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March 16th & 17th – London and Ottawa

Finally played at the Dude Ranch in London! It’s this awesome punk rock basement where they host shows on weekends, and I was originally scheduled to play there a while back, but the basement flooded. I was glad to be back in a little haven of Northern Ontario settled in the South. Seriously, everyone involved in that house is either from TBay, Schreiber, Marathon, Terrace Bay, etc. Unfortunately, they’re moving out / moving on, so this was the 3rd last show at the house. I only managed to take one photo throughout the whole night, but there was lots of sweat, singalongs and BBQ throughout the whole night! Big thanks to the fellow Ranchers for hosting me, and I’ve already been sporting my new shirt for the past few days.

Here’s the snapshot of Thousand Young, but Black Frame Spectacle and Arkham Dispatch also killed it that night.

Thousand Young at the Dude Ranch - London, ON

Ottawa was a fun time – y’know – hanging with Ignacio and Alicia (the usual folks I spend my birthdays with), but this time it was a St Paddy’s day partay. Josef Mieto (Ottawa), Redbird (Vancouver) and Portage and Main (Vancouver) also joined me at the Avant Garde Bar – where the theme isn’t so much green, but red – it’s a socialist Russia themed bar. Again, my pipes and shirt fit the theme well and I didn’t have to worry about colour coordinating with the occasion. Turnout was decent, but thankfully we didn’t get a lot of the rowdy green-beer-drinkin’ drunks. I think they were upstairs with Deaner from FUBAR.

Live at Avant Garde Bar


US Odyssey Part 1: Entering the States

Here begins the US Odyssey, in many parts, as there’s lots to share!

The first leg of the trip saw us leave Canada through Niagara after having breakfast with my friend Timur in Saint Catharines (he used to book at a venue I played at, and now runs the bookings for the Mansion House) at a little diner before crossing into the US.

photo by Shannon Lepere (www.shannonlepere.com)

Once across, we were in Buffalo, NY, and it was remarkable how many old abandoned factories there were. I wasn’t aware that Buffalo used to be such a place of industry before. The interstate is nice to drive on, although it took us a while to get used to the speed being in miles rather than kilometres. Thankfully, the GPS we have displays it for us in a large font, so we always know. The Garmin has been good, but then randomly decides to send you in tight circles over and over again. “Recalculating…Recalculating…when possible, make a U-turn”. Shut up, Jill. You, and your computer generated Australian accent.

Shannon hanging out at Dairy Queen

Back to driving. Now we’re motoring through Cincinnati at night, and the overhead displays that would normally say “traffic is slow at next intersection” or something similar, instead say “missing adult male – black caddillac – licence #_ _ _ _ _ “. I guess we’ll keep our eyes open for that particular car? It’s either really nice that they’re spreading the word about this particular missing person, or absolutely impressive if that’s the ONLY missing person in Cincinnati at that point in time. Nevermind, I doubt that!

Florence Y'all - taken with an iPhone

We got as far as Florence, Kentucky on our first night, so we slept there, waking up the next day to find the above particularly awesome sight. Apparently way back in the day they had plans for a large mall, so they put up a water tower that said “Florence Mall”, but funding fell through and the mall didn’t get the go-ahead so they changed it to read “Y’all” instead.

Then we headed to Waffle House for the first time, where we had a very funny set of experiences. First off, the staff were so unbelievably friendly and bubbly, they were even singing. They did an abridged version of ‘Whistle While You Work‘, while also referencing the Family Guy episode that revolves around “Surfin’ Bird“. There was a trucker sitting behind us, and he even commented, “this is strange, usually the people at Waffle House are angry and sad.” We then struck up conversation, and it turns out he’s from North Carolina, and criss-crosses the country, however he’s not willing to go to Canada for fear of getting stuck in a blizzard. We then got hints on different places to go for food, and his affinity for BBQ shone through in his recommendations. Now, we must find a Sunny’s BBQ, where we “best be bringing some napkins!”

photo by Shannon Lepere (www.shannonlepere.com)