Road Blog: Saturday September 08, 2018 - Cornwall, ON
September 8, 2018
We left our Airbnb in Montreal just after noon and headed into the city to check out a record store and walk around a bit. Patrick threaded a needle parking the van and we spent a couple hours tooling around before we grabbed some high-octane coffee and Portuguese pastries and headed south, back towards Ontario. We found ourselves further and further out into the cornfields west of the 401 as we approached our AirBnB for the night, eventually arriving in the small town of Winchester. We finally settled into our basement apartment beneath a hair salon where we had an hour to kill before we headed back to Cornwall for the show, so Patty regaled us in tales from adventures past while we got ready to leave.
We had a 45 minute drive to Cornwall from the AIrBB. It’s a sleepy, mid-sized city a little over an hour south of Montreal and a little further east of Ottawa. As we drove into the town I was looking for the site of the most awful hotel room I'd ever stayed at (Tucos 2014 Canadian run) but the HoJo's was nowhere to be seen. I assumed it'd been condemned. We pulled up to Lola's Pub and Grub, met our contact Scott, and got some dinner. Scott is a great guy, so accommodating, and just full of stories from years of booking bands – from ridiculous demands, big-timers that came through there before they were big-time, and local kids who've gone on to various degrees of success in the music Industry. Turns out that hotel was shut down by the city and he was part of the demo crew that helped convert it into a new property. Before long we'd set up, soundchecked, and were ready to roll. The afternoon drinkers were wrapping up their sessions and chewing our ears off about Lynyrd Skynyrd and how the goddamn round gobies have come in and taken over and now all the walleye and trout are gone and you can't find a decent damn fishing hole to save your life. One lady was so proud to be the lone holdout in the world’s transition to cell phones, and talked about the bar she’s eventually going to open where you have to put your phone in a basket at the door and actually talk to the people around you. I got anxiety at the mere notion of such a thought.
We were the only band playing, which was nice because it meant we could leisurely set up and tear down, but it also meant we needed multiple sets of music. Lola’s is a mid-sized square room with a long bar against one edge and high-top tables along the other. There’s a portable stage that they alternate between the main room and, weather permitting, the back patio. There’s a crazy, triple-cylinder Pringles chip machine right next to the front door where you can choose any of three flavors, and an ATM next to the stage where patrons could dig into their savings to get that next round. With just a couple weeks to rehearse with David, we managed to pull together plenty of material, but to make sure, I did a short acoustic set before the boys came up. The crowd was thin, so I decided to try out a couple new tunes that I wrote last week, along with a couple newer Tucos tunes that haven't seen the stage yet. It went fine, and before long the Tucos came up and we turned the amps on.
Halfway through our first set, a bubbly girl drinking “some white shit” (wine) and dancing around said hi to the band and told us her name as Richard. I struggled with that for a minute, so we settled on Ricki and she seemed to be….having a good night. It started off really slow, but as the night went on the room filled up and we had a respectable crowd for the majority of the evening. There were some girls hooting-and-hollering us on (Tracy, Julie, and Holly), a table of dudes who needed all the details about the songs – between songs! (“Is Josh still alive?” “F*ck the Pizza Girl!”), and some late night drinkers who were part of a wedding party earlier in the day, still outfitted in tuxes and dresses. Drinks were flowing, dancers were dancing, people were rowdy. It was super fun and everyone at Lola’s was super nice to us. You never know what you’re getting into sometimes, and to walk away having met such good people is refreshing. We played until about ten to two, sold some merch, tore down and headed back to Winchester, stopping for a Choco Taco and cheese sticks at a 24 hour gas station.
We got back to the AirBnB just shy of 4am, absolutely exhausted, with an early departure staring us down. Dave had the foresight to program the coffee maker for 7:45, and by five to nine we were in the van and heading south through county roads, eventually hooking up with the 401, south through Kingston, Oshawa, Toronto, London, Chatham, and eventually Windsor and back at Dave’s house. I did the driving today, as is usually the case when it’s an extra long haul and we’re anxious to get home, and just as I was about to fall asleep somewhere west of London, someone had the brilliant idea to jam some King Crimson bootleg where every song consisted of a single note and the only thing that changed for an hour was the key and the tempo. Thanks dudes. (I kid, of course……sorta). The 2011 Whitesnake album Dave put on as we approached the Ambassador Bridge back into the US was a welcome come down.
I’m home now, saying hello to TrooperGirl and getting ready for our ceremonious trip to Taco Bell. As always, big thanks to everyone in St. Catharines, Montreal, and Cornwall for super fun weekend, and big thanks to Dave for filling in for Gabe on such short notice and killing it each night. We’re back at it in two weeks in Iowa and Minnesota, so stay tuned. Thanks for reading. Throw a `like` on there so others might see it too. Cheers. Xo