Day 2-5, hobson’s choice tour :Nova Scotia

We took two days to drive from Montreal to Harbourville Nova Scotia in the Annapolis Valley. During the drive we subsided on our bagels and other groceries, listened to a lot of great music and comedy. We stayed with our friend Becky at her house right overlooking the  Bay of Fundy and with the drive into Harbourville after seafood at Paddy’s Pub in Wolfeville, we felt like we’d arrived on the coast.

On Wednesday we spent the day driving around the valley, stopping in at various stores, cafes and look offs ( Frenchy’s, The Union Street Cafe in Berwick). We even checked out a couple of venues in the area that we’d like to play at next time we tour this way.

The whole experience at Sutton Oak Farms where the Coop is located, was amazing. Tim, Angela, Michelle, Kaylen, Toby, and Russel are  a  lovely family and welcomed us with warmth and enthusiasm. The venue in particular is amazing, it’s an old converted chicken coop with a new concrete floor and one very hot wood stove to heat the room. Although only a handful of people came to the concert, we got to meet everyone and we had a fun party after and drank a lot of proppeller beer. (We we’re excited to try their honey wheat, porter, and IPA.)

We recorded the Coop show and we’re planning on sending it to Danny Schwartz, who’s interviewing us for his radio show in Ottawa. He had asked for some live recordings to include in his show. We haven’t listened to the recordings yet, but we suspect that they captured the warmth and intimacy of the Coop.

Yesterday we arrived in Halifax in time for our soundcheck at Stayner’s Wharf. It was a beautiful day so we went and had lobster, mussels, and scallops at Murphy’s restaurant right on the water.

The Stayner’s Wharf show was good, well attended, but as we were warned it was kind of the loud pub gig on the tour. It’s challenging for any band to compete with a loud room of talkers, and it makes us realize how little we’ve really had to do those gigs in hobson’s choice. It was a boys night out for  alot of the local musicians though so it was a pleasure to play for a our fellow players of music. Our friend Geordie Haley from Toronto came out, as he has recently moved to Halifax with his family. Gigs like our show at Stayner’s Wharf have a particular function on a tour in my mind, because they finance the rest of the activity so that we can go to a farm and play for ten people, or in a small cafe in Montreal for gas money.

Stayner’s was also a full night of music so it was really fun to play through a bunch of our tunes, three sets worth. The music is really starting to reach that point from touring where the band feels like one dynamic organism.

Felicity picked up an unfortunate bug right at the start of the tour that she has been battling, and it seems to have progressed to her chest, we’re hoping she’s on the upswing and can give her best and enjoy the rest of the tour.

We’re off to play another full night in Moncton NB tonight at Cafe Aberdeen. But there has been talk about oysters for lunch, we’ll look into this prospect further first.

Stay tuned for more…

hobson’s choice

Day 1- hobson’s choice June tour- Montreal.

We packed the van yesterday and embarked on this summers tour. First stop Montreal, we made good time driving, didn’t hit much traffic, but a bit of rain. The talented Adam Kinner (tenor saxophone) and Hans Bernhard (bass) opened the show at Montreal’s Shaika Cafe. They played a short set of very beautiful pieces, mostly improvised, and then ended with a swinging and uplifting version of “When you’re smiling”. The two of them played intuitively with ease, displaying an incredible musical rapport. Their set was a perfect way to start the tour.

We had some troubles with the sound-system at the club. It cut out during the intro of our first tune not once but twice. However, there was a mysterious sound guy in the audience who isolated the problem right away and we played the rest of the set without any more technical difficulties. Thanks again to that dude. He wouldn’t divulge his secret fix though? strange fellow….

Evidently, we decided to start with a different tune, as it seemed like the universe was giving us a sign to play something else. Michael was ecstatic that his vibraphone motor was working perfectly again. Slow tremolo = heaven. The lonely night it spent outside can now be forgotten. Harley was excited to debut his new homemade pedal board. He made it with his own two hands.

Shaika is a very nice room, good for our sound and the people there are really cool. We’d definitely play there again.

After late night poutine at La Banquise we retired at Adam’s beautiful apartment for some rest. Harley’s poutine kept revisiting him sporadically through the night. Felicity had no trouble switching to sleep mode though. Michael, Harley, Rebecca and Adam had a late night chat about border crossings, sketchy unmarked navy blue vans, and the absurdity of those in power. Fun times! Thanks to Adam and Rachel for their generous hospitality.

We took our time leaving Montreal today and had a nice brunch with  Harley’s parents who came in from Ottawa for the show. We wrote a reggae song on my ukulele about our conquest for good bagels, and then enjoyed said bagels on the way out of the city.

Thanks for reading, we’ll chime in again soon.
hobson’s choice

Home again, home again jiggity jog.

Well, I guess I’ll blog again about the end of our tour. Just before leaving Ottawa, Rebecca accidentally crushed her pinky finger in between a door and a hard place, fortunately she’s tough, and with some ice and salt water she was able to avoid being sick from the pain. After a Jameson on the rocks administered by Dr. Card, we were ready to hit the road again. It was a good thing we didn’t have a gig that night, but after a couple days at the cottage she was pretty much back to normal. We had a great time at the cottage, fishing, jumping off rocks, telling ghost stories, eating BBQ, the whole nine.

Peterborough’s The Spill did not let us down, Typewriter (Joe Fortin), and Caylie Staples played beautiful, intimate sets and the crowd was great. We then stayed with the wonderful Fortin’s and had a little party, as it was the first day of their holidays. Thanks again to Rob and Susan for their hospitality. 

Upon our return to Toronto, we had the privilege to open for T.O.’s Flashlight Radio, for their exciting debut EP release. It was a great night, playing for a packed Rivoli, catching up with some friends and celebrating the end of a successful tour. Flashlight Radio impressed me with their polish and effortless groove. I’m looking forward to hearing them again soon.

We got a ton of video from the gigs, so I imagine we’ll get some of it up on the site soon. Thanks to everyone who came to the shows!

H

Sudbury, Ottawa, Cottage deserved.

We’re a little further into the tour now with a show last night in Ottawa (where we currently are at my parents house), and another fun show in Sudbury on Friday night.

We opened for our friends Hear comes the Cavalry at Sudbury’s famed venue; The Townehouse Tavern. It was my first time there and I could really see why it’s the destination for touring bands of all sorts when making the long drive down the Trans-Canada. The crowd there is consistent, warm and appreciative, and they really know how to party! Props to the guy who slid across the dance floor during our set and to Perry who did the awesome close-up video.

Last night’s show was also a success with a bill of 3 acts; Ottawa Songwriters; Ann Walton, The Megan Jerome Trio and us hooligans. We played at Irene’s on Bank street to a full, attentive house. We loved playing with all the talented folks so far on this tour and I’m excited to collaborate with everyone again in the future.

We’re pumped for the next couple shows with our friends in Peterborough and TO, but first we’ve got to go take a load off at Mike’s cottage for a couple days and jump in the lake repeatedly. My folks Gary and Sue are the best, and have left us a ton of food left-over from their BBQ, so our grocery list for the cottage should be minimal.

Tootaloo,

Harley

401’s a River Tour II : First Stop Montreal

I’m sitting here typing in a kitchen, beer in hand after the first show of our tour in Montreal. We played at a great little place called Le Cagibi, and it was perfect for our sound.

We had a bit of a stressful morning trying to iron out last minute travel details, and then once on the road ran into a bit of trouble, so it was a pleasure to play a show for a receptive audience. We got pulled over by a cop who claimed we were travelling at the absurd speed of 146km/hr. Seriously? This was actually an impossibility as I had the cruise control set to 120km/hr and didn’t even have my foot on the gas. Despite this, he insisted that we were traveling at that nutty speed. Although he remained firm, he decided to let us off without a ticket which means he realized he had made a mistake but wouldn’t admit it. Why would he let us off for going 4km/hr short of the speed that people instantaneously lose their license for? Simple. He wouldn’t. This was a minor hiccup, but we made it to Montreal in one piece.

We were lucky enough to share the stage at Le Cagibi with the talented Patrick Gregoire. He played an intense opening set with a wide range of material. The reason I say this venue is perfect for our sound is the intimacy of the room. It is warmly lit, and with an audience of 10-20 feels full.

We are up early tomorrow for an 8 hour drive to the one and only Sudbury. For now felicity is in one of her two most common states (sleeping and harmonizing with every sound around her), you can guess which one. Harley is taking an all expense paid trip through the virtual kingdom of YouTube. Rebecca just finished meditating and is drinking what she calls s%%% tea. Michael is taking the last sip of his beer. I think we’re all heading to bed now.