Road Blog: Thursday September 07, 2023 - London, ON
September 7, 2023
Every year for the past decade or more, except the two Covid years, we’ve made the trek to Montréal to play our friends’ Hangover Golf Tournament draft party. It’s a haul out to Quebec from Detroit, and these aren’t the most lucrative runs of the year for us, but it’s a blast, and it also signifies the real beginning to our Fall touring season. But first we gotta get over the border… It’s always stressful, even though we’re not really doing anything wrong. For the most part. We usually travel by SUV rather than van to look less conspicuous. We’ve been fortunate that we’ve only been stopped and searched occasionally, and I’ve become pretty good and sweet talking these guys into believing that we’re just a couple kids, heading to Montreal, to play at a party.
We drove over the Ambassador Bridge and skated through Canadian customs in a breeze. It was a short two ours to London, where stop #1 was our AirBnB. It’s a basement apartment, clean enough, with two single beds in the main space and a curtained off queen bed off to the side. A quick chill and clothing change and we were back into the truck and headed to the city center.
Normally we stop in at Speed City Records and see our pal Michael , who’s a great guy and we love his store, but we were pressed for time last night and decided to hit Groove Records on our way to the show. It’s on Dundas street, right downtown London, but you’d think you were at the Ann Arbor Hash Bash with the smell of marijuana permeating the air for the nearby dispensaries. The store was cool. I passed on a KISS – Unmasked reissue, that seemed a bit steep, but I did Iron Maiden – Powerslave for a great price, an album I Love and have never owned on vinyl.
From there we headed over to the Palasad Social Bowl and loaded in. Headliners and friends from last year James Clark Hangover were already gearing up for soundcheck, and their drummer Shiraz was pulling double duty as the sound engineer too, so Gabe sat in and helped him dial in the drum kit all the bands would use. It was great to see all those dudes again and to see how fired up they were to play! I also saw pals Marty and Jeff, and later on buddy Dave O'Halloran, a local radio show host who’s always been incredibly supportive showed up and we had a great chat.
The Palasad Social Bowl is a big, modern rock and roll bowling alley with cool wallpaper, good tunes, a bunch of lanes, and a medium-sized venue space off to one side. The stage is big and the production is full pro. It’s really great. We ordered beers and dinner in the lounge and I wasted no time settling on the poutine + chili lime chicken after last year’s debacle where I ended up with some garbage poutine at a sportsbar in Windsor. Been trying to remedy that since. It was awesome!
Openers Incognito Baby went on just after and played a great set of what I might call…90s alternative? They definitely we’re not a derivative band but the had flavors of some of those bands from that decade – Chili Peppers, at times, Breeders maybe, they did a Fastball cover (I think…?). They had good harmonies and great energy and worked hard up there – looking forward to seeing where these cats go!
As we were setting up we were asked to keep the volume and stage checks down as someone had just had a seizure and the paramedics were on their way. Turns out it was the drummer for Incognito Baby’s grandmother who’d made the trip to see her grandson rock. After a bit the paramedics arrived (one of them looked like she was ten years old, but hey, they do good work), grandma was up, alert, and smiling, and before long, on her way home with supervision to get some rest. Hope she’s on the mend!
I’ve got some issue with my Deluxe Reverb, getting some static and break-up out of one of the channels. This thing has been a work horse since I got it a few years back but it hasn’t been serviced yet so I’ll be hitting up @Detroit.Amp.Lab when we get home. We played a decent set full of about half new songs. We did Josh by request for Jeff, and ended on Elimination Round, where I got messed up coming out of one of the pre-choruses and threw the boys off as I tried to find my spot. We’ll nail it in Montreal tonight.
@James Clark Hangover wrapped it up with a great set of punky rock tunes, dual Les Pauls, tight playing, and great hooks. I love this band – they’ve been at it forever they’re pretty great in every way, and we pair very well together. Can’t say enough about the amount of ass they kick.
We sold some merch, got some hugs, paid our tabs, loaded out and headed back to our AirBB to crash. I was out pretty quickly and woke up at 7am to get the blog done before the long trek to Quebec. London once again was tons of fun and we can’t wait to come back. THANKS for having us!
See ya tonight at Barfly in Montreal! We’re up after a set by a surprise special guest, who’s up after the Hangover Golf Tournament draft. Barfly rules - see ya there! Wifi sucks here, had trouble tagging a bunch of folks. Feel free to repost and tag. xx