We spent the past three days of sand, sun and fun on Highway 101….Solana Beach bums. Solana Beach is a little community just up the beach from San Diego. As one spends more time down here one begins to see the attraction…it's definitely the weather, its perfect. Feeling a little chilly?…step in to the sunlight. Too hot?…duck underneath an umbrella and let the cool gentle sea breezes cool you down. Cloudless, sunny skies, the temperature peaking in the high seventies at mid-day and then cooling down in to the mid-sixties each evening…the perfect weather for us humans. This little town has all the makings of a vibrant community, lots of locally run bars and coffee shops and niche retail outlets, an amazing beach and an affluent citizenry, but it suffers from that which ails most of the communities in this part of the State, it has given itself over to the automobile. Highway 101 is basically the acting Main Street for the town and rather than it narrowing to a gentle stream as it passes through, it roars passed in all its four lane glory….and the energy of all that motion kind of sucks a lot of the towns energy along with it.
On Saturday we did a private concert, it was a wedding anniversary. It was at a private home tucked away in the hills up from the beach. It was an excellent day, we were treated royally, fed well, and watched Italy take down England on an 80 inch high-def screen. We were hired by a true music lover, someone who has made a lot of money in his chosen field and isn't shy about spending some of it on stuff that makes him and those around him happy. As the music industry collapses, it is important that Patrons step in every now and then to fill the void left by the dollars draining from the working musicians various revenue streams. We are all in desperate need of some 21st century Medici's (just the patronage, not the murder, greed, incest and the other nasty stuff that the Medici's brought along with their florins). I know, it's not the only industry suffering these days, but I'm not in any other industry. Redundancy sucks!
We had a day off on Sunday, which allowed us to explore the town and the beach, drink beer and watch soccer. Jared, Rachel (Jared's sister) and I, watched Messi's Argentinian squad play their first game and post their first win against a feisty Bosnian squad. A beautiful goal by Messi is hopefully a portend of good things to come.
On Sunday night we played The Belly Up Tavern in Solana. This is a good listening room that has a proud music heritage dating back a quarter century. It's definitely a bar, but it's clean and the owners have put some money into it, so the production is decent and the place doesn't stink like its been around since 1974…its the little things that one appreciates. We had a great night…the show has been sold out for a while, so it was an excited and appreciative audience….the second set was definitely the highlight of our tour…so far.
Los Angeles (June 17, 2014)
LA has been a bit of a black hole for us over the past fifteen years. We seem to have a strong following to the south of the city and down in to San Diego, but for some reason LA proper has been a bit of a puzzle. It use to be one of our strongest cities, but in the late 90's our audience in LA dissipated…maybe the hip-factor wasn't in our favour anymore. This time through, we decided to try and root out the hipsters and book ourselves in to one of their favourite nesting spots, Largo at the Coronet. It's not a bad room, and it has a long Hollywood history, but it seems to rely a bit too heavily on its hipster cred. Unfortunately there hasn't been a whole lot of energy put in to making it a good listening room. The PA stinks and there doesn't seem to be a lot of interest in improving it. We did two separate shows tonight which is always tough. I thought both shows were really good, despite the encroaching exhaustion (too much “soccer”). The second show was a lot looser and a little more fun, but both had some excellent moments. Great audiences for both shows…I'm not sure if we connected with any hipster crowd, but whoever they were, they were a lot of fun to play for.
We continue to absorb as much of the World Cup as we can digest. I got together with Jason on Sunday afternoon to watch the USA pull a few horseshoes out of their ass along with a victory. They beat their nemesis Ghana, who has booted the US out of the past two World Cups, a truly thrilling victory. Mexico is looking strong and looks to have the Patrick Roy of the soccer world in their net. His Herculean efforts allowed Mexico to tie host country, Brazil. The Germans look unstoppable, as usual, and the Portuguese look disinterested, as usual. The goals keep coming and no lead looks to be safe, which is a nice change from some past World Cups….the only thing that hasn't changed is the rolling around on the ground to try and draw a penalty….disgraceful conduct for someone brought up in a hockey culture.
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Monday nights sets came across as both studied and ardent. Thanks deeply for, at long last, visiting the Belly Up Tavern and skipping that other starchy venue down the coast. Providing a rare sit-down show (for this room) was also most welcome. I doubt the BUT PA has ever sounded better. I could have listened to your ever-changing guitars until dawn.
It was a treat to enjoy three Neil Young tunes amongst your own wonderfully brooding pieces. I’ll add major kudos for alway providing CJ followers with an abundance of recorded audio and video to augment the wicked live experience.
Us all-too-sunbaked fans hope you’ll take us away to a more bracing Northern reality on the next tour by returning to the Belly Up.
Mike, don't you know us die-hard fans have been awaiting your return to LA. It wasn't the venue that drew the "hipsters" to you. Rather, we suffered the hipster venue, their crappy PA and lumpy chairs for to see CBJ! Now, please come back soon!
I was at the 10pm show at Largo on Tuesday in LA. What an absolute TREAT that was!! It was my first time seeing you perform live, and it filled me with such joy! You guys are amazing–I am SUCH an incredible fan! Margo, you were a delight–seeing you sing in person was just such a neat experience. Your voice is hauntingly, mesmerizingly beautiful…thank you for the magnificent show, and for starting off with He Will Call You Baby–it's one of my current favorite songs of yours. :) LOVE you guys!!!
Welcome to my slice of life…I know you like fishing, next time a kayak or boat on the bay with a fishing pole. The belly up is a great tavern. Hope to see you back here ~ sooner then later.. – katie