Last week was the official start of our touring season! Kevin and I decided to do a quick weekend jaunt down the coast to get a few gigs under our belt before we embark on our 9 month journey across the country. It was the perfect idea to whet our touring appetite and to help us get back in the swing of driving and living out of the van. Here are some of the great places and people we got to see.
Discretion Brewing, Soquel
Discretion Brewing is a small brewery and tap room located in Santa Cruz. Since it was our first Brewery show we were very excited to get a feel for playing in a tap room and doubly excited to sample some of their beers. The tap room vibe is a mix of industrial and farmhouse, you can see the tanks and fermenters in the large warehouse space behind the bar. There is a decent amount of seating and a very lovely high ceiling that helped our acoustics a great deal! Although we played on a Wednesday night, the tap room was very full and the owner Kathleen informed us that music on weekends was a challenge because so many people would fill the tap room that they couldn’t spare space to put the musicians! That sounds like an awesome problem to have.
As one would expect from Santa Cruz, the patrons in the tap room were a colorful mix of people from a local police officer enjoying an off duty beer, to a group of Bulgarians vacationing in the states. We met a lovely man by the name of João de Brito who is a painter hailing from Portugal but now resides in Santa Cruz. João is a world traveler and shared his theory that artists who travel do not truly “belong” anywhere and are able to collect different perspectives of places and people in their art.
The Guitarist 15 String Mistress by João de Brito, 2014
Moon Light by João de Brito, 2014
Radiant Day by João de Brito, 2014
The Otter Rock Cafe, Morro Bay
I had never been to Morro Bay before this weekend. The small little beach town sits just north of San Luis Obispo is roughly the halfway mark on the Pacific Coast Highway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The town’s most striking feature is the giant rock perched just over the water line, sitting at the edge of the surf. This sentinel is called Morro Rock and is an ancient geological remnant of the volcanos that crumbled millions of years ago as the San Andreas fault shifted. We spent some time before our gig wandering around the rock and taking in the gorgeous sunset and local wildlife.
The Otter Rock Cafe is a restaurant and bar that sits right on the Bay in the busiest part of Morro Bay’s main drag. The venue has a lovely stage and a mix of local and tourist patrons. We had a blast performing there and ended up playing a total of 4 hours to a dancing, singing, lively crowd. The owner Jamie is an absolute supporter of local musicians and touring groups alike. After the show she offered us a place to crash and when we arrived, there was a guest book full of thank you’s, poems, and other lovely writings from artists traveling through the area. We will definitely be back to the Otter Rock Cafe and to Morro Bay, it was such a lovely place!
The Pour House, Paso Robles
Our last gig for the week was in Paso Robles, a central California town off highway 101 and just over the hills from Morro Bay. This was our third performance at The Pour House and as always, the locals were out in force! Paso is home for many wineries and a few local breweries so the beers on tap at The Pour House are always amazing (my favorite is the plum cider). The owner Sean is another wonderful individual who has worked hard on prioritizing art and music in his bar. Every time we come back he has more ideas and is building more opportunities for local brewers and artists alike. The Pour House is adding a local brewery to its operation and is also building a bigger taproom with a separate stage for concert fans.
Whew, what a start to our tour season! After the weekend was over Kevin and I arrived back in Monterey very happy and very tired. We aren’t quite used to the 7+ hours of performing in a week yet but soon all our blisters will turn to calluses and we’ll be able to keep rocking all week long! We now have over 30 shows booked across the country and if all our weeks are like this one, I’m going to be one happy violinist at the end of it. We feel so grateful to all the amazing people we met, drank with, danced with, and sang with over the weekend. A special thank you goes out to our wonderful hosts Kathleen, Jamie, and Sean. Next week, we give one last Monterey ‘hurrah’ with 3 local shows!