Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tour Diary - Visalia - Music Scene Gone Wild

(Well, place of my mom and grandparents for a few decades.)

Ry and I got to walk around Berkeley this morning, full of fuscias and bouganvillea and easy sun. Packed up the car with 3 adults, full drum kit, keys, harmonium, there was not a spare inch. The guys figured it out - a masterpiece of packing.

As a kid this was my favorite part of the drive - windmills - part robot, part poetry on golden hillsides. I5 is full of flat land with awesome geometry of farm stuff.

We get to Visalia, a nice 80 degrees, a little early, and head over for a walk to the 99cent store. At the perfect moment, when my mood was dipping a little low (tired/pregnant/long drive/missing Otto) this sang came wafting through air-conditioned speakers: Turn on Your Heart Light . Cheesy but teary, I knew it was just for me. My sister Jody used to put it on the record player when we were little, and sang it passionately. Maybe it was my boy telling me to keep my chin up, and I made an effort, and Ryan and Max being pretty silly helped. And the lady in front of me buying a romance called Truly, Madly, Viking helped too. Sexy.

We played at Howie and Sons, a pizza place that's been around forever with a great stage in the game room. Visalia has an amazing music scene, thanks to Aaron Gomes of Sound n Vision who realized that most touring bands pass through the area from SF to LA, and has created a great new bunch of venues to play at for local and traveling artists. I so admire people who put so much work into making something possible - for listeners, for players, and it's grown and grown. So great for us to show up in a town we've never played and have 60 people in the room listening, just because they're into music. Yes!

The drums and piano bass filled the room, a nice thump after our quiet SF radio set the night before. And we got to eat a ton of pizza which is nice for a certain food-obsessed pregnant woman who plays piano.

It was an all-ages show, and I loved hearing their voices and questions: my favorite as we started "Others" with it's nord synths: "Daddy, how does she make that SOUND?" Made me happy.

This is Aaron and Aaron, played a great couple of tunes to open the show, nice rhythms, melodies, atmospheres.

Whiskey and the Devil Chaplain finished off the night with some foot-stomping good times and their CD release.

Tour Diary - San Francisco's Pirate Cat Radio

Listen (scroll forward a few min)

Thursday, August 6th - Back home from the northwest, Ryan and I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco for a gig at Pirate Cat Radio, 87.9 fm. Max met us there after a short hop from Berkeley.

It's in a cafe that also includes a radio station, independent and full of personality, a couch, a piano, and espresso with donuts of the bacon flavor if so desired.

We set up and played a quiet group of songs - there's some sound ordinance issues, Max had to play the drums like gramma was sleeping next door, so we shifted to the situation and it still came out nice. You got to be flexible.

Listen to our set here. To hear us, scroll forward about 5 min.

I was little melancholy this night. It was the beginning of August, and we drove near UCSF where Otto was treated, almost a year ago. It brought many sensory memories back. This is his birthday month, and we miss him so much. Strange to drive by the places we made ourselves walk to get some air, the same time of night, same time of year when our hearts were so blasted. And the earth keeps turning, and he is still with us.

And the hearing the drums helps, and singing helps, and I think that both my babies like rocking out, they like when their mama is happy. The little one in utero sleeps when we play! I think Max will have to come over whenever it's naptime and play her to sleep.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tour Diary - Eugene Eugene, Sweetest Town I Ever Seen 7/31/09

It was wonderful to wake up with sister Jody and eat some of the blueberries she'd picked. I'd never really tasted a blueberry till these big round ones from Corvalis. Ummm, good.

We got to meet John Askew for breakfast, he produced and recorded our album Crepusculo last year, and talked of touring, the work, the heartbreak and good friends, the life, how there's no one way to do things, with music and life. Max and I both felt inspired and grounded after talking. Overall: enjoy life, do what you love if you can, don't think too much about it all. Be here, present, as much as you can.

Fit in a nap and a swim, and off to Eugene for a live radio performance. But oh no, wait, what is this? the 405 is a parking lot at 1:45? Why aren't we moving? Jessica starting to panic, Max trying to keep them calm, Jessica starting to say bad words, blood pressure rising, we need to be at KLCC in Eugene at 3:45, and we've gone 5 miles in 40 min. Hmm, not good. We call, our live interview and playing becomes a phone interview and.. phew, embarrassing but the interview was great - awesome to speak to such a professional.

Had a wonderful, healthy dinner with friends in their wooded home before heading to the Wandering Goat to load in. We got directions and got lost pretty soon afterward, switched to the beloved iphone for help. A mysterious bridge came up as we became a few minutes late, a bridge leading to a highway instead of our road, and I took it! Adventure! Got off the highway to another highway, leading to a good 15 min. of more lostness. When we finally found our bearings, got to the venue, we were greeted with the lowering of white boards and flashing red lights, and the long, loud whistle of a slow train a'comin. 20 feet from the venue, we waited another 5 or more minutes for the train to cross.

Jessica: blood pressure rising. Max: it's all ok, it'll be fine. Enter Wandering Goat, find sound guy, and he says, "Oh, I didn't think you'd be here so early."

My husband laughed and laughed as I related the story. "SEE!" He says. I hate being late and I was late twice that day. Lesson thoroughly rubbed in.

I loved playing this show to wonderful, listening, friendly people. Cliff came down and joined Max and I for a nice set. We got a lovely review called "Wistful Grace" in Eugene Weekly. The next band, Dead Western was haunting, sad, pretty, strange. Please listen - Max and I both bought their vinyl recordings, a pleasure to sit and be lulled and searched by these slow tunes. A good group of guys, talented and kind.

My friend Jenny, loyal Eugene Petracovich fan!

On home (well, our friend's home) through the woods with a nearly full moon, and the promise of home tomorrow.

Next day, passing Mt. Shasta in CA

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tour Diary - Portlandia

We left my dear cousin Alex in Seattle, after a walk around their neighborhood and breakfast at a bakery, holding my ears as the Blue Angels made circle after circle around us. Loud FAST. Got a walk in before it was unbearable outside - in by 10am and still already sweaty. Alex's dog kept flopping down in the shade, refusing to go any further before a nice rest.

The drive to Portland was smooth - no traffic! No sitting for an hour in 105 with ac only working 30 sec at a time! Hallelujah! We met Cliff - awesome bass player - first to practice before the show. This great house was under a beautiful water tower. Felt like a fairy land because it makes you small.

Off to Berbati's - load in, hot, set up, hot, eat dinner, nice breeze outside. My wonderful sister Jody came to meet us and help with everything. The club was big and beautiful, the sound clear

I read the review in the Mercury, and was stunned for a bit. It's the best review Petracovich has gotten from this often snide paper. But it was the first time I'd seen my son Otto's name in print, and it hit me hard in a way I didn't expect, melding worlds - this big glitzy club, me as a performer, me as a mama with a broken heart. I didn't know how to combine them. I'm glad I'm telling his story, this beautiful boy, but it's also an intense thing to share, to put out there, and then go on stage. There's no right way to do it.

So I had a good cry, and then went up and played. Max and Cliff made a full sound, when they first came in, a smile came over me, and it was fun from then on out. (Including the last 30 sec. of a tune where the Nord slowly fell onto my main piano and I played only with my left hand) We fixed it. Read the Oregonion review of the show here

The show started much later than we were told - thanks to dear friends who came and waited! I thought it would be earlier too. Carcrashlander played a beautiful set - I love Cory's tunes, and all the players - the trumpet takes the cake.

Speaking of cake - Voodoo donuts is right next door and I got my first taste - they make these delectables in all sorts of shapes and sizes - all SORTS. We were fairly tame with these...I'll be adding more shots of petracovich on-stage in a couple days. Check in!