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I missed Bella Novela last time they came through Arizona to play. When I saw they’d be playing at Sky Bar Saturday night, I knew I had to make it. I booked a hotel for the night, as I knew it wouldn’t be in my best interest to ride home after the show. After confirming my itinerary, double checking the location, and my route, I geared up and rode out.

The ride there was uneventful, but one of the biggest problems with the I-10 is that it’s only two lanes for the most part. One nasty accident can cause a traffic jam that lasts hours. After a bit of a slow down, I was fast on my way to the hotel. When I arrived, the lobby was unremarkable, and the reception was nothing noteworthy. Granted, I wasn’t expecting much from a 2-star hotel, but I found myself impressed by the bedding. The sheets, pillows, and linens were impeccable, and wonderfully clean.

It had been a while since I’ve ridden through a college town on a Saturday night. Tons of intersections, blind corners, and 20-somethings having a good time gets dodgy quick. Once I pulled into the parking lot at Sky Bar, the excitement set in. I had just called in to work, ridden for nearly three hours, checked into a hotel, and am about to see one of my favorite bands perform. It was half past seven o’clock, and it wasn’t until after I ordered my first pint that I saw the sign on the wall: Live music 9 PM – 2 AM. I’m sure this boulevard can help me kill two hours. I paid my tab and let the bartender know I’d be back for the show.

It was my first time actually walking through Tucson’s Historic 4th Avenue, as opposed to passing through. The shops were packed in side to side on every block. The whole place seemed reminiscent of the big cities I’ve seen on TV.

I stumbled upon what used to be an Amtrak station. Now it is a market, upscale restaurant, and museum. The Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, Maynard’s Kitchen, and Market, was bustling and busy. With a packed dining room, and suddenly reminded of my hunger, I decided to take a look around before finding some dinner. I walked by this taco truck twice, and decided Sonoran Hotdogs before the show would be perfect. A combination of my hunger and how good these were led to my forgetting to take pictures. Some foodie I am.

A few minutes past 9 o’clock, I decided to head back to the bar. The show would start soon. The crowd was pretty light, and Bella Novela took the stage to put on an awesome performance.
I very much admire Jacob’s technicality on the guitar, Jannea’s enthusiasm and skill with the drums, and the way Jackie pours emotion into the mic. As they were breaking down their set, I met Jamie who was running their merch table. I bought a shirt for myself, and one for my roommate, and as Jacob passed by, I thanked him and the band for coming out. I offered to buy their next round, and they graciously accepted. Talking about guitars over a beer with Jacob was great. He’s on a copmletely different skill level than me. He also went on to explain the girls had gotten food poisoning in Flagstaff yesterday. After a while of small talk, Jannea, Jackie, and Jamie approached us to proclaim it’s Jacob’s birthday. Next thing I know, there’s Jaeger shots, lots of hugs, handshakes, and dancing.

They showered me with gifts from their merch table. I ended up leaving with all three of their albums, a cassette tape, a bunch of stickers, and a coozie. After the closing band had finished, I gave them one more hug, thanked them for coming out, and headed back to my hotel room.

In the morning, I geared up and started to make my way back to the I-10 to start the ride home. I figured I’d try and beat traffic by heading out early, but another accident caused miles of backups. When I finally rode past it, it seems two semis and three cars were involved. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured. The rest of the ride was quiet and uneventful, and I again made it home in time for breakfast. It’s been a while since I had a hangover, nevermind hangin’ with the band after a show.

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