This Week – Santa Barbara, Surfing and Standard Bars

This week ended well and started almost exactly how every other week starts. Waking up Monday morning, dreading going to a Data Structures class and then spending the rest day thinking “ugh, it’s 4 days until the weekend”. That’s pretty much how it’s been going as of late, a few quiet ones on Tuesday, a few quiet ones on Thursday and then the weekend usually entails something a bit more dramatic. This week we decided to rent a car and head down to a house party in Santa Barbara.

We spontaneously left on Friday to Milbrae (of which I have bad memories) and picked up a car from some rental shop that was actually pretty sound. They let us have the car for dirt cheap and were relatively sound about putting me on the insurance despite being under 25. I didn’t actually have to drive and instead just rode shotgun on the 5 hour trip down south and on the way back.

There was 2 cars heading down and we didn’t actually arrive until about 10 O’clock. So we hit up a Severn Eleven (Something I can’t say without sounding ragingly Welsh) and bought ourselves a crate of lager and got to the house. I could instantly tell we weren’t in San Francisco just by the sheer size of the flat we were staying in. These were students with a fairly massive apartment. The party was pretty tame to start with but we had a few drinking games and I maintained my unbeaten streak in Beer Pong before heading out to a British Bar in downtown Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara is a really nice place. It’s got such a Spanish vibe to it I felt like I was on holiday for the whole weekend. Not to mention we got some rental boards and managed to get out to surf. Having not surfed in years I was pretty chuffed to even get up on the board and I’m definitely more comfortable about getting into it. Although the thoughts of getting back in the cold waters of Pacifica beach sends a bit of chill up spine.

Our second night in Santa Barbara was a reminder that no matter where you are in California you cannot avoid a complete weirdo. We checked into a rather nice looking motel (oxymoron; I know) and got our bags in decided on beds and what not before deciding to hit up the pool. Once in the pool, countless people started becoming peeping toms and looking out of their curtains at us before quickly disappearing. One guy was sighted as naked and actually fiddling with himself whilst staring at us in the pool. Very bloody strange. He then popped in and out of his room asking us the same questions over and over again and telling us how cold he thought the pool was. That didged me out a fair amount. All was well though, like most he was harmless enough. I have to say backstroking in a pool in the pitch black and looking up at the stars was an absolute highlight for me.

The final day we got breakfast and the sat at a viewpoint to eat it and then headed back. The way back from Santa Barbara was relatively nice, I delved into a book about Buddhism and enjoyed the scenery of the California Countryside and coastline as we headed back up to San Francisco. Some absolutely beautiful views have made me appreciate the California even more. Now it’s back to reality for a week before spring break.

This Week – Tiesto, Caspa, House Parties, Pub.

Last year I had booked a ticket to go and see Tiesto for the second time. My last run in with probably the worlds most successful DJ and electronic music producer was in the worlds biggest club in Ibiza, Privelege. It was going to be an amazing feat if said DJ could top his performance in said club. Especially seeing as he was playing in San José State University on his college invasion tour.

I was in a predicament the day before I left, nowhere to stay, nobody I knew who was going and the only method of getting there by the dreaded public transport of NorCal. After having a chat with one of my friends who made me feel old and like I hadn’t been clubbing in absolutely ages I decided I had to go. Not to mention that I’d checked out videos of last years college invasion tour on YouTube and it looked absolutely incredible.

I managed to find two friends who were attending the concert and met them down in San José after taking the rather decent CalTrain from the Embarcadero. The gig was at SJSU event center and it made me envious of the lack of such event center here at SFSU but none the less I was going to see Tiesto and I’d finally found some heads to come with me.

The gig in itself was absolutely awesome. Supporting acts included Quintino and Tommy Trash who played absolutely sterling sets and I’ve gotta hand it to Tommy Trash he’s quickly becoming one of my favourite people to see on the decks. He’s got his own sound and I’ve got a lot of respect for that and it’s got an old school vibe to it that’s just so good. Tiesto actually really impressed me. Given the circumstances, he’s on a tour, doesn’t have residency and still has to bring his signature light show and production values to the table. Tiesto tours are just as much about the performance, effects and lighting as they are the music. The production was so impressive considering how it’s being shifted around America and you can tell an absolute fortune has been spent to get it right.

The Tiesto set in itself was amazing although I must admit I was interested in how his set was so obviously tailored for the American audience. Which of course it should of been, Electronic music, trance and house are up and coming in America (despite house being invented here) and you can’t expect the crowd do appreciate the tunes the way the Balearic veterans over in Ibiza do. I’m talking a few more commercial lyrics thrown on top of the impeccably produced beats. I did find myself getting a tad annoyed when I saw someone Shazamming Adagio for Strings and someone asking me two and half hours before Tiesto coming on if Alavro was Tiesto. No. No he’s not.

So that was Tiesto. An absolutely fantastic gig, I managed to get a bed for the night and I headed back to San Francisco in the morning. Secondly, after a day of work and recovery from a good nights dancing I headed over to some friends house and had a few drinks before deciding that we should go out and see Caspa. A dubstep DJ who I’ve heard good things about. It was a real fun night but I’d suggest that the dubstep he was playing was a bit too new age for me. I’m on about when dubstep artists throw as many sounds and samples into a thirty second gap as possible and rely on making a drop far too often. I’ve seen better when being dragged round the clubs of London by my friend who’s absolutely obsessed with finding the next new artist in the D&B and Dub scene. Either way it was a fun night until we left and then I slipped on a McDonalds bag, smashed my elbow on the floor started bleeding and broke my Watch strapped (shout out to Macy*s fixing it for $5). Livid on the bus, I was.

Tim Ford at Treasure Island San Francisco
Treasure Island San Francisco

The following few days involved chilled nights, one at the pub drinking a few pints and generally taking it easy. Come Friday, I arose in an unfamiliar room before realizing I’d ended up going back to the other brits house for a post-pub cup of tea and then we decided to spend the day downtown. We actually went for dinner in the Cheesecake factory above Macy*s on Union Square. From what I gathered from the Big Bang Theory, The Cheesecake Factory was nothing special. I assumed it would be a dive if I’m honest but it was actually rather pleasant  The sun was shining, the food was reasonably priced and I had a so-so mojito to accompany my Chipotle Southwest Chicken Sandwhich.

Saturday I went to a house party of which I spent most of the night sat in some geezers bedroom playing his guitar. Nice guitar mind. Then Sunday was similar to last Sunday in that me and my flat mate hopped on the bikes, rode to Lucky on Sloat and bought 3 roast chickens and a load of veg headed back to our friends over at Park Merced and put together the perfect British Roast. Following the roast we drove over to Treasure Island, grabbed a coffee and watched the sun set behind the Golden Gate bridge and leaving this magnificent sit show in all it’s moonlight glory.  A glass of red and a film topped off an absolutely incredible week.