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Matt Lax, Richard Linley, Dan Becker
Magic Forest Farm Outdoor House Concert
Saturday July 28th
7:00 pm show $10-$15 Sliding Scale
The Magic Forest Farm
Takilma, Oregon
email for info: matt.lax@mindspring.com

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Nearly Beloved Blog

A Few Tales From The Road January-April 2012

We got back a few hours ago from our road trip to LA, it was a gas! Four shows in two days, and a warm reception everywhere... Thanks to I See Hawks in LA, Kim Grant, The Echo, The Armory Center for the Arts, Grace Lacques (incredible breakfast and warm company, as always!), The Earthworm Ensemble, Victoria Jacobs, Mark Christian, Susan James, John Lacques, and everyone who came out to see us!!!! Despite the Dodgers...LA feels like a home away from home!

My Saturday started at 5 am, as my phone woke me up and I threw what I hadn't packed into my car and headed over the GG bridge to Dave's where we packed up his Ford Exploder, picked up Erik P. in the East Bay, and hit the road at 6:30!!! We had a decent meal at the Apricot Garden on I5, got poured on by a healthy rain storm just as we hit the grapevine, and saw the grapevine's mountains dusted with fresh snow. There were beautiful cumulus clouds everywhere! We had smooth sailing and Zero Traffic! as we pulled up to The Armory Center for the Earth Arts Festival. I got to sub for brother Paul Lacques in the Earthworm Ensemble right as we got there. Then, NB played an all acoustic set for the kids as they did their clay sculptures and their parents checked out our scene. Let's face it,when kids have the choice of hanging out with kids and getting their hands messy, the music comes second! We were followed by the incredible Arab music ensemble Kan Zaman, who dug the NB sound and left with some of our music!Kan Zaman We dined with brother John and Sister Grace and Eartworm singer (and sister-in-law), Victoria Jacobs, who turned us onto an insane chocolate shop, where I bought a dozen truffles for my sweetie (Nicole says thanks Victoria)! Oh, and of course, we had to stop for a riveting caffeine injection at Cafe Intelligentsia; coffee as potent as it's surroundings are pretentious! But well worth the wait, and, let's face it, the beautiful people of LA are certainly no less pretentious than those of say...Mill Valley CA, (that's my Home!). After a shakey handed goodbye to family, we headed out to The LA Farmer's Market where our guide and soundman Mark Christian set us up in no time! Then, at Grace's suggestion, we headed to the top of the nearby mall's parking structure where you have an unimpeded 360 degree view of the greater LA Basin. Snow Capped peaks to the East, Griffith Park Observatory and the Hollywood sign clear as a bell...nothing like a post-rain Sunset in LA. Did I say Cool Fucking Sunset? We filmed some footage for our someday to be released video of the self-same song in the glowing light of an apocalyptic looking sunset 150 feet above the westside mall they call "The Grove" (though I didn't notice any trees around).... Now we've got footage from Santa Cruz, Davenport, Oahu, LA, and San Francisco to put together for our big video release...someday. After cavorting in front of the camera, we came down from the roof, enjoyed a set of music by Kirsten Proffit and The Well Pennies who sang some beautiful originals, and shared memorable harmonies on "Columbus Stockade"...We played a nice long set of our own including our new song "Cool Rocking Sunset"...kids were present, after all! Then, Mark made us drink beer, childhood and current pal Bill Kisliuk dropped by with his lovely wife Michelle, nephew Emilio's baseball game was rained out, so he came by and had a beer (men's league, not little league)...Then we took our fatigued and happy selves back to Pasadena and I dropped Dave and Erik at the hotel. I managed to find brother Paul and Victoria's house, parked the Exploder and hit the pillow at 12:45 am! Paul Olguin disappeared with friends (he's a Santa Monica high Alumnist, so he's got multiple couches to crash on).

Sunday I woke up, found the cofee and french press, went out on the front porch and watched the Hawks in LA...the real ones, cirlcing and landing in the eucalyptus trees of Highland Park. What a beautiful scene! P and V have restored a 1920's house there that is so nice and lovely, I wanted to park there all day playing guitar! Victoria made toast, and we both snuck one of Nicole's truffles,and I headed back to East Pasadena to see how the fellas did in their disenfected cable-friendly Best Western environment. They were puckish and ready for a Grace Lacques brekkie! It did not disappoint! Fried egg over black beans and baked cabbage garnish...with grace's homeade salsa and fresh avocado, and mexicano queso fresco...man we were in heaven! We talked about Grace's job with Homeboy Industries, doing theater and meditation exercises with East LA gang bangers trying to mend their ways...We talked about trauma and the body, and memory and opportunity for young people whose families have deserted them to the streets. I go back to work tomorrow at Juvenile hall in San Fran. knowing that my work as a teacher runs in the family, and that there is a richness to our work that money cannot (and, coincidentally, never will!), replace.

Then it was off to The Grand Ole Echo (The Echoplex) for our debut in front of LA's country hipsters! We had momentary panic as even veterano Paul Olguin was mystified by the streeet address of the club, which has nothin to do with its front entrance a city block away! We pulled up the drive, saw the security guy, loaded in and met Kim Grant our host and publicist, and her husband Justin from Old Californio. HOw did it go? I think we did all right, it was opening night onthe GOE season,and we were droppped into the middle of a scene that my brother Paul and the Hawks are synonymous with. Well, "nepotism ain't going to get you through the next 45 minutes young Lax!" But we played well, were warmly received by the Angelenos, and their kids (yes many in the three to nine year-old set were present, so, per a young ladies request, it was Cool Rockin' Sunset once again!!!! The school teacher in me just won't let the F-word fly if it's not welcome...We finished our Echo set with a rousing Subterranean Homesick Blues, and hit the ground running!

We finished at 7:15 and were set to play in Ventura at 9 pm with brother John's band Rooster Ra! We had to minimize our hang, skip seeing Old Californio (next time fellas, we will dig your sound!), say a too-soon goodbye to a bunch of folks that would have been great company, load up The Exploder and hit the 2 north, to the 134, to the 101 West...Now, I understand people find it funny that in LA they say "the" in front of their freeway names. It almost sounds reverential, as if in LA they love spending half their lives on the freeways, believe me they don't. They spend half their lives discussing how not to spend half their lives on the freeways, and the routing discussions in LA can rival the UN discussions over war crimes! Anyhow, I will here offer my opinion of and explanation for this linguitistic oddity. Language is always born of neccesity, and one of the first (if not THE first), freeway ever built was the very same "2" that we took to get out of town. Now, if you give directions with a freeway named two...and you don't say "the" in front of it you get somehting lke this: "You take two to two ten to ten west." OK? What the hell do you do with that? even if you live in LA that's hard to decipher. So, neccesity dictates that for clarity's sake in Los Angeles they say "You take the two to the two-ten to the ten west. Thus, separating and demarcating where one freeway meets another...That's my eytomological contribution to the linguistic canon, and I think it makes sense...

Anyhow...we made it up to Ventura for the end of Rooster Ra, and got underway just before 9 pm! Hah! We sped out of a club with 200 people to play a cosy set for....15. But, such is life. The sound was better, they laughed at the right times to "Whiskey Whispers" and enjoyed our music just as much. We did too! I'm always amazed at how well the guys play, Erik's harmony and the killer sound he gets from his gibson hollow body and his funky Gretsch amp, not to mention his ever expanding repetoire of ideas on the banjo! Paul's solid playing, and his inspired solos on Pigs For Pets,lock in with Dave's groovemanship unending source of pluck when it comes to trying to figure out how the hell Matt is going to end each song each time.....Well, I'm blogged out. Thanks again to everyone who helped us out this weekend! I'm going to hit the hay! MORE BLOGGAGE BELOW:

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