Quote of the day:
“You guys want an encore? I’ll play you anything. I’ll even play you Lady G’GAH if you want.”
Thursday, November 24th, 9:30 am, Montreal
We sleep for 3.5 hours at Lucas and Mel’s apartment and split. The drive is very tedious and sad, leaving the city and leaving our old friends. We hit all kinds of construction and heavy traffic on the way to London and end up being 1.5 hours late for our load-in and sound-check schedule. We each consume well over 500 ml of coffee this morning, in an effort to plow through the daunting free-way heading south from Toronto, to stay alert and stay safe. We have discovered the usefulness of Ontario’s “On-Route” road-side fast food oasis (plural?) There is literally a Tim Horton’s, Burger King, A&W and a McDonald’s every 30k. What a province. I will take a second to say that my new favourite thing to eat on tour, in the mornings up until noon, is the Tim Horton’s “Bagel Belt,” a delicious breakfast sandwich that features your choice of bacon or sausage, egg, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and even your own choice of bagel. If you make it a combo, you may also get an orange juice or coffee, hashbrowns or pastry, still for under $5.00. You really can’t go wrong, and you don’t feel like dying afterwards. That’s my favourite part. God bless Canadian infrastructure, or something.
7:00 pm, London
I get lost inside the London Music Hall, searching the entire building for the right venue. It is a multi-venue building, it has about 4 different sized rooms for different kinds of events, mostly live music or theatre. It takes me a good 10 minutes before I locate Sprack and the TSE boys, through the basement, up through the pub, two flights of stairs over the load-in ramp, through the green room, into our venue for the evening. We get to use a freight elevator to load our gear up into the building, and a surly attendant, Sam, helps us carry our stuff. He uses only the phrases “Hurry up” and “Are you good?” He is a charmer, everything I look for in a man, assertive and gruff. My friend Heather graces me with her presence, she brings along a friend who has NEVER EVER BEEN TO A LIVE MUSIC EVENT BEFORE. My mind is blown and I am truly speechless. I spent most of my younger days, still do, going to shows, watching bands, seeking out new and exciting events, and considering the reason our band is here, it is, and will always be a part of me, the live performance. But it is also refreshing, this girl, who’s name I will leave out, intrigues me with the way she probably views the whole thing as I did once when I was a kid. The exciting, dimly lit stage, the crowd gathered in front of the stage, and then it all lights up and gets loud and those first notes from the band are sung, and everyone is electrified and dazzled and uproarious. It also sets a mood for tonight where I want to play the best I can so this is the best experience for this person. Nothing like a bad set full of feedback, wrong notes and off-colour jokes to ruin something forever.
Tonight features “Goodbye Sky Harbour” an awesome female fronted pop-punk band, Paramore is referenced heavily but I dig it. I am always happy to play with an awesome pop-punk band, which are few and far between these days, I find. “Victory Sweet Victory” follows them with an onslaught of anthemic pop-punk sing-alongs. We play next and we are stunned by the audiences enthusiasm, once again. We are even joined by all the members of Ten Second Epic on stage for our final number, as this will be the last show we play together on this tour before both our bands start the wintery trek home. It is a little sad, I’ll admit, to have to part ways so soon, but also a little exciting, to anticipate the massive party that will surely ensue later tonight. Did I also mention that it is Brandon Eedy’s, our friend and promoter for the show, birthday tonight? That’s right. Ten Second Epic plays a legendary set, “Suck It Up Princess” a personal favourite, always will be. We watch them from the side of the stage the whole night and imitate all of Craig’s guitar solos with our hands. There’s nothing like solid, and public, air-guitar playing/drumming to really make your band look like massive dorks. In our defines, “it gets you warmed up and may even hone your skills a little better.” It’s true, I’ve said that once.
After the biggest, most collaborative power-load of the century, we head down to “Wink’s,” a local pub, for a celebratory beer and shots, and then more, and then a couple more, and more after that. There is an epic fooz-ball match and an interesting, sleeveless street-performer type entertaining the locals inside with soulful, hip-hop versions of modern pop songs (what?) I’m about 5 beers deep and the performer takes a break and his friend, a lovely and talented young lady, takes the stage to fill the intermission. I clumsily walk up to her and ask her if I can play a song. She is very hesitant and asks me if I am drunk. I tell her “I’ve never been more sober!” enthusiastically enough and she lends me the guitar and says “I’d better be good.” Clearly she is not okay with this, but I proceed to play “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn and dedicate to my band and the TSE boys, a congratulatory pop song for a tour well done. The crowd likes it, however, sleeveless soul-singer guy, does not. He tells me “this isn’t an open mic” and basically pushes me off the stage. I laugh. Some performers just don’t like other musicians cramping their style, and I can understand that.
We hit a diner on the corner beside the pub and we all order the “Whammy Burger” which is a cheeseburger in all respects, except this particular burger comes with peanut butter and bacon on it. A gem, for sure. AND popular to contrary belief, the nightmare that people think of when blending savoury and sweet, it is actually quite excellent, and that’s not just being a drunken fool. I have never been afraid to try something a little strange, somewhat risky, and when it comes to food, you shouldn’t be either! You never know what you’ll miss if you’re too stubborn to try something exciting. We all grab taxis to eddy’s place and upon arriving, his little dog who’s name escapes me, proceeds to bite all of our legs if we move. He is a cute little devil. We watch youtube videos for a good hour before turning in, all of us climbing into our sleeping bags, calling dibs on the good spots of floor like true tour vultures. Sandy throws down a Snuggie, and without even taking off his toque, glasses or leather jacket, lays down and sighs in comfort. I ask him if he’s comfortable and he says “I got my Snuggie bro. It separates me from the floor. That’s all I need.” Brilliant.