Monday, December 22, 2008

Tourblog By Tripp : Chico : 12.10.2008

Through the majestic powers of online social networking, we came into contact with a man named Lee, who lived just outside Chico, California. It was to be our first time playing a show in Chico, and a first visit ever for me, and he was very gracious in giving us a place to stay the night. The crazy part is that it wasn't your typical beds in a room, but a custom-built tour bus.

Before loading our gear into the venue, we met up with Lee to check out the accommodations. The bus parked in the middle of the acres of almond groves outside Chico. After pulling into the drive and meeting our host for the evening, he took us inside. There were benches on either side of the bus that doubled as beds, with a master bed that could sleep two in the way back. The most striking aspect of the design was an actual wood-burning stove installed inside the bus. Lee assured us that the stove was only operational when the bus was stationary!

Lost on Main is relatively new on the scene in Chico, and definitely a unique spot. The outside window display featured a custom built sign reminiscent of a giant Lite-Brite, proudly displaying the venue's logo. The "o" in Lost has been replaced by a plasma ball. (You've seen them, the spherical glass orbs filled with ever-changing lightning). This was just a taste of what was inside.

The stage on the immediate right overlooks the long 2-story room. Every corner of the place is adorned with what seems to be every red green and blue light available on the market today. The front-of-house soundboard is encased in a giant visual graphic equalizer, giant light-up bars bouncing in time with the music. Full-length mirrors cover the length of the room, leading to bar, which end-to-end lines the entire back wall. Featured most prominently amidst the bottles of hard alcohol is a giant blackboard tracking the bartender's individual stats selling shots of absinthe. (First to sell 100 gets $500!) Clearly, we're not supposed to feel like were actually in Chico, California. Oh, and the happy hour prices are deadly: $1 for pints and/or well drinks. Clearly, we're not going to be able to walk out of here unassisted either!

The green room sits up the stairs from the stage. To get there, we walk through the owner's second venture, a still-being-constructed coffee shop called Lost Grounds. A giant work area reveals giant salamanders spray-painted black, a multitude of metallic animal horns, and more mirrors. An entire wall has been covered in a M.C. Escher replica. The green room wall is tiled with green (duh!) reptilian blocks, a plasma screen TV broadcasts images from the stage and dance floor, and a glass window overlooks the new coffee shop.

The show itself was fun, and we had a good turnout considering it was our first time playing in town. For a Wednesday night, people definitely like to stay out late… I was dead tired by the end of our set, but the fun was just getting going. The majority of the crowd from the club, made their way to the all-night pizza joint down the street. I was standing outside talking with some people, watching multiple people dancing on the tables inside.

Then quite suddenly and without warning, a severely intoxicated man bursts thru the door running (or, trying to run) down the street. After making it about 15 steps, he falls down on the pavement. After about 5 seconds, he gets up and manages to make it almost around the block. Meanwhile, two friends of mine had burst out of the door and run down the street after the guy. Just as this happens, the guy falls again. One of my friends (who still shall remain nameless) catches up to him and pushes him against the wall. With blood running down his face (probably from face-planting into the asphalt multiple times), he cries in protest, "Whaat the fuuuuck??!" I now understand that the guy had stolen money and gets an epic fail award for worst getaway ever.

Hard to believe the night was not complete yet, we went back to Lee's to warm ourselves by the wood-burning stove in the tour bus. A Bootsy Collins documentary in playing on the bus' DVD player… his band was truly quite freaky, but it's hard to argue with a guy who plays a star-shaped bass, with star-shaped sunglasses, and a rhinestone suit covered in star-shaped patches. Oh, and a horn section known as the Horny Horns.

By what must have been nearly dawn, I sink deeper and deeper into the bed, pulling the blanket decorated with a giant Grateful Dead logo around me. I'm pretty sure finishing that last can of PBR can wait until morning.