Most of us in the van slept on our two-our northbound drive from Cottage Grove to Portland, OR, where we would be spending the night. I powered us through, since it's my home state and I felt responsible. It was nearly 2:30 a.m. by the time we made the u-turn around the grassy tree-studded median strip bisecting east and west traffic, and backed the van into the narrow driveway at the residence of my parents; the same and only house I've ever known.
Portland Photos And A Train from Chris Koza on Vimeo.
Everyone crashed hard and we were able to sleep in a little bit since our next show was in Seattle, about three hours north. We left in the early afternoon and arrived at the Columbia City Theater with time to spare for our load-in and soundcheck. It was definitely one of the nicest venues we'd yet played -- a refurbished Vaudeville-era theater rich with history, and maintained lovingly. Apparently, way back in the day, Jimi Hendrix had done a show there, along with countless other rock legends. So, the "we will only perform at venues where Hendrix hath shred" criteria for us to perform was finally being met.
After the show we packed up again and made good time back to Portland. This drive was very difficult. Out of myself, Paul, and Pete, 1.5 of us managed to stay awake long enough to get us back to Portland around 3 a.m., where we napped for a few hours before rising bright and early to make a trip south to Monmouth, Oregon, where we were performing a day show during a festive Oktoberfest fundraiser for the German Club. The reigning Fraulein at the food stand was sternly stingy with the gratis German sausages, and they ran out of sauerkraut. Needless to say, sometimes the road is a crazy hustle.
That night we had a show in Portland, at a nice little hipster venue called the Someday Lounge, where soundcheck took place behind a sumptuous red velvet curtain. All venues should have a red velvet curtain. We played with a couple of pretty cool bands called Hollywood Tans and Fanno Creek, both of whom made a great impression on us. Ian from Portland-based and Polyvinyl band Starfucker was there to catch our set, which was cool. Lots of Minneapolitans were representing as well; a marriage of two worlds with Rogue Valley as the soundtrack.
The next day we had ourselves a good ol' Portland time. We went to Stumptown Coffee and Voodoo Doughnut, Ground Kontrol and Valentine's. We left early the following day with an absurd number of miles to cover in order to make our Thursday night show in Fargo.
The final show of our western jaunt turned out to be one of our finest. We were set up in a relatively new spot called the Red Room, with an amazingly kind artist known as Shape Then Shift helping us out. A couple of great Fargo acts opened the night for us -- Mark Proulx, and Shane Maland & Little Winter. The sound was good and the audience was enthusiastic. We felt like we were welcome and wanted. The barista gave us all big coffees for the road, and we loaded the van up for one last late night push back to Minneapolis, and everything else familiar.