PhotosPhotosSaturday, May 14, 2011 - 11:08:56 pm
(Posted Under: Travel, Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Live Shows, Music Music)
We headed up to Jerome this afternoon. Our initial plan was to head up early and hit Wildlife Park Zoo and then continue on to Jerome, until Katie remembered she had to work this morning.

However, it worked out and we still got to Jerome while it was still light and with plenty of time to check out the town. I've known about Jerome for music related reasons for years, but was quite surprised when we were approaching the town limits and saw that the entire town is built into a mountain. That was completely not what I expected. The other notable part about the drive up to Jerome was being able to see Sedona in the distance.

Photobox ImageJerome was very cool and unique. Almost immediately the narrow streets with buildings virtually built right on them made me think of what London seems like it'd be like. Or at least a more hilly version thereof. Which goes to the diversity of Arizona, with Jerome being worlds away from what you see in Phoenix or Tucson (which in themselves are quite different cities). Having just watched the Mill Ave Inc / The Avenue movies last night, you couldn't help but think about the fact that Jerome isn't in any fear of a corporate take over.

Photobox ImageIn addition to the coolness of the town itself, the views from up there out over the Verde Valley towards Sedona are amazing. The steepness of the roads around the whole town would make living there a pain no doubt, but you really can't beat the picturesqueness of the town and the amazing views from it, that's for sure.

We found a car park and decided to get out and explore the town on foot, rather than trying to navigate the narrow roads in the car. As luck would have it, we parked a few shops fronts away from where the Spirit Room is. That was pretty convenient, I don't think we could have planned it better if we tried.

Photobox ImageThere were no shortage of great photo opportunities, and what I particularly loved was that there were so many ruins of buildings that haven't been torn down. As far as great photos go, this was definitely my favorite.

Photobox ImageOf course, that was just down the street from the remains of this building, which with the backdrop of Verde Valley behind it certainly made for my second favorite photo of the afternoon.

Photobox ImageAt some point during our adventuring through the streets, a sherrif cut off the road into town. We couldn't at all work out why. But soon a local shop owner explained the predicament to us. A semi had begun to drive through town and had got stuck down one of the narrow streets and about 2pm this afternoon. It was now almost 6pm and they were finally getting it out of town. Apparently driving trucks through Jerome is illegal, and the driver was going to also get a $500 violation as a souvenir.

Further down the road, someone honked at us and we turned around to see Josh waving hearty the car. It was our hope that they were playing early, so we could get an early start of the trek back home, and so seeing Josh at 6pm gave us hope for that. As did hearing Stephen sound checking as we continued walking around the town a little later. But more on that later.

We were both starved, and ended up opting for the Haunted Hamburger. Great food, a cool little place, which actually reminded me a little bit of an Aussie pub. We got a seat by the window at the back of the haunted building, and got to have dinner overlooking the amazing views of the Verde Valley.

Photobox ImageThe timing of dinner worked out great, giving us something to do until show time and placing us perfectly to wander back down to the Spirit Room right before the show. The Spirit Room was really cool, and certainly seemed like walking into a bar from the Wild West. Again, there doesn't seem much fear of Jerome loosing it's identity. The show started a little after 8, with no opener and Stephen taking the stage right from the get go. Which seemed to indicate we might get back to Phoenix at a reasonable time. Y'know, his Martini Ranch shows are always decent sets, but surely we'd be back on the road after 10pn. Right? Well, y'know, the "8 til midnight" show time was no lie. And there was no other bands. It was Stephen Ashbrook the whole time - 3 sets and virtually four hours. Now that's what I call getting your $15 worth for a show.

Photobox ImageIn addition to the sheer length of the show, it was a different experience to the Martini Ranch shows I'm used to. Stephen started out by himself, kicking things of with Kansas City and a few others before bring the rest of the band up. So it was a completely different experience to the shows I normally see Stephen do. While our going to this show was initially just because we weren't able to make Friday's Martini Ranch show, it certainly turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I would have to say that you haven't really seen Stephen Ashbrook until you've seen him in Jerome. I certainly loved the variety in songs we got, including a lot of stuff from older live shows I've grown up on (I'm On Fire, All Along The Watch Tower, Houston).

While the party was going to continue down the street when the show finished at midnight, it was time for us to hit the road, and said our goodbyes and headed back down to the highway towards Phoenix, making it back by 2:15, which by all accounts wasn't bad!

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