Road Blog: Thursday May 19, 2016 - London, ON
May 19, 2016
We crossed the Ambassador Bridge that connects Detroit, Michigan to Windsor, Ontario around 3:30 PM yesterday and more or less flew through Canadian customs uninhibited. It helps that our truck wasn’t loaded to the gills with gear as we’re sharing drums and bass rig with our pals from Montréal The Mighty Ffud for this run. London was a quick 2 ½ hours down the 401 to the music of Chixdiggit, Neil Young and Buck Owens & The Buckaroos. As we pulled into town, we saw a big heard of deer on top of a giant sand hill stampeding onto a big sand field and we knew we were in Canada. We had time to hit “The Beer Store” and the LCBO (Liquor Control Bureau of Ontario, I assume) where we loaded up on party supplies we couldn’t bring across the border before we checked into our Air BB. We stayed at a nice little house in a quiet neighborhood where Gabe and I each had our own bedroom and Patty had the entire basement to himself.
I changed the strings on my Telecaster, nasty from these last few shows in upstate New York and the Midwest USA, and we headed to the venue – all the while listening to the “ Radio What Wave” show on CHRW – the radio station for Western Ontario University. Dave, the DJ played a few of our songs (sorry about that F-bomb in Bottled Regrets, buddy!) and then interviewed Mark and Steve from The Mighty Ffud, who were sitting in a booth at the bar. While we were listening outside the back door in the truck, we met the new rhythm section for TMF – Alec and Rob. We loaded in and headed to a cool little diner up the street for dinner where I got a couple street tacos that were the size of a Confederate silver dollar and Gabe got a Turducken (Turkey-Duck-Chicken) club sandwich that was the size of the Millennium Falcon. My tacos were gone in a fleeting second, but Gabe worked hard, only to finish half of that monstrosity and took the other half to go.
Call The Office is a very cool, legendary venue. It reminded me of The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor a bit, but it was a little more cavernous. Tony, the owner, was really nice to us and there was a good crowd when TMF took the stage around 10pm. We’ve known these guys for years. They formed for a tribute show to the late Alex Soria from The Nils, and I first played with them in Montréal on my solo-acoustic tour in 2010. They are a great power-pop band, a little on the “power” side, with effortless and precise harmonies and hooks for miles. I’ve seen them maybe a half-dozen times over the years, but last night was probably the best. The new rhythm section kicks ass.
We hit a little after 11, I guess, to a decent sized and very appreciative crowd. Shots started coming to the stage and things loosened up quickly. My amp was making some weird noises, and I kept shooting Patty dirty looks, assuming it was his. My bad. And we continue to mess up the change going into the first chorus of our new tune “Don’t Have To Ask Twice” – Gabe thinks it’s my fault, and I’m inclined to believe him. It wasn’t our best set, but we had fun and left it all up there. Afterwards we sold some merch, loaded out and headed back to the house to crash.
This morning it was beautiful out in London and we enjoyed the sunshine as Patty brought back some coffee and pastries from Tim Hortons. We hit a cool record store on our way out of town – Speed City Records – and stocked up on (and dropped off) some vinyl. Toronto traffic is a bitch, but we eventually made it to tonight’s Air BB with some help from REM, The So So Glows, andThe Hold Steady and after a quick stop at a music store to get some cables for my pedals in an attempt to figure out why my amp is acting up. We’re stoked for the show tonight at the Junction City Music Hall. I am designated driver, so lookout!