By: Kristen Fisher –
Traveling to see a band is equivalent to picking up and moving away in mid-sentence while talking about the weather. It’s a sudden whirlwind of time zones, venue doors opening at 7 or 8 p.m. and deciding whether or not the clothes you’ve been wearing need a quick wash in the hotel sink. I never knew that Black Rebel Motorcycle Club would be the band I’d travel well over a couple thousand miles for (a couple because this is not the first long distance trip I’ve made for them) and even more so I have never regretted a flat tire, being pulled over by a state trooper or becoming slightly deserted in the middle of Oregon.
B.R.M.C happened to appear in my life around 2010 and it would take three years until I was given the chance to head out to L.A. on pure chance. Maybe it was because “River Styx” had been replayed until the bassline, drums and guitar virtually imprinted within my psyche. That was when a catalog of songs, b-sides along with numerous live recordings charismatically dropped into rotation; hidden in a stereo within my tiny bedroom.
Leaving Vancouver – October 16, 2016
The Pacific Northwest has two dials based on weather… gorgeous or hell hath no fury. In this case driving a grand 300 miles in the rain was going to be the general outcome. Between rest stops and running for cover to stretch our legs nothing too eventful took place until Twin Falls, Idaho. Driving into Twin Falls means crossing a bridge which overlooks a portion of the Snake River that over time has been crafted into a picturesque setting straight out of The Lord Of The Rings.
While grabbing a bit to eat at a local Northwest diner called Shari’s. It was going to take us another couple hundred miles to officially cross over to the Utah state line and our booked hotel which almost did not allow us early residence.
October 18, 2016 – Salt Lake City, Utah – The Depot
Sliding into Utah required a night’s sleep in the car and hoping a batch of sunlight would eventually shine through. As luck would have it, Utah glimmered and the temperature rose to a steady Indian Summer feel.
After our little group made it to the hotel room, we garnered a half day’s rest and warm water. For some reason (maybe because Halloween was around the corner) the television was tuned into every Horror film available that night. Falling asleep to the 1968 version The Night Of The Living Dead will forever remain a highlight, who knew three individuals had such a mutual liking to the soothing sounds of zombies.
As luck would have it sleep began to elude as insomnia began to run it’s course. After a certain period of hours have gone by I have developed a trigger point where insomnia kicks in full force. The red alarm clock shone throughout the room displaying 5:00 A.M. Up earlier than expected a strange blue glow illuminated from the parking lot outside seeping into our hotel room. I never found the source for this mysertious occurrence.
2pm rolls around as our taxi arrives and we head off towards the venue. Before investigating what surrounded The Depot, to our delight a hidden park which lead to an abundance of 90 stores seemingly emerged from the back of The Depot. All of these stores where linked together by crosswalks, bridges, steps as well as a never ending supply of doorways. Becoming lost felt prominent.
The Depot is also part of the Union Pacific Train Station adding a touch of elegance to a sweaty rock n’ roll adventure. Inside the grand venue holds around 1,200 individuals ready to forget their week or a good couple of hours in exchange for music night worthy of causing a little trouble and moshing wildly.
Maybe the interior of the old train station held onto the past, allowing only the present sounds to linger through creating a distinct hallowed gathering.
Inside The Depot proved to be a whole other experience. Deap Vally immediately converted the space with their latest album Femejism. Adding even more garage grunge volume to their sound. We were all easily immersed in the sonic powerhold Deap Vally unleashed.
Death From Above 1979 knew how to utilize bass speakers. By bumping the small notch up pass the breaking point…a slight ringing in my ears can still be felt. Nevertheless DFA 1979 issued no apologies and only a sudden expanse with an explosion of drums and bass, which left the three of us incredulous with adrenaline.
Followed by a killer 90’s playlist the venue was playing over the loudspeaker, 10:00 P.M. was closing in. Unexpectedly (even though I’ve attended a handful of B.R.M.C shows before) a low drone repetitive sound introduced Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Excitement as well as a welcomed retreat from the world felt gratifying. We were home… secluded beneath this shelter far away from our comfort zones. Yet we were ready to given in to the sounds and forget about everything else.
October 20, 2016 – Seattle, Washington – The Showbox SoDo
Allow October 19th to take a moment, the universe and strange full moon unsettling vibes started to creep up on the three of us in the car. After arriving into Oregon around 7:30 P.M. add on three more hours before a horrific crash site reared it’s terrifying head. While passing the wreckage that mimicked a tornado massacre, within a few feet of driving pass I was pulled over by a state trooper. Running on little sleep and awaiting the next rest stop to officially take a few hours to sleep.
Let’s speed up to entering Washington without anymore delays or distractions by finally arriving at the Travelodge by the Space Needle. At 3:30 P.M. rushing around getting ready (because Seattle traffic can become horrid around 4:00-5:30 P.M. we needed to hurry) while running on three hours of sleep.
You may be wondering if anymore restraunts or diners have come into play. That would be a big no because we stocked up on protein bars, superfood bars and wait for it…Whole Foods squeezable baby food packs. Yes, because receiving our essential vitamins was not going to happen any other way. Especially if you have to leave according to schedule and you have already driven 24 hours in the course of two to three days.
Not to mix up The Showbox with The Showbox SoDo which Deap Vally and Death From Above 1979 both explained was probably the most confusing venues possible. As a heavy night rampaged on, Deap Vally not only started a rival of guitar and drum hard hitting fusion. Death From Above 1979 turned the volume notch even higher once on stage causing a bass distortion to a liquefying degree. While the crowd had already begun to mosh, the energy carries well into B.R.M.C’s set. At the last song, as those up front on the rail gave in to head banging, dancing and even a couple of pogoing moments; bassist Robert Levon Been jumps off of the stage and heads for the mass crowd of hands already aiming towards him. Continuing to headbang while also holding up a bassist who is leaning into the crowd further and further, seems like a well deserved badge towards musical spectator glory.
October 21, 2016 – Portland, Oregon – The Roseland Theater
After 27 hours of driving under our belt with 1,783.2 miles down; we were greeted with a very cold and rainy Portland. Most of those at the venue were huddled under awnings and any sort of shelter around as a storm passed overhead.
Deciding that this would be the last show of a week long road trip/tour, taking a seat up on the balcony was my choosen preference. After attending each B.R.M.C show on the rail; being able to experience the show looking out above the stage became an idyllic reprieve. From songs being played that no one expected, to B.R.M.C’s newest track ‘Haunt’ rolling a fine line between surreal secrecy and a type of secluded impact. The theater darkened into a private room ready to be concealed from the oncoming world.