Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 22 - Leaving Las Vegas… Sober - or - Pasadena it to the Left.

We woke up blearily in our cheap Vegas motel room. Our heads ached from the stiff beers and my ankle was still tender. Blythe went to Walgreens to get me an ankle brace while I packed up. We still weren’t sure what to do with ourselves. We had a little free time, but not much. When we checked out of the room, we didn’t have a place to park for free, and my ankle would keep us from walking very far.

When Blythe returned, I strapped my ankle up and we were in the van and on the strip in minutes. If you know us, you can guess where we chose to stop. We climbed out of the van at the largest souvenir shop we could find. Limping a bit, we looked over aisle after aisle of lighters and key chains and Elvis wall clocks. Afterwards, we took a ride down the strip and took pictures.

The desert highway took us quickly out of the city and rolled us past truck stop towns and out of the way casinos. We even stopped for some $4 breakfast in Primm, a collection of large and cheesy hotel/casinos. We dropped $10 bucks in the slots, but really just won our money back.

The drive through the Mojave is busier than one would think. The highway is populated with countless young people ready to drop cash. The desert landscape had become pretty standard to us, as we’ve been in the southwest for a week and a half, but the Mojave is a little peculiar. With its lake bed style sand pits and rocky hills, it stands out as some of the most deserty desert we had been through.

A single curve through a mountain pass brought us suddenly in a brilliant green valley. Rolling rain clouds seethed over head while the hills jutted up violently from the verdant valley floor. Snow caps and huge boulders accented the mountains, and the road wound through them, guiding us smoothly through the dramatic landscape.

The land flattened out a little as we approached the LA metro area. The highway curved and dipped into a jade green suburb, and a quick exit dropped us onto the streets of Pasadena. Initially we were a little worried, as Pasadena’s streets are lined with Prada, Tiffany’s, and Restoration Hardware stores. Those sorts of places don’t usually bode well for our type of music. We were relieved when we found our venue tucked away in a brick lined alley, hidden away from the glitter of the main thoroughfare.

The Old Towne Pub is a Galt Line type of place. Eddy, a gravel voiced bouncer, welcomed us at the door. Inside Aaron the bartender set us up with some drinks. We loaded in right along side of Sunshine Factory, our partners on the bill. Corey, Jordan, John, and Tony were friendly and open right away.

While setting up, a familiar face stepped in. Callie Rogers, a fine young lady we both knew in high school, was kind enough to come out to our show. Her boyfriend, Eron joined her for the evening, and later amused us with tales of his work as a photographer.

Sunshine Factory started off the night with some slick, pop-oriented indie music. Tight harmonies, cool grooves, and slick songwriting characterized their set along with some of the best stage etiquette we’ve ever seen. They thanked the bar, introduced themselves, thanked everyone who came out, and asked the crowd to stay for us.

We played a quick and tight hour long set. The room seemed to like us a lot. Steve Martin (pronounced Marteen), host of radio show “My Side of the City”, and friend of Sunshine Factory offered to have us on his show. Unfortunately our schedule didn’t allow, but it was very flattering. We like Steve.

We sat and talked with Callie and Eron for a while, then with Aaron for a moment, then made our way out. We had planned to camp nearby, but when we stepped out we saw that the rain was steadily drenching the streets. Rain in an LA suburb. Who would think it? With a few calls we found a very cheap motel nearby (The Island Inn), and got ourselves set up comfortably in bed, dozing off while watching “Big Trouble in Little China.”

Thanks so much to Old Towne Pub for having us, Sunshine factory for being so cool, Aaron for helping us get set up, and Callie and Eron for hanging out and listening. And a big thanks for Antonio for Dancing.

Tomorrow… Lindsey Giauque, a little LA, Southern California driving, Last Stage West, and camping in a parking lot.

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