Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Steff Koeppen's 'Why Is It So' Tour Diary

Posted By on Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 9:00 AM

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF STEFF KOEPPEN
  • Photo courtesy of Steff Koeppen

Steff and the Articles embarked on a three week tour up and down the west coast at the beginning of the year. Steff Koeppen, Tom Beech, Chris Pierce, and Alex Tuggle are performing a free show with Ex-Cowboy and Captain Squeegee at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, at Hotel Congress, 311 East Congress Street. The "Why It Was So" Tour ends in this Saturday. Here's a brief glimpse of their adventure in the words of Steff Koeppen:

The "Why It Was So" Tour has been a great success so far! There were so many wonderful people, places and things. I'm so proud of my Nissan for making it all the way up the coast and back. It would be cool to have a van next time. Finding parking with a trailer attached in crowded cities took us through many obstacle courses.

We kicked things off in Phoenix at one of our favorite downtown spots, the Lost Leaf. Lots of familiar faces showed up to sing along and wish us well on our journey.

We played the next night in San Diego at The Griffin. Cool venue. It was exciting to hear that a good handful of people came specifically for our set in a city we had never played before. We stayed with our friend Jerome and his playful little kitten, then spent the next afternoon downtown. We found some delicious paninis at Cafe Zucchero in Little Italy and then hung out down by the water.

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF STEFF KOEPPEN
  • Photo courtesy of Steff Koeppen


That Saturday night was spend in Los Angeles at Room 5 — a classy little upstairs lounge in the Beverly Hills area. We didn't get free drinks, but that's okay. We played for a packed venue with some fantastic L.A. acts. Good vibes. We had the next day off and spent it walking along the beach. I can't believe we enjoyed a warm day at the beach in January. Our friend Kelsey has a cozy little apartment in Long Beach where she so graciously welcomed us for a couple nights. On the way out of town, we had to make a stop at Amoeba Music — the world's largest independent record store.

The most intimate performance of the tour took place at the Hotel Utah in San Francisco. You've always got to expect at least one or two of those nights. This venue was so rad, though! I got to play a real, live piano and we met two really sweet singer-songwriters from L.A. The night before was only one spent at a hotel… in room 18 (my lucky number). It definitely brought us good luck. I mean, the vehicle and trailer were still there the next morning and everything. We went to China Town that day for lunch at some place we couldn't even read the menu. We're all about authenticity. Afterwards, we explored near the Golden Gate Bridge before heading to the show.

PHOTO COURTESY OF STEFF KOEPPEN
  • Photo courtesy of Steff Koeppen


Sacramento. We spent the next couple nights at the upstairs loft belonging to our friends from Musical Charis, their pet bunny and friendly little dog. Blake and his wife, Jessie, showed us around the town in their painted blue, ornamented tour van before our gig at Marilyn's on K that evening. We played Marilyn's the last time we came through Sacramento and it was good to be back on their stage.

We lived in a gloomy, but beautiful Portland for 3 nights. Jeff and his super awesome roommates hosted us as part of their musical household while we were in town. The Friday night show at Alberta Street Pub was packed! Incredible performances by Big Haunt and Adam Brock. There were even a bunch of former-Tucsonians in attendance. Before we left, we hit the studio for a fun little live recording session at A Rose City Collective. We also visited the Rare Book Room at Powell's Books — the world's largest independent bookstore.

A Sunday in Seattle. 

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF STEFF KOEPPEN
  • Photo courtesy of Steff Koeppen

First things first, we had to stop off at Pike Place Market for lunch. I ate some fresh clam chowder and then some delicious, local greek yogurt for dessert. We played the High Dive that night, the spot that marked our favorite show of the previous Summer tour. A great, energetic audience, especially for a Sunday night. We got to stay with and catch up with our beloved friends, Asher and Staci.

We played the next two nights in downtown Boise. We played The Crux the first night, Liquid Lounge the next. We got to see the sun for the first time in five days. We ended up catching an improv comedy show, which preceded our performance at Liquid. Jesii, who used to see us play at Long Wongs in Phoenix, played some songs before us at The Crux and then gave us a comfortable living room to sleep in for the two nights. We didn't eat any potatoes while we were there, but we did come across some tasty Indian/Tibetan food.

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF STEFF KOEPPEN
  • Photo courtesy of Steff Koeppen


After a long day's drive, we made it to Provo, Utah. Though there was some snow melting away, we didn't have to drive through any. Velour Live was another really neat venue (Best Green Room) with a great crowd to play for. The headliner was this wonderful harp-fronted group called The Echo Chorus. Haley and Kalob opened their apartment up to us while we were in town and made us feel right at home.

Flagstaff showed us an amazing welcome back to Arizona. Everyone singing along at the Hotel Monte Vista put the biggest smile on my face. My dad, who drove from Vegas for the show, says "It's kind of weird seeing all these macho guys in the front row singing the words to your songs." Ha! Before hitting the road back to Tucson, we couldn't pass up lunch at our favorite Thai restaurant around the corner (thanks, Caesar)!

Tour tip: don't forget to take your Airborne. I'm the only one who made it back without a cough thanks to those magical, chewable tablets.

click image PHOTO COURTESY OF STEFF KOEPPEN
  • Photo courtesy of Steff Koeppen

It's not over quite yet! We hit the stage at Club Congress Wednesday with our dear friends from Captain Squeegee (Phoenix) and Ex-Cowboy. Thursday, we head down to Hermosillo in México, officially making this tour international. On the way back Friday, we'll stop by JR's in Sierra Vista.

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