Archive for March, 2013

Next Up: Ojai Fresh Roasted Concerts

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Our next performance will be at the Fresh Roasted Concert series in Ojai California. We were delighted to be at the first Ojai World Music Festival and are looking forward to a return performance. There will also be a hands-on workshop preceding the concert.

Drumming Workshop with On Ensemble
Saturday March 30th
1:00pm
Ojai Art Center
$20 adults $15 seniors/students

On Ensemble in Concert
Saturday March 30th
7:30pm
Matilija Auditorium, Ojai
$27 Adults ($30 at the door)
$25 Seniors (65+) / Students ($27 at the door)
http://www.ptgo.org/fresh.html

Sandpoint Whitefish and back home!

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

We finished up our Mountain West tour with performances in Sandpoint Idaho and Whitefish Montana. It was a great way to end the tour as both of these towns were absolutely beautiful and the concerts and educational outreach programs were great. A huge thank you goes out to Kim, Judy and Dave and all the staff at the Panida Theater for their work in bringing us to Sandpoint. Another huge thank you goes out to Jesse, Kathy, Gayle, Ron and Colin for all their work in bringing us to Whitefish and making it the perfect concert to end the tour on.

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I realized that I took almost no pictures outside to show you how beautiful it was so you’ll just have to take my word for it. The whole tour has been rather picturesque come to think of it and we had a great time at all the places we visited.

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In Whitefish we stayed at the Hidden Moose Lodge which was absolutely fantastic! It had a great rustic ambiance complete with fire place and friendly patrons. We even made some new friends playing “King of Tokyo”.

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In the end it all comes down to the music. It was great to have an extended period of time to perform and continue to develop the live versions of the new pieces. The music has been feeling really good and we are looking forward to releasing the new album Bizarre Heroes. We are back in Los Angeles for a few weeks then will be on the road again in April. We’ll be posting more details on the next tour and new album soon!

Gaming on the road

Friday, March 15th, 2013

This tour I decided to try to bring a nerd game on the road and see if I could get the guys into some geeky board games. It’s been a huge SUCCESS! There ends up being quite a bit of down time when you are on tour. So having something to do together that doesn’t cost money and doesn’t involve just vegging out in a hotel room watching crappy tv has been a hit the guys. Here’s a closer look at the game we’ve been playing called “King of Tokyo”.

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The idea of the game is that you are one of six monsters that a battling for control of Tokyo. You choose between the King, Kraken, Meka Dragon, Cyber Bunny, Alienoid or Giga Zaur. Each monster starts with 10 hit points and zero victory points. The first monster to twenty victory points or the last monster standing wins the game. Right now there are no differences between the monsters but apparently there is a expansion pack that introduces individual traits to each of the monsters. We’ll definitely be getting the expansion pack for the next tour.

You take turns by rolling six dice and depending on the result you can attack, heal, score victory points or gain energy. If you are in Tokyo while you attack you damage all the monsters outside of the city but all the other monsters also attack you. What changes the game from a simple bash your opponent game into a game of surprising complexity and variation are the special ability cards that you can buy with your energy.

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There are a lot of special ability cards and many synergistic combinations between the cards that make for fun and varied gameplay. Each game is slightly different and overall the game is well balanced. It’s been a ton of fun and I think this is a start of another On Ensemble tour tradition.

Cooking on the road

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

One of great parts of traveling the country playing music is getting to sample the great regional cuisine and find fun local places to eat. However there are many nights where you are just going out to eat because you have to and you end up eating sub par diner hamburgers day after day. Kris and Maz started brining a rice cooker on the road and now we’ve all converted to cooking on the road.

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This is the cooking kit I’m using this tour. So far it’s been quite successful. So far we had: Trader Joe’s Indian curry over rice, teriyaki marinated squash over rice, pork and beans with corn over rice and spicy tuna and avocado over rice. It’s basically a game of how many ways you can eat rice.

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The number one On Ensemble road meal is definitely a package of Mori Nu organic silken tofu with rice and furikake. It’s simple but pretty hard to beat. The Mori Nu tofu is the perfect road staple it doesn’t need to be refrigerated until you open it the package is very compact and it tastes delicious.

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My other road staple has become a jar of Nutella. It also doesn’t need to be refrigerated and it’s a perfect way to improve free hotel breakfasts. Tired of the same waffles and instant eggs? Just get a banana and make a banana Nutella sandwich. Awesome. I’ve also taken to bringing a package of starbuck via on the road to fortify weak hotel coffee.

Missoula and Helena

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

We had a couple of great performances in Missoula and Helena. A huge thank you goes out to Marlene, Noah, Jacob and the great staff at UM Productions for making the Missoula performances a success. Another huge thank you goes out to Ed, Alex and the staff at Helena Presents for all their work in making our performance at the Myrna Loy Center a success.

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After the performance in Helena we drove into Sandpoint Idaho where we have a couple of days off until our performance in Sandpoint on Wednesday. So far the concerts have been going very well this tour. The new pieces that will be featured on our upcoming album are sounding better and better and are making great additions to the concert program. More from the road soon!

Up Next: Sandpoint and Whitefish

Monday, March 11th, 2013

We are nearing the end of our Mountain West tour. Two more performances at Sandpoint and Whitefish:

Wednesday, March 13th
7:00pm
Panida Theater
300 N. First St.
Sandpoint, Idaho

Friday, March 15th
7:30pm
I.A. O’Shaughnessy Center
One Central Avenue
Whitefish, Montana

Dillon, Salmon and elk

Friday, March 8th, 2013

We spent the last day in Ontario getting some practice and playing some more Kings of Tokyo.

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After saying bye to the great hospitality in Ontario we hit the road for Dillon. We got into Dillon checked into our hotel got a night of rest then had an educational outreach program and a full concert later that night. A huge thank you goes out to Jerry and Steve and the Southwest Montana Arts Council for bringing us to Dillon. Jerry said we could quote him when he called On Ensemble “The best thing to ever come to Dillon”.

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We didn’t get to stay in Dillon long as we had to get to Salmon Idaho for an early morning performance. We packed up the trailer after the concert and drove all night to get to Salmon. During the drive we saw no cars on the road but a TON of elk. I’m not even joking. We passed three herd of the massive beasts on our way into Salmon. It was dark as we arrived so it wasn’t until the morning that we saw what a beautiful area we were in.

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In the morning we performed an educational outreach program for the local elementary and high school students then had an evening performance at the Elk’s Club. Maz and I grew up practicing at the Rod and Gun club which was filled with mounted elk and deer head so we felt right at home. The performance was great fun and the audience was very enthusiastic. A huge thank you goes out to Tess and Todd and the Salmon Arts Council for brining us to their beautiful town.

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Today we drove from Salmon to Missoula for a radio interview on Montana PUblic Radio. Then we got a quick ice cream before our preview performance.

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Tomorrow we perform at the University of Montana’s Dennison Theater at 7:30pm. After that we’ll be headed to Helena. More coming soon!

Over eating in Ontario

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

We are being well taken care of here in Ontario. After our performance in Mountain Home we drove into Ontario for a concert at the Four Rivers Cultural Center. This was my first time in Ontario and it turns out there is a very sizable Japanese American community here. I suppose it shouldn’t have surpassed me too much as Maz’ mother was born in the Minidoka internment camp which is near this area. The local buddhist temple has a taiko group and through a connection with them we were able to set up our performance and a place to stay for a few days! Before the performance they hosted a noodle bowl dinner which was fantastic.

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We then performed a very noodle powered concert for a well fed and enthusiastic audience. A huge thank you goes out to Matthew and Christina for their work in bringing us to their center and making the concert a success.

The next day we attended service at the Buddhist temple to say thank you for the hospitality and were invited to a post service potluck feast. We ate like kings then in true JA fashion were loaded up with more dessert than we can eat in a week by the kindly obasans. Then on top of that Revered Fujimoto and his wife Sharman cooked us a salmon stir fry feast for dinner and in true JA fashion we were loaded up with more take home stir fry that we can eat in a week.

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We are staying for another day in Ontario then will be headed to Dillon to continue the tour. A huge thank you goes out to Reverend Fujimoto, Sharman Fujimoto and the members of the Idaho-Oregon Buddhist temple for their amazing hospitality.

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