Long time friends Christopher Payne (Whitman) and Jon Barba hit the West Coast like they’re hitting their heads against a brick wall, playing shows at a string of house basements and DIY spaces.
If you ever wondered what touring America’s wildest coast is really like for no-budget/high talent musicians, you don’t have to wait until these two return home to Pehrspace on Monday. We’ve got the scoop right here.
Day 1 – The Compound – Los Angeles, CA
This was lots of fun. It was cool seeing a lot of our friends. Brother Mitya killed (the goat)! John Thill and Comfort Slacks played too, both completely awesome. Overall I think this was a real friend show. Friends played, friends came out, lots of support and good times… you get the deal.
Day 2 – Stanford House – Oakland, CA
The I-5’s a total bore but the drive up went by surprisingly quick. The No Babies dudes run this space which is cool because they’re all really funny guys. They had us laughing from the moment we walked in the door. They cooked us an early dinner and got a lot of people to come out. Slaughter High played first. They do super heavy noise, total gearheads, but powerful sounds. Lougow and Ramona Cordova, who were also on tour, played the show too. Lougow (of Mt. Gigantic) does really pretty weirdo pop, lots of chorus and super uplifting beats. Ramona Cordova does real softy pop, sometimes a cappella, but overall really sweet and sincere. Both were really nice guys too. Vholtz played last (featuring members of KIT, No Babies and Jonathan Grothman). Total Oaktown supergroup. Epic swells, jazz that melts the face. The show was really a total joy. The locals who came out all showed a lot of courtesy and the city itself was undergoing the most perfect January weather.
Day 3 – Five Points Art House – San Francisco, CA
Made a trip to the Berkeley Bowl; Vegan breakfast burritos and nice vibes. We hung out for a while in Oakland. Jon assembled some of his merchandise and Chris got his heart broken a little before we piled in the car with three of the kids from No Babies and drove into San Francisco. This made the weight in the car so heavy that every bump and pot hole made the back of the vehicle smack the ground. When we arrived at the gallery we were shown around. There was a large room with wooden floors and a high arched ceiling that had kind of a cabin feel to it. Below that was a long basement that was lined with curtains and lit with red lights. It looked like a scene out of Twin Peaks. Hiss and Hum started off the show with some psychedelic guitar drone. We performed in the middle and Marissa Magic closed the night by singing over distorted backing tracks with reverbed out vocals. It was both catchy and strange and once again brought the feeling of Twin Peaks to mind (she didn’t turn into a giant though). After the show we headed back to Oakland and got down in the In N’ Out parking lot.
Day 4 – Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture – Weed, CA
We arrived in Weed and due to the lack of street signs had to follow a special set of directions we were given. These led us to a dirt road that was quite a task to drive down without our car getting stuck in the mud. We found the place nestled up against the railroad tracks, just a little ways to the side of Black Butte (a vent of Mount Shasta). The property consisted mainly of a small shack which had a bathroom, a furnace and a mall kitchen area, as well as two railroad boxcars.
Inside the boxcars there were a couple couches, a record player, and a pretty extensive zine and book collection. They made us an awesome dinner and got a couple bonfires going outside the boxcars. We played inside one of the train cars to a small but very enthusiastic audience. We both agreed that this was one of the most awesome places we’d ever played, and the people there were incredibly nice and warm hearted. After the show a guy named Ben Homer smoked us out of a coconut bubbler (which we just couldnt refuse doing seeing where we were), and kept telling us that we should track down his friend Matt Hopper when we get to Idaho (anyone know this guy?). All in all it was a brisk and absolutely beautiful night.
Day 5 – The Baahouse – Portland, OR
We woke up early and made our way down the long dirt road before the rain really set in. The drive to Portland was mostly wet but cleared just in time for our arrival. We got there a bit early and were able to enjoy some quality time with friends before the show started in the houses basement. The Kitchenettes opened the show, but we unfortunately missed them while walking to the liquor store. Blandina played second and it was absolutely incredible. This band is lead by Bri White and was supported by most of the members of the Foot Ox and Splinter Cake full bands. Clarinet, toy piano, trumpet, accordion, drums, and additional percussion backed up her beautiful guitar ramblings.
Kelly from Splinter Cake played next and started his set off with a lecture of guitar stylings of the future, at times hanging upside down and batting at his guitar which had a rope tied around it that lead to a log hidden behind a dirty mattress. In the background various noises were played from cassette decks hidden in the rafters as well a Black Flag 7″ being played on a Fischer Price record player at the wrong speed. The set concluded with a handful of songs, yelling and stomping. We played after this strumming and nervously pacing around the basement. Foot Ox concluded the night, playing a solo set and stringing Christmas lights through the audience.
Day 6 – Hilltop Hollows – Tacoma (aka Ta-compton), WA
We woke up in the late afternoon and made some soup and hard boiled some eggs collected from the chickens living in the backyard. A group of us made it out to a spot called “The Bluffs” which overlooked the river and most of Portland. We took turns doing tricks from a rope swing and stayed there just long enough to see the sun begin to set. We went back to the house, loaded the car and picked up Kelly who was joining us for the remainder of the trip, and then went and got “the only decent burrito in Portland”. It was terribly alright. When we got to Tacoma, we received the unfortunate news that the house we were going to play at had been busted a few days ago at a show and given a noise ticket, which caused them to cancel our show. So instead we met up with our friend Abby, bought a six pack, and hung out for a while drinking in the park. Popped in the movie Sphere before heading to bed.
Day 7 – The Hoot House – Bellingham, WA
Woke up early this morning and made it out to a Jamaican vegan restauraunt. Prices were a bit steep for some of us so after that we raided the university’s cafeteria for some freebies. Hit the freeway for a few hours, that drive was so beautiful, it took us straight through downtown Seattle. When we got to the place, Alexandria was the first to greet us at the house. Zach was there pretty soon after that.
Named “The Hoot House,” the place comes with a myriad of owl figurines adorning a mantel in the living room. Alex cooked us a vegetarian lasagna— fucking amazing. The first band was a combination of two noise acts, HHHHH and Fucked By Lightning. It was very climactic drone with a reel to reel player and lots of pedals. We played after them and Chestnut Collection closed the night with some truly home-hitting lyricism. The show was a success on more than one level. Jon really enjoyed seeing his friends from up here and it was the closest either of us had gotten to the Canadian border. The audience was completely welcoming to our performances.
Day 8 – New Cromton – Seattle, WA
We woke late and headed down to the beach and spent some time tossing rocks into the water and walking along the railroad tracks before driving into Seattle. We arrived at the house super early so we made a trip to the Safeway down the street and cooked a nice dinner of stir-fried vegetables and brown rice. The show started with 16 16 who wore a sparkly glam costume and played two songs that were a mix of feedback, droned out casio beats, and shredding guitar solos.
After that, Battle Stations played a set of energetic rock and roll that really got the room moving. We played next and even Kelly was able to play a couple songs. Zach Burba of Iji closed the show with a new project called Seashoes that consisted of harsh synthesizer in the vein of Suicide, set to lyrics by the Beach Boys, all while vintage surf films were projected on the ceiling. It was fucking incredible.
Day 9 – 208 House – Boise, ID
We woke up early, got coffee and began the long trek to Idaho. A little ways outside of Seattle it started snowing as we climbed into the mountains. As the snow got heavier and the elevation grew higher we began to experience problems with the car not accelerating. We made it to an exit and bought some anti-freeze and luckily that solved our problem. The rest of the drive, which sprawled through three different states, consisted of a lot more snow and some gusty winds. We finally arrived in Boise after spending nine hours crammed in the car. The show started shortly after we arrived in a basement covered in tagging and christmas lights. Hare Krishna, who is originally from Seattle and proclaims that he started Grunge, opened the show with an exhaustingly long set of guitar solos. We played sets after him and were both very well received by the crowd. How’s Your Family closed the night with a set of catchy garage rock.
After the show we hung out for a while and watched some drunk people play with rifles and then were bought some awesome burrito’s by KC and Skip from the house. For a town that everyone that lived there seemed to talk shit on, they certainly made us feel welcome.
Don’t miss Whitman & Jon Barba’s return to L.A. this Monday
Folktale Records & Sean Carnage present…
With special guest Splintercake
Starts 9:30pm / $5 / all-ages
Pehrspace—325 Glendale Blvd., in Historic Filipinotown