Beatles Night @ Yucca

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, November 28, 2009 - 11:46:35 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
We headed down to Yucca around 10 tonight for Beatles night. Not knowing what to expect from tonight, the car park said it all - everyone and their dog was there! We walked it and caught the end of Jim Bachman's set, and just in time to see Josh Kennedy - then Ryan Prier - and then Kevin Prier start setting up on stage. I knew Josh was going to be there, but didn't expect 3/4 of The Black Moods to be there, let alone play. Which was certainly a treat! The last time I saw all three of them on stage together was over 3 years ago, one of their last shows before disbanding.

They belted out 3 Beatles covers - Josh sitting on his guitar amp with an acoustic guitar, and STILL rockin' out like always. Which goes to the fact that I don't think it's possible for Josh not to rock out. [smile] The obvious omission to the lineup was Chico (who no longer lives in the valley) and Strange Young Things drummer sat in with them (after Garvin drummer for half of the first song), which fit perfectly.

Immediately following was a great set from Los Guys, with Josh on guitar (this time electric). Seeing him play with Los Guys was pretty sweet. Mark looked like he was having a hell of a time. As far as we can tell, he was the brains behind this, and it was definitely striking was a good job he's doing for the music scene that we love - in whatever way keeping it all going and everyone playing together. It's a pretty amazing job in my books. I also really love that the few younger artists that I really dig (Josh, Strange Young Things) a part of the older scene that we're in to.

Following Los Guys were Strange Young Things. I actually needed to go out for a smoke because it was such a cluster fuck inside, but had no problem securing a good spot once again when Strange Young Things started. Corey was the only person billed, so that fact that it was the entire band was a bonus. As expected, a completely hard rocking Beatles set from those guys!

Following that was What Laura Says - which we wanted to check out, particularly given a certain recommendation we've been given. By that point Yucca was just too packed, and we decided to cut our losses and head home - which worked well, since we weren't looking to get home too late, and the previous 3 bands were the cream of the crop for us.

In addition we got some attention from both Corey ("hey room rockers") and PC - who commented on my Club Congress shirt which was pretty cool! There was a certain musician out and about that I wanted to introduce myself to, but the opportunity didn't present itself. Maybe next time.

Sugar High @ Ruby Room

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosFriday, November 27, 2009 - 11:16:22 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
Photobox ImageTonight was the much anticipated Sugar High gig at The Ruby Room in Phoenix, the first time that we've both seen the band.

The Ruby Room was a cool divey bar venue, I liked it a lot, I wish there were more places like that down in Tempe. Our timing was pretty good, we caught two songs by the co-headlining band before Sugar High started setting up. Given that we'd slept until 5pm today it was nice lounging around and not leaving until 10pm.

Sugar High did a really cool set, probably half from Saccharin and half from the new record. It definitely made me think they were still up here (they moved to Tucson a few years ago), because I could really get used to going to Sugar High gigs.

After the set we went out for a smoke and then wandered back in so I could see if we could pick up their latest CD. After a while I flagged down Adrian, who hooked us up with the CD, some stickers (which made Katie happy) and chatted briefly about moving to Tucson given that I happened to be wearing my Club Congress t-shirt.

Thanks To Black Friday I Now Have A Netbook

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, November 27, 2009 - 07:18:02 am
(Posted Under: No Category)
Okay, so I've wanted a Netbook since before leaving Australia, but haven't been able to justify with all our expenses of, y'know, moving to another country and all.

However, last night Katie spied the Best Buy black friday deal on the Compaq Mini (10.1" 1.6Ghz Atom/1GB RAM/160GB HDD) netbook - for $179, a limit of 10 per store. It didn't take much to decide we were going to give scoring one a try.

Our initial plan was to show up and best buy at 1am or 2am - with tickets handed out at 3am and doors opening at 5am. We however decided to check out what was going on at the Awatukee store at 9pm to get a sense of our required plan. So we packed up the car and headed down to Ray Rd.

On arrival there was already a fairly decent line. We may have been okay, but before long I suggested we just keep on trucking down to Casa Grand to hopefully increase our chances for success.

We down there about 40 minutes later, and were met with a somewhat shorter line. We probably ended up 30th in line, which I think was better than if we've stayed up in Phoenix. As such started our wait outside of Best Buy.

Before long I grabbed the Slash book from the car, which I'd read out on the trip to AZ but hadn't quite finished - and hadn't found time since getting here to finish. So it was quite nice getting that finished, which got us through to about 1am. From then on I entered phone number into my phone, another thing I'd been meaning to do and killed time.

Tickets ended up being handed out closer to 4am than 3am. Although we seemed like we were in a good position, this was the moment of truth - if 10 people in front of us also wanted the netbook, then we were screwed. Thankfully we were the third people in line with that on our wish list. [smile] Sweet, the wait had paid off.

Once doors opened at 5am we headed in, and had it in our hands and paid for in no time. I briefly looked at deals on monitors and a few CD's, and we were out of there by 5:12am.

It was quite a satisfying moment driving back to Phoenix with the mission accomplished. I was hoping to see the sun come up over the desert, though we got back to Phoenix before 6am. We headed over to Office Max (who didn't open until 7am) to pick up a monitor. When it wasn't open, we headed back home to drop everything off, then back out to OfficeMax to pick up the monitor. Then it was back home to finally sleep!

Thanksgiving Eve With Dead Hot Workshop

(Add / View Comments) (0)Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - 11:35:39 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
With many good offers for what to do on Thanksgiving Eve, there was only one choice on how to spend it - Dead Hot Workshop at the new Teakwoods in Phoenix.

Jason Longo of Muddy Violets opened up with an acoustic set, joined half way through by Curtis and Thomas for a jam session, who towards the end did a version of Lead Thoughts.

Dead Hot Workshop were in fine form and did a great set list. Marc Norman went up at one point for Push Luck Shove. I'm pretty sure I've heard / seen video of Ghetto Cowgirl doing it before, but seeing Marc singing it with Dead Hot was pretty awesome. He was born to sing that song!

All the cool kids were there, and Robin Wilson was no exception, showing up earlier in the night. Right after Push Luck Shove, Brent called out for him to take the stage which he did. I absolutely expected him to break into G-Daddy, but was pleasantly surprised when instead he did Hanging Out With Ray - too cool!

Unlike the huge stage at the Sail Inn, seeing them last night was akin to seeing them at Long Wongs - admittedly with a larger stage. Probably in no small part due to Sara Cina's involvement in Teakwoods.

What also stood out what the bands, and especially Brent's, passion for the live show, 20 years after they first started. You can see Dead Hot Workshop 20 years after the fact and not feel that you missed much or much has changed. Heads are a bit balder, but that's about it. Long live Dead Hot Workshop!

Great night!

And Hello Tivo!

(Add / View Comments) (0)Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - 07:53:40 pm
(Posted Under: Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA)
Broke out the Tivo today - initially things weren't looking too good, given that it's guide and information hadn't been updated in the past three years, and we don't have a phone line, and we got stuck after trying to do a guided setup to have it control the digital converter box via infrared ("ahhh, so that's what that weird attachment with a purple plug that I found in Warsaw!"). In someway this new fangled stuff is great, but it can also be annoying when things used to JUST work - buy a TV, plug in the antenna and vola! None of this needed guide information for a device to work.

However, with a trip to Staples and a purchase of $30 USB to ethernet adapter and things were all good. It's to have a Tivo recorder totally setup with no cost other than the adapter. The online content we can now access through the Tivo is also pretty sweet.

Of course, dealing with setting this up has only left us enough time to stuff down some garlic bread before we have to get up to Phoenix for Dead Hot Workshop!

Hello Televison

(Add / View Comments) (0)Tuesday, November 24, 2009 - 10:22:59 pm
(Posted Under: Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA)
With the arrival of the replacement remote control for the digital converter box (to which there are no words to describe how exciting this was to my life), we've finally got access to television again, the first time since leaving Missouri.

It was nice being able to watch How I Met Your Mother without a computer. However, I can say that I haven't missed television commercials! [wink]

Right after this I discovered RTV - Magnum PI, Knight Rider and The A-Team back to back. Too cool! It's like I'm 7 years old again! Having lived in Australia, it's definitely weird to see this line up on free to air TV - but I like it! The fact that Simon & Simon is on tomorrow is also exciting to me.

We've Heard Folsome Prison Blues 3 Times This Week

...And It's Only Monday Night!

(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, November 23, 2009 - 11:34:41 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
As per the post subject, we've seen Folsome Prison Blues performed three times this week, by three different artists - and it's only Monday! Once by Elvis Before Noon yesterday afternoon, then once by the Sunday Night Healers last night, and the third time tonight watching Shelby James.

It was a nice night out, and to catch up about the work we've been doing for him. Which prompted him to ask the bar to get drinks for his "technical consultants". [smile]

Musical highlights:
  • Covers of I Wonder and Radio (Mark Zubia). True to his word last week he refamiliarized himself with them for us this week.
  • A rockin' Folsome Prison Blues / Scarlet Harlot medly
  • Cadillac Valentine / Mr. Brownstone medly
Obviously hearing Shelby do some of Mr. Brownstone was awesome for me. Not something I'd typically expect to see, but I loved it! While "I used to get up at 11 / Now I get up on time" was really familar to me, it took me a while to place it as Mr. Brownstone.

Sunday Night Healers

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, November 22, 2009 - 11:40:59 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
There was little time between getting back from The Vig tonight before we had to head right back out to the The Sail Inn for the Sunday Night Healers.

It was definitely nice to see Steve Larson back on stage. Joined by Mark Zubia, Gary Smith, Tim Rovnak, PC, Jim Bachman and Tony Martinez. Pretty enjoyable night, aside from the hippies left over from the earlier Sunday afternoon bands.

With that said, it was enjoyable when we weren't being annoyed or harassed by "Purple" the hippie. The band played for about 5 hours, which in itself was pretty impressive. A few times we considered leaving (again, just because of the hippie factor), but we were glad that we stuck it out when Corey Gloden walked in towards the end of the night. As the night draw to a close, he jumped up on stage and they belted out three of his songs, including Left Breast Pocket and Spoils Of War, which was really great to see.


Get Your Fire For Free

Joe Pena, Muddy Violets & Strange Young Things @ Yucca

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosSaturday, November 21, 2009 - 11:45:38 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
What a rockin' night at Yucca. We tend to see a lot of acoustic, or somewhat laid back stuff, so I loved seeing some balls to the wall rock tonight at The Tap.

Obviously Tucson's Joe Pena was both acoustic and somewhat laid back, but was still cool. It was certainly impressive to me that I don't think I've ever heard the same version of a Greyhound Soul song twice! Joe Pena compared to the whole band live compared to the whole band on record are aways so significantly different sounding.

Strange Young Things has a quite impressive merch booth set up behind us - with t-shirts cool! We needed to get one, and I think it took Corey a second to realize we were actually serious. [smile]

Photobox ImageMuddy Violets, who haven't played for at least 2 years as far as I understand were incredibly tight. Huge wall of sound and the set was essentially all songs I knew - Fragile Animal, Pretty, Mr. Jesus Man, Mabalene, Small Town, Big City and Ashamed as well as a few that seemed like new ones. Yucca was quite packed, no doubt with drummed up interested because the band hadn't played in so long, although it thinned out somewhat even before the Violets had finished playing.

Photobox ImageStrange Young Things were in fine form. And quite possibly looking to score some new fans taking advantage of selling merch and completely playing up to the crowd. I haven't seen them enough to know whether their performance was rare form or not, but Corey was certainly being impressively crazy, spending only about half the set on the stage. It was awesome. He was up on the bar, continually moving his mike to the floor, dancing with the crowd, playing guitar solos in the crowd, slithering all across the floor between people. Just totally insane! A lot of people didn't seem to know what to make of it and nearly everyone absolutely enjoyed it. It was really great to see them having worked up the remainder of the Muddy Violets crowd not very far into their set. And by the end of the night had everyone wearing one of the infamous stickers. These guys are just amazing. Not only do they have killer songs, but (particularly Glodie) every rock n' roll move known to man. I wish they played every night!

So yeah, an awesome rock n' roll night. Maybe our ears will stop ringing at some point! [wink]

Papago Park

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosSaturday, November 21, 2009 - 06:04:18 pm
(Posted Under: Lust For The Dust, Photography, This Desert Life This Desert Life)
Photobox ImageOn a whim we took a trip out to Papago Park this afternoon, which was awesome. While there are many things we could have done around the house, we were both up for doing something in the desert, particularly since other than the Desert Botanical Gardens we haven't done much in that regard.

I must say that having somewhere so close to home (about 10 or 15 minutes) is really nice. Papago Park, the Desert Botanical Gardens and Phoenix Zoo are all in the same area, smack bang in the middle of Tempe, Phoenix and Scottsdale. We're both looking forward to going out to Tonto, but it's pretty nice that you don't need to leave Phoenix to get the desert experience. It's a great time of year for it too, because while the sun definitely had some kick to it, it was a really comfortable day. Doing the walk we did, which wasn't that long, would definitely require lugging water with us in the height of the Arizona summer.

Photobox ImageWe took a walk and climbed one of the buttes and sat up there for a while, with a reasonably good view of the valley. It was cool to get some good overview shots of Tempe. It also served as a good view to notice that with the exception of Phoenix (obviously), Tempe really is the only high rise area in the valley. Scottsdale, Mesa and looking out to Apache Junction are all reasonably flat, but Tempe really is fairly built up, especially with the development by Tempe Beach Park.

Photobox ImageAs it got later we took a drive around the Papago area, and found a really cool lookout behind the zoo, just as the sun was starting to set, and witnessed a great sunset over the valley from there. It never ceases to amaze me how sunsets here are always awesome. We'll see what it's like over winter, but basically every afternoon we've been out they've been awesome. The lookout was by the tomb of Govenor Hunt tomb, Arizona's first governor.

After the sunset we drove around a little bit more before heading home. We'd half planned to check out the Phoenix Zia's store, but with the rock show tonight quickly approaching, we decided to tackle that another day.

Such a nice afternoon, and a great opportunity for some great photos.

The Upcoming Rock N' Roll Weekend

(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 05:37:08 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
It's going to a big one this weekend. Big enough that we've already decided not to do anything on Friday night.

Saturday night is Joe Pena (Greyhound Soul), Strange Young Things and Muddy Violets at the Yucca Tap. We've known about the Violets for weeks, but only last week found out about the addition of Strange Young Things and Joe Pena to the bill. And y'know Yucca - no cover - ever!

Sunday is going to be the usual type of afternoon - at the Vig. And then from there over to The Sail Inn for the Sunday Night Healers which is going to be pretty awesome. It's about time Larson got those guys out and about!

New Favorite Shelby James Song

(Add / View Comments) (0)Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 06:12:19 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
So I think my new favorite Shelby song is Leaving In The Morning.

We listened to the record on the way down to Rula Bula - it's probably the second time I've had a chance to listen to it since we got it two weeks ago. This one really stood out in the car.

We got to hear it twice last night. The first time by request by moi, where he wasn't sure whether he remembered it or not, but did a fine, fine version. Then played it again later in the night - which was fine by me. [wink]

Last night we got Downs On 9th in it's entirety, a whole bunch of the new ones, some repeated - I think particularly because we were there, and there for the whole night - 9:45ish till midnight - I'm sure we were a large reason why he wanted to keep the originals flowing.

By request for local covers he also had a go at Zub's I Wonder and Radio. Afterwards, chatting about some business he said he'd study up on those for us. Cool! The other fun part was when I asked if he knew any Dead Hot and he launched into this rockus vocal rendition of Push Luck Shove, before announcing that Dead Hot are too good to even cover. [smile] That may or may not be true, but it'd sure be cool to hear Shelby cover them.
Now Playing: Shelby James & The Crying Shames - Leaving In The Morning

Tramps & Thieves @ The Compound

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 11:53:23 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
Tonight was Tramps & Thieves at The Compound in North Phoenix. North Phoenix being a fair hike from Tempe!

Dave Insley opened, which was cool to say that I've finally seen Dave Insley. Very country.

Photobox ImageThe venue had a great stage, but the whole tables/restaurant set up of it was kinda weird. Emmett spotted us when we walked in, and early into their set called out the next song was for his friend up the back, and launched into Whiteout. Pretty cool.

It was a good show with 3 sets, covering both the older stuff and stuff of Perennials, which was pretty cool. For a Saturday night I was somewhat surprised that the place cleared out pretty much before 12, leaving myself and probably about 6 people to the side of the room. At the beginning of the third set, Emmett looked to me from the stage and questioned "where did everyone go?!?". A shrug was my the only response I had! [wink]

Was the show was over I went and took advantage of the free taxi ride that the venue was offering. Given the whole North Phoenix thing, the 'free' part was a god sent. [smile]




Porcupine Jacket

Mission Dinning Table - Complete

Plus Tim Tams, And The Ash Ave. Bridge

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, November 13, 2009 - 04:00:55 pm
(Posted Under: Operation Desert Rock)
This morning we phoned the furniture store and relayed our chair assembly problem, and to our delight they told us to just bring the chairs back and they'd assemble them free of cost - awesome!

So we immediately packed them up in Pepe and headed back to Mesa to drop them off. From there we decided to head over to Target to investigate some larger plates, and then kill some time at Tempe Beach Park to see if we heard back on the Harbor Village collateral stuff.

Target was a bust for plates, however Katie was quite excited when she saw Tim Tams on the shelve at the entrance at Target. Not Arnotts, but on inspection, legit "product of Australia" Tim Tams. With a little research once we got back, they're the real deal. "Pepperidge Farms" is a sister company of Arnotts, and apparently they were introduced to the US as a trial between Nov '08 and Mar '08. (See Coming to America: Tim Tams). No idea whether they're old stock they're getting rid of (they were actually on clearance for $2.50) or whether they took off and are now a main stay, but either way, pretty cool to find Tim Tams in the US not in an expensive import food store.

We then headed over to Tempe Beach Park and went by the bridge to see if there had been any progress on the bridge and the war memorial. I had some fear that we'd get back and it'd already be underway. Not likely under a month, but with my luck, it's the sort of thing that you worry about. But not a thing had changed. We took a good look at the bridge, and went the full way down the old bleachers, right up to Rio Salado, which neither of us had done in the past. It was cool getting a good view of the bleachers. And pondered why they were shut down to the public (and whether they are adjacent to the ball park), as they don't really look weather, nor a safety concern. It was cool that there was a gate out to Rio Salado that was open, so we could head out there and walk up a little bit and check out the old Ash Avenue, leading down to the bridge ruins. The fencing did raise the question of exactly how long the area has been fenced off for.

While we were down there, the furniture place called to say the chairs were more than 2 hours after we dropped them off - and they had told us it may take 24 hours. Sweet. So, we headed back down to Mesa, picked them up and the headed back to the apartment. And in celebration we ate lunch at our new dinner sweet, which was very sweet, particularly given the pain of last night. And right now I'm typing from the dinning room table - it's really nice to have the option to set up my laptop here, rather than be restricting only to the living room. Ahhh, the beautiful pay off - that we were expecting last night, but really only had to delay for about 12 hours. Life is good!
Now Playing: Gentlemen After Dark - Gentlemen After Dark

Furniture Assembly Fail (Mostyl)

(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 11:59:57 pm
(Posted Under: Operation Desert Rock)
So, by all accounts, we expected to have our dinning room furniture assembled as set up in time for dinner. Albeit a late one, considering what time we got home, but all the same...

The furniture however had completely different plans for us though. The table went together fine - and took no more than 10 minutes, and was as sturdy as the display stock in the store. Katie expected the chairs to be even easier. I absolutely thought that was a misguided thought, however didn't at all consider that we had such a nightmare ahead of us.

The basic assembly was fine, and more or less easy enough. The concerning part was that once that it more or less resembled a chair (minus the seat itself), the frame didn't sit even on the floor. Something that became the bain of our existence for the rest of the night. We started out trying to make adjustments to the chair we had just assembled. What didn't help matters is that the floor in here isn't the most flat surface in the world. After a few days here I began to notice that. It's fine, I can live with that, however, it's annoying as hell when you're trying to put together chairs that won't sit straight - it's hard work just trying to establish whether it's the chair, or the floor. We ended up using the table to as our control, not really knowing whether that was completely flat either, but at least it's more reliable than the floor.

Hours past as we tried to make adjustments, and then built a second chair, wondering and hoping that we'd tried with a faulty one. The results were the same. By 11:30pm, we decided to call it quits and cooked some dinner. However, I wasn't letting go of the glory of eating and our new table - fuck it, I was going to do it tonight no matter what. So we pulled in the outside chairs and did manage to eat at the table, even if the seating was to low and uncomfortable.

Being one to never defeat get the better of me, we went in for round too, finally deciding to add the seat to the chair, with the hopes that it'd pull the entire structure into place and make all the legs even. With no wholes for screwing marked (or already existing) on the seat, it was a daunting proposition, but by this stage I was up for it. Not too surprisingly, the problem persisted after this. Although, once there is weight on the chair, it surprisingly doesn't rock, even when you try to get it to.

By this stage we were close to 1am, and completely worn out and were happy to accept defeat, and put this into the "deal with tomorrow" basket. We'd made a valiant effort, and we're both too exhausted to worry about this any more today. If for nothing else, we're going to bed with a very nice dinning table in the kitchen. That's at least a step forward from this morning, even if it's less steps than we were hoping for today!

What A Productive Day

Sorting Out More Furniture

(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 06:51:10 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
Well, today has been a very productive day. I feel pretty exhausted, especially given that it was like 5am before we got to sleep last night. We were back at the apartment by 2:08am (how awesome our location is in relation to Yucca will never cease to amaze us), but all the same, were up 3 hours later talking about the amazingness that was last night! Surprisingly we were up by 11. Well, I was somewhat begrudgingly dragged my ass off the sofa, but still impressive given the few hours sleep. It's funny that I'd woke up at 7:15 to hit the bathroom, was excited to be up so early and then was like "what the hell dude, you've only had 2 hours sleep".

So anyways, it was day two of operation "sort out furniture". We started out by dropping off some work to be down with the design collaterals that Katie has been working on. Which have become the absolute pain of her (and thusly my) existence! Hopefully they'll be able to help us out.

Then it was over to the furniture store in Mesa - which we've already been to a ridiculous amount of times (and not brought anything). This was hopefully our last trip out there for a while, since we'd decided on the dinning table last night. We went in and got that, and headed over to Ikea, to pick up another of the $7.99 dollar tables. We were also going to get a TV table, but sadly they're out of stock on the blonde color that we want.

From there it was over to pick up some more essential supplies, taking the scenic Guadalupe route again, and then stopped off across the road to pick up the latest New Times. It's so convenient that there is a stand right across the road from our apartment complex. Funnily enough, it's also the first new times since moving here that we haven't picked up the New Times at Ted's Hot Dogs on Broadway.

It's been quite a day. We're home now, a little after dark - with the apartment full of a lot of furniture waiting to be assembled. [smile]

Josh Kennedy & Friends @ Yucca Tap Room

When A Band Member Is A No Show Is When The Magic Happens

(Add / View Comments) (0)Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - 11:49:04 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
Wow, tonight @ Yucca was absolutely amazing.

Tonight was supposed to be Violet Wild - Katie and I showed up at 10, both Josh and Rich were accounted for, bot no sign of Bobby and Chris. Once Aaron turned up, minutes after us, he found out that Bobby was a no show. The opener, a guy on keyboards and Scotty's drummer played until 11. And then no-one knew what was going to happen, although there was word that Norman was coming down.

Early on I noticed someone who I considered was Jason Longo, which was confirmed when he tore down a Muddy Violets flier, replacing it with a newer one, which helped us learn one thing - Strange Young Things are playing with them the Saturday after next. Awesome news! I was already excited to see the Violets - SYT being on the bill is even better. On the way out for a smoke, I took a look at the flier and it got better - Joe Pena (Greyhound Soul) will also be opening. Sweet! After getting tackled by Josh for a hug on the way out, I chalked up before he hit the stage, as not to miss anything.

Josh took the stage (Violet Wild were apparently going to play acoustic), and immediately broke into Black Moods classics - right into Sick In Bed and Frontline. Too cool! While I've listened to a some acoustic performances a lot, I have not witnessed an acoustic Black Moods set in person - awesome! I was already completely satisfied with that. Then Marc Norman took the stage, and the two belted out a bunch of Velvet Elvis songs. Wow! At some point during this Mark Zubia and Emmett walked in, no doubt after their set at Murphey's Law. It wasn't long before Mark was up on stage with Josh.

The was an absolutely awesome thing to see, and the sort of pairing that I wouldn't expect to necessarily see. The idea of Josh laying down leads over Mark's songs is such a good one, and what was delivered so didn't disappoint! At some point PC was also on stage when they belted out such an awesome version of Sara Says. Terry Garvin was probably up there at this point to. Actually, he was up there the moment Mark got up on stage, so yes. In the final verse, when the guitars stopped dead and they all harmonized the "out of Tempe, Arizona" it was really a sight to behold - and hear. Wow, it was too good.

Following this was an absolutely amazing tribute to the guy that started it all. Coming immediately off Sara Says, which already had us fired up was pretty intense. And while I've known for years that it's something that does get performed, this was my first time witnessing the old school Doug song in person, and not on the end of an international phone call. It amazes me that the first time I've gotten to see these guys do it was such an amazing version, especially with Mark sitting in on it. Really amazing, and not a common occurrence I don't think, was the fact that everyone involved took a voice in it. Just amazing hearing Mark and Josh sing it in addition to PC. For me, I can't think of a better setting or rendition for hearing it live for the first time. It was also amazing hearing it sung, and completely working as a tribute, unlike the original. Wow. It was definitely voices.

After that, Mark came and hung out with us at our table for a bit while Josh did his solo thing, breaking out Virgina, which was really cool, especially since I'd figured that the Black Moods portion would probably be done. Condolences to Roeder who had to leave at 12 and missed it. [wink] It was pretty cool that it got the girls at Yucca Tap dancing. Ironic that it's Sweet Virgina that gets the girls dancing. [wink]

And some point earlier in the night I'd been out the back having a smoke, and Aaron noticed Glodie showing up. Which I thought was cool, but then was really excited when I saw him walk from his car with a pizza box in one hand, and guitar in the other. ROCK! Could this night get any better?!?

He took the stage with Josh and belted out some originals (Left Breast Pocket, Suitcase) and some covers including Everything That's Rock N' Roll. Emmett stopped past our table for a nice long chat. Apparently I really hit it off with Emmett by requesting the Tramps song the other week, and we had a long conversation about that, and many things. We got to mention that we noticed him backstage at the Blossoms show in Detroit, and it was cool hearing the circumstances that lead to that. Since we'd started out the night with $8 between us, which went with the first round of drinks with Aaron, his insistence on getting me beers was pretty damn nice too! Later on I we chatted more over a smoke outside, got the back story on the lyrics of Whiteout which was very cool. He also hooked me up with a copy of Perinnials which is something we haven't yet seen at Zia. And then insisted that I let him know if I'm up for another beer. Emmett's just such a great guy.

When we headed back inside, Zubs was back on stage for a few more songs. I also got to witness the nutyness that is Terry Garvin. He's by far a familiar face to me, but shockingly, I think tonight was the first time I've seen him on a stage. Which is shocking purely because of the ridiculous amount of times I've seen him at Yucca. In any case, his playing the tambourine against his genitals with a shot glass as protection was hilarious, in a completely kooky way. One thing that was funny to me was hearing him talk, particularly when he jumped up on stage earlier with Mark to sing You Are Not Alone - because I'm so used to his funny exploits on the Cryin' Shames show I have, and hearing that distinctive, Spinal Tap formality voice.

As it got closer to 2am, things started to get shut down, however, Corey jumped back on stage, trying to squeeze some more stuff in. There was something very familiar about this (see: Frock N' Roll). Unlike Frock 'N Roll, Venus didn't shut him down, actually the opposite - encouraging him by saying that it wasn't yet 2am. [smile] He played one song before deciding and declaring he was over it abruptly, making it the finale of the night.

After assisting with a bit of the clean up, we retired out the back, tracked down Emmett to say adios, and got much love from Josh for "saving the whole night good". Josh's graciousness and overall enthusiasm is (as always) larger than life. I made a point to ask him if there was a Violet Wild EP - indeed there is, and he was immediately rumaging through the back of his PT Cruiser, before emerging with a copy, saying that he "should have been handing them out tonight". So I'm not sure if he was handing them out, or they are selling these (it appears to be a best of sampler, with an acoustic Concrete Lake), but either way we scored a free copy - I'm glad I asked about it.

We left at some point after 2am, and were home by 2:08 - we're both in love with how close we live to the Yucca Tap. Especially on nights like this, when there is no question that we're staying until (and I guess past) last call! [wink]

Rock For Tots Lineup

(Add / View Comments) (0)Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - 04:06:11 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
Lance mentioned this coming up when a spoke to him last week, but I'm not sure I expected SUCH a good lineup...

Strange Young Things, Violet Wild, Velvet Elvis, Brent Babb, 36 Cents & A Dream, Tramps and Thieves and Los Guys on the one bill - this is going to be an awesome night!

And the other kick as thing about it - it's at the Olive Branch!
Now Playing: Gin Blossoms - Found Out About You

Elvis Before Noon @ The Vig

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosSunday, November 8, 2009 - 10:42:51 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
With the late night we had last night, we slept until about 11 this morning, even then it being somewhat of an effort to get moving.

After waking up and getting some lunch happening, it seemed like it was no time before we had to leave to get to The Vig. We'd planned to get there a bit earlier this week, but still we found ourselves rushing to get out of the door. And a wrong turn around Rio Salado made sealed the fate of us not getting there by the planned 2:30pm. At least we got to tune into Point Of Ventre, and hear A on the radio on the way down there, so things could have been worse. It was surprising to us both when we arrived at The Vig in Phoenix and was still picking up The Blaze, even though the signal was starting to get weaker.

Photobox ImageAaron arrived pretty much the same time as us, and we headed in. The band weren't even yet set up, and seemed to walk in behind us, so I'm not sure not getting there early wasn't the worst thing in the world.

Aaron, with his impressive skills got us a table, so we only spent a little time at standing at the bar, unlike the last time we came where we spent the entire three hours on our feet. Awesomely it was on the deck chairs, Scotty side of the stage.

Now this is the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon - chilling in deck chairs with Scotty Johnson rocking out a few feet away from you!

Photobox ImageThe position of our sating was also very conducive to great photo taking, which made me particularly happy, since I haven't taken all that many shots of bands that I've been that happy with so far. One particularly great one was of just the guitar, with the sun starting to descend over Phoenix, which came out great!

It was another awesome set by the guys. My favorite part of the whole thing would have to be when Daylon broke a string and Scotty kicked off Green & Dumb while the repairs took place - vocals and all! I'd actually expected him to break into Get Drunk so I had the camera ready, and hence was pretty happy to have gotton to capture all of it. There's ain't much that I like more than when Scotty sings!

Photobox ImageOther than that, it was a typically awesome set from the guys, and was very nice to be able to sit in comfort and enjoy it. Since we had a prior dinner arrangement, we both took off around 5:20pm - well we started to, we kept having to stop in our tracks when a song we wanted to hear was started. But we eventually mustered up the strength to leave in the middle of Til I Hear It From You after giving Johnson a wave.

Last night was awesome, and today at the Vig really solidifies how great life out here is for us!

Dead Hot Workshop & Los Guys @ The Sail Inn

(Add / View Comments) (1)PhotosSaturday, November 7, 2009 - 11:14:22 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
Ahh, Tempe, I love you. Tonight was Dead Hot & Los Guys at the Sail Inn. We rocked up downtown around 8:30 - my first time to the Sail Inn. People have been raving about the place lately, and I now know why!

Photobox ImageAlthough we struggled to find the entrance [wink], we made our way around to the back where there is a huge outdoor stage. Being early there weren't that many people there, probably mostly hangers on from the benefit put on there earlier today. It was such a cool night out in Tempe, and was really cool to hang out and relax. After a while we wandered inside - it was Katie's first time there also, and I loved how divey it was inside. In my mind, one of the few surviving dive bars from the days of the Mill Avenue scene. I particularly liked the decorative records on the wall for local bands, including Tramps & Thieves. And a cool looking stage inside as well as the outside stage. It didn't take long for the Sail Inn to get a big thumbs up from us.

Tonight, familiar faces were abound, probably due to Dead Hot Workshop being on the bill. Fran set up their merch table at the table we were on. While she didn't want to take our spot, we insisted that she use at least half of the table. [smile] Maybe it's karma that we scored to of the new kick ass Dead Hot posters, and a sticker - which Katie had, on the way to the show, lamented that we needed a Dead Hot sticker for Pepe! Dime, a band I'm not familiar with opened, and they were enjoyable to just chill out to.

We had expected Dead Hot to be headlining, however it turned out that they were to go on second. We've been ready to rock out to Dead Hot for about a week when we first saw the show announced, and when they kicked off with A, it was clear it was going to be a rockin' night!

Photobox ImageTheir setlist was great, with a lot of old favorites, and I guess some new ones too. [wink] Particularly amazing to me to see live were River Otis and Sadamizing Husein. The 2 off of Heavy Meadow were Tangled and Nixon Saves - the latter which Katie missed, picking up Aaron and Will who'd tried to show up, and shockingly missed the bar and had almost walked to Priest!! When Tangled came out, I couldn't help but rock out center stage! Another one that we both sang at the top of our lungs was Push Luck Shove. I don't know if that has ever sounded as good as it did tonight - but maybe that's just us! [wink] The other highlight was Al calling out a request for Lead Thoughts, and Kylie absolutely losing his shit during the solo, dancing around like a complete maniac, both in his spot, and then up on the drum platform by Curtis. It was fantastic! If you could ever hope for a ridiculously awesome and fun Dead Hot show, this was it!

Afterwards I had a great talk to Brent, who was actually familiar with me because of the guitar tab website. Talking about the last few months, and what not, I mentioned my wife being from Des Moines, and the Des Moines native eyes started scanning the patio and calling out to here. Unbeknowns to me, Kati had been waiting for a proper introduction to good old B. Babb, and impressively, without even trying, I facilitated it! Not bad! We talked about a whole range of things, from the West Side of Des Moines to how useless the Phoenix light rail is! Ahhh, it was glorious for all involved.

Photobox ImageAfter this, there were just too many people to talk to - and Los Guys had set up at the inside stage, and had started their set. Basically we ended up missing a good part of their set because of all the conversations going on outside. Luckily we had just finished up talking to Thomas when they launched into Essence by Lucinda Williams, so we darted inside to slow dance to it - Katie had made me promise that we would if they played it. It was fun. Immediately following was Sara Says, which we sang loud and proud, particularly the "on the highway out of Tempe, Arizona" line - standing inside the Sail Inn in Tempe. Unfortunately, that we the end of their set The thing that makes it okay is how ridiculously often Los Guys plays out, so we'll get to see them properly in no time at all.

All in all, it was a completely fantastic night!

Lost Horizons - New Website Address

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, November 7, 2009 - 03:18:02 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
It's been a fair bit of work over the last month or two, but it's quite satisfying to have successfully gotten all the work finished and the site moved over, after 4+ months in limbo in regards to web hosting.

Without further ado, the website at it's new, and hopefully permanent address: .

Shopping and The Rock N Roll Weekend Fires Up

(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, November 5, 2009 - 05:11:54 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
Last night we had a night off from rock 'n roll, which I think was well deserved and certainly well received by us both. [smile]

It's two weeks since we moved in, and today was our first big shop since being in town. We've been doing fine, but the past few days the lack of food options has become increasingly noticeable. I guess priorities are obvious - rock first, eating, well that's an after thought. [wink] But it was good to get that scheduled in, and see the fridge looking kinda healthy for the first time. I picked up some rolls at Albertsons, and while they weren't the absolute best I've ever had by Australian standards, they were by far the best rolls I've had in the US so far, hence I had a fucking glorious late lunch today!

The weekend music schedule is about the fire up again for the end of the week. Tonight it's Velvet Elvis, featuring "the amazing drum stylings of Phillip Rhodes" (to quote myspace). Despite my earlier thoughts, it's probably just Elvis and no Violet Wild. In any case, I've very interested to see Norman on stage again! Tomorrow night, potentially Elvis Before Noon. Saturday night, Los Guys and Dead Hot Workshop. I'm really looking forward to this, since we missed the Dead Hot show last month, and it's been 3 odd years since that faithful night I saw my last Dead Hot show. Really can't wait! It's going to be pretty cool to see Los Guys too. Really need to study up on the new record between now and then! The show is also at the Sail Inn, so it also means that I finally get to go to the Sail Inn, something I've wanted to do for so long, but haven't managed to do. Afterwards, if all the planets align correctly we'll catch my first decent set of Strange Young Things at Yucca. It may require some intervention of the gods when it comes to scheduling though, since when comparing the frequency of playing out, Dead Hot absolutely needs to take preference.

Then Sunday afternoon it's a safe bet to say we'll be seeing Elvis Before Noon again.
Now Playing: Jim Bachman - My Guardian Angel

Violet Wild @ Olive Branch

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosTuesday, November 3, 2009 - 11:23:26 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
It was September 2006 that I first heard Violet Wild (from the ashes of Mink Rebellion and The Black Moods) and tonight, 3 years later, I finally got to see them live for the first time. Tonight's gig was a 'soundcheck' kind of affair for the Olive Branch, a restaurant where the former Last Exit owner is now booking bands. Sweet part of the deal for us is that it's on Mill and Southern, just across from Yucca, so it's a 3 minute drive from the apartment!

On the way over there, it dawned one me that it could have actually been a Josh & Bobby acoustic night given the venue. I'd been really pumped up about seeing the full band without every considering that. However, we got there and there was a drum kit set up on thee stage - rock!

The venue seemed cool, we didn't know what to expect given that it's a restaurant by day, but it's a pretty cool set up, a decent sized stage and plenty of room on the floor. Before long Josh was on stage getting set up. While that was going on, I noticed Lance Wilson walk in which was really cool. I knew I'd run into him at some point now that we're living here, I didn't expect so early. I went up and said hi and like so many other people, asked me how long I was in town for and was surprised when the answer was "forever".

Photobox ImageI noticed the bass drum branded with "Violet Wild" early on, which I thought was impressive. Bobby referenced it during the show, so it seems like that's a new thing.

The band started around 8:30, and did what seems like a few new songs, which was really cool, and immediately made me think of our conversation driving back from Wheaton a few months ago. One of the ones they played was One Last Second Chance, which Bobby introduced as "a ditty we've been working on", so it was cool to confirm that it's an original. They played it on Local Frequency months ago, and I haven't been sure about whether it was a new song or a cover.

Photobox ImageThere were a couple of covers to begin with, but then the Violet Wild stuff kicked in. It was really cool to me that they did Bump On The Head, which I've never heard them do before. Hitchicker was particularly rockus with Mr. Kennedy totally rocking it up - blew the album version out of the water! Bobby noticed Katie's Dumb & Sullen t-shirt at the beginning of Luna, and suggested the million dollar idea of putting F-R-E-E at the beginning of it. It took me a while to get it. [wink] I was pretty happy when they played Rare Disease, which Bobby said they hadn't played in a while.

During the second set, Josh left the stage to go to the bathroom, without warning, prompting Bobby to invite everyone up to the bar for shots - leaving Josh with a "what the fuck?!?" look in his face when we walked back out and no one was on the stage. He joined everyone at the bar, and after the shots - walked back into the bathroom. Hilarious! They closed out with a cover of Hurt So Good, Along For The Ride and Concrete Lake.

Photobox ImageAll pretty awesome. Because it was kind of a sound check / rehearsal deal, there was a very laid back cool vibe. And the fact that it started so early was awesome, because we've been going out so much - the concept of getting home at a reasonable time was very appealing. We headed out for a smoke to wait for Aaron to settle his tab, and Bobby stopped us and thanked us for coming out and chatted for a bit, which we were both very impressed by. He'd noticed that we both knew all the songs, and Katie explained how we'd been in Australia but I'd been really into the band. After the smoke, we headed back inside to wait for Aaron - I took a bathroom break, and coming out Bobby stopped me and thanked me again for coming out (no, seriously man, my pleasure, I'd been dying to see these for years!).

We waited for Aaron at the bar, and just before leaving I asked Josh whether he's playing on Thursday night - since we'd been under the impression that Violet Wild and Velvet Elvis were playing in Scottsdale, but there was some question about that. He confirmed it, and suggested that we should come out - again, you don't have to ask me twice!

So a great night - the Olive Branch being so close for us, and the 8pm start time is really sweet. I'd love for this to be a regular Tuesday night thing, and we think Bobby might have suggested as such from stage, so here's to hoping!

To end a great night, Hey Jealousy came on the radio. It's never lost on me how often you can here a Hopkins song in this town, whether it be over the airwaves, or someone covering something at a bar.

Melbourne Cup & Shelby James @ Rula Bula

(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, November 2, 2009 - 11:51:44 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
Today has good opportunity for a bit of a break to work on getting our lives in order, which has been appreciated. [smile]

I was reminded that it was cup day in Melbourne when I went to Google AU and noticed the doodle for today. So this afternoon we looked at the field, and I scowered the internet for somewhere where we could watch the race. About half an hour before race time I found a site that worked, which was pretty sweet. So we tuned in at 9pm here (yes, it's somewhat weird to be watching the Melbourne Cup live after dark). There was excitement when Katie's horse was out in from for the entire race, and disappointment when it ended up running dead last. I had no luck either. I guess that winning streak I had a few years ago is absolutely over! [wink] At least neither of lost any money on it.

Due to watching the race we were a bit late to getting out to see Shelby tonight. We decided to drive down 5th street to get to Rula Bula, and passed Katie's old work and the housue down there that she always really liked. One a few doors dowm with the same Sante Fe style was for sale - HELLO! Surely it'll be quite expensive, but talk about location, location, location!

In any case, Shelby greeted us when we got to Rula Bula and said he'd saved his originals for when we got there, so that was pretty sweet. He took a lot of requests from us, did the cool as swing version of Scarlot Harlot again. Much like last month when we came out to his Monday night Rula Bula gig it was nice and laid back, and nice to be getting the stories behind his songs.

Really dark video of Scarlet Harlot. You actually can't see anything at all, but it's all about the music anyway, so...

Now Playing: Shelby James & The Crying Shames - Cadillac Valentine

Left Breast Pocket Music Video

(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, November 2, 2009 - 08:19:58 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
I came across this while watching the footage from Frock N' Roll. Absolutely brilliant - you ever said you had to spend tens of thousands of dollars to make a music video?!? Apparently this one cost $20.

Strange Young Things are too cool...


Strange Young Things @ Frock N Roll Video

(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, November 2, 2009 - 07:22:39 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
My camera fell off the back of the seat while I was recording, so I lost the video I was taking of Get Your Fire For Free but here's some other video of Strange Young Things from last night thanks to Radio Phoenix...


Melbourne Cup Bets

(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, November 2, 2009 - 04:52:53 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
Clearly we're not actually putting any on, but thanks to Google AU I remembered the race is on today. We've quickly looked at the horses, I'm going with Alcopops and Katie is going with Warringah. We'll see how it all turns out in a few hours.

Dia De Los Muertos @ The Desert Botanical Gardens

A.K.A Day Of The Dead

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosSunday, November 1, 2009 - 09:28:33 pm
(Posted Under: Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA, This Desert Life This Desert Life)
Photobox ImageToday being Dia De Los Muertos we headed out to the celebrations put on at the Desert Botanical Gardens. I've been looking forward to it for at least the past week once we saw it was on. Today was a perfect day for it too, a completely clear, sunny, but not too hot (by Phoenix standards anyway) day. After factoring a trip to pick up supplies we got there a little before 1pm.

Walking up to the entrance to the gardens, we were greeted by a stand with staff outside the entrance looking for signing up new members. The girl had an easy task with us, since we'd already decided days ago we needed to become members of the Botanical Gardens. It was pretty much a "sign us up" deal! What worked out pretty nicely for us was the fact that unbeknown to us, there was a $10 discount on yearly memberships today. They already had us at hello, so this was a mucho welcomed bonus! So $65 for both of us for the year - covers normal admission for the both us for the year, plus cheaper prices on special events, discounts at the gift shop and other goodies. The gardens are breath taking, every time I've come to Phoenix in the past I've made a trip out there, and we're well aware of the ridiculous amount of times we're going to want to go out there now that we live here! Added to that I've noticed a lot of cool stuff happening there over the past year, like a day that Strange Young Things played out there.

Because we were a little bit later than we'd planned on getting there, we stopped briefly to look at the program and assess our plan. Which was to head over to the Boppart Courtyard, where most of the day's entertainment was held. We caught the end of the Aztec Story Telling, which gave a bit of an overview to Day Of The Dead and was quite enjoyable. Following that was Corazón de Aguila – Yolloincuauhtli Aztec Dancers which was also really something. This was the one part of the entertainment where photography wasn't permitted for respect of the head dresses worn, which were very impressive.

Photobox ImageWe started out in the sun, and after a while with some concern about getting burnt by the desert sun we found sets in the shade, which were very appreciated. During one of the short breaks I took a walk through the mercado looking at the items for sale - with an eye out for Day Of The Dead figurines - but more on that later. Following that was the Guerrero Family Storytelling & Music which again I really enjoyed. The music was particularly great. The female singer, who as it turned out was also the artist who created the alter towards the entrance of the gardens was really amazing. The whole thing was really interesting to me, but of particular interest were the stories of the land centuries ago, when Rio Salado was a huge river, how the Yaqui's inhabited Tempe before being displaced to Guadalupe. Stories also included what was now Chandler, Scottsdale and Mesa, the details of which I regrettably don't remember fully. In anycase it was all quite interesting to me. It's all stuff that I've started to slowly learn about over the past few years (starting with reading Bowden's Blues For Cannibals, discovering and being taken by Guadalupe and doing some research on it, particularly of late) and today seemmed to be a continuation of that. Zarco Guerrero did his story telling with about 5 different characters, each one masked, fitting with the Day Of The Dead theme of the day. All characters, some a bit more political than others had the common theme of "laughing in the face of death" - which we actually dance with every day.

Following the story telling were Dancing Earth. It was quite impressive to both of us that we'd been sitting watching the entertainment for so long, when we'd actually assumed we'd be spending time looking through the gardens as well. So we decided to leave, and take a look through the Mercado, and then to the garden's actual gift shop. There is certainly a story behind this. Probably my first consciousness about Day Of The Dead occurred at the Botanical Gardens in 2005 when I saw Day Of The Dead figurines for sale. Admittedly, it's probably not the first time I've heard of Day Of The Dead (the Antonio Bandera's movie 'Assassins' actually comes to mind), but the first time it stayed within my conscious when Katie explained the story behind it. Anyway, I was definitely taken by both the origins and meaning of Day Of The Dead, and the caricatures themselves, and more or less immediately anticipated being in the position to get some Day Of The Dead figurines. That position (ie: living in the south west) has arrived, a fact that wasn't lost of me walking into the gift shop today, clearly remembering my thoughts of that day in 2005, and having arrived at the day that back then I saw in the future. While we're watching our spending, I already knew that I was going to purchase a set of figurines today. With it actually being Dia De Los Muertos it was easy to justify not waiting for such decor. The ironic part of the whole thing is that I didn't see any figurines that spoke to me in either the mercado nor gift shop the way the ones in 2005 did. Quite unfortunate given how fitting getting them today would have been, but all the same, I there is no doubting that the right course of action is holding out for ones that do speak to me. It's possible that the gift shop had cut down their Day Of The Dead merchandise as to not to take business away from the mercados vendors. Although I had no luck in the Day Of The Dead figurine department, one thing about the gift shop hasn't changed - we could completely do our house decor shopping at the gift shop. Which we might just do - I just need to figure out a way to afford that! [wink]

Photobox ImageOn the way to the gift shop, we passed Mariachi Pasion. This was also a really thing for me - since, despite my desire to, until today I have not seen a mariachi band. I was excited about the opening mariachi band for the Peacemakers in Mexico, but for whatever reason (venue issues, or Peacemakers getting delayed crossing the border if memory serves me correctly) it never happened, and have not had an opportunity to see one since. So this was definitely something for me. They were very good too. Having them playing in the gardens was a pretty great setting too. On walking back towards the courtyard I told Katie how I need to buy us a mariachi band that follow us around our house - once we have a house. Much like what I said about where we should get all our decor, I have no idea where all the money to finance this is coming from, but gee it'd be nice. [wink]

Photobox ImageIn any case, since we'd spent so much time watching the entertainment we were certainly picking up the pace at this point, and headed back towards the courtyard, stopping so that Katie could make a paper flower for the altar that was set up; color herself a Day Of The Dead mask. The former we did, the latter unfortunately didn't happen because there were no masks left. (Later at dusk there was some negative energy directed towards a woman who didn't look like an employee who had a whole pile of them in her hand exiting the park). The organization and activities of the whole event were really great, and the paper flowing making was an example of that. I was impressed with Katie's flower making skills, and even more impressed with the partial dedication. And quite surprised and disapointed with myself that I hadn't thought of such things until then.

Photobox ImageAn hour earlier we were quite concerned about the time and things left to do, but after doing them, combined with hearing that there was a delay in the scheduled time for the procession, we'd gone from a lot to do and not enough time, to having some time to kill. So we went for a bit of a walk around the gardens, which was really nice. It was impressive to me how much has changed since the last time I was there (admittedly, it was 3 years ago). It was a good opportunity to take some really great photos, as well at is was a reminder that we need to come back and spend a whole day in the gardens really soon.

Photobox ImageWe headed back to the courtyard, luckily a bit early, as La Procession (the final event of the day) was just beginning. Annoyingly my camera started to fail me (either due to a battery charging debarkle this morning, or the substantial drop it suffered last night at Frock 'N Roll - of possibly both), much to my chagrin as the face masks were great - and one of the procession leaders got right up in my face as they passed us, and it would have been a great photo. Before long we gave up on the camera, and joined the procession to the altar at the entrance of the gardens, which was really cool, picking up some candles along the way. We both loved when a child behind us yelled out along the way "Mom, let's go to Restaurant Mexico tonight! Can we?!?!". Now that I can vouch for Restaurant Mexico's food, I can say that he was one smart, as well as cute kid. [smile] The procession ended at the altar, joined by the mariachi band - I thankfully got my camera issues sorted out, and got some reasonably good shots of the procession leaders while Katie placed one of the candles at the altar.

Photobox ImagePhotobox ImageOnce the crowds had dispersed, I headed out the front for a smoke. Dusk was hitting, and the view around the gardens and Papago Park was amazing. A full moon was out in the east, and a misty blue and purple haze hung over the mountains in that direction, with the foreground of the cacti and Sonoran vegetation around the gardens. The beauty of the Sonoran desert hit me, as well as the reoccurring ponderance (and lack of comprehension) of how the entire world's population wouldn't want to live in it. Which continued heading back through the gardens - which had now become a lot quieter now that nearly everyone had left, though the gardens were open until 8pm. It's the first time that I've been there at, and after dusk, and it was impressive to me how the landscape looked equally amazing as it does during the day. We headed back to take a look at the altar displays that local artists had put together - which we had left for last as it was one of the few parts of the Dia De Los Muertos exhibits that was open until 8pm. Again, these we great to see. While not the most visually impressive, the 'Death Of The Desert' altar, dedicated to the Sonoran Desert as a political message regarding the urbanization of the desert certainly spoke to me (see previous, and I'm sure future, posts about sed topic). From here we ventured a bit further and witnessed the blood red sunset over Phoenix through the cacti laden foreground. I took a couple of really good photos, but they actually don't do the sight justice.

Photobox ImageAt this point, it had gotten pretty dark, and we decided that it was time to head off. Hell, with the membership we can come back whenever we want. And I'm sure that I'll be doing this dusk / night thing again once I find out how long staying open until 8pm runs for. Walking back also did nothing but increase our anticipation of Los Noches De Las Luminarias, which kicks off on December 1st (which right now feels too long to wait).

Having made this yet another full day affairs (which we're so good at), combined with the events on the day, and the smell of awesome Mexican food around lunch time, we decided to stop off at Filibertos Mexican Food for dinner. While it'd have been great to go to Restaurant Mexico [wink], neither of us were up for the time commitment that that'd be, and plus Filibertos was better on our wallets.

Photobox ImageSo it was a really great day. We'd actually thrown around the idea of spending some time at the gardens last month when we were out here (which largely didn't happen because of lack of time), so you'd expect that today would have subdued our need to go to the Botanical Gardens, but in actually it's just made me even more keen to go back - and soon!

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