The band somehow achieved our goal of leaving Tucson by 10 a.m., and we headed back through Phoenix and west on I-10 for Los Angeles.
The drive took us through the extreme desolation of the Arizona and California desert, finally relenting as we began to approach L.A. Though, as it happens, the approach to L.A. lasts for about 100 miles and we felt like we were almost there for an hour and a half.
Luckily, the traffic was far less severe than it could have been and we got held up only a few minutes in downtown before making it to the venue in the Silverlake area.
We parked on Sunset Boulevard and walked into the Silverlake Lounge, where we’d be playing that night. We were surprised to find Mexican ranchero music coming from the speakers and a bartender that spoke spotty English. It sort of seemed like we had the wrong place, and that maybe they’d been expecting a flamenco band instead. But after we waited a while and happy hour dragged on, the atmosphere (and the music) changed and some of L.A.’s hip crowd began to trickle in.
At some point, we heard that the headlining electronic act piEL had canceled. This meant that only two bands would play: Mount Righteous and Miss Derringer, a glammy pseudo-country quintet replete with dark makeup and gothic imagery.
We decided to play two sets, one before and one after Miss Derringer.
We got on the small stage and played our first show in California. Some friends of ours who live out here came to see us, and more people began coming in as our set went on. After our pair of incredible Arizona shows, we began to feel like putting on a really solid performance was becoming second nature. We’ve really locked in to one another and are reading each other on-stage, which gives everyone a lot of confidence and energy, and I think it’s coming through in our performances.
After our set, Miss Derringer played and Mount Righteous acted as a built-in 11 person audience. And, when they finished, we set up again and played four more songs for the crowd, which had grown since our first set.
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It was an interesting introduction to L.A.’s music scene: The people were different than the crowds we’ve thus far grown accustomed to playing to, but the response was really positive and the faces in the crowd looked like they were witnessing some strange spectacle. But, really, from the perspective of Los Angeles show-goers, we must be quite a sight: an 11 piece marching punk band from the Lone Star State? A few people approached us after the show and said they had been walking by the club and couldn’t help but come in and pay the cover to see what was going on.
Some people made a special point to refer to us as “y’all.”
After the show, the band split ways, staying at the various houses of our friends--it’s good to have people we know and love in such a megalith of a city. Today, we head south to the UC Irvine campus for a daytime show, and then to Long Beach tonight for a beachside house party.
Thus begins our few days in Southern California. --Justin Spike and the rest of Mount Righteous