This next story is one of the craziest and best of our playing career. We have been friends with the amazing band Devotchka for a few years at this point. Our first gig sharing the stage with them was at the now defunct Paramount in Santa Fe. We opened for them and some random dude named Rodney Parker, who was playing his first show ever and was opening for us. Since then, we had played a few shows with them in their hometown of Denver. In 2006, we had just finished mixing and mastering "Lay Low While Crawling or Creeping" and "Little Miss Sunshine" was about to be released, which was the movie that really put Devotchka on the map. We were finalizing a West Coast tour and had a couple of open dates, which coincided with a few Devotchka dates. They were gracious enough to let us open a few of those.
We show up to the first of the three gigs at the Clubhouse in Phoenix, Arizona on August 21, 2006 after a long drive from Los Angeles. The weather was brutally hot (like cook an egg on the hood of the van hot). We load in a cavernous venue located directly in the middle of a strip mall (welcome to Phoenix). The venue's cap was probably around 800 and we heard the show was completely sold out. Suffice to say, we were excited to be there. We say hello to the Devotchka folks who were finishing their soundcheck, then we set up and proceed to check ourselves.
As soon as we are finished, a huge storm appeared out of nowhere from the horizon and engulfed our area of Phoenix in mere minutes. I have never actually experienced a monsoon before but they weren't kidding about the rain. The sheer amount that came down in sheets in just a few minutes was unbelievable. I remember looking outside and seeing a car that was parked in a low spot in the lot now having a river running right through it. Water was up over the bottom of the driver's side door. Here we are, excited about playing our first sold out show and now we were unsure whether or not it would actually happen. Sure enough, in true monsoon form, the whole thing had passed over in about 30 minutes.
The show was still a go. There was a line of hundreds of rain soaked kids waiting to rush inside once the doors were open. By the time we got onstage, the place was assholes to elbows packed. We begin our set. We had been on tour proceeding this show for about 2 weeks, so the set was tight and felt good. Suddenly, in the middle of our third song, ALL the electricity goes out in the venue. The place was pitch dark, eerily quiet. A rush flew over as we tried to figure out our best plan of action. Do we wait it out? Our set was only 45 minutes, so we didn't want to waste one second of it.
Just then, without any of us saying a word, we all just jumped off stage. I grabbed my guitar, Amanda grabbed her fiddle, Colt grabbed his accordion, and Todd grabbed his banjo. We just walked right out to the middle of the darkened crowd and began playing "Fallen Pinetree" completely acoustic. The crowd was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Everyone in the audience crowded in around our little circle and lit us up with phone lights and lighters. We played and sang as loud as we could. Literally, once we finished the song, the lights came back on and we jumped back onstage to a screaming audience.
We ended up finishing the set and after the show, we had multiple people coming up to our merch table letting us know that the way we handled that was one of the best performances they had ever seen. We ended up selling a ton of merch so it goes without saying that the performance was one that we will never forget.