Road Blog: Thursday September 06, 2018 - St. Catherines, ON
September 6, 2018
St. Catharines, Ontario
We kicked off our Fall 2018 tour yesterday with a show in a new city and venue – Detour Music Hall in St. Catharines, Ontario. Things are a bit different because we're missing our man of few words, backbeat/harmony guru, dry-humored drummer Gabriel who's nursing a sore knee back to health and taking the September shows off. We've got a hell of a replacement though in David Below – a Dearborn, MI guy who stepped in with three marathon practices and a great attitude and really saved our asses.
We met at Dave's house, loaded the van, and hit the Ambassador Bridge over the Detroit River into Canada. Customs was a breeze, which is always a relief. The usual questions about guns and tobacco, which are easily answered, but then things get dicey around merch, which I sort of dance around, spewing vague, half-truths that fall somewhere between "yeah we have about 15 CDs and a couple shirts" and the actual two big bins and a suitcase full of shirts, bag of records and case of CDs, shot glasses, stickers and koozies we actually have buried intentionally behind amps and drums. I'm careful not to actually lie, but also to not volunteer any more information than is necessary. After just a couple minutes we were through the border and in rural Ontario. We listened to Emma Bunton, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Lydia Loveless, and others.
We landed in St. Catharines around 5pm to a big traffic jam and choppers in the air. We found a parking spot near the venue and a brewpub and quickly learned that there was a shooting a couple blocks up where a couple dudes gunned down three other dudes in front of a crack house. Apparently, that's not too common around these parts, and everyone was talking about it. As of this morning, the victims were still alive, but in critical condition.
We had dinner at the The Merchant Ale House which was a couple doors down from the venue. Food was decent – I got some pulled pork egg rolls, Patrick got a kale salad, and Dave got a sandwich. Patrick came back from the restroom traumatized after an "incident" with the combination faucet-hand-dryer that wastes no time spraying all the sink water into your face immediately after you wash your hands. After dinner Dave was kind enough to train me on the operation of the contraption so I wouldn't suffer the same, horrible fate. It's quite a contraption, not a horrible idea, but the execution needs some work.
After dinner I took a quick walk across the Niagara River while Pat and Dave talked to the guitarist for one of the other bands and waited to load in. It's a quiet little city with some cool old architecture and a bit of an edge. We loaded in, met the owner Michelle, who's a sweetheart and very accommodating. We were backlining our drums and bass rig, so we set up, met the other bands, ordered beers and set up merch. I had a nice chat with Justin from Stereo Sunrise about vinyl and turntables and other things audiophile.
The Detour Music Hall is a long room with a small stage backed up against the front window. There is an elevated area with a long bar along one side, and a balcony running along the other. The first band up were The Outlaws of Sherwood. Not sure exactly why, but I was expecting a quieter, Americana/roots band. These guys came up with a Les Paul and a Danelectro Guitars and played a great set of beautiful rock songs with a heavy edge at times and a Tom Waits/tribal vibe at others. Great songwriting, great playing, great diversity, and some real fun too. We played second, and it while it felt a little strange at first playing the first Tucos show ever without Gabe behind me, Dave did a fantastic job. We locked in quickly and felt comfortable and played a good, fun set. Stereo Sunrise wrapped things up after us with a set of some really well-crafted songs and great musicianship. Their guitarist played a beautiful Gretch guitare and channeled in some cool surf tones at times. Super nice people in both of those bands and it's rare we're on such a small bill.
We loaded out, said our goodbyes, and drove back west about 45 minutes towards Toronto where we stopped at a gas station where I was comped a nice fresh banana when the poor old dude behind the glass couldn't figure out how to ring it into the register (thanks buddy!). It was nice to be back at it, get that first show under our belts, and back in the van.
This morning we got an early start and now in the van heading into Toronto and towards Montreal, where we'll play at Barfly tonight. I'm excited to see some of my favorite people and eat some good food and drink some good drinks and play at one of my favorite bars on the planet!