photos and updates by Hayley Young
Day 1. Van arrives at Sam and Jacob Anderson’s house in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood. Drummer Colin Richey has spent the late hours of the evening/morning preparing the 1996 Dodge Ram for this tour, mending the fallen ceiling, sealing the drivers window with duct tape and having the mechanical needs tended to by professionals.
As the rental trailer is loaded with equipment, Matt Bishop and Nick Ward carry a massive beanbag that will occupy the rear of the van.
The only member not present is Jacob Anderson. Due to his work schedule, he’ll be driving solo tonight, then heading back up to Seattle for a mandatory employee meeting in the morning.
Despite mutual efforts to leave Seattle by 2:45, it is not until after 4 that the van begins it’s 4+ hour decent on Portland, OR.
Traffic has cleared and the ability to accelerate past the rush hour stop-and-go unveils a troubling circumstance with the U-Haul trailer. The van is pulling hard left and right, a sensation that is a bit stressful, for both the passengers and Bishop, who is avidly trying to keep it in the lines. Two stops and one mechanic shop later, it’s decided that the trailer is too large, too empty, and too great of a liability. Drummer Colin Richey suggests we exchange it for a smaller trailer in the morning.
As the van nears the Oregon border, Sam Anderson is on Bishop’s laptop shopping for a hotel. Hotwire is the service of choice for Hey Marseilles, although at first I am skeptical (big Expedia fan). Hotwire does not allow you to know where your hotel is specifically located, or what it is called, instead providing a general location and price that you may agree to if you so wish.
Call it a lottery.
Anderson finds a seemingly good deal and the arrangements are made. Once the transaction is completed we are informed that we have been booked for Portland’s Crown Plaza for less than the price of a room at Travel Lodge.
Due to the troubling van/trailer mishap, we arrive at Mississippi Studios just before doors. Merch and instruments are unloaded and the van is parked. Members split up on the hunt for dinner while the venue begins to fill with concert-goers. Many local musicians are out tonight, HM friends Luz Elena (Y La Bamba), Ryan Sollee (Builders and the Butchers), and Sean Flinn (Jollie Holland) are chatting with the various members of the band at the bar after the headlining band, Loch Lomond, finishes their set.
After a late check in at Crown Plaza, we awake with key goals in mind. Eat breakfast, grab some new CDs from a local record shop (the van’s stock radio has no auxiliary options and Richey’s CD collection is a bit scarce) then, most importantly, find a U-Haul trailer that won’t kill us.
While the trailer is unloaded and the new, more compact replacement is filled, the boys squeeze in some Frisbee in the parking lot.
Back on the road, the sun begins to appear through the Northwest clouds as we near Eugene, stop number two on this West Coast jaunt. After load in, the venue (Cosmic Pizza) feeds us and sound check is underway.
It is here, in a small nook behind the kitchen of Cosmic Pizza, that I find myself rapidly typing these last words as the sound of Bishop’s voice introducing the band vibrates through the dining room. They are opening with “To Travels and Trunks.” Earlier a patron approached Bishop having recognized him from a YouTube video he watched the day before. He expresses his excitement for the show and Bishop graciously thanks him for coming out. Now the newly found fan sits among a intimate audience as Hey Marseilles begins their set.
Tonight we will drive to Medford, OR. Earlier today, the check engine light came on and the oil pressure gauge became a little surly. Hopefully it’s a minor glitch. With the challenging Sexton Pass in our near future, I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.