Hello lords, and ladies, fans, and fairies! You may have heard about The Unquiet Grave and our escapades on our winter tour 2020. Well while we were on this adventure we journaled our experiences. We also took a few photos and saved a few momentos along the way. And we would like to share with you, our fans, and other curious folk who might read this, our story. There are ups and downs, detours and discoveries, and jokes about the Kardashians, so stick around to the end for the melancholy but hopeful conclusion!
We started our Winter 2020 tour with high hopes and spirits. We had our debut album and we were going to share it with the world! Or at least as far as southern California to northern Oregon. We begin our first show 1/3 in LA, California at the Tribal Cafe, a unique little spot with headhunter masks on the walls and paintings from local artists. There was also a menu with humorous names like, The global warming chicken sandwich, which was actually quite good. We shared the stage with Vincenzo De La Rosa, a local musician that does live looping and electronics. It was a very cool vibe which created an interesting contrast to our medieval folk rock set of ballads, tragedies, and fairytales!
The cafe was mostly full when we played, and we had a great audience. They really enjoyed the music. One of the audience even called out in between one of our songs to ask, “What do you call this kind of music?” to which at this point we were still giving the long form answer of, we are celtic with some influences from old literature, folklore, rock, classical, traditional folk, opera, metal… and you see how this can be an issue. So after some deliberation we decided on the much easier to remember and more encapsulated, medieval folk rock, as our official genre.
Finished with our last show, the next day we packed up and headed back home. We hope to return to many of these venues and the responsive and engaging crowds that we played for. We hope to see some of the nice folks again that talked to us and also those that just sat and listened. We really had a great time and every experience and interaction was important to us. In the following few days immediately after it was finished, we still had that feeling of where’s the next show? How far do I have to drive tomorrow? When is load in/ sound check time? But after a few days back we begin to settle more into the routine of being back home and not on the road. We complain about tour life while we do it, the drives and the rush, but we also long for it to last forever. Night after night of performing for new audiences, talking with them, and just helping them have a good time. It gives us a great feeling and we hope to be out on the road again soon.
1/18 We drove to Ashland and got pizza downtown. It was late when we arrived so we didn’t stay long.
1/19 We did a walk about through downtown Ashland, did some shopping, and walked through the park where we saw some deer and some pretty forested areas and rivers. That night we played at Oberon’s with some really interesting themed decorations that had an old timey vibe perfect for our old timey medieval folk rock! I don’t think we could have been any more of a perfect fit for their image unless we started our set with a “Hear ye! hear ye!" announcement. We played our set and the audience applauded. The bartender remarked how we were a perfect fit for their venue and town and we should surely come back again!
1/16 we take an alternate route up to Portland, Oregan because of storms and road closures. At this time we resolve to do a summer tour next time. After some detours we eventually make it into town and play at a place called At the Garages Satellite Pub in Beaverton. We played a short set and then stayed and played pool while listening to some of the other acts that played that night, including an organist that played classical, gospel and reggae, and a yodeler playing pop song covers. We met with a few of the other musicians and the booking agent and were invited to return as soon as we are able. We made a few connections and then left to our hotel, as we'd had a long eight hour drive that day.
1/17 we visited Portland and the famous three story bookstore with a large assortment of rooms, levels, sections, subsections, and all kinds of books. We even found a section with some books on ancient folklore and decided to get a couple, including a book with the history about the druids, and a detailed analysis of Robin Hood and the legends surrounding him and their origins! When we left the bookstore we returned to find we got a $165.00 parking ticket! I could have screamed. Well there goes all the money we made last night! Oh well, nothing to be done about it. I thought surely it must be a mistake at first; we paid for street parking. Then I notice there is a handicapped parking sign, very small and blocked from view by a another sign. Nothing on the curb or street marking it handicapped parking. But It is my own fault; I should have been more careful. But still. Irritating.
That night we played at The Dullahan in Lake Oswego, a house that was converted into an irish pub. We played downstairs from the bar where there was a small stage setup. After we got set up we were able to lure most of the folks down into where we were performing. The audience cheered our performance and laughed at our dumb jokes and overall were delighted to have us! After our set we ate some food at the bar and talked with a few audience members. One of them recalled
“I liked what you said about how they didn’t have gossip TV back in medieval times so these ballads are just like their version of the Kardashians…”
then referring to one of our songs the Twa Sisters where one sister kills the other out of jealousy
“Was that your prediction for what is going to happen next on the Kardashians? The sister is going to push the other off a cliff?”
To which I replied, “We can only hope." We all had a good laugh at that. After some more good hardy sarcastic jokes and discussion of the ballads and why Lord Randal bothered to wander off into the wilderness in the first place, we met with Steve Behrens, who took a video interview of us about our new release and about future plans. We played another set which he filmed, and then we left for the night.
The next few days we stayed with friends in Fortuna, doing various fun activities. We went hiking in the great redwoods and saw some spectacular tall trees. Upon entering one clearing we happened to walk upon a group of people where someone was proposing. Later on in our hike we saw a widowmaker fall maybe twenty feet from us off the trail. We also climbed strawberry rock, and when we reached the top, there was an amazing view of the forests and the ocean. It then began to hail while we were on top of the rock, and you could see groupings of hail and rainfall in the distance in the patches of clouds. We also visited the local town and food spots, shot guns, saw a cemetery, and rode a tandem bicycle.
1/12 We drive to Humboldt County where we have a show
at Coffee and Chocolate Cafe. The cafe was nearly filled with a mixed audience of those that came for the show and those that were there to go about their business and knew nothing about the show, nor cared for it. So while it is nice to have an audience to play to, I have to say it is preferable to play for one person that cares to listen than for fifty people that do not care to listen. However, I would say about two thirds of the audience really enjoyed our set. They listened quietly, applauded, and stopped by to talk to us afterward, and asked questions about the ballads' history and our other influences.
The other part of the audience was more than a little disruptive. While most of the audience was at least respectful, there was one person that was talking on their phone obnoxiously loud during our performance and walked directly through our stage setup. It was irritating, but did not ruin our night.
1/11 we leave for Redding. The roads are harsh and we have to stop and put chains on the tires in a blizzard. After an hour or so we make it through the worst of the hazards and make it to our hotel without any real problems. We played at Kelly’s Pub&Wine Bar for a decent sized crowd. I think we sounded particularly good that night and we were met with applause from a small but attentive crowd. There was a couple that we had the pleasure of meeting that bought us drinks, and chatted with us at the bar. After some time passed, a new crowd filtered in and we played a second time. Many signed our email list, bought shirts, and were
asking when we would return.
1/7 We stopped in to play an open mic at the starry plough in Berkeley, a perfect little spot for us really. It is a celtic pub with music every night and an anti-establishment feel. They loved us there! The crowd cheered us on and asked for more! The night was filled with varied acts of comedians, folk singers, rappers, and poets. We made it into a comedian's act that went on after us. We were the crime stoppers of an imagined future where cops ride horses carrying maces in full plated armor! I unfortunately don’t remember his name but he was quite funny.
1/8 Day off. We rehearse and gear up for the trek to Tahoe.
1/9 We make it to Tahoe where we stay in a cabin with some family. We weren’t able to secure any booking for tonight so we decided to just make a go of showing up at a local pub in Tahoe City that hosts live music. We talk with the owner and after some convincing he agrees to let us play for free drinks! We played for about 30 minutes playing mostly our original material and a few traditional folk songs. The people there were surprised at the show they were getting, and a few members of the staff including the owner started filming us. We stayed in tahoe one more day and went out sledding and hiking on the snowy hills. We hiked into the trees and discovered if you hold out your hand with bird seed in it, birds will fly to perch on you and eat right out of your hand. It is really quite an experience to see the birds darting from the trees to your hand right in front of you.
1/6 Maintenance required! You have seen this light turn on in your car before. It is not a good sign when you are on tour. So we took our car in to a mechanic. Luckily it is nothing major and we get our vehicle back the next day. Hooray! Tour is not cancelled; we continue onward.
The next day after a quick five hour drive we were back in the Bay Area! Our next date was 1/5. We played a midday show at Armadillo record shop in Davis. It was a Sunday in a college town so there were a fair amount of walkins from the street. The record store was a great place for us to perform. It had the welcome feeling of being with other music lovers. Some people sat and watched while others browsed the records as they listened and peered up occasionally.
After our set, we received some applause and an enthusiastic invitation to return. Just outside we caught a glimpse of a street musician playing a violin and wearing an unnatural grin marked with hysteria. It was a very peculiar sight. We set off and stopped by a fruit stand on the side of the highway, where we bought some fruit and some excellent tamales.
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