Home and away.
Notes from the Road is Music Canada’s artist tour diary. Canadian artists on tour around the world will share their stories of fans, gigs and the “good, bad and the ugly” of touring!
We got our first real heavy weather yesterday. We woke up in Saint John, New Brunswick under a blanket of snow. Fortunately we had a short drive to Fredericton. The weather gods have been incredibly kind to us so far on the trip, but we knew our luck couldn't last this far into November. We made our way slowly past ditched trucks and spun out cars up number 7 to the Capital City.
We're well into the eastern leg of the tour now. The dead head drive home to Toronto was well worth it as it gave us a couple days to recharge and switch to snow tires. We got back on the road to Sudbury to resume the trip. The Townehouse has to be one of the more famous stops on a Canadian tour. I consider the venue a "right of passage" of sorts for Canadian touring bands. The building is barely standing, but there is a certain spirit about the place... probably because it's haunted. There's a room downstairs for touring bands to sleep in. It's right under the stage, as a matter of fact. The walls are covered in band stickers and the floors covered in furniture that was likely found dumped out by the tracks across the street. The best feature of the band room is the "stairway to nowhere" next to an empty decorative pond. Picture The Brady Bunch Stairway, but instead of leading up to Greg's room, it just runs into the ceiling. Some legendary parties have happened down there, and apparently Stompin' Tom wrote "Sudbury Saturday Night" in the bar. Nickelback signed their contract there too. So, on an unassuming night years ago, the end of the world began in Sudbury. Sleeping in The Townehouse basement is like a baptism for a Canadian touring outfit. We've already been baptized a few times so we sprang for a HoJo.
The next day was our home away from hometown show in Toronto. We got out of Sudbury late and rushed down the 69 with high hopes of a good night ahead. I brought an extra guitar with me because I just had a feeling I might need it. Paul from $100 and I discussed "that feeling" you can sometimes get before a show. During soundcheck, the extra guitar wasn't working... a sign of what was to come. The Phoenix was filling in nicely as $100 took the stage and once again destroyed it. It was time for us to do our thing. Things were going amazingly when my guitar failed around the fourth song. I scrambled like hell to figure out what was going on. I was a deer in headlights in front of 1000 people and a lot of them were friends. Mark and Steve covered a Grant Lee Buffalo song beautifully while Ryan (our secret 4th member) and I worked things out. We got back on track with huge support and understanding from an already sweaty Toronto crowd. The rest of the night was amazing. It's a pretty wild thing to look out at a crowd that size, and even wilder to see the people who have been supporting us from the beginning lined up across the front row. It wasn't that long ago that these were the only people we were playing to.
After a long night of celebration, we hit the 401 east for Montreal. This would be our last show with $100 and we were already feeling a little sad about it. It's not that often that you bond so tightly with other musicians so quickly. We've been lucky over the years. We can call a lot of the bands we've toured with good friends of ours now.
We finished soundcheck at La Sala Rossa then headed up St. Laurent to hunt for dinner. We passed a little place when Mark suggested we go back and check it out. It might have been the best decision of the trip. Lallouz is a little Tapas restaurant that does a fixed menu sampler type thing that we decided would be perfect. Warm bread comes first with a variety of salsas, chick pea salads, hummus and other creations I can't fully describe. Then you pick two types of skewers (I went with lamb and chicken) for the finale. All in all, one of the best meals of the tour by far. Just the right amount of fuel for what would be an incredible show in Montreal.
We tore through our set to an amped level of crowd enthusiasm. I couldn't help but feel a little sad as $100 joined us for the finale. It had been such an amazing trip together. Everyone stuck around for a couple drinks and then dispersed into the bi-lingual night in different directions. Everybody has someone they need to see in Montreal.
I got up early the next morning and took a little trip through old Montreal. Beautiful people coming in and out of beautiful buildings. A corner coffee shop door opened and a blast of espresso cleared my sinuses. I ended up in the financial district where a seemingly deserted tent city sat quietly in the shadows of the major bank towers. I'd gone for a walk through Occupy Vancouver a few weeks earlier, and we'd seen the protests in all the major cities across the country. There's even a tent set up here in Fredericton. I can't help but feel bad for the people who really have a voice in these matters. It's unfortunate that political protests like this are always ruined by morons with bongo drums and skateboards. In Vancouver, some folks had set up a tent where you could go in, and find literature and information about the reasons behind the movement. These were people with an educated and informed opinion about what they were fighting for. Unfortunately they were drowned out by some moron with a megaphone making sure everyone knew there was a drum circle and open jam session happening at 1pm.
One of the signs next to the memorial for that young girl who died of a heroin overdose read, "I don't need a job, I got an occupation"... Good luck planet earth.
Casey Laforet is one third of Elliott BROOD, playing acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass pedals, bass guitar, mandolin, banjo, lap steel,and vocals. Elliott BROOD just released their latest album, Days Into Years, on Paper Bag Records. The band is currently touring Canada with One Hundred Dollars.
Elliott BROOD on Tour:
Oct 13 - Guelph, ON - Club Vinyl*
Oct 14 - Hamilton, ON - Leander Boat Club*
Oct 15 - London, ON - Call The Office*
Oct 21 - Ottawa, ON - Mavericks
Oct 22 - Kingston, ON - The Grad Club*
Oct 27 - Sault Ste. Marie - Lop Lop Lounge*
Oct 28 - Thunder Bay, ON - Crocks*
Oct 29 - Winnipeg, MB - West End Cultural Centre*
Oct 31 - Saskatoon, SK - Amigo's*
Nov 01 - Lethbridge, AB - The Slice*
Nov 02 - Canmore, AB - Communitea Cafe
Nov 03 - Calgary, AB - Republik*
Nov 04 - Nelson, BC - Spirit Bar @ The Hume Hotel*
Nov 05 - Golden, BC - The Rockwater*
Nov 07 - Cumberland, BC - The Waverley Hotel*
Nov 08 - Victoria, BC - Sugar*
Nov 09 - Vancouver, BC - The Commodore Ballroom*
Nov 11 - Kamloops, BC - Cactus Jack's*
Nov 12 - Edmonton, AB - Starlite Room*
Nov 13 - Regina, SK - The Exchange*
Nov 17 - Sudbury, ON - The Townehouse*
Nov 18 - Toronto, ON - The Phoenix Concert Theatre*
Nov 19 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rossa*
Nov 22 - Saint John, NB - Peppers Pub
Nov 23 - Fredericton, NB - The Capital
Nov 24 - Charlottetown, PEI - Baba's Lounge
Nov 25 - Halifax, NS - Seahorse Tavern (Early + Late Show)
Nov 26 - St. Johns, NL - Club One
Nov 28 - Sackville, NB - Royal Canadian Legion
Nov 29 - Parkindale, NB - Parkindale Hall
* w/ One Hundred Dollars
Elliott BROOD is: Mark Sasso (banjo, guitar, harmonica, vocals), Casey Laforet (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass pedals, bass guitar, mandolin, banjo, lap steel,vocals) and Stephen Pitkin (percussion, drums, piano, vocals).
Dave Spencer/Michael Schipper
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