More driving. Our goal was, yet again, to make it as far as possible before our show tomorrow in Thunder Bay. It’s a little weird to think that we are already on our way back to the west coast but, it also feels like we’ve been away for like a month. Spending most of your time in a small car can be particularly exhausting. Needless to say, we miss our own beds and home-cooked meals. Canned foods and peanut butter have been our saving grace on this trip along with Subway and Red Bull. I’m not sure that we’ll even know how to sleep properly the first few days that we’re back.
Tonight, we’re staying with one of Alea’s relatives in Sault Ste. Marie, a ten hour drive from Kingston, and we are beginning to cherish real beds as the days go on. Tomorrow, we have a show in Thunder Bay with a few very friendly bands; it’s gonna’ be a dense drive and a good time. If only these cities were closer together. Maybe next time we’ll tour the states or somewhere with shorter drives between cities. It’s really held us from experiencing these cities as much as we would like to.
Yesterday was a relaxing change of pace, today was a moderate to rushed change of pace. We spent our last hours in Montreal checking out an incredibly hip thrift shop called “Eva B” and an amazing bakery called “Guillaume”. It was nice to be completely surrounded by an entirely different culture and immerse ourselves in a lifestyle that we aren’t particularly used to. We began our trek back home by wedging through the downtown Montreal traffic and I’m between construction zones only to eventually land in Kingston with our minds set on the night. Taking a bit of a walk around, we took in some of the city and found a pizza place that makes 22” pizzas – that’s bigger than my bass drum… Anyways, we made it back just in time to catch the list of Aaron Carter’s set… that’s right, Aaron Carter’s set pushed our show back but, we caught the last bit of his set which was more than memorable.
The space that we played in was nice and CFRC was kind enough to sponsor the evening. The crowd proved kind and enthusiastic as well. Apparently, Aaron Carter said he would stick around for our set so, I presume that he did because I trust his word.
Overall, despite the much needed break the day prior, it was nice to hit the stage again and most of all, we’re excited to be that much closer to sleeping in our own beds.
Touring is the most unique experience I think any of us have ever had. You are constantly displaced, and having to always be somewhere at a certain time is incredibly exhausting. You’re never absorbing each place you’re staying or performing, and it’s hard to leave a place that you wanted to get to know.
Every night I’m in a different venue bathroom with my phone jammed to my ear, listening to my vocal warmups and trying to follow along to get my voice ready for whatever sound situation will be happening that night, for an unpredictable audience and an unpredictable reception. We’ve been so lucky to have the turnouts we’ve been having, and we’re really happy to be having successful shows, whether that means we moved an audience member and made a new fan or we actually made money that night.
Despite having a flat tire in Ottawa, we got the car fixed up and arrived in Montreal with ample time before the show. We drove to Divan Orange to find the entire street blocked off for an enormous street festival, and it was crazy trying to drive around and load in our gear amid all the bustle, while also taking it all in. We were all running on fumes by the end of the night.
With all that being said, I’m very grateful that we decided to take a day off in Montreal after our show on the Sunday night; having the time to stop and enjoy where you are is a rare luxury, and we took full advantage of it. It was a calm, rainy day, with few signs of the activity that had conspired the day before. Wandering around the city and talking casually with new friends was a huge breather for all of us, and we’re now preparing for the long haul back to Vancouver, starting with Kingston tomorrow night.
As a Canadian, you sometimes don’t think much of your own capital, even though that’s where many decisions that greatly affect your life are made. When you think of the main cities in Canada, the main 3 that come up are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver (not to say the others aren’t important, those are just the ones you hear most about).
Going into Ottawa, we were all quite exhausted from the previous night, as we were driving back from our Guelph show to sleep in Toronto. We managed to hit congestion on the highway at 1 in the morning, which was extremely strange, frustrating, and booOOOOoooring. As we were going to leave Toronto, I remembered that my mom was actually going to visit my sister, who we were staying with. That was definitely a bit surreal, as my mom lives near Vancouver, and it’s not often that we’re all together.
Leaving to Ottawa, we passed by a number of ONroutes, a specialty of Ontario highways, each containing a gas station and a few food outlets. As tempting as A&W/frozen ice cream treats was at the time, we decided to just fill up on gas and continue on our journey. Our journey which thanks to Google Maps, led us on the backroads of Kingston. We passed by a beautiful lake which we all wanted to swim in, but were unable to as we had to get to Jer’s aunt’s place in Ottawa (later I found out that The Good in Everyone got to swim in that lake, causing a great amount of jealousy in my soul but understanding as well).
Arriving in Ottawa, all of us were so exhausted from the drive, that all we wanted to do was rest. Rest however, had to take a backseat, as we were fed a DELICIOUS Tex-Mex casserole, which was vegetarian. As someone who doesn’t really enjoy beans and tomatoes, this was extremely enjoyable, as it made me forget everything I didn’t like about them. I also consumed a nice cold Heineken, which buzzed me up a slight bit. Talking to his aunt, I learned that she works for the government, which led to interesting, many angering, but also sometimes humourous stories about what happens behind the scenes in politics.
After our delicious dinner/drinks/rest, we made our way to the venue, the Avant-Garde Bar & Gift Shop. Upon arrival, I was delighted to find that it was based on Soviet-era art and decor, which I am quite a fan of. Seeing that it was a smaller, more intimate environment, we decided to tone down our set a bit, leading to one of the most comfortable shows we’ve played thus far. The place managed to fill up quite a bit, which was very gratifying, as we didn’t know what to expect.
Kaylie Seaver opened up the evening, in which she did a soft singer-songwriter style set, playing the piano, guitar, and autoharp. If you’re into vocals that are hella dope, check her out. She’s a multi-disciplinary artist, so there’s a variety of different things to check out.
Next up was us, which ended up being a less-mobile show, as much of the space was taken up by gear/people. The crowd was not a talkative one, which ends up leading to a more enjoyable show. Also, this was our first time on this tour that we did an encore, which led to an undesirable amount of tuning and a 6+ minute play-through of a new song of ours. Still unsure whether the crowd regretted their decision. Oh well.
Following us was The Good in Everyone, who I’ve had a great time playing with this tour on bass. The closer in their set/EP, Shambolic, has a section in it which allows for a bass solo, so each show I’ve been trying to improve what I can do, leading to some ridiculous bass licks which luckily land on the downbeat of the next section (for the most part).
After a gradual volume-increasing set, TGIE finished and the Haig loaded their gear on stage, which led to much interest in the gear they use, as it is extensive and vintage. I did the sound for their set, as their were complications earlier with the soundperson leading to them doing sound for everyone else in the night. Following slight problems with Mainstage, everything was working and they started doing what they do best, progging the heck out. It was exactly what I needed at the time, and I urge everyone to check it out and listen. Plus, the bassist had pretzels in his beard, so that’s always good fun. The Haig closed out the night, and we headed back to our accommodations, going straight to sleep.
After a delicious breakfast, we found that one of our tires was flat, leading to frustration that was quickly dealt with and we started heading to the next city, Montreal.
It was nice to, at long last, wake up somewhere that we did not have to immediately pack up and load out of in the morning. We stayed at a relatives place in Toronto and with Guelph only an hour away and Ottawa as our next stop, it only made sense to stay there two nights in a row. Today was real exciting in that we had no time to explore the city because we were finally given the chance to sleep in and our vehicle needed an oil change. So, as Patrick worked – he’s been working on his laptop on tour – from our accommodations, Alea and I went out and took the car in to a shop, wandered around an unappealing industrial district and went back to load up and ship out.
Guelph was far different than we had anticipated. The architecture was fine and, in a way, Gothic in the area that we were playing with an enormous church, that we would have liked to play in, at the end of the block. We loaded into the giant room, The District Lounge, that we later performed in and chose to walk around a bit for food and leisure. Eventually, we trailed back to the venue, set up and relaxed for a bit. I think that I spent most of my night in the green room-type area beside the stage. The venue was kind of bizarre for me with it being a sorry off of the ground and very much a club sort of setting but, enjoyable nonetheless to play, especially with such a large stage. Before the night was even over, we loaded our gear out and headed back to Toronto to get a decent sleep only to be caught in the same amount of traffic that seems to run all day. Jumping between lines of cars and, what seemed like, five hundred different highways, we made it back to our beds and called it a night.
Finally, we reached the short-drive-between-cities portion of the tour. Landing in Toronto was pretty rough after the exhausting late night that we had in Sudbury. It was pretty clear that the drive was almost over when we met the dense air and lines of cars that we had been warned about prior. Some time later, our car was pulling up to our accommodations to unload our personals before the show. We took a half hour rest before heading into the city. Though Vancouver is a similar large major city, Toronto seems far different. I mean, the traffic is definitely worse, I think, but, the streets seem ten times more squashed together. The shops are just crammed into small complexes and people leave their garbage on the sidewalk which I thought was peculiar. I’m not much of a big city buff so, I have some bias.
Anyways, driving to the venue with the streets littered with cyclists was a bit of a challenge, fat chance we would be able to get our gear inside. We ended up going out for dinner at a nice restaurant called, “Hogtown Vegan” and did as much exploring as we could before soundcheck. The sound at The Piston was surprisingly clear despite its size and, for our first time in a city with an overabundance of venues, the draw was pretty good. We’ve been fortunate enough to have a decent draw at each city we’ve visited thus far. The show ended at the usual two in the morning and we made our way back to our beds. Tomorrow will be our biggest bill yet with five bands, thank goodness that it will be an early show.