Road Blog: Saturday September 07, 2019 - Oshawa, ON
September 7, 2019
Bob took the wheel from Montreal to Oshawa. He was hurting a bit from the revelry the night before in Montreal, but he rallied and got the job done. Gabriel was in the back, also hurting, still nursing that knee injury. Me, I was ready to take on the world, hangover replaced by a good run, a gallon of instant coffee, and a bagel with cream cheese and lox. Not really. I was kinda hurting too. But we got on the road and headed west through Quebec and back into Ontario. We listened to Chino, War On Women, The Hold Steady, and a couple other things. We drove through a few hours of rain before it cleared up, and by the time we got to Oshawa it was downright pleasant out.
We checked into our Airbnb which is a basement apartment in a newer house in a planned community just north of the city center. It’s bare-bones, but quiet and cheap, and we each had our own rooms again, which is always a treat. One of the bands we’re playing with suggested we hit a place called Mr Burger for dinner, where Elvis haunts the walls and the burgers are righteous. It was a good call. First thing you see is a mannequin wearing a brown mohair suit that once belonged to The King himself, complete with a COA right next to it. The burgers are hand-ground and they were excellent. I got a side of poutine, which the boys agreed to share, but left me hanging with almost all of it anyway. I took over half to go and we went back to the AirBnB for some downtime.
We once again got rock star parking right out in front of the venue. We met the sound guy and loaded in. THE ATRIA is a medium-sized room, split into a bar side and the band side, but the layout was fairly open so people at the bar could watch the bands through giant cut-outs in the wall. The stage was the size of the last two stages we’ve played, combined, and the sound system was killer. We were looking forward to it. We met George from Rich With Sin, our hosts, ordered drinks, and settled in.
There’s a peculiar energy at The Atria, one you see sometimes in smaller cities. It’s hard to describe. It’s very blue-collar, beer-and-a-shot, livin’ for the weekend. There is a significant amount of partying going on, to put it subtly, and that adds to the unpredictable atmosphere. There’s a tension in the air, like a fight could break out at any moment, or a giant group hug and sing-along could be just as likely. It’s a cool contrast to shows in places like Toronto where the vibe is very different. Coming from a smaller city myself, I dig it, and I could tell it was going to be an interesting night.
Shannon Grieveson opened the night with a short set of solo-acoustic mostly covers. She has a good voice and a lot of confidence. Up next was Rich with Sin, playing a mix of covers and originals. They were well rehearsed, accomplished musicians who left it all up there. We played third to a decent room. It was great to have some room to move around and a sound system that allowed us to hear each other. We didn’t play our best, but we had fun and the spirit was there. Our set of mostly new material is still coming together, but it’s closer now than it was before Thursday. Dead In Reno closed the night. These guys were solid. They played mostly original, sleazy blues rock with dirty guitars and a flamboyant, dynamic front-man who owned the stage. I had a nice chat with their guitarist Abel about tone and shows and the various things that musicians tend to talk about. Apparently I also nicked his power cable at the end of the night by mistake, so I am making arrangements to get that back to Oshawa. Back at the AirBnB I microwaved and finished off my poutine, took a quarter Benadryl, and crashed out pretty hard sometime around 3:20am.
As usual, I was up at 7, in the shower, and working on the blog before 8. We reorganized the back of the van, found a grey shirt with pair of glasses in it, something else we’d unintentionally ended up with, and were on the road by 9:45am. Karen Jacobsen - The GPS Girl took us north of Oshawa, which didn’t make sense, but as we saw the Toronto skyline pass below us in the distance as we flew eastward with no traffic, we were thankful. We hit Windsor around 2pm, and had a coffee incident when a stopped semi came up unexpectedly and Gabe’s large Starbucks went flying. The records were spared and there was no real damage a wet cloth won’t take care of, but it was a bit of a debacle. We cleaned out our trash and got rid of the coffee drenched stuff and anything else we didn’t want to take through customs, made our way over the Ambassador Bridge, and into US Customs. The agent seemed curious and was surprised how little money we make. He took a look in back, gave us our passports, and wished us a good day. We unloaded at Gabe’s and headed our own ways.
It was a fun weekend – great to make some new friends in Oshawa, see some old friends in Toronto, and of course Montreal is always special. If we ended up with your stuff, we’re sorry, we’re not thieves, just a little sloppy sometimes at 2:30am. We’re good for it. Thanks for reading. Xx