dump. With the exception of the shitheads at the back yelling for a Sublime cover—hello 1996—it went pretty well.
Next, we are going to head down to camp at Silver Falls near Salem, possibly FDR’s best WPA project ever. Then we’ll be leaving Oregon’s voting block and heading to its rebel strongholds in the south. Bend, Corvallis, Medford and Ashland, before heading off to the bay.
So far, every show has gone pretty well and aside from a small personal blowup in Olympia due to a severe lack of sleep on the part of everyone, everyone is getting along great. I’ll definitely be sad when this tour is over.