Well, it’s done. We played our final show last night in Vancouver. Today Josh, Allan, Jay and I returned to Victoria, and to our “normal” lives. The tour had its ups and downs, to be sure, but on the whole it was a success. I’d like to write more about it, but I’m pretty much exhausted. Maybe in a few days.
We made it! The hours of driving have paid off, we are in the T-dot, aka TO, aka Toronto.Â We arrived at the house of Mr. Orynoman at around 3 p.m.Â Josh, Allan and I said a quick hello to Greg (and his dog) andÂ wandered off in search of an Internet cafe.
The Winnipeg gig went well. It wasn’t really the right venue for our kind of show, but we rocked their socks off regardless. We had another lovely stay in a Super 8 motel and hit the road early the next morning for Thunder Bay.
Ah yes, Thunder Bay. Josh’s catch phrase for every city we arrive in has been, “This place sucks”, and it certainly applied there. When Allan and Jay arrived at the venue, there was already a band setting up on the stage. Apparently they are the house band that plays every Thursday night, and the manager had no idea we were supposed to be performing. After initally resigning ourselves to not playing, the bar offered to let us play a short set, which we did. We got a free meal and a cut of the door, and a cheap motel room,Â so we made out all right.
A somewhat inebriated bar patron informed me that Thunder Bay has the highest beer consumption per capita in all of Canada. Congratulations guys, you did it!* I also met an interesting gent named Aaron. He likes to sing Elvis songs andÂ get really drunk. He is also very lonely. He wants you to know that he is not gay, however.
Thunder Bay certainly has it’s charms, but Toronto beckoned, so we set off early the next morning. Shortly after hitting the road, we received a gentle correction of our somewhat liberal interpretation of the speed limit by one of Ontario’s finest. You down with OPP? Yeah, you know me. We made it as far as Spanish, Ontario before a heavy fog set in, so we elected to spend the night in a motor inn there. Allan and I enjoyed a few beveragesÂ in the adjacent lounge. We also met one of the locals. Rob is a furnace repair assistant who enjoys fishing. Happy birthday, Rob.
This paying by the minute for computer access is crap. Next time, I’m totally bringing a laptop and sponging off of open wi-fi access points.
* This is an in-joke that only my fellow bandmates will appreciate. The rest of you may disregard it.
Hello Winnipeg! I come to you today from an internet cafe on Osborne St. The drive in was interesting, with large pools of water along the sides of the highway. I guess they’re due to the flooding of the river. I can now say I’ve driven through Portage and Main,Â the most famous intersection in Canada.
Last night’s gig at Lydia’s was great fun. Free dinner, a room for the night, and a few bucks didn’t hurt either. Tonight we play at the Freehouse, which is an Olive Garden-esque restaurant. Strange, I know, but the event isÂ in factÂ called “Why Not Wednesdays”, so there you go. We may have to strip down our set a little to cater to the atmosphere of the place. Or we could just rock their socks off. We shall see…
Man, the prairies are dirty. Dust, grit, grime, and mud everywhere.
We’re in Regina. We’re staying in the basement of a talented singer-songwriter named Carolyn. So far we’ve only had to stay in a hotel once.
We went to see Cuff The Duke last night at the venue next door to where we will be playing tonight. They were excellent, as usual. This is the third time I’ve seen them, having caught them in Victoria opening for The Sadies and Sloan, respectively. We also played at the Tongue and Groove in Lethbridge the night before they played there. Either we’re following them around, or they’re following us around, I’m not sure.
Funny story: Between songs, frontman Wayne Petti told a story about their show in Canmore. After their show, he had ended up drinking Pilsner with someone who told him how the letters in Pilsner correspond with features on the label. (P is for plane, I is for Indian, etc.) I didn’t get a chance to talk to him after the show, but I’m pretty sure he met Mike Little.
The shows in St. Albert were great. We stayed with a wonderful guy named Carmen, who had also set up the shows for us. The first night, three of us stayed up until 3am listening to records; the next night, we were up late jamming in their garage.
Next stops: back to Saskatoon, then Winnipeg, then the long drive to Thunder Bay…
On Sunday we made our way to Jay’s sister’s house in Cochrane, AB, just outside of Calgary. After spending the night and enjoying delicious smoothies for breakfast, we continued on toÂ Calgary, where we set up camp in Jay’s other sister’sÂ basement. His family’s generous accommodations are much appreciated.
Yesterday’s show at the Karma Local Arts House, while sparsely attended, went very well. We barely fit on the stage, but somehow we made it work. Tonight’s show at The Soda presented its own share of challenges, with no monitor speakers to, er, speak of, but a bit more of a crowd. Our opener for both shows, Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, is a great performer and one to watch for in the future. He opens up for us once more tomorrow in Lethbridge.
The signs of exploding growth are all over Calgary, with “help wanted” signs on many store windows and suburban communities springing up all over the place. Jay’s sister lives in one called Tuscany, where all the streets have the word Tuscany in them, which made finding the address somewhat difficult.
Attempts to purchase authentic Cowboy getup have been so far unsuccessful. We remain optimistic that Lethbridge is where all the good cowboy shops are hiding.
For another perspective on the tour, check out Jay’s blog.
A somewhat rocky start to the tour. We made it on time for our ferry reservation, but only barely. Our trip from Tsawwassen to the gig was mostly uneventful (except for one wrong turn. Stupid HOV lane that leads you off onto River Road…). Ominously, the first note I played of the first song of our first show of the tour was… wrong. Things progressed somewhat downward from there, withÂ a less thanÂ perfect performance due in no small part to someÂ feedback and monitoring problems. Despite all that, the audience seemed pretty receptive. The bar put us up in the adjacent hostel, which is most convenient.
I’m typing this from an internet cafe across the street from the bar, where Josh and Jay are waiting for Allan to arrive. I just got the call from Jay that Allan has arrived and we’re ready to go. Next stop: Calgary?
In case you didn’t know, Jay Dunphy and the Religion is playing a tour kick-off show at The Cambie at The Esquimalt Inn this Saturday. Come out and support, y’all.
Then, starting March 31, we bring the rock to the rest of Canada. 15 shows. 9 cities. 24 days on the road. 4 guys in a van for hours every day. Good times. Go check out the Jay Dunphy and the Religion website or our Myspace page to find out when we’re coming to a city near you! (That is, if you happen to live near Vancouver, Calgary, Lethbridge, St. Albert, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, or Toronto.)
No, not really, I just wanted to say that. Roberta was very friendly as she injected yellow goo into my ears.
If all goes according to plan, I’ll have a pair of custom-molded musician’s earplugs by the end of the month. Hopefully they’ll prevent me from going any more deaf than I already am.
They will arrive too late to defend me from the sonic assault that was Akron/Family, who performed at Lucky Bar on Friday. Think Broken Social Scene setting out to destroy your stereo–squalls of noise punctuated by catchy folk ditties. Unfortunately I was too tired to stick around for their whole set. Himalayan Bear, featuring Ryan Beattie and a couple other members of Chet, opened the show.