Time-WARPED: Update #3 (NorCal & Oregon Shenanigans)

It's Friday and we've had an amazing day off in Roseburg, Oregon. Last I checked in we were playing the last of our California dates which begin our trek north. The Cali week of shows/first two weeks of tour are always packed with days off since so many folks on the tour are from/based out of the greater LA area. I'm very thankful for all the down time, but it really does always feel like it's finally "really" tour once we leave the west and head out through the Midwest. Maybe it's because I am so comfortable in California and still feel at "home" there, or maybe it's because there's more consistent shows back to back in the Midwest due to the shorter distances between locations. Regardless, it's insane to think we're barely two weeks into the summer…the reality of that will certainly come when we reach Missouri. 

one last photo from my ah-maaaazing train ride down the Californian coast last weekend.

The past two shows have been fairly nice. Our days off in San Diego were wonderfully relaxing, meaning getting back into the grind wasn't too bad Wednesday morning. We played Chula Vista Ampitheatre (the same venue as 2012) and had a fairly decent crowd thanks to a decent stage placement. Since we are on a smaller stage this year compared to our last Warped adventure, it doesn't always get same "caliber" locations in the venue we did in 2012. The Ernie Ball Stage is physically smaller, meaning it’s a bit easier to put in random corners a little off the main path compared to the full-size semi stages. Don't get me wrong, sometimes this smaller stage means we get placed smack in the prime walkways for all kids to see, but sometimes we get a weird back corner that you have to seek out to reach; it all depends on the venue. I don’t think we’ve seen a lesser draw for sets based on our location since most of our fans are at Warped to see us (we’re so lucky!), but what’s been neat this summer to see is that this smaller stage gives us the opportunity to grab more “passive” listeners who stop while walking by, or sitting nearby the stage. While in San Diego, Travis (another Denver local on tour, and the king of monitors) patched me into my first monitor mix. I'm really determined to learn monitors and front of house sound this year, and if i ever get the chance to sneak away for a set or two during tour, i'm hoping I can pick up some tricks and learn more from him. It was wayyy cool to have that kind of sonic experience while watching a set. 

mid-day nap time for someone in the Warheads stage semi truck. #roadiefriday 

me in Monitor-world with Travis during We Are The In Crowd's San Diego set. 

In comparison to San Diego, Sacramento was a quiet day. The crowd felt fairly small compared to some shows and everyone seemed to feel the lull. I was definitely killing time at the table, and even found a guy taking a nap on a drumboat inside one of the gear semi’s for the Warheads stage on the ampitheater. Despite the terribly long day, the after show BBQ was a total blast since it was "Roadie Friday" for all. We danced, played card games, and ran around all night till our 2am bus call.

It might have only been two show days, but today was a great day off. Tony (our tour manager) planned an awesome day trip to local wineries in the Umpqua Valley of Oregon. We tried some amazing wine, spent the afternoon having a picnic lunch overlooking the Pacific and played a mean game of wiffle ball in a campground parking lot. The idea of being in a wooded forest one minute and then seeing a beach to your left the next absolutely blew my mind. That’s not something I'm used to as far as mountains go!

one of the gorgeous vineyards we visited! 

The Pacific Ocean from Coos Bay, Oregon. Breathtaking.

We spent our drive back to the hotel listening to the new IFD record in its entirety. It's the first time the band has listened to the whole thing together since we got the masters in, and all of us experiencing it together as we watched the sun set through the beautiful woods of the Pacific Northwest was surreal. That was a special moment I don't think any of us will forget. The album is truly AMAZING, and I cannot wait for you all to hear it.

Tomorrow we play White River Ampitheater in Washington (complete with a killer view of Mount Rainer), Sunday we hit Portland, and then we begin our two day trek across my beautiful mountains into the Midwest. I'll check in as I can, but stay tuned to FB/Twitter/Instagram for updates. For now, here's your official IFD Warped Team photo for 2014.

Xoxo -M 

Team I Fight Dragons - Warped Tour 2014


Californiaah: Irvine and Pomona

The five Warped Tour stops in California were some of the stops I was most looking forward to outside of Denver. Partially because California is my home away from home and a familiar place, partially because of the weather, and partially because Warped is made for Cali! Vans’ headquarters is in Huntington Beach, and the tour originally started and ended there, so in my mind there’s no better place to experience it. Irvine and Pomona were two of our more southern stops, and the first two we played. Irvine was first, after a five hour drive in following our show in Vegas, the weather in Irvine was a welcome change.

Playing the Orange County Great Park, all of the stages and tents were set up on old runways; it was such a unique, different, but really cool feeling venue. The place even had a gigantic orange hot air balloon that people could ride up and down to overlook the park! Even though I really really wanted to go, we didn’t have enough time at the end of the day, but it was still really cool watching the giant orange globe float up and down in the sky throughout the day. The weather was MUCH better that day - so cool in the morning I had to wear a jacket! We were all super excited to be so much more cooled down after the insanely hot day in Vegas. The band played a great set that day. We played to a nice and big crowd, and had a big line after the set for the signing. Irvine was a nice and simple day, full of fun and an easy set time compared to our crazy time the day before. The one funny thing I noticed about Irvine was that they easily had the craziest colored/cut hair I’ve seen so far all tour! And that’s saying something! Warped Tour brings out the craziest and the most interesting looking people one could find in any given city, and it was interesting to see so many unique styles and coloring jobs in one particular place. 

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Next up, and only forty minutes away(!!) was Pomona, CA. For being so close in time, Pomona’s crowd was an entirely different group of people, a wholly different atmosphere, and most interestingly, a completely different landscape! I know from experience how vast and drastically California’s landscapes can change, but I really didn’t expect something so close to change so much! In Pomona we played at the old Fairplex, which features an old, run down horse racing track, and the tour was set up right in the infield of the track! It was such a cool venue to be in; I spent a good 30-minutes at the end of my day after packing up walking around and photographing the old buildings before we left. The venue felt a little cramped since all the stages were fairly close together, but the worst part of everything was all of the old hay from the grounds that was being blown around. We were set up on the grass field in the middle of the old track, but the wind was blowing all day, and blowing hay and grass right into the tent. Being the super-allergic, super-asthmatic person I am, I was wheezing and coughing the whole day through which wasn’t very fun!

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the old Pomona grandstands entrance

Despite the hay and the coughing, Pomona was still one of my more favorite stops on the whole tour. I LOVED the grounds we played, and the kids were all super nice, and super excited. Everything about that day was really enjoyable beginning to end (except that I missed tortalini, my favorite, at dinner!). That night we all loaded into the van, drove through the familiar part of California for me, and made our way north to San Fran! I’ve never been that far north before, and so I was really excited to see what NorCal was about, and see this crazy city I’ve heard so much about. 

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Tour Bus Land Pomona

Until tomorrow! 

Xoxo

-M