Thursday, March 15, 2012

On the Road with Victory and Associates, Part 5: Santa Fe, New Mexico

By Conan Neutron
Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 8:39 AM


03/14/2012 Warehouse 21, Santa Fe, NM

Arizona is one of the only states in the US that cannot abide Daylight Saving Time, clearly a tool of the socialist overlords. This, like many other elements of Arizona, is willfully ignorant and backwards-leaning at best, vaguely lunkheaded and fascist feeling at worst. It’s also rather harrowing when you suddenly realize, having left Arizona, “Oh this show starts at 7 p.m., not 9 p.m. like you originally thought, so yeah, we’re already late.” That said, we not only ruled the stage in Santa Fe, we truly lived like hell-ass kings. Rock was delivered; good times were had. There was loose affiliation with success.

I would be remiss not to mention the pastoral beauty of the transition between Arizona and New Mexico. Without being a poor man’s travel blog, this is a gorgeous country, and it's something that even I have to take a second to let sink in. This is awesome. This is happening. We get to do this. I take the pictures, but they come out as flat and unmoving as a neighbor’s vacation slides, so you just need to take my word for it that this is fantastic and that you should experience it for yourself.

The drive is long and mostly uneventful. We listen to a lot of music. And then: Santa Fe. First we’re greeted by local character and SF expat Sam Atakra, who is enough of a crucial dude to not only be generally awesome, but to bring us a green chile gourmet-style Santa Fe pizza as a non-fail dinner. For those of us who are coming painfully close to poverty, this is not only a kindness but a near-saintly act. As we load in frantically, we hear Pulpit 4, the local band on the bill, tearing through a cover of “Gates of Steel”. Insane, as we just finished listening to “Duty Now For the Future” in the van. DEVO 4-evah!

As the premier all-ages venue in Santa Fe, there are many kids around at Warehouse 21 and it’s starting to look like that this show will be a complete winner, despite being the late-arriving rock dudes. Apparently somebody catches wind of a real cool party though, which nearly immediately saps away 90 percent of the crowd before we are even finished setting up. Yup, free, awesome rock show from touring band that traveled untold hours rates far less than drinking warm PBRs at Kimmy Stadtler’s place. The place does not clear out completely, and even still we absolutely are resolved to be our best no matter what. It’s how we roll.

The party line for a band like us is that it doesn’t matter if you are playing for eight people or eight hundred. If those people are truly locked in to what you are doing and you are connecting, it makes all the difference in the world. It’s a slippery slope, and, oftentimes a justification for an endless series of lies you tell yourself to slap on a grin and bear another letdown. However, when it’s really true, it hits you harder than anything else and the long drives, the insulting compensation, the noble indifference all melt away. It’s the truest, most amazing feeling in the world and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t completely overwhelm me this night. It’s a white hot flash of something wonderful and pure and it cannot be bought with the most pricey PR person or pertinent hype.

The crowd that stays to watch us trends demographically toward our peer group for sure (that is, not under 21): hilarious, but there is a pretty young girl rocking out just to the left that blew off this party and is engrossed in every song. This fills me with a happiness that I can barely communicate effectively. Planting seeds, planting seeds.

We sell more merch to these people then any show since our last record release. We sell the last of our collectors' plates (!), and we truly are hurting for being out of medium shirts. But the good people of Santa Fe deliver and deliver hard, in a humbling and awe-inspiring manner and with an enthusiasm that I wish I could export to San Francisco.

At this point I would be remiss to not mention the hard work and laudable ethos of Ana Wooldridge, a local hero by any sane person’s estimation who runs Warehouse 21. A lovely lady who truly “gets it”, she brings the “pay it forward” ethos that make the underground work ever so well now and again. City of Santa Fe, we thank you for your generosity and largesse. You have filled our coffers in a very real way and have given sustainability a serious shot in the arm for this tour. Because of this, we have the power to fight on for another day.

After the show we head back to our new friend and fan Tom’s place. Where he treats us with the kind of otherworldly hospitality that non-band people expect happens nightly. I will say this: any show night that ends with hot tubbing with excellent local beers in an artisan’s workplace is aces in my book. Dude is legitimately moved by the music, and makes no bones about it. A night of mirth, contemplation and general party-making ensues. Too many pullquotes to list, too many laughs to be adequately documented.

Tom and (old pal) Davis talk at length to us about how the performance “switch is flipped” with me and I just turn from just some regular dude into the thing that I do and am. And it’s suddenly a show. I know this switch. It’s a real thing. It’s when I really feel most true and free. It’s impossible to not sound like an A-hole talking about though, or at least a schizophrenic. We soak in the good vibes nonetheless and drink in the good company like a fine wine.

The most stressful and long drive of the entire tour is the next day, but the dread that we could or should feel is completely by drowned by the utter all encompassing bliss of camaraderie.

This is why we fight. This is why we do what we do.

These are the moments that we live for. It is fucking beautiful, and there is no mediocre misery in the world that can take this away from us.

These things are facts.

Jams in the van:
T. Rex — Electric Warrior, Air — 1,000 htz, Liars — They Threw Us in A Trench and Put a Monument on Top, Police Teeth — Awesomer Than the Devil, Stevie Wonder — Talking Book, Boards of Canada — Music has the Right to Children, Grandaddy — Under the Western Freeway, Talking Heads mix, Father FiguresLesson Number One, DEVO — Duty Now for the Future

Stuff we sold: three vinyl copies and two CD copies of These Things Are Facts LP, two collectors' plates, three tour posters, one Party Savior/Thousandaire CD

Setlist: Plausibly Wild / Get Tough, Get Through It / Brothers Doing It For Themselves / Damaged Goods (Gang of Four cover) / Exasperated, Inc. / For Serious / Doubtbreak / Funundrum / You Can’t Stop The Signal

This is the fifth installment of Victory and Associates' South by Southwest tour diary, which will continue to be published right here this and week. For more about the band, visit their website, follow them on Twitter, or like them on Facebook. For the first four parts of the series, click here.

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