2017 Cross Canada Tour Scrapbook
In May, Kimberley MacGregor and I undertook a tour that brought us before audiences in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. It was a super affirming experience for one who has invested much life and hope into the creation and performance of music, and it was exhilarating to spend nearly a full month on the road, flying though landscapes, and into the arms of one gracious host after another. Before I even get into what will in all likelihood prove to be a ridiculous, scrapbook account of what was actually a humbling trip, it bears mentioning that I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the folks across the country that welcomed us into their homes, nourished us, and supported us over the course of the tour. O.K. Here we go...
While waiting for Kimberley to get off work so that the tour could commence, I got busy with back-alley selfies in search of the perfect profile pic for a twitter account that I hoped would really blossom with life on the road. My twitter account never really took off, but I did get some funny looks from passersby, and #memories.
After some quality veggie burgs, we were off to Vancouver for our first couple of shows (and the bug harvest began).
Our first show in Vancouver was at The Matador with High Society, and our wonderful host Nasti Weather (Ana). It was lovely to have an attentive audience for the tour's inaugural show. Good vibes prevailed, and sick hangs and jams were had.
The night after, we played at The Heatley where our friend Allie Larson was on the ball and snapped the adjacent photo. It's one of the few that I could find of us actually in action during the tour. Thanks Allie!
The following morning we headed to Vancouver Island with Kimberley's dad, Sandy, and hit a rollicking jam at Logan's in Victoria, before heading to Sandy's Qualicum Beach home for some R&R, and then taking in some sights.
From The Island we hauled ass to The Owl Acoustic Lounge in Lethbridge, AB for a rendezvous with our friends Steven William Foord and Megan Brown -together they are Burning Bridge - and Ryan Smith from The Silkstones. This was something of a reunion show as, the previous January, we had all joined forces for a seven-stop tour of Alberta. Love those guys! Love The Owl!
Brunch, being one of, if not the most important meal(s) of the day, was a preoccupation of ours over the course of the tour to such an extent that I may have more photos of my food and of people eating than I do of music being played.
We pulled through at the Double Decker Tavern in Brandon, MB despite the fact that it wasn't immediately clear that we had anywhere to plug in.
Pictured is only one of thousands of rockin' geetar faces that Kimberley made over the course of the tour. My face was similarly contorted at this moment, but I was able to steer it downwards towards the ground at the last minute.
From Brandon, we headed in to Winnipeg for a house show that was definitely a personal highlight of the tour. Months before our arrival, our host Dan Deeds started selling tickets and planning for the night of the show. He filled his living room with music enthusiasts, set up some killer sound, and cooked great food. After I gave a little spiel about how my lack of head-wear was indicative of a failure to market myself properly as a musician, a generous member of the audience even gave me his hat!!! What a night, and what a lovely day of pizza-eating and beer-drinking around the fire the next day with new pals Dan and Kira. :)
We drove from Winnipeg to Sault Ste. Marie in one shot, which felt like no small feat, and were received by our outstanding host, and Gore Street Cafe proprietor, Nicole, who took the time to show us around a bit before we settled in at what is a very intimate performance space. It was a stormy night, and things got more intimate when the power went out and we continued the music by candle light.
Man is Montreal a beautiful city! We played a nifty show at Le Cagibi with Clark & Marcy, had a day to chill with friends, and then had the privilege of playing a super sweet apartment show with Ariana Lynne Brophy. Huge thanks to Ariana for setting up the show, and for giving us shelter in Montreal.
Peterborough was a hoot! We played The Garnet with Hurtin' for Certain. Megan and Julia killed it, Megan soldiering on despite not feeling well on the night.
Next stop, Toronto! I feel right at home in Toronto. Waves of Edmontonians have made their way there over the decade that I've lived in Canada, and I sure felt the love at both of the shows that we played. We hit Orchard Bar with my pals of old with hearts of gold The Marwills, and Burdock the next night for a show with the Tara Kannangara Group. I have no photographic evidence to back up these claims, but I have ample evidence that, on the third day, I helped liberate the Marwills' front yard from an infestation of man-sized dandelions.
Looks like I lied... I found this montage that Kimberley put together of our show at Burdock. Oh man that was a fun show! The sound was great, and the ambiance in there was perfect. Great room.
With our shows in Toronto wrapped up, our tour was coming to an end, and we headed back towards Thunder Bay, with a quick detour to Kapuskasing where we played for a hot shower, and a nights accommodation. Unfortunately, what we had been writing off for some time as bumpy roadways turned out to be a very loose wheel, leading to an emergency visit to the mechanic in Nanaimo, and a U-haul rental getting us to Thunder Bay and back for Kimberley's Tracker.
We closed the tour with a couple of sets at a lovely little place called the Strong Badger Coffeehouse, in Winnipeg, and then booked'r right back to Edmonton harvesting bugs all the long way home.
It was an awesome tour! Check it Kimberley MacGregor's music if you haven't already. It's awesome. Tour with Kimberley MacGregor! It'll do you good. Check out my music! You might as well. You made it this far into this blog post.