Every tour has a story: Part Three

    We were psyched to be finally meeting up with our friends from Chicago in the Narrator. We’ve never really toured with another band before, so it’s nice to have some one else in it with you, to just hang out, and it’s nice to be able to see a good band play every night. The show in Seattle on Wednesday, June 13 was fine. We played at the Funhouse, right across from the Space Needle.



    The next night we played a place in the middle of nowhere: Pendleton, Oregon, a town surrounded by miles of barren uninhabitable wastelands. It was a classic basement show, a good time put on by kids doing it for the love. We had dinner at the Taco Bus down the street, where we were accosted by an obese local woman who told us that the earthquakes off the coast of California were a sign that Christ was coming, and that if we find the Lord, we’ll become mainstream, like Creed. We got our tortas to go.

    Friday was Portland, Oregon, and by a certain fate, we and the Narrator were scheduled to open for the Futureheads. It was fascinating to see them, a totally different band than us, in their giant tour bus with their heaping plates of cold cuts, having a totally different experience than the one we were having. We hung out with them a little after the show, but they had to drive eleven hours overnight to San Fran. They seemed totally exhausted, like they weren’t having fun. It made us realize that even though not every show of our tour has been great, we’re having a really great time. We partied late with the Narr boys until they all passed out and had to be lead to their bedrooms by the fatherly Darryl, bass player of Portland’s excellent Joggers. We threw on Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk and listened to it into the wee hours.

    The plan was to split with the Narr on Saturday. They were going to meet their buddies Make/Believe in a Northern California coastal town; we were going to play in Redding, somewhere in the middle of the Redwood forest. The Narr and Make/Believe were briefly on the bill for the Redding show but then dropped off, disappointing the local kids. They told the guys in the Narrator they would be sorry for canceling and said that we would have the time of our lives. They were right.

    We were on a wild trip from the moment a beautiful hippy dropped from the sky and presented us with some magical lemon bars before we played. The experience had a Spielberg-ian feel: nostalgia drenched and dense forests surrounding this idyllic suburbia. That’s what it felt like at the time anyway. We hung out with a girl who lives in a tent in Yosemite. The local band, In the Rye, was fantastic and probably don’t even know they sound like Christie Front Drive with crazy Feelies rhythms. The 90210-esque posse of kids then brought us back to their house in the hills, where we chilled out and actually did have the time of our lives.

    Coincidentally Mike’s girlfriend, Kim, is from Santa Cruz and was in town visiting, so we went to her mom’s place on Sunday, our day off. She lives with her sixty-year-old stoner boyfriend, a handyman named Larry who makes knives out of steel billets and showed us his two meticulously crafted train sets. Kim’s mother made us some fantastic chicken mole, then we hung at the arcade and had a hot tub. It’s always a welcome relief to go to a nice house every few days as a change from the diarrhea-encrusted floors we normally sleep on. Showers, laundry, beds, and we are totally rejuvenated.

    On Monday we played Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco, an awesome venue in an old house. We were nervous because we really shouldn’t be headlining that club on a Monday night, but enough people showed up and we had a blast. Opener the Everlasting Arms was excellent too. It’s nice when a local actually promotes the show and puts up fliers. We got to see a lot of old friends in San Fran, which is an added perk of touring, seeing so many people you haven’t in awhile in their own environment. We stayed with our good friend Karl in the Mission. He’s a great musician himself who performs as Axolotl. We always value Karl’s opinion, so we were stoked when we told us we were the best pop/rock band he’s seen in five months.

    We headed to Fresno, California on Tuesday, and it’s basically in the middle of nowhere. We got to the venue, Tokyo Garden, early, and in the hour we spent wasting time walking around the city, we didn’t see a sole person. It was frightening. Downtown Fresno was a ghost town with a large number of beautifully intact thirties-era movie palaces. They were shut down but not boarded up, as if they had been quickly abandoned. It was vaguely post-apocalyptic.

    Apparently the local band with the big draw had canceled two days before the show, but the promoter, Mike, was a cool guy, and we had a fun time with the Narrator boys. We basically played our songs for each other, but we had the added bonus of being able to control the house lights and gave each other amazing light shows. Afterward we stayed at a squat of an abandoned recruiting station that was used during the Vietnam War. It had very hard concrete floors but lots of gross couches to sleep on. The cockroaches were the size of lobsters.
    Part 1 of Oxford Collapse on tour
    Part 2 of Oxford Collapse on tour
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