By Travis Miles
It’s a rainy morning on the Atlantic, we are in the belly of the ship, in the van, waiting to exit the ferry and be rid of the financial burden of Newfoundland. A curious smell has manifested itself from the last three days of having eight dudes living in one vessel, and we laugh about it as we slowly pull back onto the mainland.
It’s Tuesday May 14, and we play Charlottetown, PEI tonight. The six days since my last update have been busy as hell, and expensive to boot. Last Thursday we played a waterfront bar in Sydney, Nova Scotia called Governor’s. It was one of our our best eastern shows to date, and after getting back to our place of rest in Waterford (as mentioned in the previous post) we went to sleep at 4 a.m., only to wake up at 7:30 a.m. to catch the ferry to Newfoundland.
With tired eyes, and hopeful smiles we left our Chevy Astro behind in Waterford, and hopped in Fire Next Time’s 15 passenger beast in order to cut ferry and fuel costs for our three day, four show, Newfoundland leg of the tour. That night — after a six hour dull, grey, foggy boat ride and a two hour drive of the same vein — we played in Cornerbrook at a bar called the Whitehorse Lounge. It was a fun show, and financially the most successful of the Newfoundland stint, but the crowd seemed to be there for the barstools and not the live music, which was slightly disheartening.
After the show the bar owner thankfully put us up at his house in town, where I enjoyed another short sleep on the floor in my sleeping bag, and awoke to his dog Taylor’s playful eyes and wretched breath two inches away from my face. Within five minutes of this, I was in the van and we were all on our way to St. John’s, which was a nine our trek from Cornerbrook.
We arrived in the middle of the afternoon and parked a block away from CBTG’s — the venue where we would play that night and twice the next day. Having slept most of the ride, me and a few of the other boys got out to walk about town in the dreadful Saturday wind and rain. We didn’t load our gear in until past eight, and the show wasn’t scheduled to start until nearly 11, so we took the bartender Davey up on his continuos offer of free beer.
“Now that’s the Newfoundland hospitality I have heard so much about,” I thought to myself as he slid a Black Horse lager my way.
Despite being less financially prosperous, the show that night was much better than Friday’s in Cornerbrook. Most of those who attended were seriously interested in our music, and we befriended many people. The free beers slid to my end of the bar all night, and into the early morning when both us (The Penske File) and Fire Next Time became honorary Newfoundlanders via a “Schreech in” ceremony. The venue owner and staff were super cool and made us feel right at home. We stumbled thirty minutes uphill to a new friend’s house after the “Schreech in”. It was daylight by the time we arrived.
The next morning — or afternoon I should say – we woke up at 2 p.m. to a pancake breakfast, and hustled out the door, as our all ages matinee show started at 3 p.m. Upon arriving at CBTGs things were looking good. There were plenty of kids at the show and the first band was excellent. Unfortunately by the time we played there were only six people left watching us besides the bar staff and the boys in Fire Next Time. This was a huge bummer for both bands, and the whole Newfoundland trip was begin to look grim.
Despite this feeling, and the looming realization that we would lose hundreds of dollars due to the stint, we drove out of town 30 minutes to Cape Spear. The most eastern point of Canada, Cape Spear was ominously beautiful and overall unexpected. We arrived in the sight’s parking lot just as the sun was descending behind the mountains that graced the distant shoreline to our left. A thick layer of fog rose above our heads, but did not quite reach the mountains’ peak. We stood transfixed at the edge of a cliff much smaller than the mountains to our left, and looking down we saw the water’s edge. As furious topaz waves crashed upon cascading rocks a silence fell over us. In that moment we were the most eastern people in all of Canada, and as the waves washed over the rocks they washed away all our practical concerns, and it was understood that the whole trip — despite being a financial bust — was worth it.