This Week's Trips

Yacht Rock played two private fly dates this week--a corporate party in Austin, and a wedding reception in California.  Too far apart (and too far away) to drive our gear, we had to fly to both, which meant dragging my gear through a few airports, and the anxiety of making it past the guardians of the airport gates.  Fortunately, I made it through without incident.

Thursday:  The nine of us (seven band plus Kip and Zach) assembled at the airport for our trip to Austin.

This particular show was a private party for a corporate client in a small club downtown.

Another tiny corner stage!  It took some time to figure out how we could get everything on stage and still play.  Pretty tight.

Nick was out for this gig, so Greg Lee rotated up to the front line, and we had Rob Henson sub on bass.

The backline gear was pretty good for this one.  My only problem was a wonky sustain pedal for the top keyboard.  During the first song, I stepped on it and it stayed on, so I quickly reached up and yanked it out until I could figure out what was wrong.  A few songs later, I finally had enough of a break to flip the polarity switch, which solved one issue, but illuminated another:  the connection inside the pedal must've been messed up, and the pedal would fully sustain sometimes, sustain for two seconds sometimes, and not sustain at all sometimes.  Through trial and error, I figured out that if I stepped on it at an angle (sort of pushing it out as I pushed down), that gave me the most consistent results.  The game of gig!

Decent crowd, though!

Friday:  Travel day.  I found a kiosk in Austin's airport that was self-serve coffee for $3.00.  I like the idea of not having to deal with anyone before I'm caffeinated, but it also meant that there was no one restocking it.  I ended up with some weird blend of Ethiopian brew--not Dave's fave.

We flew from Austin to Salt Lake City, changed planes (SLC's airport is a mess--the gates are too close together to accommodate all of the people sitting around, and then they talk over each other on competing intercoms), and then from Salt Lake City to San Francisco.  The view as we left Salt Lake was really cool, but I was in a middle seat, and the lady next to me didn't seem like she'd be very tolerant of the needs of my blog.

On the flight from Austin, I watched All Things Must Pass, a documentary about the rise and fall of Tower Records.  It's very well done--you should watch it!

Anyway...San Fran!  Never been here!  We rented two minivans and headed to our hotel an hour and a half away.  First, though:  Haight Ashbury and Amoeba Music (one of the last great record stores in the US), and then the Golden Gate Bridge!

photo cred:  Peter Olson

Just up the 101, we stopped in Sausalito to eat lunch.  By sheer luck, we picked a really great neighborhood Italian restaurant.  I ate all of this, plus ten breadsticks.  It really hit the spot.

Dave's food

The weather here is pretty amazing;  the owner of the restaurant told us that they average 60 degrees as the high.  It felt like it was maybe 70 when we were walking around.  We stood for several minutes and watched clouds roll over this hill and break apart.  Eat your heart out Jim Cantore.

Our accommodations:  we had hotel rooms at the Flamingo Hotel in Santa Rosa, CA for two nights.  Not too bad!  It was built, I'd guess, in the 50s, and it still has a lot of that vibe to it.

With nothing to do this evening, we headed over to the Russian River Brewery.  This place was packed!  We had a nice hang out on the patio (it got pretty cold after the sun went down!).  A few beers and it was time to crash.

Saturday:  One nice things about being on the west coast with my body clock still on eastern time:  I can sleep as late as I want, and it's still pretty early.  Breakfast time!

Charles Schulz was a longtime resident of Santa Rosa.  This guy was in the lobby.

Lunch time at In and Out Burger.  Did you know that you can order a veggie burger at In and Out?  They give you hamburger without the meat (bun, lettuce, onion, a slice of tomato, and their sauce).  It was ok--I wish they'd had some sort of bean burger patty.

photo cred:  Peter Olson

The gig:  a wedding reception at a vineyard in Sonoma County.  Definitely one of the prettiest gigs we've ever had, with stunning views in every direction.  That being said, I'm never wild about an uncovered stage.  The gear roasted for several hours, temporarily erasing the screen on the top keyboard.  I kept my laptop under a shirt and several charts I needed for the evening, and moved my saxophones and flutes into the shade behind the stage.  We got hot and a little sunburned.

The gear for this one was a little more roughed up than Austin.  I had a mixer die before I ever played a note through it, and the keyboards had some wobbly knobs (I also got stuck with a Nord 2, which is plagued by a pretty terrible piano sound).  All of their pedals worked, though!  

photo cred:  Peter Olson

photo cred:  Peter Olson

The sun finally went down, and with it, the temperature.  By the time we fit the second set, my hands were beginning to get cold and stiff.  Easy gig, though;  my gear worked, and we were up against a hard cut off at 10 PM, so no lingering encores or anything.  I'm still terrified of what my EWI might do, by the way, but it seems to be behaving again.

Sunday:  Travel day.  We were out of the hotel pretty early, leaving us ample time to drive through San Francisco before heading to the airport.

We drove down Lombard Street, the "crookedest street in the world."  A crowd at the top and bottom, a policeman directing traffic (on a Sunday morning!), and tourists standing in driveways taking pictures.  Pretty wild.

Next, we drove through Fisherman's Wharf.

Finally, it was time to head to the airport.  We flew from San Fran to Los Angeles (the gate agent was hesitant about my horns, saying "Well...I don't think they'll fit, but you can try."  Of course they fit!)  The flight was delayed and then it took forever to taxi into LAX, and I was pretty concerned, but we made our connection without any issues.  

This was the snack on the flight.  Never seen these before.  Pretty good!

LAX to ATL, I watched The Last Man on the Moon.  Wow!  Very cool.  I highly recommend it.  It's on Netflix.

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