>Nuggets? Any herb!

>Last weekend was stuffed with more music than I really imagined it would be. It started out Saturday with a LAZERWOLFS trip to Great Falls. We get up there once or twice a year, and it always seems to be in the middle of a stretch of really shitty weather when it should be nice out. We rolled out of town around 6 PM or so and hit the venue around 8:30, I guess.

We thought there would be two other bands, but anticipated there might be only 1 besides us on account of the other band from Missoula — Sid’s band HELLIANA — couldn’t make the trip. Turns out there weren’t any locals on the bill either, so it was just us. Which made it interesting, as we had not played a full night in several years. Not only that, but we’d only had one practice since we’d devoted our lives to the Judas Priest thing, so even our own material was rusty. So, first things first, we set up our gear.

That’s where the magic happens. Unless it’s Missoula, where we can’t seem to buy a show. Got snubbed by the Total Fest folks again this year, so I’m feeling pretty bitter about our home friggin’ town. The Total Fest thing could be, in fact, the nail in the coffin as far as I’m concerned. I’ve really been on the fence about continuing beyond the shows we have booked. Scheduling makes it tough to do much, and the simple reality that after 10 years as a band, 3+ applications, and we STILL can’t get on a local festival like this, makes me realize that our home town — the place one would assume would be the best place for us — really couldn’t give two shits about us. But this GF show may have put a little gas back in the tank, I don’t know. We’ll see.

Anyway, we walked across the street to a Mexican restaurant that Jimmy chose based on it being “the worst Mexican food I’ve ever had.” I don’t remember the name of the joint, but I do remember that they billed themselves as “home of the puffy taco.” That sounds kinda dirty, if you ask me. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrible either. At least none of us got sick.

While there we put a list together of songs we thought we could play — there was literally material on there we hadn’t played in 2 or 3 years. We divided it into two long sets, walked back over to the venue and let it rip.

It was pretty fun, actually. There weren’t a lot of people there, but it was a good time. We were just kind of in our own little zone, almost like circling the wagons, but we nailed it. I felt good about the band and what we can do because we’ve been playing together so long. I was happy I was able to sing all night and not lose my voice.

We drove all night to get home; when we left Great Falls it was raining hard, which turned to snow about halfway up Rogers Pass, and finally damn near a whiteout for a stretch. Once we started down the other side, it was fine. We just ate sunflower seeds and listened to more loud rock to get home alive. By the time we got back to the rock office and unloaded the gear, then I ran Bubba home to Frenchtown, then back to my house and unloaded MY gear, it was about 6:30 AM. A long night, but it felt like an accomplishment.

Love Your Mother Earth Festival

Julia had scheduled to help out with a bellydance workshop at this festival at Lolo Hot Springs, then participate in a performance. I went along to play the doumbek. When we got there, of course it was utter chaos with no one knowing what was going on, but eventually we got it sorted out. Who knew that loving your Mother Earth meant beer cans all over the ground, plastic water bottles, and pizza boxes? I think their heart is in the right place, so I’m not going to gripe just because probably 70% of the crowd are probably the same idiots you find staggering around puking downtown whenever some remotely enebriating event is taking place.

It was cold, but I had a great time. We met two wonderful people from Utah, Cara and Wade.

They are travelers (6 months in Turkey, for example) and musicians. They had a bunch of Middle Eastern musical instruments, and we played music with them for a couple hours. I played with them for a dance that Geneva did, then also for a big group dance at the end of the performance. It was one of the most thrilling musical things I’ve ever done. It felt great to be part of something like this. Meet a couple people, and 2 hours later be on stage performing with them. It was fantastic. I really admire these two people for living a life that I hope to pursue, in some fashion, before I call it a life.

Here are a few more pictures; I hope someone hooks me up of pictures with the live music and dancing! My friend Charles was there, but he wandered off to photograph some annoying jam band he’s probably seen 100 times already rather than stick around for the good stuff. His loss! I guarantee he will have fantastic shots from the entire event, just not this part. I’ll make sure and update this blog when those are online, because it really did seem to be a cool event. For now, the best I can do with documentation of our own little red-headed stepchild part of the goings-on is via my own (crushingly) amateur photography.

You know what I love best about Julia’s performing? Her facial expressions. She really looks like she is having fun when she does it. I like that. I know this particular craft takes a lot of concentration, but I think facial expression is as critical as the hand and body movements. My girl has it going on, and I’m proud when I watch her.

Geneva’s enthusiasm really helped. She recruited Cara and Wade to play music for one of her dances, and got me on board on the drum. We worked out a piece that we played that didn’t go quite as planned but still came off pretty cool. Then it was her idea to have us play another song while she brought all the dancers on stage for one big piece. That was great. Like Julia says, Geneva is totally a “yes” person; no idea is too risky. I like that. That’s how I want to be.

We’ll definitely do something again next year, only this time we will plan ahead a little bit; camp out, play some music for lovely women to dance to around the camp fire, oh yeah. Hopefully in the next couple years we can join Cara and Wade as part of a traveling troupe across Central Asia! Now that is what I’m talking about. . . .

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