Set List Improvisation ::: by Dylan Priest
We head out of Portland at about 7am for the 10 or so hour drive to Sacramento for a single show. You read that right, one show. Kelli and Drew Grow and the Pastors’ Wives will be playing what could be a glorified house party on a Sunday night. Now that’s dedication. The motto here is: don’t cancel as many shows as you can. You are out on the road to sell records and make new fans.
We leave the band’s house to pick up the last member of the motley crew that is The Pastors’ Wives, Seth Schraper, who is the only one in the band with his own place (and is married). He will also be the first driver of the day, which means a stop at the nearest gas station for a very large can of Redbull. Life on the road seems to consist of the worst diet you can imagine, mostly because the bands are poor and healthy food costs money. “How long can I make this five dollars last?” Drew asks me. This drive being so long, it will possibly take all of the money they expect to make off the door at tonight’s show to pay for the gas. The band’s merch sales go into making more merch or buying food on the road.
Most of the drive to Sacramento is spent sleeping in shifts, because we already know: today is going to be a very long day. And its the last night of Kelli and Drew’s tour. They want to be ready and give the best performances they can, because what’s the point of a 20hr+ round trip if you half-ass the set? As we drive along, Drew talks about upcoming shows and trips and the thought of more time on the road all seems overwhelming to me. The band has just confirmed that they will be heading down to SXSW next year. This will be the first time to SXSW for all of them. But before that, Kelli has a bunch of upcoming shows in Portland and Seattle, and so does Drew and the Pastors’ Wives, including an opening spot for the Maldives and the Moondoggies at their annual Christmas party at the Showbox. Through exhausted eyes, it is clearer than ever: these people work very hard for what they love.
We roll into California after hours of driving through rain and fog. We are welcomed by warmth, sunshine, and In-n-Out burgers—definitely the best place to stop for a late afternoon lunch once inside the California border. We finally arrive in Sacramento and locate the “venue” they are playing, which is a place called “The Hub.” It’s not much bigger than someone’s garage and looks like one too. When you’re touring, you never know what you’re going to get. The Hub has low ceilings, low lighting, a 3$ cover charge and a $1 fee for a lifetime membership to the club. Since this is not a licensed venue, the people who attend shows have to become “members.” With a concrete floor and Xmas lights, walls covered in blankets, and a questionable P.A. system, the Hub is the perfect “underground” punk rock club. And, as it turns out, one hell of a place to see these two bands play.
The place is mostly filled for Kelli’s set. People stand close and bob and weave to the music. As is usual for the last three nights, the crowd is so silent during her set that you could hear a pin drop. People seem to be very happy that we drove the ten hours. Drew’s set is as powerful as it always is, with heartfelt stories and bring-the-house-down rock. Both sets, however, are plagued with problems from the P.A. system. Even though it’s not the best sound quality of the trip, these guys play their hearts out anyway. By the end, we are all exhausted and sweaty from the show. We head out to a local taco stand for a very late dinner. Tomorrow we will just turn around and drive the 10 hours back to Portland.
See all 29 photos from Day Three of Tour on our Flickr
Kelli <3 ::: by Dylan Priest
Cloudy ::: by Dylan Priest
Rest Stop ::: by Dylan Priest
Driving ::: by Dylan Priest
Drew Grow ::: by Dylan Priest
Kelli Schaefer at The Hub ::: by Dylan Priest
Fire ::: by Dylan Priest