Rogue Valley tour diary, Vol. 2

​Rogue Valley is a Minneapolis-based theatrical folk-pop band who are currently on tour. On the road are drummer Luke Anderson, bassist Paul Engles, keyboardist Joey Kantor, guitar/vocalist Chris Koza and guitarist Peter Sieve. Their tour diaries are written by Koza and edited by Sieve. Read the first installment here.

There are few cities in the United States that capture the imagination the way San Francisco does. We drove in over the bay bridge, marveling at the construction of a new replacement bridge parallel to the existing one. The life of a bridge worker, tight-rope walking a thousand feet above anything and jeopardizing ones own safety to ensure the safety of others is a valiant yet anonymous effort.

The venue we were set to play was a little club called the Hotel Utah Saloon (we all immediately thought of Keanu Reeves character Johnny Utah from film "Point Break"). The load-in hallway/ green room was a tiny corridor with barely enough room for spare kegs and mops let alone two bands and a pile of gear, so we stacked things vertically. There was a plastic bus tub filled with bottles of Budweisers, swimming in melting ice. Band beer.

Before we went on, a band called The Margins were rocking out to their home crowd in what was a kind-of going-away show. Their clothing was all black and their sound was like a pop-punk hybrid of They Might Be Giants and Ween. Surprisingly enough, our sets complemented one another and it was our best tour show yet.

The band split up and all spent the evening in the company of different friends/hosts over the next two days, which featured unseasonably warm weather for October in San Francisco. Luke and I met up with Kristian Melom (a.k.a. Minor Kingdom) who released a fantastic album last spring in the Twin Cities, and we played basketball for a couple midday hours along the panhandle of Golden Gate park. All throughout our game, a young couple sat on a park bench thirty feet from the court arguing, crying and getting loaded on whip-its. I could not concentrate on basketball, music or anything else - we could only be passive observers to this confusing, crumbling reality taking place before our eyes.

We left San francisco Friday morning and drove to Davis, California for an in-store at Armadillo Music, a tiny little record shop. We played there and much later that night at a Thai restaurant which actually went surprisingly well. From there we made the long haul through the redwood forest, and with a snow-covered Mt. Shasta in the rearview, headed northward through southern Oregon, and the actual region called Rogue Valley, from which we take our name. We did a show in the sleepy little town of Cottage Grove, OR, setting up and performing on a stage with the Oregon Ducks vs. Arizona State game projecting on and behind us. Touchdown!

Included in this post is a video cut to one of our songs, "The Occidental Hotel," that Pete cut together from footage of a freaky old arcade on the fisherman's wharf in San Francisco.

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