Thursday, March 31, 2011

On tour with Ha Ha Tonka- Day 3; March 31, 2011; The Neurolux Lounge, Boise

At nearly nine hours, today was going to be the longest drive of the tour, and the way it started off it looked like it would be even longer. The rainy weather that had followed us from Portland continued as we left Seattle sometimes reducing visibility on the Interstate to almost nothing. After the rain stopped we were knocked around by the wind, not something you want when you are driving a van and pulling a trailer. In fact, if I weren’t so confident in Brian’s driving ability I probably would have been a little scared, but the night before he had backed into the parking spot in back of the Tractor, leaving it perfectly straight and two feet from the wall on the first try, and I promptly proclaimed him my hero. Eventually we left the wind and rain behind and were treated to some breathtaking views, and I was reminded why I had picked this week of the tour.

No one seemed to be expecting much from Boise and it seemed an unlikely stop, but I guess it is the only way to get across the west without a night off. I was charmed by the Neurolux as soon as I walked in the door and saw a ping pong table set up on the dance floor. Some of the charm wore off once I realized how smoky it was. I’ve been so spoiled since Wisconsin and all its neighbor states passed smoking bans that I forgot there was anywhere left where you could still smoke inside. There was decent crowd and they certainly seemed into the show, even though the night’s total was short of what their friends Murder by Death had done just a few weeks before. Tonight was also my first experience with the “buyout,” which means that if a venue doesn’t provide the meal in the rider, they can give you ten bucks instead. And no, I did not use that money for dinner; I used it on pale ale. It seemed a good investment.

In most cities the band already had folks they could stay with lined up, but since they didn’t know anyone in Boise, I got in touch with the one person I knew in the whole state of Idaho. Matt Hopper blew into Madison several years back and the shameless self promoter had just become a household name when he blew out again, landing in Boise. He admitted his place was small but promised he would find us a place. And did he ever. A friend of his was house-sitting her parents’ place on the golf course and was nice enough to not only bring us back there, but also Hoots & Hellmouth. She got up the next morning and went to work, leaving eleven people she had just met sleeping in her parent’s house. It’s good to know there are other people like me out there. And thanks to Matt Hopper too, it was great to see you.

The view through the windshield

Ha Ha Tonka

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