Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 25 - Carmeled and Covered in Chocolate -or- Mama Buzzed by Low Flying Aircraft

That was some of the best sleep for the entire trip. We woke up pretty early and got ready slow. The sun was finally showing as we threw our stuff in the van check out. With a quick stop at a grocery store for some lunch, we headed out of town. We had one detour to make to Last Stage West to pick up a mic clip we left.

Pulling through highway 41, we saw Tom still spreading gravel on the parking lot of Last Stage West. Tom greeted us with a smile, and after a moment’s conversation we were gone again. We took highway 1 for a while, reveling in clifftop views of the ocean. We took a little stop in Carmel for a walk on the beach. Maybe we’d see Clint Eastwood, who spent some time as mayor of this little town.

Clint was nowhere to be seen. We did, however, see a lot of very wealthy and bitter looking people eyeing us suspiciously as we tried to park. The beach was full of Carmel citizens daintily tossing tennis balls to very excited dogs. I think there were more dogs than people. I dreamt momentarily of a dog uprising, culminating in a pile of small and annoying pooches chewing the fingers off hands bearing Rolex watches.

Carmel was quickly behind us as we rocketed into the Bay area. Oakland is an odd place. It bears a strong resemblance to Brooklyn in many ways. We arrived at Mama Buzz pretty early, and found it packed to the rafters with tweaked coffee drinkers. It was pretty loud for a café. A cheerful girl named Alex greeted us behind the bar, and introduced us to Zack, who would be leading the music for the evening.

We set up the PA in front of a large window looking onto a rather dreary street, and settled in for a night of music. First was Addie, who was a singer-songwriter and invited her friends onstage to present a nice complete package. She called her band of friends the Subtracts ( for a sum total of Addie and the Subtracts... I get it!), and they put an earthy twist on her tunes, including some nice banjo playing by a very shy girl named Ray, vocal harmonies by Kate, and some R&B flavored cajon playing by Johnna (sp?).

We went up next. Despite some sound problems, we played a fast and tight show. People seemed pretty into it, but we didn’t make any tips. It looked like a frugal crowd.
Next up was Geoff Baker, who played some cool tunes with some really great rhythm guitar playing. He reminded us a little of our friend Dustin Edge.

As were loading out and talking to everyone, Chris, a guy we met earlier in the evening, asked us for a ride home in return for a free place to stay for the night. After a stop at the grocery store for some bourbon, we stepped into his home to meet his room mates and stay up too late talking and drinking. Around 3:30 we had to shut the night down, as we had a morning show the next day across the bridge.

We curled on the futon, a little drunk, and passed out hard. Morning came all too soon.

Thanks to Mama Buzz for having us, Alex and Zack for helping us get set up, Addie and Geoff for a nice night of music, and Chris and his roomies for their hospitality.

Tomorrow… two bridges, Coffee Adventures, some very remote Highway 1, and “Another Alamo Motel!?”

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