Dear, beloved backers,
You don't yet comprehend the extent of the wonder you've helped bring into our lives and the world. Man oh man. We've been busy as all get-out, running around like madmen (as you'll see in upcoming chapters of our tour documentary, posted on YouTube and Facebook!) creating Kickstarter videos, finding and outfitting Athena, and playing music Non Freaking Stop. But without your help, we never could have pulled this crazy thing together. Without you, we wouldn't be driving through clear, piney Colorado air with two weeks of inspiring countryside, beautiful connections and awesome shows behind us, so here it is: your report from the road in three parts.
Part 1: a brief outline of three adventures, written by three different Bottlecap Boys
LOS ANGELES (penned by the hand of the arm of the body of Luke Borsten)
A most ridiculous juxtaposition of shows occurred over our first two nights in L.A. The Basement Bar in Santa Monica was our first four-set gig, and we somehow managed to plan everything out to where we weren't repeating any songs more than once! The crowd was sparse during the first hour, but more and more folks kept rolling in. By the end of set number two, people were dancing and yelling with us. The crowd only got more intoxicated and boisterous throughout the night, but in a quite agreeable way. By the end, we were all exhausted but riding the big old performance high. The booker/head bartender gave us an additional $ bonus on top of our guarantee, told us to come back asap and bought us a couple rounds. To celebrate, we walked 3 blocks over to the Pacific for a 2 a.m. dip.
The next night was in Altadena, at the Coffee Gallery Backstage. The place is--in the words of the esteemed booker, Bob Stane--"dripping with atmosphere." We weren't sure what to expect, but we were not let down. This little room in the back of the cafe had been painted floor to ceiling to look like an Old Western town. Very endearing. The tickets were $15 a pop for this show, so the crowd was mostly comprised of appreciative older folks. The set turned out to be the exact opposite of what we had experienced the night before, with near perfect silence from the spectators between the applause at the end of one song and the start of the next. We held our own with stage banter, and the intimate nature of the night made it possible for us to focus on details in the songs that aren't normally quite as apparent. A dixieland/folk band called The Dustbowl Revival played after us, and they were so much fun! Four horns, mandolin, bass, guitar, drums, and a whole lot of sass. They were all quite cool people too, and we made a valuable connection by sharing the bill with them.
LAS VEGAS (in the words of Ross Becker, first of his name)
With this stop, we had one goal in mind: street perform for enough money to stay in a posh Las Vegas Hotel on The Strip. To execute this goal successfully, we had to put some of our most cherished "Bottlecap" qualities on the back burner and appeal to the Las Vegas demographic. Original tunes don't make money here, cover songs are gold, and we knew just the songs to play like a broken record: "Wagon Wheel" by Old Crow Medicine Show and "Little Lion Man" by Mumford and Sons -- these songs are the new "Freebird" for string bands. No joke, we played those two songs on repeat for 2 hours and made the money we needed. There were a few really great folks who stuck around so we played a few originals (and thanked them for the break - dearly). After thrashing our voices and strings over the noise of Las Vegas Blvd, we headed back to the Mandalay Resort and Casino and dropped off our instruments. Adam stayed back and Mikey, Luke, Cat and I headed downstairs to the casino to see if we couldn't lose some money. Everyone but me (Ross) was too exhausted, so I bravely wandered the sea of sinners alone at 3:00 a.m. I found a roulette table and turned $10 into $300 in about 2.5 minutes playing red/black odds!!! I was by far the most lively person at the table by 6:00 a.m., at times summoning the fortune of Gandalf by using grand, wizardly hand gestures to manipulate the roulette wheel, and at other times getting a few other people to bet the same color and use our collective mind power. Did you know that if you tip the cocktail waitresses who serve free drinks they come around much more frequently? Quite a night.
TELLURIDE (a literary masterpiece brought to you by Adam Willumsen)
Wow. Have you ever been to this place? It's like walking around inside a postcard. The epic mountains blanketed in evergreens, studded with sheer rock faces and divided by alpine waterfalls surround Telluride, making you feel... microscopic. It's awesome. We had far too little time to enjoy all the possibilities, but we did have a damn good time. A few low-key, sunbaked afternoon farmers market sets led to deliciously cooler evening breezes, and we made our way to The Steaming Bean to share the stage with Bluegrass Delta Force, a rollicking "traditional newgrass" (Luke just made that lovely term up) band. We wrapped up the night with huge smiles, jamming on original tunes at our friends Sophia and Taylor's home. We hit the road to Durango after a morning gondola ride up the mountain, and oh yes! check our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/thebottlecapboys) or this link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pe1kl9JGAT8&feature=plcp) for a video we shot on the gondola of Luke and Ross singing Outside. It's pretty tasty.
Part 2: in which we inquire: what would you like to hear about?
Let us know so we can write all about it in the next tour update!
Part 3: it's survey time
If you have a moment to share with us, we'd love to hear: what was the last really awesome live show you attended? What was it about the show or the musician(s) that made an impression? We've been playing all sorts of venues --basement bars and farmers markets, on top of Athena and at the foot of the Space Needle-- and we've had different connections with our audience each time. So please share! We'd love to hear what gets to you musically.
Well, dear backers, friends and extended Bottlecap Boys family, you have all our love. We send it your way and immediately get back to work! We are even now resting up in order to bring hours of entertainment magic through Taos, NM on the way to Colorado (Ft. Collins, Denver and Boulder). Keep an eye on our Facebook page for ongoing photo and video updates as well as stories and surveys from the road (www.facebook.com/thebottlecapboys)!
Adam, Cat, Luke, Mike and Ross