The scale with fun on one side and danger on the other severely tipped in favor of the latter after we left Flagstaff. In the high mountain planes of Arizona, gusty winds and torrential rainfall slowed us to a crawl. We turned off the stereo to enjoy the tremendous thunderclaps. We put down our iPhones to watch the electrical storm turn the night sky a celestial pink with violent flashes of lightning. The whole world seemed awesome and terrible, beautiful and menacing, and I clung to the steering wheel to keep us on the road.
We crested the bluffs above Albuquerque late Tuesday evening. It has a similar feeling as when one travels I-15 into Vegas: you can see the lights of the city illuminating the night sky many, many miles before you see the city itself. Burt’s is tucked away on Gold Street in the downtown historic district, which seemed filled with more nightclubs and strip joints than it did historical landmarks. However, since we were running so late, we did not explore much past the venue, so in all fairness to you, Albuquerque, perhaps me didn’t drive down far enough into your historical heart. I did notice the hotel we stayed in last time Kissing Cousins played Albuquerque was condemned. Ominous?
Burt’s was hopping for a Tuesday with Evol Lived playing to a small yet energetic college crowd. Tucked away in the booths was the more rock and roll crowd, sipping their PBRs and shots of tequila. The staff was friendly, and the sound engineer, Ken, was downright warm-hearted and helpful. A brief aside: every person we met this night was gracious and kind. Thank you to Damien and Andy for pulling out your people!
One band canceled which meant we played quite a longer set than we will most likely play with Ok Go. We busted through the hits from the record as well as a handful of classic tracks from our formative years. We got a great response from our untitled new song; quite a few drunk dancers took to flailing around like June Bugs with one clipped wing. Definitely a fun set, which I must admit, I was not expecting, due to past Albuquerque experiences.
After the set Dan went to the bar and found himself drinking next to Britt Daniels of Spoon. Later Dan recounted the story. At first he seemed to Dan another dude drinking at Burt’s. Then Dan had that vague recognition feeling and within a second he was sure of who it was. He turned back towards the bar where the bartender gave a discrete head nod and said, “Did you see who you played for?” Dan smiled and said yes. A few moments later, Dan introduced himself with a standard, “Hey I’m Dan, just wanted to introduce myself and say it’s a pleasure to meet you.” Britt responded with a sincere, “Thanks man, you guys sounded great.” We later passed along a vinyl copy of our record to the Spoon frontman, but it already was an incredible honor to play for a man who’s written some amazing songs. Check out the jam “Out Go The Lights” on Spoon’s latest record Transference to hear for yourself.
The night ended with a late, late check in to the hotel, but we were satisfied that a show where we only expected to get a tour “warm-up” out of became something exciting and inspiring.