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Wednesday, October 21, 2009


October 17, 2009: Minneapolis, MN: First Ave

It was nice to finally headline this historic club (“Your Downtown Danceteria Since 1970” as they call it) after being to Minneapolis so many times; we played once before with Mae, but it was really special also to go back to the room where we met DJ Shadow about a year and half earlier. The show went exceptionally well; great crowd but not as rowdy as the normal MN patrons go I must say. DK barely made the jump back to the stage after being on his drum. I think I saw a video of it on youtube, but I can’t find it anymore.

October 19, 2009: Chicago, IL: House of Blues

The Chicago House of Blues is my favorite HOB (maybe club) in the country (maybe world) by far; it is beautiful with its huge collection of folk art; it is accommodating and spacious yet still warm and earthy, not corporate feeling on stage; it has great sound and cool, large plank wooden floors on stage, which moves by the way when DK plays his kits. (I know that the audience floor moves, too, which just brings such a great energy to everything); it’s no doubt that this show is contending to be the best show of the tour for me. The downside to this venue is that they kick everybody out way too quick, and they tend to have too many rules about things, which goes for many of the HOBs. A friend of mine has aptly coined them the House of Rules. Nevertheless, I still prefer to play here and feel that the fans get the best possible show here time and time again.

October 20, 2009: Grand Rapids, MI: Orbit Room

Before the show, some of us went to eat Japanese at a nearby mall, at a wonderful place called OYSY. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much good sushi in my life. I was hurting, but was able to walk it off at a mall a couple of hours before the show. I’m glad I did or I would have definitely vomited on stage. I’ll leave that kind of accident/occurrence to DK. Anyway, by far, this night in GR possessed one of the most electric crowds of the tour. I hope the lady in the front found her ring, and that everyone had a good, memorable time.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

So Cal, Vegas, Denver, & KS

October 11, 2009: San Diego, CA: House of Blues

La familia and I strolled around downtown SD looking for a resupply of baby food, all along taking in the beautiful weather and sights. Overall, the show went well; probably one of the funniest things that happened so far on this tour happened here: Paul split his pants somewhere during "Spotlight." I didn't see it directly, but I knew something was up when he dashed off stage not to return for what felt like an eternity. DK gave a warm speech in the interim. Thank you San Diego.

October 13, 2009: Las Vegas, NV: House of Blues

Probably the best time of the tour we’ve had as a family since we had a full day off in a beautiful room in Mandalay Bay. I’d love to come back and have a family vacation here, which surprises me because I never thought that I would say that about this city. Anyway, the show went better than expected; it was a tighter performance than San Diego, and my son stayed up for the whole thing, which is always a good sign that we performed well.

October 14, 2009: Denver, CO: Ogden Theater

Probably one of the saddest times with la familia on tour since I had to say goodbye; it will be another three weeks before I get to see them again. This has been the hardest tour for me because of these sort of personal things. As far as the show went, it was memorable because this was one of the best crowds of the tour. The redhead guy (sorry I don't know your name for sure: he goes by Callen, aka Ghost Soldier) who does all the youtube drum covers was there, and he pumped me up all night. Thank you. Sorry I didn't get to meet you. And thanks for playing drums with such passion and skill. Keep it up.

October 16, 2009: Kansas City, KS: Beaumont Club

This was a good show overall (trying out a new intro thing), great crowd but so-so venue. I think it's not the best place to see a show. The stage is low and the spread of the room is a bit awkward. This was MM first time in Kansas City.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


October 8, 2009
Empire Event Center - (Sacramento): I felt myself getting more and more sick (coughing and hacking up phlegm) as the show progressed; let's just say I made it through.

October 9, 2009
The Fillmore - (San Francisco): interesting show, and thankfully I woke up feeling great thanks to lots of Dr. Schulze's "super foods," a steady supply of green and white teas, and rest (well as much as my son would allow me to get ; )

October 10, 2009
Club Nokia Live - (Los Angeles): by far my favorite show of the tour so far! You got to watch this moment of DK; it will be one we will be talking about for a while:

Thursday, October 08, 2009

October 5, 2009: Seattle, WA: Show Box & October 6, 2009: Portland, OR: Roseland Theater

Recap PNW Shows

Forgive me for not churning out a few thoughts about these shows right off the bat, but my wife and son flew in Monday afternoon; so, my time has been almost completely 100% dedicated to them; it’s been about two weeks since I’ve seen them, and that is long enough for any poor soul and his family.


I give this show a 6 out of 10. I was not happy with the vibe this night because I feel that we didn’t deliver fully as to the expectations projected by the fans; neither did we just had a really bad show nor was it one riddled with technical problems, but there were some limitations via the venue and the set list (which we are still trying to flesh out) that I think affected the overall outcome. It’s a strange thing to try to calculate and explain, but that is the sentiment I got after performing.

Now, I know for sure that some people out there that were in the “sweet spot” of the venue and had a great experience, and the set had its "glory moments." I could see a few of those fans, mainly in the “balcony” sections: the guy in the green shirt playing the best air drums ever, the crowd surfers, etc. Some may be surprised by my remarks and will probably misinterpret them, but it’s a high standard that I’m judging the show by. From start to finish, I want it to be captivating and moving. I think we’re off to a great start on this tour, and I remind myself that it took us three years of playing the old songs to get them to a level that we were happy with.

Also, I believe that someone suffered from a seizure during the show, which is very scary, and I hope that whomever this person is that he or she is okay. I didn't see it actually happen, but I saw that there was some sort of an emergency near the front left of me. I was later told that something of the sorts occurred. I'm sorry that someone had to suffer through that, especially at our show.


I give this show an 8 out of 10. This didn’t have as many people as in Seattle; yet, it felt so much better than the night before. The energy and “liveness” in the room was projecting everywhere. We also tried some different things in the set, like shifting “Pins & Needles” up front, and we were able to pull off Darren’s light drum thing in “No Response.” There was more room overall, and it felt more comfortable. My favorite moment of the set was when DK got everyone off their feet as he stood on top of the bass drum in the crowd.

I know that some people went to both shows, and I’d like to know your thoughts. Please leave a comment.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

October 3, 2009: Austin, TX: Austin City Limits Festival (2-3PM)

ACL Thoughts (played Saturday, October 3, 2009 2-3PM)

Because of the typical bad festival experiences we have gone through over the last five years, I’ve grown very skeptical that any festival we show up at will turn out to be a good show. Generally, there’s usually no time to set up; the monitor mixes suck; we play in the middle of the afternoon to a small crowd in a big field; it’s obscenely hot, etc. etc. Then, add to the mix, ACL would be a flight date in the middle of a tour; the probable end result didn’t look positive. However, I was happily proven wrong this time around; my ACL experience was immaculate.

I felt we had a great set, one that really connected to a huge crowd (some estimated close to 30k); monitors were good; performance was up to par; yeah, it rained at the beginning of the set, but then it cleared up for the remainder of the hour set. (It was after the show that the downpours came with a vengeance. I got my fill of that quickly soaking mess while doing some press stuff.) Nevertheless, it was a wonderful time.

Austin feels like my old home town, even though it’s a five-hour drive north, but compared to Baltimore, Cleveland, or even Phoenix, it’s way closer to home: H.E.B., Mexican restaurants, the memories of driving up to the city to see a show, and most importantly, hometown friends and family popping up everywhere I looked.

Growing up, Austin was always looked upon as this magical place, almost like some kind of central Texas Mecca to us Vallucos, onto which so many of my friends had planned to escape to after high school. It’s funny now that I think about it. I remember how disappointed a German exchange student friend of mine in high school was after his first visit to A-town. Of course, he had something to compare Austin to: like Berlin. He viewed Austin as ultra-conservative, and I guess in some ways we was right now that I’ve been to many other cities of the world.

But, as conservative or liberal as Austin may or may not be, it doesn’t matter to me; it is a small glimpse back into my youth that I enjoy to view now and again.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

October 3, 2009: Des Moines: IA: People’s Court

Show Thoughts, abridged

This night got off to a bad start as for much of my set-up was giving me problems during “The Nerve,” but eventually, I sorted it all out, making the rest of night a decent experience. The fact that we played Des Moines for the first time is notable; apparently, not too many bands come through this way, which makes it nice when people show up. I grew up in an area where no one would come to through show, which is why we started developing our own thing and throwing our own shows, but that is besides the point; it’s almost harder to get out the word for shows when nobody is used to going to them. It’s kind of a strange thing. I hope that the lovely bunch that ventured out to see us enjoyed themselves because from my perspective, it was a bit hard to tell.

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