[Editor’s Note: This is the eleventh part in an ongoing series chronicling Ancient River’s 2014 North American Tour. If you missed the first part or would like some background on the series, click here.]
We drove about nine hours from Denver, Colorado to Salt Lake City, Utah, and it was the most beautiful drive I’ve ever taken in my life. So many mountains of all varieties: white snowy mountains, green mountains covered in vegetation, red mountains, sandy mountains, popcorn shrimp, big ol’ fat rain, etc.
It’s really something special when you’ve been driving over five hours and you don’t care if the drive lasts forever. I probably took as many pictures on this drive as I’ve taken all tour. I couldn’t get over the infinite beauty and I still can’t. I think to myself, these people wake up to this everyday! I can understand why Salt Lake City is such a religious city; it’s hard to see the sun setting over the mountains and not feel connected to a divine universal intelligence in some form or another. I am not religious in any way, but sweet baby Jesus (R.I.P. O.D.B.) what a sight to behold!
We arrived at the Barrel Room around 8 p.m. Turns out it was the owner’s birthday party as well as a going away party for some of his friends. Because of the special occasion, there was free food and DJs playing electronic dance music, which resulted in an interesting mix of people. It was a packed house. Some people were there to see the bands, some were there to party to club music, and some looked as if they’d never seen a band before. It was madness trying to get our gear off of the stage in that environment, but somehow we did it.
After the show, we left to hang out with the guys in the other band, Darkseas. We were really looking for a place to get rest but ended up at a house party complete with beer and all the usual party accessories you could imagine. They had a Nintendo 64 on a big screen, so I indulged in some Mario Kart and Tony Hawk. It was reminiscent of college, to me at least. After having some drinks, making some friends, and realizing these people were never going to sleep, we decided to hit up a hotel. We had the next day off but needed to make some progress on the long drive to San Francisco.
We drove out into the desert towards Reno, Nevada to the sounds of Neil Young. This was beautiful in a different way. The vast emptiness in every direction seemed to put human life in perspective, like Earth amongst the stars in a desolate universe. Definitely a good place for heavy contemplation. As the sun set, I practically maxed out my memory card with photos of the beauty I felt so privileged to witness. They should have sent a poet.
We arrived in the Mission District of San Francisco around 6 p.m. after some intense traffic that made me feel like I was back in Miami. I couldn’t get over the amount of people crammed into this city. Driving around with a trailer was absurd. We found a parking spot a block away from the venue, and the bartender couldn’t believe we were even that lucky.
Once we got settled in, I hit the streets in search of something yummy. Just two doors down from the Knockout, I walked into a gem. Taqueria Can-Cún had it’s walls covered in accolades and awards. I was told San Francisco was a magical place, and the burrito I had may as well have been made by Albus Dumbledore himself. However, after I ate it was time to move the gear, and we had to do it from half a block away, down a steep slope. Big mistake on my part. If the “itis” were midi-chlorians, then I’d be Yoda (but Mace Windu would be pretty sweet), except I had to move my stuff without the Force.
After powering though what felt like a CrossFit workout, I hung out and mingled with the other bands. California Raga Association and Down Dirty Shake played great sets and were cool people as well. After the show the load out situation was a breeze, with some space out in the street. We packed up the truck and went across the street to Los Panchos, a Mexican/Salvadoran restaurant. There was one waiter busting his ass and what looked like his mother cooking up all the deliciousness. They did a fantastic job. Needless to say, the people of San Francisco are eatin’ good. The next day we were set to play Sacramento, and I couldn’t have been happier to be in California.
Alex Cordova (@theAncientRiver) is a guest contributor for Little Utopia.
Previously from Alex Cordova:
♦ Ancient River North American Tour 2014: An Ugly Experience and Nasty Weather En Route to Denver
♦ Ancient River North American Tour 2014: Supportive Fans, Great Sound, and Awesome Food
♦ Ancient River North American Tour 2014: Adventures in the Midwest
♦ Ancient River North American Tour 2014: Homecoming in Ann Arbor
♦ Ancient River North American Tour 2014: Friendly Locals in Memphis