Rogue Valley tour diary, vol. 4: The benefits of local press

Rogue Valley's tour diaries are written by frontman Chris Koza and edited by bandmate Peter Sieve. You can read their first installment here and second here, and third here.

1/18-1/19 Rogue Valley Tour Journal: "New Year Resolution"
Minneapolis: 21 degrees.
St. Cloud: 17 degrees.
Fergus Falls: 15 degrees.
Fargo: -6 degrees.
Our intention of beginning a tour immediately following the new year was to escape Winter and discover a milder reprieve, but thus far, this is not the case. No newsflash here, but Fargo is not a tropical January destination.

Before the show, the band had dinner at a small Vietnamese restaurant. I've been on a real pho kick lately, plus I'm trying to shake a scratchy throat before we find ourselves stuck in a Montana blizzard playing instrumental versions of our songs. I dumped a couple tablespoons of hot sauce in the broth and prepared my senses to pay the spice tariff in exchange for opening the sinus passages.

The Fargo Forum newspaper ran a big article on us, and our show was listed as a best bets in the High Plains Reader and these pieces undoubtedly brought out some first-timers to the show. Cameron requested "The Blackberry Moon," we did "Mountain Laurels" for Rosie, and the "The Bottom of the Riverbed" for Mark towards the end of our set. Usually people call out for "Freebird" or "The Thunder Rolls." After our set we packed up and drove three hours to Bismarck to spend the night, and to break up the long drive to Bozeman, Montana.

Beach: -8 degrees.
Hebron: -3 degrees.
Forsyth: 9 degrees.
Bozeman: 44 degrees.

Driving deeper into Montana, we were heading into a veritable heat-wave. The freeway was covered in the kind of dusty snow that swarms into a momentary whiteout with each passing vehicle. There was a strange five-minute period where the temperature went from 11 to 39 degrees. The inside of our big-pimpin Town and Country fogged up and condensation trickled down the windows. At this moment, I wondered how much time it would really take and what kind of warning mankind would have if the earth suddenly shifted on it's axis.

Our relationship with Bozman is as a passing acquaintance. We're still trying to find our place in this lovely little mountain town. We loaded into the Filling Station, where we last played a couple times before, but it had been about 4 years. I recognized the bartender from our last time through. When people find something that works, they stick with it. He bought us a round of drinks, and we sat at the bar for awhile, watching basketball on TV.

The familiar gears started turning eventually: the sound man came, the first act, a solo artist set up and played. Then the second band, a 3-pc, set up and did their thing. We took the stage, a sturdy-boot-trodden platform made of plywood planks, and turned up. In the middle of our set as we were winding to the climax of one of our songs, the notes echoing off the old license plates and vintage beer cans that covered the walls of this fire hazard of a venue, a crowd of about 25 ( if you squinted ) applauded loudly and made us feel a little less like an acquaintance and a little more like a friend.

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