Jesus, it’s cold here!

We stopped at 2024 Records on the way into town to pick up our new merch, which is SO cute. David from 2024 is super-nice – thanks, David!

The boys did an in-studio at MPR early, then we headed over to the venue. We were on time for soundcheck, but the venue, unbeknownst to us, was in the middle of an early show. The long and the short of it was that we waited around for hours, then had to play without a soundcheck. Add this to the fact that we had apparently been tacked onto a completely incompatible bill, albeit as the “headliner,” and the show more or less sucked. Whatever :-)

Tonight’s gig was very low-rent, in a very great way. We played the basement of a VFW hall – the kind with bingo upstairs – to about 85 super-enthusiastic kids. They don’t get a lot of good music coming through Fargo, apparently. One of the kids worked at a local hotel, and he took us back there after the show and rented us two rooms – including the Jacuzzi Suite – for $35 each. His friend who was working the night desk shift was dealing pot from behind the desk. Ha!

It took us two days to get here – almost 1,000 miles. Albums listened to included The Gay, Shave, Pink Mountain Tops, Peter Gabriel, Flaming Lips, Menomena, and Abbey Road. Flaming Lips fit North Dakota particularly well.

Today we had an utterly epic drive, from Vancouver all the way to Calgary in one fell swoop. We went over the Rockies at around 10 AM, in a light snowstorm, listening to Gris Gris and Broken Social Scene. Epic!

Chad van Gaalen opened for us, and he’s awesome. His songs are strange, in the best of ways. We stayed at his house afterwards, and spent some of the next morning hanging out in his heavily-modded short white school bus. Coolest vehicle ever!

Tonight’s show was at a little club called Media Club. Great little venue, good sound, really enthusiastic audience.

The house engineer totally perpetuated a Canadian stereotype, however. He briefed me on the room, and then I set about my soundcheck. I was a good half-hour in, cruising along, and all of a sudden he materialized at my elbow:

Him: “Sorry!”

Me: … long pause … “Sorry for what?”

Turns out, he was anxious – that the room was too small, or maybe too big, or somehow otherwise not to my liking – that the sound wasn’t good enough – that he hadn’t been helpful or accomodating enough – that, generally and non-specifically, he had somehow in the last half hour failed me in some way. I was able to reassure him, and he eventually retreated, relieved. Adorable :-)

Today’s show was a little odd, in that our set time was 7:45 PM. The venue actually closed the doors after our show and reopened for a second show at 10 PM! Ambitious. Unusual set time notwithstanding, the show was pretty great. The band brought out some really sensitive dynamics and some interesting interlude textures. I ran an extra delay line and threw some ear candy around the room, which seemed to work pretty well. “Temporary” was gorgeous. The audience was way larger than we expected at 7:45 on a Friday evening, and they were wonderfully attentive.

We spent the rest of the night at Dave and Swaan’s house, talking and listening to music. Their home and their company are lovely, and we realized pretty early on that there was nowhere else we wanted to be, so we stayed in. It has been a wonderful day – tomorrow, Vancouver! We are all interested to see what the turnout will be like in a city where we’re not playing at the same time as Death Cab :-)

We spent most of our time in the van today listening to Explosions In The Sky. Great soundtrack music for touring.

Oh, and Kelley Stoltz was great again tonight!

The Rogue Wave tour has officially started! We played our first show, with Kelley Stoltz and Climber. Three good bands, and an enthusiastic and attentive crowd – a really enjoyable evening all around. There were gremlins, but of course there were gremlins – it’s the first night of tour. By Calgary we’ll be a well-oiled machine.

We did an in-store at Jackpot Records, which is the best record store I’ve been to in a while. Great selection, good prices, gentle incandescent lighting a la a nice bookstore, and the friendliest staff ever! They treated us really well – we each were given a $25 gift certificate and a free shirt. Wow! If we encounter this sort of largesse on the rest of the tour, I will feel extraordinarily fortunate. Come to think of it, I already feel extraordinarily fortunate. I have a great job :-)

My friend Aimee uttered the best phrase this weekend – “sparkly girly mania.” Wouldn’t that be the best band name ever? Or maybe “sparkle girl mania.” Either way, I think we’re on to something.

I spent the weekend traveling with Aimee’s cover band, engineering – we did one proper club date and two private parties. It was so much fun – the band are all such nice people, and they’re great at what they do. Mixing disco music all weekend has cleansed my palate for the upcoming indie-rock onslaught. I took my new FOH rack out for the trip, which was sweet – although, I don’t have most of my gear in it yet, so it was essentially a 60-pound tap delay. Like they used to have in the 30s! But, the hell with efficiency. I can’t wait until the other $700 of gear is in it!

On the drive home, Rob and I were listening to Mitch Hedberg. Wow :-)

Last night I mixed The Sounds! Surprisingly, I hadn’t heard them before. This made me feel pretty lame, because a) they’re brilliant, and b) they’re the kind of band I love. Dancy, punky, tons of attitude, great songs. The singer is a little spitfire, and, man, can she sing. Their manager mentioned that they’re looking for a FOH/TM. Hm :-)

I just got my weekly email from iTunes, and was thrilled to learn that R. Kelly has just released the second installment in his Trapped In The Closet series of music video mini-dramas! Trapped In The Closet may be the best music video mini-drama ever. It may also be the only music video mini-drama ever, but that doesn’t take away from its sheer brilliance. You haven’t fully experienced music video mini-drama until you’ve heard the word “spatula” crooned over a dark R&B beat, as the nosy neighbor opens the door to find R. Kelly, his cheating wife, and her jailbird brother heavily armed in a blood-spattered hallway. Awesome! Highly recommended.

The Thieves were back last night, for another maddeningly underattended show. The ten people who were there were privy to one of the better three-piece rock bands currently touring. These guys have gotten so tight! They’re out in support of a new album, and the new material seems a bit groovier, a bit more laid back in the pocket. These guys kick ass.

I’ve been listening obsessively to the new Black Rebel Motorcycle Club record. It’s so good, it’s almost intimidating. Country roots meets Appalachia meets gospel meets symphonic pop. Can’t … stop … listening … wow!

The Rogue Wave tour preparations are well underfoot. It’s astonishing how much minutiae there is. It will be so nice to get off the computer and into the van :-)