Words by: Jennifer DuardoOn a warm thursday evening Jen and I threw some essential items (sleeping bags, tent, trashy magazines) into my car and headed south to Big Sur. We were going to see the XX and my new musical crush Phantogram. Normally I would not consider driving 3 hours to see a band, in fact I can barely be bothered to cross the bridge for events in Oakland. However, this is not your ordinary venue. This is the Henry Miller library, a magical little spot nestled in a redwood grove, a place where you can throw a blanket onto the grass, drink your wine straight from the bottle, and experience something otherworldy under a star-filled sky.
We drive down the winding roads of Highway 1 under the haze of a blinding golden sunshine. Out of the corner of my eye I see a thick blanket of fog hovering over turquoise waters, careful only to take quick glances lest I drive us to our deaths over the rocky cliffside. As we enter Big Sur the earthy smells of forest come wafting through our windows. Instant Happiness. Hippies walk precariously along the side of the road, hoping for a ride to somewhere.
The library is the type of place where, even though you're more than 100 miles from home, you will inevitably run into someone you know, a place where kindred spirits converge. Phantogram began the show as the sun faded into the night and they were everything I wanted them to be. Sarah's emotional lyrics and breathy voice against dirty synth sounds and Josh's sexy minimal guitar seemed better suited for a small, sweaty club, but I would love it in any setting.
XX took the stage soon after and there was definitely something mesmerizing about their set with the fog and lights and atmosphere. People were dancing all around us and I fell into a sort of hypnotic state...a beautiful experience but I can't say I remember much about their actual performance.
After the show we stumbled back to Pfeiffer Big Sur campground with two friends who crashed at our site. More wine, snacks, and a cracklin' fire, but sadly no s'mores!
We passed out early to the sounds of rabid mountain lions (in my imagination) rustling in the nearby trees. After a sleepless night, I awoke to the sounds of bubbling water in the creek and myriad bird calls...heavenly.
We packed it up and drove over to my favorite local restaurant, Deetjens and had a leisurely breakfast inside their cozy lodge. We had to return to the city soon after but I couldn't leave without stopping at the beach. Before heading back into reality I needed to feel hot sand sift through my toes, let the cold ocean send shivers up my spine, stare out into the vast expanse, and feel alive.