Road Blog: Friday September 08, 2017 - Montréal, QC
September 8, 2017
We hit the 401 sometime around 10:30am and headed east from Toronto towards Montreal. It's a long, boring drive we've done many times. Spirits were high with Patrick at the wheel for the first leg to the soundtrack of Kate Bush, Lillie Mae, and The Joy Formidable. The sky was mostly cloudy with periods of rain and periods of sunshine, and fall was in the air with a crisp, northern wind. We stopped for food at a travel plaza and I took over driving duties as the sountrack graduated towards guitar-driven rock and roll like The Cult, The Plimsouls, and The Mighty FFud. About 30 miles south of Cornwall, Ontario the freeway was closed and we were forced to exit with a million other vehicles, convoying down back roads for a good hour before were back up to speed. We saw some nice countryside but the delay was frustrating. I swear this whole continent is under construction.
We checked into our AirBB just west of Montreal in a city called Lachine. We have an upstairs apartment to ourselves with 3 bedrooms, a big kitchen and a sitting area. It ain't the Ritz, folks, and we agreed that it's not a place we'd bring our wives to, but the price was right and it was clean enough for our purposes. We settled in for a few minutes, jumped back in the van, and headed towards the city.
Barfly is one of my top favorite bars in the world. In the last 8-10 years I've been there more times than I can count, and this was my third time playing there. I've become good friends with the owner Anthony and a lot of the people who hang out there. It's one of those places that feels like home. Barfly sits on Rue Saint Laurent which is the main north-south corridor through Montreal, acting as a sort of imaginary line between the more French eastern side and the more English western side. Saint Laurent was closed this weekend for a massive festival – which was good for getting foot traffic into the bar, but a logistical nightmare for loading in our gear. We made it work, though, and finding a legal parking spot proved to be the biggest challenge of the night. Pat finished the load in while Gabe and I drove around for no less than 30 minutes before we found a spot, some 5 blocks away.
The bar was already pretty packed as we set up our gear and said hi to all our friends. It was great to see Anthony again, and Eric, who was hosting the special event of the evening – a kickoff party for his annual "Hungover Golf" Tournament. Before long, locals The Mighty Ffud showed up, and they're definitely our brothers from the north (east) and we've played many shows together. Like I said, it felt like home at Barfly. We headed over to LOCAL JERK with our friend Ilse for some jerk pork street-style food – a place I've wanted to try the last couple times I was here but haven't had the opportunity to. It was fantastic! Back to Barfly for a couple drinks and some music.
We went on shortly after 10 to a packed room full of rowdy partiers who seemed pretty excited to cheer us on. It was hot and sweaty, loud and sloppy, and a hell of a lot of fun. I think we played better than we have in a while, and I had a blast up there. I raised a couple toasts to Alex Soria, the main talent behind The Nils – one of my favorite bands of all time. Alex is no longer with us, but his spirit lives strong with his friends at Barfly, and it's one of the things that draws me there.
After us The Mighty Ffud went on and played a loud-as-hell, loose set of great edgy power-pop. Besides being great guys – all four of them – we in The Tucos are just huge fans of their music. Their songs are great, they're fantastic musicians, and they have that perfect mix of grit and melody that I'm a complete sucker for. It's always a pleasure watching them work.
For the next hour or two we hung out with the crowd, sold a little merch, had many drinks, and eventually loaded out. Karen Jacobsen - The GPS Girl was being difficult, repeatedly telling me she "can not calculate route." I think it's because Patty questioned her detour route in Toronto the night before, but she wasn't talking and I can't prove it. Between her sporadic efforts and Gabe's cell phone we made it to St-Viateur Bagel & Café Mont-Royal – a popular 24hour bakery a few blocks from Barfly - around 3am and picked up a dozen with some cream cheese and salmon. Patty and I scoffed at the salmon, but I encouraged Gabe to get it, and when we got back to the apartment I'll be damned if it wasn't amazing. From now on I'll be on that train. Lights out somewhere just after 4am.
Today we have a long, brutal drive all the way back to Windsor, Ontario, which is right across the river from Detroit. The upside is that we'll be close enough to home to sleep in our own beds tonight – a rare luxury on these runs. Montreal was incredible – great show, great bar, great people. We can't wait to come back.
Tonight we're at The Windsor Beer Exchange with 3 locals – Black-Eyed Susan, The Feedbacks, and The Universe Featuring Ray. Despite the fact that Windsor is right across the river from Detroit, this will be the first time anyone in our band has ever played there. Doors at 8, show at 9. See ya there!