In the Van & On the Road Post 4: May 14th – 19thThursday, May 30th, 2013
By Travis Miles
A busy show schedule, excruciatingly long drives and a vicious sickness (strep throat) have caused the unfavourable gap between my last post and this one. That being said, much has happened in the last two weeks. In order to cover our story thoroughly, without producing strenuously long posts, I will be documenting the past two weeks in two separate posts.
Anyways, when I left off, our brigade was on route to P.E.I. for a show at Baba’s Lounge. But it was two days later that the tour took an unsuspected and very positive turn. After a day off and a night of camping in Rimouski, Que. we got an abrupt call from our manager/ producer/ label dude/ friend John Fielding.
“Hey do you guys want to open for Me First and the Gimme Gimmes tomorrow in Toronto,” he quickly blurted.
Woah I thought, the offer was so good — for those of you who don’t know, Me First is a Punk Rock super group featuring members of Foo Fighters, NOFX, and Lagwagon that cover an array of classic songs and essentially throw a party on stage — we would have to take the show, however the thought of the inconvenient commute to and from the show was a lot to fathom.
“Holy shit. Seriously?” I excited, “uhhh, let me talk to the guys and get back to you.”
We laughed at the excellence of the opportunity, and the absurdity of the commute it would necessitate. We would have to play our show in Rimouski that night, then drive 12 hours through the night and arrive in Toronto with a few hours to spare before load-in. We would then stay for the duration of the show and get in the van and and back track six hours through the night to Montreal in order to get to our hotel and enjoy the festivities of Pouzza Fest on Saturday, before our set at the festival on Sunday night.
We determined it absolutely necessary for us to do this.
So later that day we played a surprisingly awesome show in Rimouski that was an official Pouzza Fest Pre- Party. We played with some great punk bands from Ontario, Quebec, and France and the crowd was much larger and more interested than what we had recently experienced in Newfoundland and P.E.I.
After the show we vigorously packed the van and took off for Toronto. Roughly 15 hours later we were loading our gear into the back door of the Phoenix Concert Theatre. As we pulled up I immediately thought of the instance five years prior where we got kicked out of a Propagandhi show at the Phoenix for trying to sneak into the 19 + section. After getting the boot, we tried— to no avail — to re enter the venue through the same backdoor we were now using freely as performers. This thought made me smile wide. I was super excited for the night, “this would surely be our biggest show ever” I thought to myself, and it was.
By the time Penske hit the stage the room was packed with nearly 1000 anxious onlookers, a vast majority of which had never seen or even heard of us before. Our 40 minute set went by in the flash of an eye, and left us high and craving more. The whole night was a great morale booster, coming off of the less prosperous eastern leg of the tour.
Shortly after midnight we were cramped up in the van and on the 401 West towards our 7 a.m. destination of Montreal. When we arrived, it was like we were arriving home as a lot of our friends and loved ones came out to spend the weekend with us. Throughout the remainder of the weekend we partied like we hadn’t before and saw tons of great music. Some of my personal highlights were The Slackers, and the Dead To Me secret shows.
Come Sunday, we were all worse for wear but still enjoyed the day and got to our evening show at Pub St. Ciboire on time. When we arrived (two hours before our set as requested by festival coordinators) the place was pretty empty. I had no predetermined ideas of how this show was going to pan out, so I wasn’t surprised by the near empty room. The two hours and three preceding acts quickly trickled by and we were setting our gear up for our set. Slowly, as we were doing this, more and more people began entering the venue, and by the time we had finished our first song the room was absolutely packed.
Our set was one of the most fun of the entire tour, and afterwards the room stayed packed for the next two bands — who are both awesome — Fire Next Time and Permanent Bastards.
At around 3 a.m. we went back to our hotel room and sang songs with acoustic guitars. Inebriated laughter, and singing echoed loudly out of our packed hotel room and it seemed as though, in that very moment, we were all in the very right place.