Road Blog: Thursday September 08, 2022 - London, ON
September 8, 2022
Jacob and I met at my place and we picked up Gabriel on our way to the Canadian Border. We crossed the Detroit River at 2pm under sunny skies, a bit uptight about customs, as always. The wait wasn’t bad, and the customs dude was in a good mood and asked us lots of questions about what kind of music do we play and why aren’t we flying to Montreal and do we have any liquor, guns, drugs or tobacco then handed our passports back and told us to have a good time. Always a good moment when you get that green light to enter the country.
The 2-hour drive from the border to London was uneventful and we just had the tunes on shuffle. Gabriel tolerated a couple Fleetwood Mac tunes but I did him the favor of skipping Sheryl Crow. We hit London around 4 and stopped at the LCBO (Liquor Control Bureau of Ontario) where I picked up a half pint of some shitty Canadian Whiskey because holy cow is liquor expensive in Canada, but I also knew it was an earlyish show and we might want a nightcap at the apartment after. From there we stopped at Speed City Records – a great shop – and talked to my pal Michael who we hadn’t seen in a few years. It was great to get caught up but sad to learn that Charlie the Speed City Kitty, the resident cat at the store, passed away from heart disease over the pandemic. Mike gave him lots of love and he held out for longer than expected, but it wasn’t the same not seeing him there. Record money is tight these days and I didn’t see much I needed (except that $200 original British pressing of Aftermath) so I left empty handed this time. If you’re ever in London or passing through on your way to Toronto, Speed City Records is a great stop.
We checked in to the AirBnB and had about an hour of downtime before we headed over to the venue. We’re in a basement apartment not far from the venue and there’s plenty of room to spread out. Apparently a herd of pissed off elephants lives in the apartment above us because it sounded like a stampede for the entire hour we were there. The neighborhood seems safe enough, the wifi works and they have coffee so we should be ok.
The Palasad Socialbowl is a bowling alley / bar and grille that sits on the corner of a major intersection in an older area of London. It’s a cool place with a great vibe and a big stage and PA. Jessica was taking car of our tab and she was amazing and we had an awesome dinner. I got the Hick Burger, which has smoked cheddar, bacon, hickory chipotle BBQ, garlic aioli, onion rings, and shredded lettuce. It was fantastic. We said hi to the other bands, got our gear and merch pretty much ready, and it was showtime.
Full Throttle are some younger dudes who came with their A game and played a solid set of mostly covers like Violent Femmes, Blik 182 and The Replacements. The guitar player plays a sweet V through a Marshall half-stack and it sounded (and looked) killer. The drummer Caleb wore an I ?? Milfs tee shirt. They were awesome. We went on second to a decent crowd, but one that mostly stayed back and watched from the perimeter. No problem, we can work with that, and we played a good set. Sound on stage was fantastic and loud and it was nice to be in a good room. After us the James Clark Hangover went on. I was really excited to hear these guys – their font-man David Clark has a long history in this town and we’re cut from a very similar cloth. They were fantastic - great set of originals that reminded me a bit of The Plimsouls at their most raw.
My pal Paul from over near Toronto, showed up and I hadn’t seen him since 2019 so it was great to get caught up. I got him a sixer of Topo Chico that wasn’t easy to procure and he was really appreciative. Jeff, a London friend who was instrumental in setting this show up was there and we had a good chat. And my pal for a long time now Dave O'Halloran, who has a great local radio show called Radio What Wave and has been incredibly supportive of our band, was front and center all night. He’s had a rough few years with a health scare and it was fantastic to see him back out there. We sold a good amount of merch, cashed out on our (yikes!) bar tab, loaded out, and drove back to our AirBB, where, thankfully at 1am, the elephants upstairs were sleeping.
I’ve been fighting a pretty severe sore throat for a couple weeks (tested negative for covid a couple times) and it’s not too bad during the day but at nighttime it’s hell. At 6:30am the herd of elephants awoke and my throat was throbbing so I knew I’d gotten what sleep I would get and got up to take some meds, make some coffee, and write the blog. The boys can sleep through a stampede by any large African migratory mammal group so they’re crashed out still, but the light is coming in and we’ve got a hell of a long drive to Montreal today (and back tomorrow).
London was a gas last night – thanks so much to everyone who helped put it together and played and came out and the staff at the Palasad. It was our best London show yet and we can’t wait to come back! The people in this city have always been very good to us. See ya tonight in Montreal at Barfly with Slippery Hitch! Xx