Saturday, September 6, 2008

Our week in the Willamette Valley

As mentioned, we are back in Portland for Music Fest NW, trying to catch up on work and preparing for the big push south starting on Monday. We had a nice week traveling south with Blind Pilot, stopping for shows in Corvallis and Eugene. The ride started at Tiny's, a coffee shop near our favorite fry stand, Potato Champion, where we met up with Ryan's friends Sarah and Erin, who wanted to ride along for a couple of hours but soldiered on for the entire first day, Kristine, one of two violinists who play with the band in Portland, and Ezra, a friend and reporter for the Portland Mercury who planned to embed himself with the band. Ezra and Kristine planned to ride along until their show in Eugene on Wednesday. Neither of them are avid bikers, but managed to keep up with the group and get into the daily groove after the first day.

The band had two days to make it to a scheduled gig in Corvallis at FireWorks Lounge. The roads where fast and the flat tires were minimal, so they made it to their planned midway point Monday night. That point was McMinnville, chosen simply for its midwayness between Portland and Corvallis. There are no places to camp anywhere near McMinnville, and for the first time, the band could not convince any of the establishments there to let them play.

In Corvallis, they played FireWorks, which had by the far the most interesting acoustics yet. They played in the corner of the outside patio, which featured glass walls, a sloping wooden roof and a large brick pizza oven. *(see corrections below, 2/14/09) We determined that the best sound would probably be found right on the edge of the oven, but didn't want to risk melting our plastic coated wires. We were generously hosted by Nate and Lillian, Luke's friends from Astoria, although it was a bit cramped to have all eight of us in their apartment.

The next stop was in Eugene, where Israel and Ryan met at the University of Oregon. They played Sam Bond's Garage, a great venue with extremely helpful people. After getting lots of up close shots, Max hung back a bit to see if he could get a long shot over the crowd. Todd, one of the owners, tapped him on the shoulder and led up to the supply attic, where he was able to get a free crane shot of the entire venue for the last three songs. Very cool.

One of the nicest parts of this trip was that Emily's parents flew in to visit and to help celebrate her birthday. The visit felt far too short, as we were busy working and only in town for a few days, but it was wonderful to see them.

The band headed back to Portland via van on Thursday, and we headed to Silver Falls State Park for the evening. We have been on the road for about six weeks now and have been so appreciative of all the people who have generously put us up along the way. We have found though, that campsites are now what really feel like home, as it is technically "ours" for the evening. Max made some yummy corn chili for Emily's birthday dinner and we befriended our campsite neighbors, Johnney and Kate, who travel to festivals selling really beautiful water bottles. They brought over Fizzgig, the cutest Pomeranian puppy ever, for us to play with (Buzz stayed in the car) and Emily had a great birthday.

* Update 2/14/09. Thanks to Ocean Liff-Anderson, Proprietor, FireWorks Venue in Corvallis who recently commented and gave us the accurate building materials in the courtyard. The courtyard walls are "cob", a free-form version of adobe earthen construction, not glass and the oven is also made of earth, not brick. Very cool. He also sent us a picture of a wood fired apple gorgonzola pizza fresh from the oven. Yum.


Oh, MY! said...

Happy Birthday, MLE!!!

Anonymous said...

I love your music! Got the album from Itunes and I'm pimping you guys to all my friends. The bike tour is a great idea, if you need a place to stay in Oregon (Albany) where I have family. Or in Washington (Yelm) let me know!

Anonymous said...

Hey, nice blog! We loved your gig here at FireWorks in Corvallis - but a couple of corrections for the blog entry: the courtyard walls are "cob", a free-form version of adobe earthen construction (not "glass" as in your blog) and the oven is also made of earth (not "brick" as in your blog). Could you change the entry?

Also, do you have any footage of the gig that night? It was a great show, and I love to embed any videos I can on my MySpace page...

Proprietor, FireWorks Venue