Richard Bennett
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Contrary Cocktail

Moderne Shellac, 2015

Contrary Cocktail

A hypnotic blend of rhythms, landscapes, tones, colors, styles and moods, with melodies leading the way to certain places that only songs without words can go.

-- Pieta Brown, 2015

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I keep waking up at 6 in the morning unable to get back to sleep so it was downstairs today for an early breakfast accompanied by the LA Times and a beach view. Spent the remainder of the morning mopping up e-mails, practising, finishing the newspaper. Before I knew it, it was time to check out of the hotel and make our way northward. It was a short hop from the Van Nuys to the Oakland airport and being Saturday, the traffic wasn't bad to Berkeley.

Over the last several days we've become accustomed to the hot, dry summer temperatures of the south-west and forgot how chilly the bay area can be this time of year. We arrived at the venue in t-shirts and shorts and immediately began rummaging through the wardrobe trunks for anything with a bit of warmth to wear.

The William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre was built in 1903 and financed by the American newspaper titan for the University of California. Now simply known as The Greek Theatre, it was constructed on a site already in use as an amphitheatre since 1894 known as Ben Weed's Amphitheatre. Over the last century it's stage has been graced by American presidents, movie, theatre, rock and jazz stars. It's a gorgeous setting, a bowl surrounded by towering ancient eucalyptus trees, it's become one of our favourite venues since first playing here in 2005. The staff is warm and helpful, the catering is good and...only in Berkeley...they have a vitamin bar along side the coffee urns in the catering area. Rows of bottled vitamins, minerals, food supplements and antioxidants of every stripe, just in case you forgot your daily dose! Brilliant.

We took the stage looking like we'd been caught up in a tornado at a thrift shoppe. As if our usual stage attire isn't motley enough, on top of it was piled anything warm we could get our hands on...from a golf game wind breaker to a shark skin sport jacket and everything in between. No matter, this band's not exactly known for it's fashion sensibilities. Off we trundled to play a show for 8,000 great fans, more than a few of them smoking pot...great wafts of it floating up on stage throughout the night. Because of the chill we didn't crack a sweat last night even though we played hard and heavy and left the stage after the last encore to ear splitting response. Thanks again Berkeley.

Into the cars and over the Bay Bridge, we arrived at our hotel in San Francisco by 11:30. We'll base from this great city for the next couple of days.

So long,

Richard