Fuck you 7:30 alarm! I am fucking pissed that we have to wake up and it’s only been 2.5 hours since my eyes shut. The Best Western bed that otherwise wouldn’t have been comfortable was the only place that seemed right to stay in. I try to stay in as long as I can while the other ladies get ready.
My eyes are closed and I realize that Sel has taken a shower and is getting ready in the room.
“Should we talk?” I wonder. My best guess is no, we shouldn’t until it seems like it’s time.
We get ready, head down in shifts to get some continental breakfast; the very reason one stays at a hotel. They’ve got everything, pour your own waffles, OJ, packet oatmeal, mini omelets made from what tastes like a powder. Decide to steal some tea packets to get us through a few days and honey for Rach’s oatmeal. Maybe some non-dairy creamer? No, there’s no room for it.
We are selective about what comes with us and French vanilla creamers don’t make the cut.
The time from waking up to leaving seems slow because we are slow. We make it out almost an hour behind schedule with an almost eight hour drive ahead of us.
Packing up is an ordeal and will be for the next fifteen days of tour, it is car Tetris.
The road is long, the road never ends and then the road is windy. It curves for miles and miles as we head down Highway 96 in California to Arcata. Road sickness starts taking over, might need to find a barf bag.
The hills are speckled with deciduous trees at first and as we head south evergreens start to pop up and cascade over the landscape. It’s gorgeous, but I want to forget them in the hotel room.
We are lucky load in at the Alibi in Arcata is 10pm because we pull up to another Best Western hotel to drop off luggage at 9pm. Exhaustion is overtaking us and it’s only the second day of tour, how are we gonna play the show?
Somewhere along the road, maybe 200 miles in, Selena and I silently decided to not talk about what happened the night before because we don’t want to fight and we still have another 14 days together. We started being cordial and then we started being loving and now we are good. We are working together in tandem to get shit moving, packed and ready. This works to our advantage as we head into the show. We need to play as a team, we need to be a unit to give a good show here like we did the night before.
We load straight to stage. The club is dark and a little seedy. The owner big, tall, ginger bearded and gruff. He’s gonna do our sound tonight.
Still unsure how the whole thing is gonna go I decide I need a taco before we play, no matter fucking what. There’s a cart behind the venue. People keep saying it’s good, but at this point I’m so hungry I wouldn’t have given a shit if it’s good because it wouldn’t have been delicious.
One carnitas taco later, it’s time to play. I am nervous. I am too sober to play a show this tired.
Josephine, my beautiful turquoise Fender Strart is shiny and ready to go, but am I? We start our set, the same set we are going to play for the next fourteen days and my fingers feel like they are hitting all the wrong notes, but the crowd is already starting to sway, so it’s helping my mood and my playing. Girl Band is first, it gets the crowd rowdy, if people didn’t already understand, they now know that we are a fucking band full of women here to rock them hard.
The crowds eyes are bright and they are dancing hard throughout our set. They bring us the energy we couldn’t rustle up ourselves and we get through the set.
“Don’t forget to bring the drummer!” shouts a tall blond woodsy looking guy from the audience.
T Rex blushes and we play on.
When we end and say thank you to the crowd, they start shouting “ One Two Three … NighTraiN! NighTraiN! NighTrain!” Now I’m blushing, I can’t believe how much they liked us. The nauseating 9 hours in the car was totally worth the trouble. I’m a little sad we can’t stick around for one more day.
At the end of our set we have to load off quickly, the gruff man has given us directions and a bit of attitude.
As we pack, a girl comes to me and says, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but are you sure you can’t play one more song?”
We can’t, but it warms my heart to know we left them wanting more.
When we are getting the compliments at the end of the night one of the employees at the club overhears a guy say, “you ladies were exciting,” and rushes to me to correct all the wrongs she feels he just did to our band by just calling us exciting.
“You’re not just exciting, you’re absolutely amazing. Seriously. All women and women of color! I hate that these dudes probably aren’t taking you seriously because they think you’re just a novelty band, but it’s because all the bands that pass through here are just white dudes. It’s so good to see you all playing, I’m so glad I stayed. This is what we need more of.”
This woman is exactly the reason I’ve stayed in NighTraiN for so long, because people do need to see women of color out there playing and playing more than just stereotypically black music. We have been angry lately about being pigeonholed into other peoples beliefs about what we should be playing.
“Oh, so you play soul? Funk? Hip-hop? Jazz” Are those the only genres black people can play? It feels good to know that we are part of a small movement to spread music to women and women of color.
Now that we’re done the adrenaline is rushing out of me. I’m tired, I want to get to the hotel, but we’ve gotta stay for the next band “Pony Kill” because we’re not assholes. I guess that means another taco is in order.
It all ends earlier tonight. 1:30am and we peace out for the hotel. Thank goodness it does because it’s time to spring forward. By the time we get to the hotel that’s only 10 minutes away we have lost an hour and it’s 3am.
I prep some tea for a few of us before bed as Taryn searches for the burrito she lost somewhere in the room.
“I can’t find it… I lost my burrito.” This is when I know she had a good time tonight. We locate her burrito on a nearby table and she is elated.
“Ladies, we did good,” says Sel.
We did. It was a fucking good night and we even get to sleep in a little in the morning. Arcata left me with a good taste, too bad it’s ending so quickly, but 3:30 and it’s lights out.