Friday, July 27, 2012

Canada/West Coaster: Part II

7/23: Seattle
After a footed van chase down to the US customs checkpoint due to a hold up of sweet booze dealz at the duty free shop we had arrived back in the land of fountain soda and cheap beer. With freedom ringing in our ears we celebrated our mother land with a Seattle $8.99 all-you-can eat vegan buffet at Araya’s Place. After packing our gullets full of creamy peanut butter sauce drowned pad thai and green curry saturated tofu we thanked our founding fathers and God even though we were unable to pray over a forty-five degree angle. We laid down in a park on the other side of the water providing a beautiful panoramic view of the industrious shores of the city.
Heading over to El Corozon, a rad all-ages club complete with a dirt turkey infested alley and piss soaked carpeted floors, we were greeted by some amazingly helpful and friendly stage and sound folk.  We were also introduced to a heavy handed bartender who felt the need to wish us luck by mixing us cocktail glasses of whiskey. With encouragement and gifts from our new found friends Elway took the stage with mediocrely executed licks and banter equivalent to a high school mall hang after getting your older brother to buy you a 6 pack of mike’s hard cranberry. Dopamines did okay too. TBR followed with clever techniques to rouse audience participation that erupted in pogoing circle pits and projectile beers.
And the make up for 3 days of not drinking $6.50 Molson Canadian cans continued. We were bought beverages from old and new pal’s, including Toby Jeg’s brother who eerily sounds just like him, and Erin and her boyfriend celebrating 11 years with excessively loud eighth notes and conversations carrying globs of spit infused booze. A $100 torso sized bottle of Jamison entered the scene introduced by the Dopamines complete in silver tilting receptacle that served directly into our mouths.
I apparently stole some girl’s cigarette (sorry whoever you were) and continued to dart back and forth yelling over stranger’s conversations as if I were a 6 year old on Christmas morning. I also ended up sitting with a woman who explained that my misunderstood fascination with bodies of water had to do with detachment issues from my father – a conversation that I had almost entirely no part in besides head nods and maybe a few tears. The night ended crashing into the bench seat of the van and waking up to a 7am sun in the shittiest Tacoma motel parking lot.

7/24: Portland
Our day in Portland started off right with some pretty epic vegan BBQ that our buddy Ben hooked up.  We then sped our way over to the Backspace, passing Crome-bagged, sideways haircut bo-bos along the way.  Load-in, coffee, and beer happened before we found The Dopamines geeking out at this rad arcade bar called Ground Kontrol.  Don’t judge the place by the unforgiving use of the ‘K’ – the place had mad pinball machines (including a Will Wheaton signed SNG) and a timed NES emulator machine.  I (Brian) used my 90s talent to immediately destroy Mario 3, a feat that is apparently crazier the younger you get.  I was also able to get TKOed by Mike Tyson in the second round after remembering the password (007-373-5963).
Back at the venue we watched some rad openers and played to a group of people working on their bored expressions.  We covered Minor Threat’s “Straight Edge.”  The Dopamines changed their name to The Vegan Cheesesteaks for the evening and TBR followed with clever techniques to rouse audience participation that erupted in pogoing circle pits and projectile beers. Courtesy vegan sandwiches from the backspace were had, more arcadage, and then we proceeded to get the fuck out of Oregon. 

7/25:  San Francisco
We left Portland right after the show under the assumption that our overnight drive wouldn’t be a big deal and that at a lean-compared-to-Fort-Collins-to-Edmonton 650 miles, we would be able to knock it out without issue.  Although our GPS is a lying British accent-having piece of shit that insisted spuriously that it would take us 10 hours (it took 12), we arrived shortly after noon in beautiful San Francisco.  The first stop was at Golden Era, which is among the greatest Vegan Chinese restaurants that exist in this fading republic.  Check it out and get the sweet and sour chik’n.  We followed up lunch with a stroll down Baker Beach for the ultimate in dichotomous vistas.  You really get a sense of the big picture of life when your view of the magnificence of the Golden Gate bridge and the hills of Marin is punctuated by an old creepy dude’s dilapidated nutsack draped down from between his sun-crimsoned thighs like a gunny sack full of ham cubes.  Breathtaking.
Our next stop was the Fat Wreck warehouse/record store, where Teenage Bottlerocket was to do an in-store record signing thing with some exclusive colored vinyl.  We showed up right when we were expecting that it’d start to the news that both Bottlerocket and Dopamines had stopped in the night and would be various degrees of late, citing fatigue and weakness of character respectively as an excuse.  No matter, we drank a bunch of beers and thumbed through the collection of rad shit that Fat has sitting around.  Some notable Elway blog alumni showed up too, which was rad!  Dennis and Erin, our buddies mentioned in a previous blog about Sacramento, showed up to hang with a baking sheet packed full of mini red velvet cupcakes with icing pentagrams on them and a clutch bottle of Maker’s Mark.  Best people ever.
I can remember being a young idiot listening to NOFX records and thinking that it’d be amazing to play Bottom of the Hill someday.  Now that I’m an old idiot, I am pleased as piss to report that actually playing there was just as rad as my constantly-masturbating former self imagined.  Bottlerocket obviously has a storied history of killing it in San Francisco, because the venue was packed.  This show was far and away the best show of the tour so far and the best show on the West Coast.  Sing alongs, high fives, and a good old fashioned circle pit!  Dopamines (sincerely) played a great set and got people stoked.  Just about every friend we’ve ever made in the bay area was in attendance and we made a couple of new buddies as well.  Special thanks to Ramona, Skyler and all of the rad people from the Bottom of the Hill.  We retired to super bro Jay’s abode for nightcaps, illicit substances and sleep.

The Dopamines bought this enormous pig at the Canadian border.
Joe has nicer legs than your girlfriend.  Sorry, but he does.



Dude bought an Elway shirt and immediately cut off the sleeves.  Goofball.

When not doing his best Kid Rock impersonation, Ben serves rad Vegan BBQ in Portland.

At the Fat Wreck Record Store in SF.

Bottom of the Hill show.

Clutch Christian rock band-style photo

More from SF.

Success Brian.  Reference:

Bad Luck Tim.  Reference:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Canada/West Coaster: Part I

7/18, Fort Collins, CO: It was bright outside. Our eyes adjusted to make out dark cement walls lined with framed tour posters and plastic cup capped whiskeys sitting dormant atop glass shelves. Door men and sound guys arrived sheepishly running through routines shuffling gear and instructing backlines designed to seamlessly peel away. Fold out tables were lined with t-shirts and disks stuck with hot pink priced tapes (our hand crafted wood display we spent hours on was too big so we ditched that shit). We set up as quick as we could and set out to find birthday friends and rainbow colored booze slurpees. And the slaying began. People quickly funneled into a free show at the Aggie in Fort Collins arming themselves with tallboys and shots lining the floor. The first band, Head Injuries, was from Loveland and played good punk rock. If this statement doesn’t sound too surprising – check out Loveland sometime. Dopemines followed getting the crowed stoked and detailing the impregnating of a wife. Elway then played one of our biggest shows gracing the audience with a handful of songs off Delusions, a few from our new EP “Hence My Optimism”, and even a very new one we managed not to completely botch. TBR followed with clever techniques to rouse audience participation erupting pogoing circle pits and projectile beers. The kick off forecast a rad tour with rad dudes. Drinks were had, to a point where load out included me crashing down the stairs and into a wall kick drum first. Some more bars happened. And the rest was forgotten.

7/19 – 7/20, Bummer drive and Edmonton: You know, the 1,300 mile journey from Fort Collins to Edmonton seemed daunting at first, but after shedding a couple hundred miles off the journey and witnessing the jarring manmade urban splendor of such cities as Casper, Wyoming, we realized that drive was actually not only daunting, but actually very boring. The saving grace was the never-disappointing natural beauty of Montana. I can’t say I blame all those hill jacks who live there who want to make their 20 acre ranches with all the cars on cinder blocks, the sadly malnourished but loyal hound dogs, and the Ron Paul 2008 and 2012 yard signs into sovereign nations ala Mr. Show. Anyhow, we decided to split our journey to Edmonton in twain by staying in a town called Lethbridge, Alberta, just over the Canadian border. Our border crossing, by the by, was as painless as could ever be expected, as the border guards were stoked to hear that we love Propagandhi and let us through without much of a hassle. I wonder what their favorite song off Today’s Empires Tomorrow’s Ashes is. Garrett managed to find a vegan hardcore kid on a couchsurfing website who said he’d put us up for the night. This was stoking, because his house turned out to be a MTV cribs style mansion and we slept more comfortably than we deserve. Thanks bro! Okay, so we finally arrive in Edmonton, scoped out the venue, and ate some spectacular vegan food from a restaurant called Padmanati. The show was great. Old Wives opened the show and played a well-oiled brand of pop punk that brings to mind the heyday of Lookout! Records. We played and were well received, particularly by the 5 or 6 skids throwing each other around in the pit. The Dopamines killed, per usual. TBR followed with clever techniques to rouse audience participation erupting pogoing circle pits and projectile beers. Garrett, Brian and I(Tim) went on the hunt for some of that famous overpriced Canadian beer, and on our journey helped an elderly woman on her way home from the doctor walk to her apartment building with her groceries. Hooray for helping! As the show came to a boozy end, we hatched a plan with The Dopamines to share a single room in a hotel with a strip club in the basement. We decided to go to said strip club to celebrate The Dopamines’ hardly-working merch guy Dave’s birthday. I have never been a huge fan of strip clubs, but there were certainly some noticeable differences between Canadian and American strip joints that I felt were interesting and worth expanding upon. Canada, like the EU and I’m sure several other countries doesn’t have a $1 or $2 bill. Anything smaller than $5 is represented only with coins. You can see where this creates a logistical problem for dancer and strip club patron alike. The answer lies in posters personalized to the individual dancer, rolled up like a bugle of sorts and held suggestively by the girl as she encourages customers to toss coins into the funnel. Even more interestingly, the coins that miss the makeshift funnel thing are collected by a magnet on a stick operation that sort of looks like a metal detector. They’ve got it down to a science, up here! We wound down the rest of our night steeping in the ironic contraposition of what it was to help that elderly woman with walking down the street versus what it is to help out some young girls by pitching loons ($1 coins) into a paper funnel held between their legs. A line of thought that doesn’t lead to very flattering places… A couple old Simpsons and Golden Girls episodes washed the thoughts from our heads as we drifted off to a drunken sleep.

7/21, Calgary: The Dopamines are a bunch of rich kids. Brutal hangovers left us in shambles as we rolled across their 1 ½ star hotel room floor telling fart jokes and passing Mikey Erg around. Desperate attempts were made to wash away the pungent scent of shame and stripper perfume, decimating what little integrity the hotel’s shower ever possessed. With clean bodies and a clear conscience, another savage craving soon entered out stomachs and hearts. Realizing we had been in Canada for almost 12 hours, the time to consume poutine was nigh. The GPS was set for The Big Cheese Poutinerie in Calgary and away we went. Our veins rushing with gravy lube and stomachs churning cheese curds, we ventured onto “sexy 17th St” in Calgary. We disgusted all these hotties as the temperate Calgary sunlight illuminated our true dirt-turkey physiognomy. We took the “Pepsi Challenge”, and it was just about the saddest thing ever. You ever order a whiskey and Pepsi? Hell no, you would be a virgin until your dying day ordering that horsepiss at a bar. Double-Whiskey COKE, no ice, is what keeps these gents content. We then sauntered into a local park to watch a few locals play Weakerthans covers then jumped in the van to head over to the venue. The Old Wives opened for the second night in a row, engaging the crowd with soaring three piece harmonies and solid punk jams. The Dopamines were too drunk to play and just awkwardly touched one another on stage – I for one, was aroused. TBR followed with clever techniques to rouse audience participation that erupted in pogoing circle pits and projectile beers. Like rabid cats shot up with beer-tranquilizers and corralled into kennels, we finally got in the van, cozied up in our sleeping bags, and prepared for an overnight caravan ride to Vancouver.

7/22, Vancouver: The treachery of mountainous roads forced us to pull over at a rest stop and wait until daylight to continue. We woke up on the fringe of Banff National Forest between a spiked crag and a rushing river -truly a breathtaking way to wake up. We ate a heart-healthy breakfast with our favorite big-gurls, The Dopamines, and teamed up to continue our trek through the Canadian Rockies. The drive was a grueling all-day adventure, and we arrived just in time for load in and sound checks at The Venue. TBR’s tour manager, Cory, came through with a clutch 30 rack that accompanied our delish falafel dish dinners. We stumbled across the street to spend our last of Canadian coinage on arcade games then navigated through a myriad of crusty bo-bo’s to discuss the marvels of modern sea trade we spotted along Vancouver’s river shore. Local sluggers, The Isotopes, were first up to bat that evening and they hit one out of the park. Rocking out several Americana baseball-themed songs, they kept up momentum and lead the crowd in a sing-along of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”. The Dopamines spilled whiskey all over their dirty shirts and choked on fog smoke, all the while playing their instruments like a bunch of thalidomide stricken children. TBR followed with clever techniques to rouse audience participation that erupted in pogoing circle pits and projectile beers. We crashed with some new Canadian buddies and found the bottom of their Jameson bottle and waxed awkwardness under the influence some really awesome weed. I slept in the van and a bum watched me pee on the side of the street at 5 in the morning while I drunkenly tried to keep my footing – it was a bonding moment, his name was Larry.
This.  For 20 hours.
Next level delicious technology, player.

Fake-ass spicy ginger beef, that's smart!

The elevation of Edmonton.  Praise his name, dicks.
 The great one lifting the cup above his mighty cranium like it ain't no thang.
 Calgary is a ten from this angle, bro...
 Canadian Rockies.  Shit got real.
 Boredom and pickles.   Boom!
This lethal mixture is called the Barnett Family Haircut.  Tasty bevs.

 Blog Epilogue (Epi-blogue?) Gimmick!!!
Here's the deal.  Because unemployment and general dickery made a bored idiot out of me, I put an Elway-ian spin on some classic internet memes.  All you guys have to do is give these following pics some hilarious captions, and you could win some free shit from us!  Don't be a dick and send them shits to!

 Scumbag Garrett
Sudden Clarity Joe