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Four Tours & Seven Beers Ago
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Western Settings & Kevin Do the West Coast: Chapter 2

~ San Francisco ~

I woke up on Shane Hendry’s couch, a rare luxury. Luckily almost everyone began stirring at the same time, and it wasn’t long before Tom House and I went on a coffee mission. Apparently there was a little hipster spot not too far down the road. It didn’t feel dangerous walking around this supposedly “bad” neighborhood, until we took a left into a sketchy industrial area. Weird spot for a coffee shop, but in the distance, there she was. An out-of-place all white building with some hipster dork standing outside smoking a cigarette. We walked in and the hipster followed closely behind, running behind the counter to take our order. The coffee shop was odd, literally everything was white from the walls to the floor to the stools while the stupid fucking shit they had hanging on the walls were black. So fucking artsy, OMG. The coffee was mediocre, not at all surprising considering it seemed they put all their efforts into the atheistic.

I’m spending a lot of time talking about this dumb monument to gentrification, so I’ll just leave what was written on the cup sleeve so you can get the full scope of this place: “Trouble Coffee & Coconut Club. Trouble Coffee acts as a locus of resources in a network of information via word of mouth. We are local people with useful skills in tangible situations. Strong & dependable. Respect. Skill. Culture. Commitment, guts and honor. Drink a cup of Trouble. Eat a coconut. And learn to build your own damn house. We will help. We are building a network. The components of communication within the Trouble Coffee & Coconut Club are different than those of mass culture. With sustained connections, members develop emotional bonds, intellectual pathways and a higher capacity for critical thinking and problem-solving. Drinking local Trouble coffee sustains OUR skills and OUR city.   A coconut {cocos nucifera} provides a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk, and oil that has fed and nourished populations around the world for generations. We like functional. Coffee, coconuts, nuts & bolts. Trouble coffee company, AMERICA.”  That’s some real Tweak’s dad shit right there.

We made our way back to Shane’s and moved everything back into the van, then hit the practice space again for another couple of hours. I thought maybe by this point I’d be absolutely fucking sick of watching Western Settings play, but they are so good that wasn’t the case. With everything pretty much dialed-in, we once again loaded the gear back into the van and crossed the bridge into San Francisco. We went straight to the venue, Thee Parkside, to see if we could drop off the gear so we could adventure around the city and not worry about having to start a GoFundMe to replace gear. The answer was a resounding no we could not.

Everyone argued a little bit on what to do next. We had some time to kill. Should we go to the Golden Gate Bridge? Fisherman’s Warf? That stupid winding street? Nah dawg. We went to Toronado, a bar in San Francisco because Ricky Schmidt works at the one in San Diego, and he wanted to see the original location. He had one rule: do not tell them he works at the San Diego location. But of course, the first thing everyone immediately did was mention it to the bartender because you can’t have nice things. We had a couple of drinks there before moving across the street to Molotov’s, a bar that had just as many dogs in it as patrons. This is where we met up with False Positive’s Kevin Skalba. Molotov’s had reasonable priced Hamm’s and a shot of Evan Williams for $5, aptly named the Bum’s Choice, a deal I was more than happy to take full advantage of all the way until we were ready to head back for actual load in at Thee Parkside.

We were the first band there and quickly got the gear in and a new drink in hand. My official job on this tour was ‘guy the band brought with them,’ but I was already bored with that so I decided to take over merch duty because why the fuck not. Someone had to do it. Might as well be the guy literally doing nothing. Also the green room was just a couch and a toilet that everyone kept shitting in so I wanted to stay the fuck out of there. Plus Will Castro kept giving stuff away to people, and I had to make sure we got at least some gas money to make it to the next city.

Eventually the rest of the bands showed up, including Heartsounds in their mega Mercedes van they rented. Seriously, the van was all black and fucking ridiculous looking. It was a 5 star hotel compared the Motel 6 that is Megataur. The opening band was supposed to be San Jose’s Point of View, but they had to drop off last minute and were replaced with Daydream. I didn’t get a chance to watch them, setting up the merch table and all that, but I did get to check out Male Gaze and they were pretty rad. Sometime around when Western Settings was supposed to start, I took a shot of tequila with Trick Coleman, and watched as he threw several almost full cans of beer at Tom and almost got kicked out by security. Trick was happy. Tom was pissed. The room was almost too packed when super shredders Heartsounds took the stage, so I took my leave to go smoke cigarettes and slang some merch and take swigs out of a tiny bottle of Jameson from a stranger. Normal show stuff.

I did eventually stop drinking because I realized I had first shift driving through the night. Everyone else, not so much. We hung around after the show afterwards, loading all the gear back in and chit chatting with Heartsounds and trying to get Trick to shut the fuck up and stop yelling. We were giving him and Skalba a ride back to Oakland and the last thing we wanted was a very loud drunk Trick Coleman screaming in the van. But of course, that is exactly what fucking ended up happening.

We dropped the Oakland boys off at the practice space where they took an Uber home. The rest of us had a very long drive ahead of us to Portland, Oregon. I was on first shift with Ricky as my co-pilot. He was hammered. I drove as everyone in the van fell asleep. Ricky explained that when night driving on tour, it was best to skip putting on music and just cruise along to podcasts, his favorite being “Lore” with Aaron Mahnke. We cruised through the night to tales of goblins and ghouls while he drank a couple more moldy beers out of the cooler and tried to smoke one of my cigarettes every five minutes. Sometime around 6AM, he said he couldn’t stay awake any longer and that we needed to switch with the next team. I tried to talk him into taking a nap and letting me drive mostly to get him to stop smoking my cigarettes, but also because I had been driving for less than four hours at this point and were still in California, but he wasn’t having any of it. We pulled into the next gas station and I reluctantly gave up the driver’s seat. Ricky passed out on the back bench while I crawled up into the top bunk they built in the back of Megataur, put my ear plugs in and sleep mask on and also immediately zonked the fuck out.


Completely lost? Make sure you’ve checked out Chapter 1 of the tour diary!

An ongoing anthology of tour diaries.

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