Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’
Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
San Francisico has always been one of my favourite cities in North America. It's an extreme city, intense, truly urban. There is a lot of wealth here and there is also a lot of human tragedy and it all plays out on the streets. The street life here reminds me of NYC back in the late 1970's. It's a city where you always have to be slightly on guard and be aware of what's coming at you half way up the block; a city where the locals know which streets to avoid as a matter of course. Intense and vibrant.
We flew in here yesterday. Pete and John drove the gear. We all left LA at about the same time and seven hours later we all arrived at the hotel at the same time, which tells you a lot about the speed of commuter air travel these days. Jared, Pete, John and I found a hole in the wall Indian restaurant and had one of the best meals of the tour. We played the Great American Music Hall tonight. Its one of the few legendary halls left in the US. It's always a thrill to stand on a stage where Duke Ellington once stood. We had an amazing night tonight. The audience let us know from the second we took the stage that they were not about to let us get away with anything but an intense, focused, creative effort…and so we gave it to them. So. Much. FUN!
Yesterday the world champs, Spain, lost and were eliminated by a very strong Chile. Today we watched England go down to the mighty foot of the Uruguayan striker Suarez….which essentially eliminates England from the tournament.
This morning we drove two hours North and in to the interior to Grass Valley. We came through here about 18 months ago when we were in the area to play the Hardly, Strictly Blue Grass Festival in San Francisco. It's a cool little town that has a gold rush history. The town still has a hint of its gold rush roots, you kind of feel like you should be wearing your six-shooter while walking down main-street…although I suppose that wearing ones six-shooter while walking down main-street isn't such a relic of the past as one would hope it had become. In any event, this small peaceful, hippy enclave was a nice respite from the intensity of San Francisco. We had another very good show in front of another very good audience….I suppose I should be getting jaded about all these good audiences and the quality of our performances, but I never take that kind of stuff for granted…it's like a baseball team when the offense is hot, you ride the streak as long as you can and you keep your fingers crossed.
We watched a listless Italian side get beat 1- 0 by an inspired Costa Rica team and the French continue their rampage through the first round by beating the Swiss 5 – 2.
Before we left the hotel this morning we watched Messi put his Argentinian squad on his back and score the only goal of the match, with one minute remaining, to give the Argentinians a ticket to the next round. In the car we listened to the Netherlands vs Ghana match as we made the trek back to the San Fran area, to Berkeley. Soccer is definitely not the best sport to listen to on the radio (maybe the worst), but we got a sense of the game. It was a boring first half and then all hell broke loose: four goals in less than fifteen minutes and the game ended in a 2 -2 draw. This sets up a dramatic game for the US tomorrow against Portugal. If they win they will win their Group and move forward in to the elimination round. Sunday will be a busy day in the bars of the USA. We were at the Freight And Salvage tonight in downtown Berkeley, home of all things Left in America…at least that is its rep, I'm not sure what comprises the Left Wing in America anymore or whether those kinds of definitions are even relevant. In any case it was a very nice room, very airy and comfortable with a very good PA. We kept the good vibes rolling forward and had another excellent night in front of another excellent audience. We are absolutely exhausted but the audience infused us with enough energy to come through with another good show.
This has been an excellent tour. We fly home tomorrow with a great sense of satisfaction and a little money in our pocket (which is the ultimate combination when it comes to touring). A huge thank you to all of you that made the effort and paid your hard earned dollars to come to a show and especially to those of you that took in multiple shows (special commendation to Jason, Chris, Terry and Stephen who took in them all)….we truly appreciate it. We have a few shows throughout the summer and then we plan to take several months off the road. During that time we'll start working on a new album as well as few one-off recording projects. Please keep in touch through the website and through our Facebook page, that's where we'll be hanging out, drop in and say hello.
Saturday, June 21st, 2014
Jason Lent will be following us and the World Cup over the next 10 days. We'll be mixing things up by posting his diary as well as Michael's diary (whenever he can pull himself away from watching futbol).
by Jason Lent
With a day off, we slowly made our way up to the city by the bay. I've been coming here for many years and there's an excitement about the city that you feel as soon as you cross the bridge. Back in college when money was tight, a fan on the band's website offered me a couch to crash on after a show despite having never met me. Thanks to him, my adventures following the band from town to town became a reality.
After a late night closing down the same hole in the wall dive bar we found on last year's Junkies tour, show day started with a walk down to Fisherman's Wharf where we watched Suarez dissect a slow defense and push England to the edge of elimination. The Wharf has grown into another nondescript hub of American vacationing with a multitude of chain restaurants and food stands offering ice cream and fried everything. A mile away but a world apart, Great American Music Hall sits in a crumbling area of the city that seems to be slipping further and further away from the souvenir stores and donut stands on the Wharf. After sound check, I went to meet Chris and Stephen in the bar next door and walked in to find a pit bull wandering around having just left a puddle near the pool table and a troubled soul being thrown out by some of the regular drunks. Trouble was brewing and we dared not stay much longer.
The Great American Music Hall is an absolute gem and there was an energy in the room even before the show started. Built in 1907, the classically designed hall with beautiful mirrors and ornate molding adds to the atmosphere on stage. The lighting design was the best I've seen at a Junkies show and it added to the mystery of the music as Margo stepped forward to sing "Mining for Gold". The Trinity Session was recorded live and represented a moment in time that can never be replicated. It was special. Tonight, the band created another special moment in time with stunning versions of the same songs in front of an audience that could not have been more in tune with what it all meant. The excitement boiled over during the encore as the band cut loose and the audience roared in appreciation. On these trips, our little caravan of fans rotate who takes the floor of the hotel room (Holiday Inn Express seems to be sponsoring our vacation) and there's always that one show that makes those nights on the floor worth it. Tonight, the band and audience delivered that show together.
Saturday, May 4th, 2013
We arrived in San Fran this morning and everyone scattered, taking advantage of the few hours that we had in this great city tocontribute to its economy. Al bought some vinyl, Pete bought a hat, Jeff bought an origami book, Margo got her hair done and I bought a beautiful mahogany, Hawaiian made ukulele…a birthday present from my parents. It was hot in the city today, but its always a pleasure to be here even if it is only for a few hours. We did two shows tonight at Yoshi's. We have played its sister club in Oakland, but this one is fairly new. They've done a good job at creating a very unique performance space and have put in some good production as well, but it has a bit of a corporate, sterile feel, maybe over time it will develop it's own character. It was a hard night, we are tired and two shows is always difficult. Despite that I think we played fairly well, the second show was a little wacky with a few train-wrecks as our brains slowly shut down.
Pete's ipad sketch of the Bay:
JASON LENT FOLLOWED OUR TOUR BUS BACK IN 2011 AND SUPPLIED US WITH HIS TOUR DIARY. HE WILL BE DOING THE SAME FOR THE COMING WEEK. HERE IS JASON'S SAN FRANCISCO DIARY Crossing the bridge to San Francisco, I was again swallowed by this mysterious city. I’ve been coming to Junkies shows here for years but I still haven’t fully grasped the lay of the land. A crowded bus ride to Ameoba Records gave me another glimpse at the Haight-Ashbury district but the 60’s vibes of peace and love are felt only in the occasional mural on a wall.
The show tonight was a doubleheader at a jazz supper club. Would you like a spicy tuna roll with “Square Room”? The first show was being streamed online which meant the stage was swathed in light. It felt like watching a TV show about Cowboy Junkies starring Cowboy Junkies. Surreal in a way but it didn’t hamper a very tight performance highlighted by even more special songs pulled from albums past. Every breath of Margo or the slide of fingers down a string fluttered in the air. The venue staff were attentive without disrupting the live music experience, as good as any I’ve seen from an audience perspective.
The second set was as fun and lighthearted as any Junkies show can be. The band was laughing, the crowd was having a blast, and the set list built off the first set perfectly. We headed out into the San Fran night and ended up in a non-descript bar, literally a hole in the side of a building, where two bartenders recently arrived from Korea tossed dice with us for shots of tequila. We closed down the bar as Townes Van Zandt’s “To Live Is To Fly” blasted through the jukebox. I still haven’t figured out this city but that might be the charm of San Francisco. Anything can happen.
Thursday, May 2nd, 2013
We will be broadcasting our 8pm (PST) show from Yoshi's in San Francisco tonight. You can watch it live (no replays) by going directly to the youtube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/user/ShowGotv?v=smGuitORAlQ
Enjoy the show.
Friday, December 14th, 2012
Lots of new shows in March-April-May 2013. Concert tickets make great gifts for the hard-to-please! We're looking forward to being back in Westhampton Beach, NY; Atlanta, GA; Annapolis, MD; Sellersville, PA; Alexandria, VA; Newark, NJ; Tarrytown, NY; Medicine Hat, AB; Cochrane, AB; St. Albert, AB; Banff, AB; Whitehorse, YK; Vancouver, BC; Seattle, WA; Spokane, WA; Bend, OR; San Francisco, CA; Saratoga, CA; and L'Assomption, QC. More details here.
Tags: Alexandria, Annapolis, Atlanta, Banff, Bend, Cochrane, L'Assomption, Medicine Hat, Newark, San Francisco, saratoga, seattle, Sellersville, spokane, St. Albert, Tarrytown, Vancouver, Westhampton Beach, Whitehorse
Posted in Announcements, Tour Dates | 4 Comments »
Sunday, October 7th, 2012
Oct 4 and 5
We’ve been laying low in Junkieland for the past 6 weeks as we’ve all been busy with getting our kids settled into their various schools; figuring out what kind of teachers we’ll have to be dealing with this year and settling into afterschool programs: all of those little and large, mundane and important details that make up “real” life. This weekend is a quick two show sidestep into our alter-lives, a quick break with reality and then back into it just in time for Canadian Thanksgiving. It hasn’t been all family and kids for the past month. Pete has been hard at work finishing off our new studio (The Hangar) and I’ve been up to my elbows packing up The Clubhouse, our home for the past ten years. One accumulates a lot of crap in ten years: every dark corner and every top shelf piled high with pieces of odd shaped metal and molded plastic. I’d hold some unidentifiable piece up, turn it my hands for a minute or so trying to figure out what it belongs (or belonged) to and then pitch in the trash. My rule of thumb for moving is that if you come across something that hasn’t moved from the same spot for the past ten years then odds are you don’t need it…out it goes. So we said goodbye to The Clubhouse, the room where we recorded One Soul Now, At the End Of Paths Taken, all of the Nomad Series and many, many one-off songs and Latent projects. It has been a good room for us, but it’s time to move on….intimidating but exciting.
This weekend may be a bit of a relief from our “real” lives but there is a lot of work involved. We are doing two shows in Northern Californian, which means we don’t have the luxury of stepping onto our bus and waking up at the gig….flying is never fun and flying with stacks of gear is really never fun. A twelve hour journey including a 3 hour layover in Denver and a few hours trapped on one of United’s Prison Planes (the seating space was so small that you might as well have been in shackles and I swear that the flight attendants were taking time off from their regular jobs as prison guards at the local pen). The final turn of the screw was the 60 mile van ride at the end of the flight to our final destination, Grass Valley, a small town just north of Sacramento.
Grass Valley is a cool little town in a great part of the country filled with cool little towns. It is an old Western gold mining town and it still has that frontier feel as well as a healthy scattering of funky locally owned coffee shops, bookstores, used record stores and all those little homegrown business that make up a thriving community. We had an amazing audience tonight. The show has been sold out for quite a few weeks so there was a nice buzz of anticipation in the crowd and that fed us all night. We had a very good night. After the show we loaded up our vans and made the 150 mile trek to San Francisico; the allure of an empty late night highway, a free hotel at the other end, lots of late night radio, some strong coffee and a little bit of Red Bull, pulling us along.
The reason that we made the effort to come out here for the weekend was an invitation from the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. An amazing weekend of music set in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and it’s all free to the public. The festival is in its twelfth year and it has all been underwritten by one man, the late Warren Hellman, a man with large pockets, a love of music and a healthy philanthropic nature. It is an amazing festival and perhaps it could only work in a city as quirky and adventurous as San Francisco but I think if Mitt Romney wants to get elected and if he is really interested in doing something positive for this country he should use his billions to personally underwrite free music festivals in cities and towns all over the country….that should be his sole campaign promise…”If I’m elected I’ll pay for an annual free music festival in every town and city across the country with a population over 60,000. Thank you, good night and God Bless America.”
We had an amazing day. Golden Gate Park is an unbelievable public space filled with giant eucalyptis trees and giant pines, gardens and playing fields, lakes and museums, bike paths, walking trails, it is a spectacular example of visionary urban planning. The weather was perfect, we ran into a few old friends and made a few new ones and we had a very good show in front of a sea of people: all in all a perfect day and a very good weekend.
Tomorrow its back to TO. We’ll continue to set up The Hangar and look forward to a couple of shows near home at the beginning of November and then at the end of month we’ll set off on an adventure across Spain, Italy and Portugal. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
If you are interested in a interview and performance that Margo and I did in San Fran check out: www.kalw.org/listen.html — Fog City Blues will be streaming the CJ interview/performance live 9-11pm (pacific) tonight (October 13) and will then be available for the next week through the Local Music Player (which is also at www.kalw.org/music.html).
There’s also a blog posting at http://fogcityblues.blogspot.com/.
Monday, October 11th, 2010
Napa, CA: A lazy day in Napa. We could only find one hotel room in this town because it’s the start of “Crush” week, or month or something…it has something to do with drinking wine. In any case we could only find a room for our driver so we spent half the day parked on a highway beside the hotel, while Marc, our driver, slept. It seemed like a good day to spend in my bunk, so I did. Napa is an odd little town. Its’ one visible function seems to be to serve the wine-tourists. A considerable amount of money has gone in to refurbishing some beautiful 19th century buildings on the main drag: tonight’s venue, The Napa Opera House is one such building. It’s a beautiful old building which has been creatively and lovingly restored. We had a pretty good show tonight, aided by an excellent audience.
San Francisco, CA: It’s Fleet Week in San Fran, and that, coupled with the Giants being in the playoffs, gave these usually intense, boisterous streets an extra edge of insanity. The sidewalks were teeming with sailors and baseball fans and the skies were screaming with the Blue Angels acrobatic fighter-jet team. The beautiful weather also seems to have enticed all of the locals into the streets….the end result is a type of controlled-mayhem. I love this city: a wholly unique and special place. Tonight was a new venue for us, Bimbo’s 365. Apparently the place is an old North Beach institution. It kind of has that 1950’s Gentlemen’s Club vibe, complete with painted Vargas style pinup girls on the walls and a signed photo of Liberace in the lobby. It’s a little on the funky side, but not a bad venue. We were worried about geese tonight because of the layout of the place, but the audience was excellent and attentive. A full house and a very good show from our side of the stage made for a great way to end this run. We head back to TO very early tomorrow morning and then it’s off to Europe for some fun with our old world friends. Tonight’s show was our last show in the US for a while. After the Toronto show on November 19th we plan to take an extended break from the road. Something may materialise for the summer and there might be the occasional one-off, but, in general, we plan to not do any extensive touring in 2011. So if you can make it to Toronto, we’ll see you there. Otherwise, stay virtual, maaan…there will be lots happening on the website.
Wednesday, September 8th, 2010
We’ll be in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California in late September and early October. Come out and say hello to us in Bellingham, Edmonds and Covington, WA; Vancouver, BC; Bend, Portland and Grants Pass, OR; and Napa and San Francisco, CA.