In the Van & On the Road Post 5: May 20th – May 26thSunday, June 9th, 2013
By Travis Miles
We left Montreal on Monday May the 20th. The high and bright sun served as a perfect juxtaposition to the demeanour in the van. We were nearing a month on the road, and after the whirlwind weekend of excellence at Pouzza Fest, we were beat. That night we were scheduled to play in Barrie, Ont., which was supposedly a six and a half hour ride from our departure point. We left with just enough time to get to the show, but failed to take into account the long weekend traffic. After more than eight hours on route we made it to the venue. We were two hours late but no one seemed to care, and upon arriving we quickly loaded in and hit the stage.
The venue was called D.I.Y Arts Collective, and the atmosphere and crowd spoke to the venue’s name. Upon the walls of the venue laid a tapestry of makeshift artwork and unique and inspiring quotations. The crowd was enthusiastic and many of them were drinking alcohol from plastic red cups, and throughout the night there was a true feeling of acceptance and camaraderie in the room.
The next day we played in Sault Sainte Marie at the Algonquin Pub. It was Tuesday night and the crowd was very small, but the few who watched us and Fire Next Time were into the music and the venue’s promoter was very hospitable.
After the show that night dread was setting in amongst our tour squad as our next show was not until Friday and was all the way in Edmonton — Fire Next Time’s hometown — a 32 hour drive from the Soo. Fire Next Time was gung ho about getting home as soon as possible, and we followed suit, leaving Sault Sainte Marie at 3 a.m and driving straight through the night. During this haul I slept in the back of the van and awoke at 11 a.m. in Thunder Bay to an undeniable headache and an overwhelming weakness in my body.
What I had, for the past two days, hoped was a vicious hangover was clearly manifesting itself into what I dreaded most, an illness on the road. Over the next 24 hours on route to Edmonton I began feeling progressively worse, and being stuck in our small vessel I wouldn’t hesitate to call the trek hellish. By the time we arrived in Edmonton the sickness had moved from my head to where, being a singer, I prayed it wouldn’t. And looking in the passenger side mirror into the back of my mouth I could see swollen and infected tonsils and was certain, from passed experiences, that I had acquired a case of strep throat.
Luckily we had a place to stay for the next three days in Edmonton, and I spent all day and night Thursday resting with hopes that my sickness would subside before our big show the next night with Comeback Kid, and of course it didn’t.
So friday morning as I awoke from a staggered slumber I was finally rid of my wishful thinking and denial and took to the nearest clinic to get diagnosed and medicated. Our show that night at Richie Hall in Edmonton went surprising well considering the state of my body. We trudged through our set with usual accuracy, and for those thirty minutes I felt better than I had for the last 48 hours. The venue was packed and anxious for the headliners — Comeback Kid — to hit the stage, and when they did the crowd erupted with a passionate and pleasantly violent burst. The room pulsated to the aggressive melodies of one of Canada’s most renowned hardcore bands. When there set was over, exhausted, soaking, and satisfied fans piled out of the makeshift venue leaving a serious mark of a good time as the floor was drenched with sweat, mud and beer. The sight and smell was rancid, but the cause of it all was magnificent.
Beginning to feel feverish from the nights activity, I went back to our temporary residence, leaving the rest of the guys to load out and clean up. Knowing the gravity of my sickness, they all understood my untimely departure.
That night I had a restless sleep plagued by fevered dreams, and for the first time ever I wished I were at home and not on the road. I knew this feeling was just an illusion caused by my sickness, and told myself it would be over soon.
The next night we played again in Edmonton at Fire Next Time’s watering hole, The Wunderbar. Again I rested all day and awoke for the show which was packed with Fire Next Time’s hometown crowd and was, despite my sickness, a great time.
The next day (Sunday, May 26th), our three day stay in Edmonton was over and we played in Red Deer at Slumland Theatre. By the end of the night I could tell my sickness was wearing off, and the thirst for the road was kicking back in.