Smile Politely

Tour Diaries: You & Yourn in Washington & Oregon

Booking shows can be hard — especially when those shows are thousands of miles from home and in cities you’ve never visited. No matter how much you communicate about the details, surprises are inevitable. Such is life…

On Sunday (Oct. 4) we showed up in Spokane, Wash., to find a “Show Cancelled” sign on the door of Empyrean Coffee. As a small independent band, we’ve learned that things like this are bound to happen. Even still, it’s always a bit disappointing. There were people inside, so we went in to find out what was going on. The barista informed us that the two owners, who were supposed to work the show, were stuck in the central part of the state because of some intense wind/dust storms that led to road closures.

After realizing we were from Illinois, however, the barista made some phone calls, took down the “Show Cancelled” sign (which we were the first to see), and said the show would go on. Empyrean is set up as a coffee shop with separate rooms for live music. Coffee shop “venues” can be pretty lame, but this was actually a really cool place. Attendance was decent for a Sunday, and despite the rough start, we had a good time.

The following two nights were spent in the hipster meccas of the Pacific Northwest. Monday night (Oct. 5) we walked along the Puget Sound and saw a beautiful sunset before playing in a Seattle DIY spot called The Josephine. It’s basically a hidden venue; it looks like an unmarked storefront with an interior room that’s a cross between a living room and a theater. The sound system had been double booked, so the show was delayed. A few people had to leave before the music even started, but most of the crowd was able to stay late on a Monday, and it ended up being a great show.

The Josephine is another one of those places where people come for the music — not for beer or hooking up or studying or any of the other options. Show-goers sat on couches or the floor and listened attentively. Our music was very well-received, and we enjoyed the locals. Mike Dumovich opened the show with a great folk-inspired trio, and Eyvind Kang closed out the night. Eyvind (who has collaborated with Lou Reed, Laura Gibson, Beck, and many others) did a solo viola performance as accompaniment to the black and white silent film, Man with a Camera. It was amazing!

We drove through the night and arrived at our friend Bill’s house in Portland somewhere around 5 a.m. on Tuesday (Oct. 6). After a few hours of rest, we did some laundry and met up with our friends Ryan and Ashley (transplants from Champaign-Urbana) for happy hour. Then we played that night at Ella Street Social Club — a small bar with tables and chairs facing an oval stage. The show was alright: The crowd was completely silent (which is apparently unusual for this particular bar); Nic got to spend some time with a high school friend; and we enjoyed meeting Justin from Midwest Dilemma. After the show, we headed back to Bill’s for another short night.

(Ed. note: more pics are available on You & Yourn’s blog)

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