The first week of traveling as a piratical sardine on the Join The Ranks Tour is in the can. Touring with THE DREAD CREW OF ODDWOOD is always hilarious amounts of fun, and we took RAINBOWDRAGONEYES on the road since Eric W Brown now plays the Oddkit for us. From day one, the check engine light of our van has been on. Apparently, a misfiring sparkplug is stuck and causing the van to stall occasionally. Every mechanic that has looked at it is too frightened to attempt removing it. What a good thing! On a much more positive note, I met with Golden Road Brewing just before leaving Los Angeles. Turns out, there are some Trollwhack fans working there! I stocked up on some of their beers and decided to take them all over the country. Make sure to follow @trollwhack, @oddwood, and #GoldenRoadOnTheRoad on Instagram and Twitter to keep up with their travels!
Our first stop was DNA Lounge in San Francisco. As we exited our stubborn land transport, we were greeted by an eccentric homeless lady yelling “TAKE ME HOME!!”. She plopped down right where were parked and promptly became our security guard for the night. This was my first time performing at DNA Lounge, and it definitely won’t be my last. The upstairs room had great sound and they fed us pizza! I recommend grabbing a slice of the “Large Marge”. Garlic is a key ingredient to success. I’ve seen both of the local support bands before, and their performance was even better this time around. VALENSOROW is a folk metal band that hails from Santa Cruz, CA. Their guitar player, Connor Bruce, filled in on vocals and did a fucking brilliant job! I guess Joseph had a case of the ol’ swollen glands or something. Either way, this was the best set I’ve seen these dudes play! CREPUSCLE traveled from Redwood City, CA to claim their spot as direct support. They were celebrating the 1 year anniversary of their debut album “Draconian Winter” and the crowd went freaking nuts for them! Eligio Tapia is a friend of mine, so it was good to see him, catch up, and talk about what bands we want to see on 70,000tons of Metal next year. After the show, we decided to start driving north towards Portland and shave some time off of the 14 hour trek. As much as I try to avoid staying in a hotel on tour, sometimes it’s necessary for timing and morale. The van pulled off in Williams, CA in search of a cheap place to catch some zs. After pulling into a Bates Motel lookalike, we opened the van doors only to catch a whiff of a stench most foul! The air here smelled like rotting corpses and cow shit. It was a less than ideal blanket to sleep in, so we hit the nearest gas station to refuel and push on. As we left the gas station, the attendant told us that the smell was coming from a tomato cannery nearby. What a good antic!
We arrived in Portland with just enough time to visit Powell’s, the best book store EVER! I make a point to stop here every chance I get. Books, games, and coffee are key survival tools for tour. If you are performing in or passing by Portland, make sure to hit up Powell’s! After wading through the streets of homeless and hipsters to purchase a cup of coffee, it was time to head back to Dante’s and set up for the show. The venue didn’t book any local support, so THE DREAD CREW OF ODDWOOD and RAINBOWDRAGONEYES did there thing and we all headed to Voodoo Doughnuts to make good on another Portland tradition. That night, we crashed with our friends Sam and Mac and I took advantage of their wifi to update some news on the Trollwhack website.
Breakfast was procured at Miller’s Homestead, one of the unofficial sponsors of the Join The Ranks Tour. Shortly after, we headed towards Vancouver. The promoter for the show advised us to cross the border using the Pacific Highway Crossing. Getting into Canada is NEVER fun and this time was no exception. Passports and immigration paperwork were handed over to the officer at the booth, and he made us park and go inside the office. The officer inside was even less pleasant. Clearly rejected by his fellow bros in high school, this burly weasel of a human proceeded to waste the next hour of our time. Want to use the bathroom? Not before he searches your pants, pockets, socks, hat, and soul! This guy only spoke in an accusatory tone and clearly hadn’t been getting enough moose cock lately. The border bonehead finally lets us go and we sped to Hindenburg in Vancouver. My first few experiences in this city were amazing! Clean streets, nice people, and killer food! Somehow I managed to hit the shit spots these past few visits. The area surrounding Hindenburg was actually alright, but immediately behind the venue was what the locals called “Blood Alley”. Legend says that public hangings took place back there, but now it’s just a dark square for homeless people to defecate on. It wasn’t nearly as bad as the crack alleys behind the Rickshaw Theatre, but I still wouldn’t store any gear near it! I’ve worked with the show’s promoter before and it was good to see him again. He bought us all burritos before we hit the road to Seattle. Crossing the border back into Washington was painless. We drove through a night of insane lightning storms to reach Lane’s house, a friend I met on 70,000tons of Metal this year.
Check out a review of this nights show from Kai at Bucketlist Music Reviews!: http://goo.gl/uK0DRW
I slept for about 3 hours before I had to take the van in for service. The day before, we had been calling repair shops all around Seattle to see if anyone would be able to fix the issue with the sparkplug, or remove it. This was the only window where we could leave the van for a day, before we head to the Midwest. I made my way back to Lane’s using the service shuttle and manage to get a few more hours of sleep. Later in the day, Lane cooked a banging breakfast and introduced me to some beers from Odin Brewing Company. I sampled the Thor’s Equinox, Freya’s Gold, and Odin’s Gift. Great samples indeed, but I didn’t have time to check out their taproom. Definitely on the list for the next visit! That night we were playing at El Corazon, a venue I have performed at quite a bit. The staff is always rad there, so I was looking forward to the show. MAC SABBATH also performed that night and they were as creepy and punny as ever.
8/15 – 8/16
We performed at the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Festival in Bonney Lake. Inhuman amounts of alcohol were consumed, including my favorite drink of Spire Mountain’s Dark and Dry Cider, mixed with Iron Horse’s Irish Death, and topped with a blackberry mead float. Trips to Bonney Lake also mean eating at Happy Pho Time. By far, one of the best Vietnamese restaurants I’ve been to. The owner is always excited to see us too…which is saying something since we both look and smell like piratical afterbirth by that point.
A pit stop in Spokane, WA turned into a marvelous discovery. Meryln’s is a game store sandwiched between a whiskey bar and a café! They hooked it up on a box of Magic The Gathering cards from the Origins set. I also found one hell of a scrumptious beer next door! The River City Coeur d’Alene VB Stout was a smooth and sweet treat right up there with the Breckenridge Vanilla Porter!
Driving through Montana and North Dakota means hours of sadness for you and your cellphone. I use T-mobile and it seems like they didn’t bother investing in towers out there. Most of us played Magic the Gathering in the van to pass the time. The air held a whisper of smoke and ash since parts of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho were all on fire. For dinner, I created a rad SnackHack! Get an orange bell pepper, stuff it with garlic hummus, cherry tomatoes, and carrot, and enjoy! I will definitely be consuming more of these on the road!
Right now, I am 4 hour out of Minneapolis,MN. The van is still kicking, and spirits are still high. I’ll be meeting up with my friends Michael and Hannah from The Langer’s Ball, and then searching for some local booze to pair in some new album reviews. Until next time, skål!