4th Ave...

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, June 30, 2012 - 12:12:14 pm
(Posted Under: Travel)
After we'd ventured enough around the barrio, it was on to 4th Avenue. Our getting from A to B this morning was a comedy of errors. Given how closely situated Hotel Congress, Barrio Viejo and 4th Avenue are, we sure took a lot of time to get between each place, due to some "creative" navigation. Which I take full responsibility for. But Tucson is as charming as hell, and so a wrong turn here, getting lost there, it's all good in Tucson.

Surprisingly, we've never spent much time on 4th Avenue. Well, we have spent a decent amount of time at different bars on 4th (Plush, Sky Bar and O'Malley's), but not much time checking out anything else. The extent to which was had done that was a stroll just up to Plush before having dinner at O'Malley's the night we saw Gentlemen Afterdark at Congress. It seemed like time to fix that.

Photobox ImageA great time was had. Despite the blistering sun. Much like on Congress St. when we rolled into town last night, 4th Avenue was largely fenced off due to work on the road and street car tracks. On arriving at Plush, we had two options - either turn around and just walk back, or continue north. We were really wanting a third option of just crossing the street. Despite the heat, we continued on, until we hit University and could cross over and head back to the car. As per the historic district, there was no shortage of quirky shops and amazing south western architecture and colors. I don't mean to sound all in love with Tucson or anything, but lets face it, I kind of am. The other thing about 4th Avenue, which was hard to miss, was the lack of any presence of corporate America. Aside from a Bank Of America ATM, I don't think we passed a single chain store.

We stopped in many stores along the way, including the coolest looking Goodwill store to be found in Arizona, though no such bargains were to be found.


Barrio Viejo

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosSaturday, June 30, 2012 - 11:55:41 am
(Posted Under: This Desert Life This Desert Life, Travel)
This morning started out with breakfast at Congress. Pancakes and a huge orange chocolate chip cookie. I'm pretty sure that thing was laced with cocaine. Absolutely to die for.

Then it was time to checkout, and head down to to Barrio Viejo, the historic district of downtown Tucson. Amazing. After a bit of a drive around, despite the heat we stopped and took a walk down Convent Street.

I've said it before - Tucson reminds me a lot of Melbourne. Certainly in comparison to Tempe/Phoenix. But also just in general. The historic district is no different, driving that "Melbourne" thing home even more. Admittedly with a lot more cactii than gum trees, and dirt rather than grass, but the fact remains. Walking through the streets of the barrio was very reminiscent of walking through streets of Fitzroy or Brunswick.

Did these amazing and colorful adobe structures make us question our decision to buy a house in Tempe? I'd be lying if I said it didn't. [wink] But as we said so many times last night, when it all goes horrible wrong, we'll just move to Tucson.

There were no shortage of opportunities for great photos, and there were more than a few haciendas along Convent Street that I recognized from photos and paintings seen in stores and at the Tempe Arts Festival each year.

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Of course, it was this photo that proved to be my pièce de résistance this morning.

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Writing this, I'm surprised that I didn't take more photos. After all, I've been dying to shoot subjects like this. But then I remember the deterrent of spending a lot of time out there - that bad crazy sun. [wink]

Rumble In The Tumbleweeds

The Open Road, Hotel Congress & Some Rock N' Roll

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosFriday, June 29, 2012 - 05:09:19 pm
(Posted Under: Travel, Music Music, Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Live Shows)
This is the weekend. End. Begin.

And the beginning of a fairly long one for us, since we've taken Monday and Tuesday off next week, which combined with the July 4th holiday, gives us a 5 day weekend. Which started the moment we got out of work. Rather than going home, we were headed south down the I-10, destination: Tucson.

Just being out on the open road was pretty awesome. At least until we hit perpetual road work on the I-10. That section of highway is just like that on the way to Geelong - always under construction.

On hitting Tucson, our first stop was at Wendy's for some food, then down to Congress. We were greeted with many roads being closed off for work on the street car line. Including Congress Street, which made getting to the Congress Hotel interesting and prompted some driving around in circles. In Phoenix that would have driven me absolutely nuts. In Tucson, not so much. But we finally made it to the hotel, checked in, devored our somewhat cold and chewy dinner, then headed down to Club Congress.

Photobox ImageTonight's show was a mix of Tempe and Tucson bands - our boys The Persuaders and Tramps & Thieves, and Four Killer Flats and Greyhound Soul from Tucson. Good times. I made a comment to Katie that the singer from Four Killer Flats looked like the new bass player for Silverbell. "That's because he is the bass player for Silverbell". [wink] They were the only act I didn't know, and I was quite impressed by them. Tramps closed out their second set in fine form, with a one hell of a rockin' version of Porcupine Jacket.

Photobox ImageIt was pretty nice being able go up to bed after the show. It's the first time in the past three years we've seen a show in Tucson and not driven back to Phoenix right after. Pretty nice. As was staying at Congress and not having a fractured shoulder as I did the last time I stayed here in 2006.
Now Playing: Silverbell - The One Before

We Keep Our Smiles In Our Left Breast Pockets

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosSaturday, June 23, 2012 - 11:58:31 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Live Shows, Music Music)
How many times I have I said "at least we have Strange Young Things"? Many. Most times in reference to being let down, or something pissing me off.

Sadly, I can no longer defer to that statement, as my favorite band called it quits tonight.

Lately I have a weird, nagging feeling that that might be on the cards. One of those feelings that you shrug off, as it's not based on any rumors or facts, just a gut feeling. Sadly, in this case, Adam confirmed this gut feeling to be actually accurate a couple of weeks before they made the announcement public. Sometimes it sucks to be right.

Photobox ImageWe walked in half way through Jonesin' For A Good Thing to a fairly packed room inside the Sail Inn. If there was any show not to be late for, this was it, and somehow we were. Though Katie had seen Gloden and Gross outside while we were getting our Banana Gun CD's, so we couldn't have missed much.

While we started out towards the back of the room (very unusal for us at a Strange Young Things show), it wasn't long before we were making our way through the crowd. I'm not sure how many songs in, we were close enough to be joined by Corey in a group hug / sing of Left Breast Pocket.

It was hot. It was sweaty. It came as no surprise whatsoever that Corey was not holding back one bit. Katie noted that on a few occassions it seemed like he was going out of his way to injure him self. Rock n' fucking roll. And Dan wasn't holding back any more than Corey. I've for years been blown away and commenting on what a power house of a drummer Dan is, and tonight he was absolutely abusing the drum kit (maybe with a bit more of a techniqued not holding back to Glodie admitadly). A sight to behold.

Photobox ImageIt wasn't long before I was dripping with sweat, screaming every word with the band. As unfortunate it was that we had to miss Sara's birthday show at Teakwoods, a few songs in there was not a question that there was nowhere in the world I'd rather be. Nothing, and I mean nothing compares to a Strange Young Things show. It's almost been 6 months since the last one. And even though not fully, I'd forgotten the extent of what a release it is. 45 minutes of absolute fun, where you forget about and don't care about anything but the glorious rock show happening in front of you. It's one time I can be in a crowded sea of people, get pushed, get bumped, having my personal space completely invaded, and I don't care one bit. In that moment, I realized that's what is going to hurt the most with this split - that 45 minute complete escape.

A great set from the boys, with just as much new material as old. That's the second biggest loss. They had a slew of amazing material that would have made for a killer second album, that may never see the light of day. Bang The Dash, Spoils Of War, Good Times, Not That Kind, The Bitch Has Got Problems, New Blood, School, Grave Depression. Dudes are rock n' roll scholars. And that album would have just killed.

Photobox ImageI both had tape rolling and was shooting photos. I expect the results of both to be absolutely terrible. Tonight just wasn't the night to be precious about either.

As the final chord of School rang out, you knew that rock 'n roll was dying a little. But the preceding 45 minutes, the sweat, the ringing ears, the dirty jeans (from a final Bitch circle on the Sail Inn floor), the dry and scratchy vocal chords all made it just that bit easy to take.

Still, I'm going to miss this band more than I can say. Fuck Strange Young Things.
Now Playing: Strange Young Things - Left Breast Pocket

The Maine @ The Marquee

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, June 9, 2012 - 08:49:01 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows, Instagram Instagram)
It was Wednesday night this week, driving back from the Botanical Gardens that we past The Marquee and noticed the billboard listing for The Maine that we didn't otherwise know about. Well, I didn't, but it wasn't news to Katie. While saving the money on the show right now was the right call, it didn't make the knowledge of missing this show that much easier.

That disappointment however was turned around on Thursday morning, when we won tickets through The Morning Infidelity on KWSS. And thank god that we did, because this was a great show and would have been a shame to miss.

Unlike shows in the past we virtually missed the openers. It wasn't that much of a conscious decision as much as it just being hard to peel ourselves off the couch where we'd been watching episodes on The Surreal Life (finally) on Hulu. The couch being so comfortable and hard to leave is such a common occurrence right now. Spending every waking hour unpacking / cleaning / random home improvement stuff will do that to you. Anyways, the openers - we got to The Marquee not long before the second band finished their set. This ended up making for a more enjoyable experience, not having stood at the Marquee for hours before The Maine started. We did see enough for me to be reminded what I like in music - 4 chords, and a verse chorus structure. I'm sure the sea of teenage girls loved Lydia, but they were mostly lost on me.

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A few songs into the set, it was pretty obvious that saving money and sitting this one out would have been a mistake. I've probably said this after every time we've seen this, but this was the best Maine show we've seen. John's vocal performance and stage banter was noticeably improved since we saw them a year ago.

I know I've said this every time I've seen them, but tonight was definitely their best show I've seen. The band sounded tighter than ever, and John's vocals sounded a lot stronger. And the new songs from Pioneer sounded great live.

A few of the older song got some cool new arrangements. The highlight of those was the slowed down groovy version of The Way We Talk. I wish I had that on tape.

Great show. And Katie walked away with a new shirt - sugar skull with the band's logo for eyes. Too cool.

Gardens And Graves

(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, June 7, 2012 - 06:31:10 pm
(Posted Under: This Desert Life This Desert Life)
After work this afternoon I headed out to the apartment to do the final inspection, hand over the keys and pay what we owed. Sitting in the office, it's kind of amazing that it was almost 3 years ago that we were in there signing our lease. Kind of feels like it was just yesterday.

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Another thing I remember like it was yesterday is how cool I thought it was that We'd be living so close to Guadalupe Cemetery. I had big plans of getting really cool photos there. If I have any regrets, it's that I didn't fully take advantage of living a 3 or so minute walk away. In our years at the apartment we only ventured down to the cemetery maybe 3 times.

So with that in mind, and a bit of time to kill, I made the trek down there. And absolutely feel better for doing so. While I didn't have the Nikon with me, I did manage to get a few cool shots with the iPhone.
Now Playing: Violet Wild - Glorious Day

HDR Photo Fun

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, June 3, 2012 - 11:19:04 pm
(Posted Under: Photography, La Hacienda)
There was a pretty cool moon out tonight, so I decided to go out and try to shoot it. Mixed results as always. Though while I was out there I decided to try out some HDR's of our yard.

Can't say this one turned out too shabby.

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