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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

10.24.06-40 Watt Club:Athens, GA

10.20.06-Starr Hill:Charlottesville, VA

What is in the water around here?

This was by far the most insane crowd on this tour:

Sometimes the Sky's Too Bright
by: Dylan Thomas

Sometimes the sky's too bright,
Or has too many clouds or birds,
And far away's too sharp a sun
To nourish thinking of him.
Why is my hand too blunt
To cut in front of me
My horrid images for me,
Of over-fruitful smiles,
The weightless touching of the lip
I wish to know
I cannot lift, but can,
The creature with the angel's face
Who tells me hurt,
And sees my body go
Down into misery?
No stopping. Put the smile
Where tears have come to dry.
The angel's hurt is left;
His telling burns.

Sometimes a woman's heart has salt,
Or too much blood;
I tear her breast,
And see the blood is mine,
Flowing from her, but mine,
And then I think
Perhaps the sky's too bright;
And watch my hand,
But do not follow it,
And feel the pain it gives,
But do not ache.

10.19.06-The Norva:Norfolk, VA

Got up at 4:30a.m. in Nashville;
Flew to Baltimore;
Two hour lay over,
Flew to Norfolk;
Waited in airport two hours;
Friend Jess picked me up (thanks)!
Went to venue and was happy to find a ping-pong and foozeball table in dressing room . . .

Took pictures of my bandmates and them of me:

10.15.06-Stubb's:Austin, TX

Looking back on this night in Austin, I immediately think about the history that I've been cordially brought into, namely that of La Zona Rosa. I took this picture of Ruben Blades in our dressing room, and was humbled to be part of this legacy; that is, the legacy of playing some venues with significant history, such as Cain's in Tulsa, Knitting Factory in NYC, etc.

As the rest of the Texas shows, it was a special night because a good number of friends and family came to see us, especially people from the valley. For example, I was surprised to see David Ramirez, a friend I grew up playing music with and someone I haven't seen in over two years. So, it's nice to encounter such people in midst of tour. These things bring even more meaning to me as we constantly make our way around the country. Thanks.

10.14.06-Numbers:Houston, TX

Another great Texas show, but with too much destruction at the end . . . bass amps fell and so did people . . . Darren wore a bass drum on his head at the end of the show.

Thanks to Homer Rios from the RGV for bringing some tasty Mexican food from back home. Plus, it was cool to hang out with another homeboy Steve Salinas, with whom I ate some Mediterranean and talked about music, life, and old times.

Pictured below is Robert from Jonezetta. They blew it up that night in H-Town.

10.13.06-Gypsy Ballroom:Dallas, TX

Even though I haven't lived in Texas for several years now, I always feel like I'm coming back home when we play here, especially in Dallas since my family now lives in the area. I talked to my sister about why Texans are so proud about being Texans, and it is not always so clear. Were we brainwashed from an early age to think that this is the best state?

We do have only one star on our fl
ag . . . so does Puerto Rico. I know PR is not a state, but a territory; regardless, those a some proud people . . . ask mi suegro, my father-in-law.

However, Texas does have a unique history, that is, once being its own country and also its being a part of Mexico. Its culture is diverse and so is the landscape (hills, deserts, beaches, big cities, etc); it may not as beautiful as other parts of the States, e.g. Oregon, Washington, and Tennessee (ha ha ha!). I'm sorry to admit. Nevertheless, I'm a proud Texan, and always will be.

Before the show, Darren and I hung out with Jason Hibdon, a good friend and our old monitor engineer. We went down to lower Greenville street and checked out some thrift stores. It was an interesting ride as Jason jerked us around in his little pick-up truck, as Texas as it gets.

As far as the show went, this was by far the most enjoyable Dallas show Mute Math has ever played. The Gypsy Ballroom was packed, and the crowd, as usual big D audiences go, showed big love.

My favorite part of the set came during the end of "Break the Same" when Darren took his bass drum off his kit, handed it to someone along the front row, jumped on top of it as people held him up, and he played his little clicky/clicky part. I was floored to see Darren doing his thing as he floated on the crowd. He was crushing them with not only his drums, literally, but with his charisma.

10.11.06-Cain's Ballroom:Tulsa, OK

This being our second time at Cain's, I knew what to expect and was looking forward to it, that is, a historic venue with a unique vibe and energy. However, I really didn't expect the show to be one of the best of the tour.

I think what makes for a great rock show, ultimately, is how closely the band can connect with the audience and take them to another place, preferably a higher/out-of-this-world experience.

At last night's show, I believe we made that special
connection; sometimes the band can play all the right notes, make all the right moves, turn on all the right lights, and still nothing special happens if the audience isn't willing to go along for the ride; however, last night the crowd was with us all the way, displaying a vibrant energy and love for the music. They were amazing! We fed off it all night long.

According to Cain's, this venue was one of only the seven or so US dates the Sex Pistols played. Sid left his mark here by punching a hole in the wall, which is shown in this picture. They have taken that piece of dry-wall and framed it. This is just one of the many interesting things about this venue.

By the end of the night, I was feeling like this plate of veggies. My friends Roy Acuff and Alex Warren (fellow scholar and writer/legalist) shared in the joy of the night. Smiles bombarded the cool night in Tulsa. The dry air soothed our throats and cleared our minds for the next round of shows in Texas.

10.10.06-Revolution Music Room:Little Rock, AR

Just in case you didn't know, Rumba is a style of music, and in Cuba it has various forms.

Hay tres variantes principales del complejo de la
danza denominada rumba cubana:
  • el Guaguancó, (La Habana)
  • la Columbia, (Matanzas)
  • el Yambú. (Matanzas)

La instrumentación para la rumba

incluye tres tumbadoras (la tumbadora es un tambor inventado

en Cuba que, a diferencia de los africanos, tiene llaves; se puede afinar, y escribir partituras. Hoy es universal) y dos palillos que repiquetean sobre una caja de madera.

Dos de los tambores, (la tumbadora prima y el segundo o tres), marcan el ritmo básico; la tercera tumbadora llamada "quinto"(que se afina más alto), da los golpes improvisados, los floreos dirigidos a los bailarines.

I love Cuban music, Cuban culture, and most of all, Cuban food. However, it's pretty sad and (some what insulting) when restaurants claim to have Cuban food, but they are not even in the ballpark. Unfortunately, I experienced this yesterday in Little Rock, but I'm going to leave it at that because everything else regarding this city, the decorative venue, and the fans was wonderful. We had a surprisingly great turn out of enthusiastic people even though this was only our second time placing here; they definitely made me forget about my disappointing food experience. I guess I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to that, especially after being married to a beautiful women who can cook they real stuff. God, I miss my wife!

10.08.06-Creepy Crawl:St. Louis, MO

I woke up to a lovely Sunday morning in St. Louis. As I walked around the area near the venue, I soon found a beautiful church that reminded me of many things: one, my days as un jovencito sitting in mass, staring up at the ceilings; two, my Catholic school days at Our Lady of Sorrows in McAllen, Texas; and three, my first visit to New Orleans in 1995 as a new student to Loyola University, in which I gazed at the immaculate beauty of the insides of the school's cathedral.

Upon immediate glance, I explored the buildings' outsides, admiring the architechture and surrounding statutes, but when I stepped inside, I then felt a peace and calming effect. It was a serene place, with a circular fountain of sorts, endlessly moving holy water. The sound allow was enough to make me take a deep breath and relax. The smells of the old wood floors and burning candles brought calm to me in the midst of a busy tour and even more hectic city outside the four walls of the special sacturary.

I naturally dipped my hand into the bowl of holy water and made the sign of the cross on my forehead. I even genuflected without thinking about it, just unconsciously. This place was impressive to say the least. I sat down and just tried to become still. I meditated and prayed.

I thought of this prayer known as the "serenity prayer" -

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.


--Reinhold Niebuhr

I walked out of the church with such a good vibe on my shoulders and

seemingly, nothing else. I tried to carry it on throughout the day and into the show.

I felt such a great energy and revitalization during the morning that I didn't wait to lose it; instead, I tried to retain it and pass it on to those around me, specifally via music. As I played the show, I wanted people to feel the vibrations of that serenity I felt today. Like a dub line from a Bob Marley song or tumbao from Cachao, I desired to translate that positive energy into the hearts and soul of everyone around me. Hopefully, it did.

10.06.06-The Loft:Minneapolis, MN

Fall approaches as we follow it around the country . . .

"The Tables Turned" by William Wordsworth

Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you'll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?

The sun above the mountain's head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.

Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,

There's more of wisdom in it.

And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.

She has a world of ready wealth,
Our minds and hearts to bless--
Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
Truth breathed by cheerfulness.

One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.

Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:--
We murder to dissect.

Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.

10.05.06-Park West:Chicago, IL

It was nice coming back to Chicago after not being there since Lollapalooza, my two-year anniversary. This is a wonderful city and it's amazing every time we are here.

This was our second time playing at the Park West, and it was better this time around; that is, we didn't have prom to compete with. Anyway, with a lot of friends and family out at this show, it was difficult not to have a good time.

Dan's father helped us tremendously, from loading in to setting up lights. Dan brought the goods to this show and made his family proud. It's been great having an actualy light show. It really enhances the music and feeds a spectacular vibe into the venue. We are blessed to have someone work so hard for us, and someone who really loves what he does.

10.01.06-Bottleneck:Lawrence, KS

I walked into the Bottleneck and was happy to find that the foul stench that was present here during our last visit was gone. I remember almost throwing up on stage because the intense mix of sweat, body odor, and that peculiar smell (a kin to that of an elephant's rear) was a bit much to handle; however, at this show, we still had some intense sweat and body odor, but nothing to write home about.

What was extraordinary about this show was the technical difficulties experienced prior our show. For one, all our lights were not working (due to faulty power hook-up) and the 1k bulb hanging over my head exploded (thankfully before I got on stage . . . I got up there to find broken glass everywhere). Secondly, Shiny Toy Guns and Jonezetta had a particularly hard time with sound since the house guy had no idea what he was doing. Both of them didn't have much of a monitoring system. I felt bad for them. I've been there before and it's a difficult place to be, especially when a sea of people are staring at you wanting and waiting for something great to happen. Hopefully, this will not be the case when we return.

9.30.06-Bluebird Theater:Denver, CO

I equate the Bluebird Theater with magic and the supernatural; that is, the way the music hits me here is special and thrilling. I'm lifted to higher places; the music settles inside my being and rattles my soul.

The space inside has a majestical quality about it with the high ceilings, baroque-like murals, and shapely molding, even though I've heard a bit about its dirty past, namely, that it was a adult movie theater. Regardless, what was once a negative thing is now a positive one, and the vibe of this quaint venue inspires me every time we are here. (This was our third time.)

Dan (our LD) has done a wonderful job with the lights . . .

. . . dealing with this:

9.29.06-Club Sound:Salt Lake City, UT

What? We're playing on the same night as The Strokes and in the venue next door? This is it . . . I've always wanted to see them; they're a great band, but I've never been able to make it work. Anyway, tonight is no exception . . .

There were two lines for each show, and Darren made it out to draw amongst the crowd. He picked up some chalk and did his thing on the sidewalk.

He got stares and some love. Some Strokes' fans got in on the fun, and wrote Mute Math on the wall as Darren wrote The Strokes . . . then it got ugly when somebody wrote vs. in between. However, Darren fixed all that be drawing a heart instead.

Later, Darren and I took a walk over to a vegan restaurant and then, the mall; (this was the same wall in which I met Celso Fonseca's brother, at a brazilian restaurant, about a year and a half ago.)

I remembered there was a Virgin record store over there, and I wanted to see if our album was available.

When I found it immediately, I must admit that I was truly excited and happy. So. I took a picture.

9.28.06-Off Day in Cortez, CO

As I have mentioned before, days off are often the most difficult while on the road. This is mainly because I believe that if I'm out on the road, away from my family and home, I want to be working, not wasting time somewhere in the middle of the country. Thankfully, on this tour, we haven't had too many "off days" and on those days, we've haven't thrown them away by ill planning (another pet peeve of mine).

Regardless, it's been therapeutic for me to keep up with this blog and take pictures. It's fun finding intersting things to capture, and look at them in a new light. I'm no photographer, but it's all in good fun. Plus, I'm able to take it all in, and enjoy these journeys, instead of being frustrated out here.

America has some beautiful scenery . . .

Down low, checking out the spinners, orale, one love . . . unity

yellow flowers, dirty mountains,
tierra linda, tierra santa

Que pasa, Cortez . . . a donde vas? hoy me voy . . . to the oceans that do not exist . . . a las nubes que no existen tampoco.

I found this cool poem online:
"Pausas II"
by Jose Gorostiza 1901-1973

No canta el. grillo. Ritma
la música
de una estrella.

las pausas luminosas
con su reloj de arena.


sus órbitas de oro
en la desolación etérea.

La buena gente piensa

-sin embargo-
que canta una cauta
de música en la hierba.

Vintage cab used on MM debut (two 15" Jensen speakers).