Tour to Sacramento and Forbidden Island

We've been a busy group lately... And this past weekend, we packed up the van once more and headed north, to Sacramento! We were booked to play a really fun wedding in Sacramento, and while we were in the area, I figured that this would be a great opportunity for us to visit and play one of my absolute favorite tiki bars, Forbidden Island!  

Shorty, loading up
 Since we aren't able to tour a whole bunch, we have to rent a van each time we go out. This van had a broken A/C vent right over the girls...

After a 7 hour drive, and once the girls thawed out, we checked into the hotel, all got cleaned up, and headed out to the venue.

That's Christian's face before he finds rum and food...

...and after; Christian found complimentary Dark and Stormys and appetizers on sticks

And then this happened.

One of the reasons why I was so excited to play this wedding (I mean other than because the bride and groom, Sarah and Erik, are such nice folks) is because they lined up some amazing bands for their reception!
I hadn't seen Project: Pimiento since Tiki Oasis IV or V,  but they are still terrific! Highly skilled musicians playing jazz and exotica standards, with the lead being played on theremin! Super cool stuff!

Hot City also played. I love eclectic music; stuff that you don't see or hear very often... And all of the bands playing this wedding kinda fit in that world, but man, Hot City was really something! The guitarist was playing a rare vintage four string RC Allen guitar. Every beat, he played a different chord, in true ragtime/ jazz style. As a guitarist, it was amazing to watch him. The other accompaniment was a fella trumpet and our buddy, Zack, on the bass, acting as both percussion and rhythm. Really a fun band!

Every band that night played a version of 'Caravan'. It was pretty funny... But really, who can get enough of Caravan anyway?? Project: Pimiento played a slow haunting exotica version of it, Hot City played a jazz version, and we did our Ventures-esque version. All of them were really cool to hear.

After our set, it was back to the bar for cocktails!

Jungle Doug, Christian, Audrie Loraine, Spike, Judy Luck, and Shorty

Upon reaching our super creepy, freeway side Motel 6, we discovered that the bar next door was having an all-girl Ramones tribute band! I LOOOVE the Ramones... In fact, I even played guitar in a Ramones thribute band. That band got to play in Brazil with Joey Ramone's brother singing for us. We also had longtime Ramones art director, Arturo Vega, running the lighting and supplying an authentic Ramones concert banner backdrop for us. That was a blast!

 The Hormones were a fun band

The next morning, we were back in the van for a two hour drive from the central valley to the island of Alameda, in the San Francisco bay...

...where we were met by the legendary Ku Bar in the parking lot!
This giant tiki bar was flat-bedded to a LOT of the early Viva Las Vegas Car Shows.

Detail of a stained glass window on the outside
This is the first tiki that you encounter as you reach the front door

Our buddy, Bamboo Ben, built this bar. I love how he created the different levels of interest in the ceilings. It's curiosity piquing... Like, what's up beyond this bamboo? Probably nothing, 
but it feels like the decor continues on up past what you can see. This tiki bar is very jungle-ey and cave-ey... Wood panels are met with lava rock walls, almost as if the bar was built inside of a cave. Or that nature was growing back into the bar... Really cool, and one of my absolute favorite tiki bars.

I love this bamboo lamp. Kind of a twist on the 'bamboo with marbles imbedded' lamps that you see at the Tiki Ti. I've been wanting to make one of these for a long time.

It had been four long years since we played FI and I swear that they keep adding more and more cool decor to this place! The only TV in the place plays cult films and vintage Hawaiian stuff. 
NO SPORTS in a tiki bar. Tiki is all about escaping the modern world. Tiki bar owners who miss that are really missing it. The music that they play in here is always vintage surf, rockabilly, and exotica. Not reggae, not calypso, not Jimmy Buffet...

Judy and Audrie with the Danny Gallardo-carved tiki

In nautical tradition, dollars are pinned to the ceiling with names written on them. That way, the next time you are 'back in port', you have money for a drink... Though if that were really the case, these should all be $10 bills... haha...

Doug's thinking about finding money for his first drink...

Another one of the many tikis

FI is a long narrow bar, but the size helps keep it intimate

Once we were all set up, it was a cocktail party till showtime!

Meanwhile, outside, Doug was showing me this custom '64 Impala wagon that had pulled up. Cool tiki pin-striping work!

Bellflower tip exhaust and red scalloping job over the flat gold paint

Dig the Disney Enchanted Tiki Room drummers on the air cleaner!

Then it was showtime. We've recently had a string of super fun shows to play. This Forbidden Island show was one of the BEST for us. We've played giant stages, opening for national acts, but playing to 'our crowd' in a small, but amazingly designed tiki bar, beats that every time. We even had fans fly up from Southern California to see this show. Really, just super flattering to our band.

The following live photos are by Tanoa Stewart

I've never had a table for my drink next to my mic stand before.
I could get used to that though!

What a crowd! Standing room only, and packed all the way to the back of the room.

Here's a video sample of the show. Fun stuff!

After the show, the girls changed clothes and it was party time again. 
Here they are with Zach from Hot City!

A couple more cocktails before it was time to hit the road. We have so many great friends and fans up in the bay area. It was a shame to leave them again.

On stage, I was telling a story about a Suffering Bastard decanter that I found, years ago, in a Stockton thrift store.
I got it for $1, before the Book of Tiki came out. I had no idea IF it was even tiki... But I can still see it on the shelf in the thrift store... it was that amazing of a find for me (even if I didn't know it right away). So anyway, our friend Liz, had to show me her amazing Suffering Bastard tattoo. Cool, right??

The Hula Girls, after the show with FI owner, Michael, and show promoter, Tanoa. 

After the photos, we left our dollar as a promise to return to Forbidden Island, and hit the road for home. Thanks again, Northern California, you were an absolute blast to play for! 
Hope to see y'all again some time soon. 

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