Just Another Wild-Hot, Fire-Filled August Night In Sacramento

Written By Casandra

August 28, 2015, a very hot one in California.  Tajlyn managed to book a random show this night from meeting a fellow from the previous Saturday where we played a show in Auburn.  Side note to those thriving musicians – don’t stop playing during your set even if you are just playing for the bar tender(s).  A booker from another venue may just show up a half hour before your set is up and want to book you at their venue because they think you rock…..

We were staying about an hour outside of Sacramento.  Up in the mountains it was in the high 90s.  Feels great, the dry heat.  We were at the last few days of staying with some very good family friends in California before we headed back east.  It was the second to last show of the west coast tour.

With Mondo – The Gig Dragon loaded, Taj and I headed down the mountain and to Sacramento we went.  As we headed down I-80 West, the point where you can see the skyline of Sacramento, shortly after New Castle and before Rocklin, I see this huge cloud of smoke coming out the right side of the skyline.  Immediately having flashbacks of the previous August and having lived in the path of the King Fire, I became nervous.  I told Tajlyn not to mention anything about the smoke, which was most likely a fire, to mother if and when she called us (and she called us whilst we were right outside of Sacramento – the smoke was ridiculous and there was only one helicopter fighting the wild fire from the sky).  I could tell it wasn’t anything the firefighters couldn’t handle because everything was as if there was not a fire going on, so I kept my cool.  The temperature was getting close to 110 degrees fahrenheit, but inside the Gig Dragon was nice and cool.

We found the venue –New Helvetia Brewery – on the outskirts of MidTown, right on the corner of Broadway and 18th.  I couldn’t see or smell any smoke, nor did I hear any sirens.  It was time to put that fire in the back of my mind and focus on some good times.  This was a happening place.  Fair amount of people and dog lovers.  Tajlyn was just about half way set up when I noticed she did not look very good.  I thought she might pass out – the heat was getting to her.  It was close to 110 out.  She slowed it down a bit and re-grouped herself, re-hydrating.  With the help of some time passing, the sun going down and a large fan being turned on, Tajlyn looked like she was good to play.

I had forgotten the camera, but managed to grab a little bit of footage on the Cool Pad (generic version of an iPad).  Tajlyn played a great set.  A new friend we made that night even got me to play the doumbek along with Tajlyn – I guess I did an all right job.  We made more than a few new friends that night – from all over the world.  Two entertaining brothers from Mexico, a nice woman with an English accent, two cool guys from Nepal, a cool guy from Canada who had two really cool dogs and several other people whose country of origin I did not catch, but they were all very nice and fun to be around. Pretty awesome 🙂

Definitely want to go back to New Helvetia Brewery for another gig and night of great company and music.  Not to mention their beer is super awesome AND they have Kombucha on tap 🙂

Here is the link to the fire that was going on during this gig: http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/fires/article32692665.html

Here are some photos & video footage from that night too!  Taken by multiple people…..


Thanks for reading!  Til Next Time – Casandra

2 Days & 2 Nights In San Francisco

Written By Casandra

October 2014 in California was beautiful and warm….when is it not?  To answer that one, usually by the last week of October, Central California has been known to get its cold and hard rainfall, sometimes snow and ice, for a few to several days straight.  Tajlyn & I set up this tour from October 10th thru the 29th with hopes to avoid that and we were blessed with beautiful weather for traveling and camping. This was our first tour.

The fourth day of the tour brought us to San Francisco, California where Tajlyn was to play an open mic night at the Historical Hotel Utah.  I decided to write about this time first because the main header photo on this site was taken during this time in San Fran. Tajlyn had asked a fellow friend, another professional musician, if they knew of anyone we could stay with and they were able to hook us up with a very nice fellow, also a musician, who lived in the Richmond District, a block from Golden Gate Park.

Shortly after arriving, our new friend gave us the tour of his apartment/house which ended up on top of the roof with a spectacular view of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge in the not so far distance.  He told us we could set up our tent on the roof and camp out for the next two nights.  Taj and I were stoked, this was something very new and exciting for us – rooftop camping.  Taj and I put the tent up on the roof only to realize it was way too windy, we had nothing decent to anchor our tent, and that it would most likely blow away.  We broke the tent down, it tried to fly away from us a few times while we were doing this, then we headed back inside and got ready for the open mic at Hotel Utah.  Our host rode his bicycle and Taj and I drove a short distance to the venue.  We circled around it a few times, as we have a tendency to do with new venues, then found a parking spot, which landed us a $65 ticket by the end of the night – doh!  Good old downtown street cleaning….

Hotel Utah is a beautiful establishment and was extremely packed with people; it was difficult to move through the building.  The list of open mic performers was possibly close to 80, maybe even 100 and it hadn’t even begun.  Our new friend bought us dinner and drinks and we headed to the balcony to watch a long night of many talented and diverse individuals.  Tajlyn was one of the last several to perform.  Click here to listen to a lot of the acts from that night that were shared. Tajlyn is on the list playing “Won’t Be Heard”. The acts that stand out in my memory the most (and from re-listening on that link I just shared with you) are Steve Arnsten playing the piano – very beautifully….the  featured punk band of the night, Lee Austin Hoffman aka Elegant Trash, who played several awesome songs that brought me back to my days of punk rockin’ it out as often as I could at hard core shows…. pretty sure he was a Native American, Tygel Pinto, he played a wind instrument and beat boxed and rapped – yes! this is awesome…. Death of the West was trippy and he had a light show going on….Brendan Getzell – the host – is a very talented musician – great sound – a little funky….Ruce played guitar beautifully, his voice just as lovely….Dollface had a strong, sexy voice…. Mike Glendinning – creative and rugged and quite funny 🙂 ….Billy Banks didn’t share his song, but he rocked it and was a cool dude.  There was one other guy who I can’t remember his name nor did he share his song from that night.  He wore a puffed coat and had made a track on his cell phone that he sung to.  I honestly was not expecting to hear what I heard come out from his vocals – beautiful – it was like he should have been one of the Backstreet Boys.

That night Taj and I shared a pillow bed, which did not agree with my back and I found myself unable to sleep and quickly becoming frustrated.  I found a spot on the floor in the hallway among moving boxes and passed out.  Over the next few hours I would hear multiple different sets of footsteps pass by me.  I didn’t realize we were staying in one of those shared apartments where each person gets a bedroom and they share the kitchen and bathroom area.  I think there were four or five other people living in this building; and here I am, some random person sleeping on the floor in their main hallway.  I felt a little silly.

The next day Taj and I set out for Golden Gate Park to take advantage of the free morning admission at the Japanese Tea Garden.  There were a lot of artists sketching throughout the garden.  This was not our first time here, but it is still very peaceful and enjoyable no matter how many times you have been there.  We wandered around Golden Gate Park for a few hours and then proceeded to head back to our friend’s place to get some lunch.  We left the park and followed the street that was suppose to lead us back.  However, there was a problem that took me a little while to figure out.  The street names are the same on each side of Golden Gate Park, and we were on the other side of the park, about a half mile outside of the park.  The park takes close to an hour to walk through and I was getting very hungry.  The amount of people and all the sounds and smells were making me overload and become irritable.  Taj and I decided to look for a place to eat before making the trip back through the park.  I did my best to keep my cool while we looked for an affordable and healthy place to eat.

After literally going through close to 25 different groceries and restaurants we found Yumma’s Mediterranean Grill.  Great prices for a nice amount of authentic, healthy, yummy food.  The owner and chef were very nice.  We sat outside in the back and ate our meal.  Feeling much better we made our way back through Golden Gate Park and back to the Richmond District.  Lesson learned and a new favorite spot to eat in San Fran found!

We made it back and spent the rest of the day relaxing and getting ready for traveling the next day.  We had a nice dinner of bean burritos with our friend and called it an early night.  This time, he offered us his bed and he took the pillow bed which was a much nicer sleep than the previous night.

The next morning we headed down to the ocean to walk the beach and watch the surfers.  This isn’t my favorite beach, but it was nice to get down by the water and people watch.  After our beach walk we chilled in the parking lot, ate some snacks and prepared for our next drive.  I watched an attractive man who was a bus driver, parked next to us, body weight work out on his break in his uniform, without his top on. He had attempted to motivate his co-worker, she was not having it.  Before we left I told him he was looking good and to keep it up.  One thing that makes me smile is seeing people exercising during the short breaks in their day.

Thanks for reading!  Below are some pictures I took from this travel tale: