Road Blog: Friday April 13, 2018 - Toronto, ON
April 13, 2018
We left our Airbnb yesterday and ended up at a joint called Archie's Seafood for breakfast. As we walked up we saw a hockey stick leaning up against the building next to the door, a movement honoring the Humboldt Broncos bus crash victims. (#PutYourStickOut #SticksOutForHumboldt) This place is a London, ON staple for seafood on a budget, with their family-friendly atmosphere and east-coast nautical decor. We were told it’s a dark horse for breakfast, and it was convenient, so we gave it a shot. I was going back and forth between the Southwest Scramble and the Original Skillet, and decided on the latter. Patrick went with the SW Scramble and Gabriel went with eggs, cakes, and bacon (2x2x2). Our waitress, knowing I was on the fence, said it would have been nice if Patrick would have let me get in on some of his scramble, but he felt differently I guess, mildly annoyed with my negotiation tactics.
After breakfast we stopped into Speed City Records and saw our pal Michael. We met him last time we were in London and he’s been really supportive of us since. We also met his buddy Charlie the Speed City Kitty, who likes records, but not having his photo taken. I picked up a cool comp of Michigan bands from the early 70s, traded some war stories with Mike, and we were on our way.
Gabriel got us to our AirBnB without incident and we had an hour to kill before we had to head into Toronto for an early show. We’re in the basement of a house of a nice Asian couple and there’s no coffee maker, but other than that they are nice accommodations. It’s a leave your shoes at the door and wear the supplied slippers kinda place. Patty took the roll-out sofa in the big living room, but he was not impressed with the artificial fireplace/heater. I was kinda enamored with it.
We headed into the city as the weather was turning into a cold, miserable rain. Toronto traffic is always terrible. It took us an hour to get to there, then three laps around the block before we were actually able to find The Painted Lady and park. We met Nicky, the owner, who is a true sweetheart who clearly loves her bar, staff, and the bands who play there. We loaded in and met the bar-dog, and I’ll confess to being a little disappointed to learn he’d be leaving before the show. Pretty soon P.A., the sound engineer (he goes by P.A.) showed up and started getting the stage ready. We ran over to Rotate This, one of my favorite record stores, where I spent our next mortgage payment on records by Teenage Head Music, Steve Earle, Aretha Franklin and Judas Priest. Sorry Troopergirl!
The Painted Lady is a narrow, long bar with a deep, but narrow stage at the back and a bar running along the side towards the front. It used to be a butcher shop, and the slightly recessed, back half of the stage was the smoker. That’s where the drums sit, making for a slightly detached arrangement up there, but nothing that we couldn’t work with. It's a smaller room than we usually play, but it has a great vibe and the sound was fantastic.
After soundcheck I met the two bartenders (sorry – can’t remember your names! Can you help Nicky?) we did a shot, and I set up a makeshift workbench on the bar to fix my Spaceman Effects Saturn V boost pedal which had given me issues the night before in London. I pulled out my Leatherman, turned on my iPhone flashlight, propped it on may mason-glass IPA, and made the necessary repairs. That pedal is my favorite – but the AC jack gives me fits.
Pretty soon our dear friends Paul and Woody showed up and it was great to see them again. They’re a part of what makes coming to Toronto great. The support band Cloverdrive set up and soundchecked and we chatted with them a bit too. They’re a younger band with a great sound and good songs. Their set was energetic and tight, and their singer Krystle owned the room. She was struggling with voice issues, but it didn’t show – she sounded great.
We played to an ok crowd, mostly fans and friends of Cloverdrive. We weren’t thrilled with our performance, but fun was had and people seemed to be engaged. My pedal board held up like a champ too. There was an elevated section of the stage that I was jumping on and off, and at one point I tripped on a small monitor and almost went ass over tit, but thankfully caught myself and saved some real embarrassment.
After the set we did a couple more shots, sold a little merch, packed up, and with the help of Woody and Paul loaded our gear into the van, which was a block away, in the pouring rain. We didn’t want to lose our spot and needed food, so it made sense. Paul and Woody chose The Lakeview Restaurant – a 24 hour diner, and an institution in the area. They had vegan options for them and beer and meat for us, and with the Cloverdrive crew we had a big party and got seated right away, so it was a great choice. I went with the tuna melt, which was pretty rockin’, and Gabe and I shared a side of poutine, which was probably unnecessary. Ok not probably, it was totally unnecessary, but pretty damn good. We said goodbye to our friends and Patrick drove the gauntlet of red lights and rain back to the AirBnB where we crashed out at the surprisingly awesome early hour of 1am.
Today we’re off to Windsor where we’re playing The Windsor Beer Exchange tonight with Lone Wolve, The Trudys and The Tyres. Everyone’s talking about this massive ice storm that is about to hit, so it could be a long day for us.
Big big thanks to Nicky and everyone at The Painted Lady – such genuinely nice people there, and to Cloverdrive and everyone else. Toronto is a tough city for us, and we still have work to do here, but last night was a good step forward and we’ll be back. Xo