Ah, Canadian Music Week. It’s my third time visiting you in four years, and you’re usually alright.
This time was different though, as I had a showcase at Mitzi’s Sister on Queen St West. Not just west, but WAY West. Near the end, West. Very far away from all the other venues, which was a bit concerning, seeing as it was a very similar situation to what happened when I played at NXNE in 2008. With that being said, there was still a pretty decent crowd that made it out that Thursday, despite the fact that a huge list of great bands were playing elsewhere.
The lineup at Mitzi’s was solid though; Kalle Mattson from Ottawa (originally Sault Ste Marie), The Folk from Toronto (originally Guelph), and Laganza from Toronto).
Over the next few days I did check out some other acts though, including Lifestory: Monologue. There was also an Australian showcase/BBQ at the Horseshoe in the afternoon which filled my day schedule and my belly.
I also went to the conferences and ended up gaining the most from this trip than any of the previous ones. Possibly because I actually know quite a few people that come there year after year, and that networking does seem to be paying off, slowly but surely! I also saw some cool bands I’ve never been able to see before, doing acoustic sets, including Michou and Hollerado.
I wrote earlier that I have a ton of friends in Ottawa, which is true, but I think I may have a similar number of friends in London. Regardless, everytime I always end up staying at Reggie’s place. This time though, him and his housemates (all TBay ex-pats, and 3/4 of the band Freeground) had finally gotten their band going. They were scheduled to play Saturday night with me, at what was going to be an awesome basement show at a place called The Dude Ranch. They even have their own t-shirts!
The bad news, however, was that their basement flooded, so the show was canceled. This was a fail, but not so much their fault, as there was literally one brick in their basement that prevented water from flowing in, and this one wasn’t cemented in properly. Thankfully, Dustin (head Dude) was good friends with the band Staylefish playing at Call The Office that night (a legendary venue), and I was offered an opening slot on that show so that I could still perform somewhere that night. It was a ska-themed show, so I was the odd man out, but everyone still dug it, and I mean, c’mon, what’s not to like?!
But, before that, I also did an in-store performance at Grooves Records. I had only found out about them since they had ordered physical CD’s of mine direct through CDBaby, so I looked them up and saw that they did in-stores, and were glad to have me!
Also, random side note; after the Call The Office show it was snowing crazy amounts (even a few hours before the show), yet I still saw the largest number of mini skirts walking around downtown in a blizzard thatI have ever seen in my life. You do realize that it’s early March in Canada, right?
I’m finding that this tour has a lot of expectations from the audience, but each audience is unique to it’s needs. For example; several tours ago, I performed an a cappella version of Idioteque by Radiohead, and certain cities like Ottawa have a huge love for it, so I always bust it out there. Hamilton has a different theme/tradition: I always enjoy the tarts at the Pearl Company Art Gallery, and find a way to incorporate them into the show.
On this particular occasion, I found a piano bench and one of my empty road cases to build a pedestal for a tart, which I then serenaded with my song, “Blue”. However, this was similar to the last time I was there, so I decided to up the ante. During my final song, “You”, i sometimes get the audience to clap/fingersnap/etc along with me to close the show, but this time I decided to switch it up a bit. I would eat a tart (they’re decently large) on stage, taking bites in sync with the clapping, and I let the audience take charge of the tempo of the clapping, speeding up as it went on. There is nothing more difficult than trying to scarf down a crumbly pastry at breakneck speed, while simultaneously sprinting around the room. What challenges will next time bring? Send suggestions to me[at]jeanpaulderoover[dot]com!