Archive for June, 2010

NXNE

We are really happy to be a part of this year’s North By Northeast festival in Toronto. We are sharing a bill with The Black Atlantic, a great band from the Netherlands. The venue is The Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave and we hit the stage at 11pm. Hope to see you!

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June 14, 2010 at 4:11 pm Leave a comment

The Long Road

I know, it’s been a while. I am finally home! Not much time to sit at a computer while on tour, for all the driving. 17 000 km’s on the van and maybe a couple bruises.  24 shows across Canada in a month, supporting Raised By Swans.

This is how we roll. Three men in the van with all the gear, two men in the car. So wonderful to hit the highway and watch metropolis disappear.

Kingston was a great gig. The room was great, sounded superb. Nice people too! Accomodations at the HoJo starts us off right.

Montreal is a great town and Il Motore is one of the better venues. I take a walk after soundcheck. Eat some humous and take a nap in the van. Both PM and RBS sets are good, attentive crowd. We load out and head to Casa del Popolo for a drink. We stay upstairs at the Pensione where Andy destroys the soap dispenser in the bathroom, soap all over. Funny bearded man.

Big long run to Halifax. Time to get our driving legs. Or bums. Stop at night in St. Leonard, New Brunswick for a motel stay and the only late-night food in town, Tim Horton’s. Must get used to sup-par food. Nice drive through the east, rolling hills and woods, pull into Halifax on the ocean and find the venue, Mike is a hero with that GPS phone of his. Gus’ Pub is a funny room old as the hills but we rock the place.  We start a tradition of sneaking into hotel rooms pretending to be four men instead of five.

Easy ride to Fredericton for a good one at the Capital, fine venue. Thanks soundgirl Leah and booker Zach! Great opening band, The Grass. Raining all damn day and night. Slim crowd but we sound real good. Worst motel of the tour, The Prospector. Very sketchy, decent breakfast though.

I haven’t been to Quebec City in eons. Lovely old city on the river. We are lost, but its kinda fun. Eric finally jumps in a cab and we follow it to the venue. Cool place nice crowd. First night of “vanwiches”. Thanks to the kind soundman and awesome openers Polar Eyes. Best hotel room of the tour! Luxury, really. A film is made of me ordering pizza at 4am.

Ottawa, capital city, welcomes us with open arms. Zaphods is a legendary venue. Some familiar faces, nice to see! Wonderful curry for dinner and we stay the night at Mr. Higney’s lovely home, a nice break from motels, and he is a kind and talented man with many instruments! Thanks, John.

Ever been to Wakefield, Quebec? Me neither. What a magical town half-hour from Ottawa on a lake with a fantabulous music venue: The Black Sheep. Thanks for having us Paul. Bronze Leaf did a great opening set. This one felt so good!

The next day we must do a death drive across all of northern Ontario, around the arc of Lake Superior to Thunder Bay, 17.5 hours. Killer. Its a day off so no gig, but we really must hustle. Many vanwiches. Lots of wildlife along the highway as we pass through the great Canadian Shield, lovely weather too! Winding rocky roads around Georgian bay and the lake,  the northern air is wonderful to breathe. We trespass onto someone’s vacant cottage property to see a sunset. Must drive carefully at night, moose on the loose and they will destroy you and your automobile. We take refuge traveling behind a transport truck as Eric does the hero drive getting us to Tbay by about 4 am. A bit of whisky before bed. Thanks to Sheila and Alex at the Apollo for letting us stay the night. You are so kind.

Time to get up and drive 8 hours to Winnipeg. This is how we do it in Canada. Tonight we play the Park Theatre, a beautiful small soft-seater with a huge stage and great sound. A real treat. So good to see old friends Ryan and Greg and their sweet ladies Robyn and Tannis. Great people! We killed it tonight. Great performances for both acts despite the slim crowd. Off to a local bar with Ryan to celebrate, then to the hotel.

Last minute show in Saskatoon, thanks Rich. Great opener, Caves. Small cafe, great Americano, stripped down show fun to do. More late night food and a hotel room. We are having the time of our lives, by the way.

Finally a reasonable drive (6hrs) to Calgary, through the magnificent badlands of Alberta. Mike and Andy in the car witness and film a dust devil about five metres high roaring toward them. Crazy video, lots of fun. Get into town with the van in good time. The parking man at the Palamino lets us park free if we give him a cd. This is a good gig, nice room in the basement of a cowboy BBQ bar. Hey, its Calgary. Thank you Spencer!

Down the highway to Edmonton, another river city, many bridges. Old friend Smokey opens the show tonight. Great to see you man. Your songs are beautiful and the nature sounds are magic. A wonderful venue, the ARTery, very kind people and i hope to return again. Thank you!

A day off to drive through the mountains to Penticton. This is the most beautiful drive of the tour. Into the magnificent rocky mountains we go, they are still snow-capped and absolutely breathtaking. The Columbia Icefields Parkway makes us giddy and there is snow everywhere. So jagged and towering, these beasts. Winding roads carve through the rock taking us up so high then down again. We stay the night in Lake Louise, a quaint mountain tourist town, Andy sleeps outside. The next day we see more wildlife: Elk, deer, and a momma black bear with her cub. Penticton is a great show. Slim crowd but four girls come from Kelowna to see the gig. Donna, venue owner is so kind and generous and lets us stay at her house, making lots of great food and generally being a wonderful host. So great halfway through the tour to have an experience like this! We love you Donna.

Kelowna the next night is a weird gig in a restaurant venue, people eating dinner and i feel a bit like wallpaper during my set. Best part is the four girls show up again to cheer us on. You ladies are the best and made this night for us! RBS do a lovely sounding low-key set then the power goes out. Its raining so hard! The girls take us out on the town. What a special night it turns out to be.

On through the Coastal Mountains and out onto the delta foothills to the beautiful city of Vancouver, on the ocean. We have traveled across this continent. This town has a special place in my heart but it is getting spooky. We take East Hastings Ave in, the largest and worst area of down and out people in all of Canada. Someone gets stabbed and is bleeding all over as we roll by. Scary. Finally to the heart of the city to the Railway Club, a wonderful venue. We eat sushi and set up the show. Our good friend D. Trevlon is opening with his great band and Johnny the soundman is a gem. Lots of old friends come and this is such a great gig. Thanks everyone! I only wish i could hang out and spend more time with you. Tear down and load out again then to Clif’s to sleep. The next day we avoid a horrendous auto crash by seconds; a car going twice the speed limit on East Broadway spins out right beside us after bouncing off a tree and a street sign. The driver is lucky to be alive and he’s rushed to the hospital. His car is mangled and twisted. We are very shaken up but must continue to the ferry.

Nice to be on the Island and feeling a bit better. Victoria is a great show, stage and sound are excellent. We go to a park on the ocean and recharge a bit. The next night in Duncan is a highlight, maybe the best night of the tour. A warm and cozy venue run by lovely people who live for music. Brilliant sound and stage and people listen. Thanks Longevity John and Georgia, It was so special and an inspiration to hang out with you.

Nanaimo. Not worth reminiscing about. Best part was breakfast. Back onto the ferry and through Vancouver to pick up the car we left behind. Two days off to drive back east through the mountains for a gig in Lethbridge, Alberta. Starting to feel the exhaustion, late nights, driving. Never enough sleep. Always moving, always changing. Ups and downs. We will get by. Some good rest time in the mountains and beautiful scenery: lakes and valleys, dense forest, tiny towns. It really is a joy to see our country like this, i feel very free, like an outlaw.

Back to the flatlands of the prairies. Lethbridge is a tour highlight. Great to see Megan and Ben and their band. Great sets by all three of us. Really good crowd, great bar, The Slice. Amazing pizza! Its easy to spot a place that really cares about music and musicians. A joy to play here. Thanks Jesse and nice bar girls! More rain, rain, rain. Damn cold too.

More driving, Regina, Saskatchewan. This gig turns into a rehearsal ’cause only the barkeep shows up. Disappointing but the place just opened after 3 weeks of flood damage. On to Winnipeg for a gig in an Irish pub pool hall. The nice guys from The Fantastic gave us this fill in gig, thanks! It turns out to be a fun night. Starting to feel the pull of home and my own bed and favorite chair, but we must drive on. Thunder Bay is the last show before the big finale in Toronto. Thank god it’s at the Apollo. Sheila is always so kind and generous, great food and a wonderful music venue. Slim crowd but good energy all around and we play great. Upstairs accommodations make all the difference. Thanks Sheila and Alex!

The Dodge van and Toyota car were the stars of this tour. Also our guitar amplifiers. Thanks for chugging along for us. Finally home after two 8hr drives through north Ontario, a few days off to gear up for the tour capper gig at the Horsehoe Tavern, legendary and storied Toronto institution. Pink Moth is a full band tonight and its a full house. Our set is intense and feels so good! Next is Fjord Rowboat who release a new disc today. RBS play one of our best gigs ever, in my opinion. Its a wonderful night. Back to our house for late night conversation and drinks.

June 7, 2010 at 12:54 am 2 comments