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March 8th, 9th & 10th – Guelph, Hamilton, Windsor

The first southern Ontario component of the tour started in Guelph with a really great house concert put together by the Community Music Collective. Playing in a sun-room off of the house, it got packed pretty fast, with probably close to 40-50 people throughout the whole house. PA speakers set up in the room and even in the hall outside so that the whole house could enjoy (there are 8 bedrooms – so you know the size of the house roughly). They even served a big pasta meal earlier on!

Hamilton was a blast the next day and oh so funny in a variety of ways. First off, my sister Megan joined me and I got to embarrass her later on – details soon. Secondly, I was joined by Wax Mannequin, who we recently determined that after playing 4 shows together over 5 years we can now call each other ‘old friends’. Wax’s set was done sans backing tracks, but the energy was tough to follow. There was literally a balloon fight during the show – at his request of course! As I mentioned, his charisma is a hard one to follow, but I made up for it with storytelling, sweating profusely, and of course, interactions with a buttertart. For those of you that aren’t aware, there are many blog entries chronicling me singing to tarts on stage at the Pearl Company, however, this time, I invited my sister on stage to eat a butter tart on stage, and anytime I sang the words “She’s Happy”, during the song of the same name, she had to start eating quickly, and with as much gusto as possible, hamming it up even.

March 10th was Windsor, where I made a stop at the Dugout. It’s great to arrive and see your name on the marquee! And in HD?! What is this world coming to! It was Derek (the owner’s) birthday that night, so we had a blast, and I even ended up visiting my friends in The Birthday Cakes at the Phog Lounge a little later on. Combine that with late night chats with Murad from Learning and crashing at the mansion with Pumpkin, it was a great end to the first few days of tour.

Good morning, Pumpkin - at the Mansion

March 11th and 12th – Guelph – Jimmy Jazz

photo by Shannon Lepere

2 shows in Guelph came at a crazy time. We kept traveling back and forth to Toronto during the day to attend the CMW panels, but then would drive to whatever city the show was in that evening. This meant we played in Guelph at Jimmy Jazz on the 11th, stayed up until 3 am, drove to Toronto at 7 am, then drove back from Toronto at 6 pm in order to play at around 10 pm that night, once again at Jimmy Jazz. This type of scenario had been going on for a couple of days, so I actually took the opportunity to take a nap in the car before the first show.

Banquet - photo by Shannon Lepere

That first night I played with Banquet and The Music Box. Both bands shared some similar members, but the difference in material was clear. Banquet was a folky, rootsy trio, while the Music Box brought a lot more rock, with a full band and drummer. My good friend Brent Coleman put on the show, and did a fantastic job (as usual). It’s interesting playing at Jimmy Jazz, because there’s no cover, so the people that attend aren’t necessarily there for music, but they’ll stick around if they like it. I was stoked because I managed to grab people’s attention both nights, and had them clapping along by the end of it too!

Robin Jools Wright from Texting Mackenzie - photo by Shannon Lepere

The second night I shared a bill with Texting Mackenzie, an eclectic indie/rock band that likes to blend genres (one of my favourites!). I’d been in touch with Robin Wright, the vocalist/guitar player for quite a while, as I’m stoked to bring them to Thunder Bay. They’d start a song with a campy feel, then switch into punk rock mid phrase only to bring it into something different right after that. That night we crashed at Shannon’s friend Sean Mackay’s place. He also hooked us up with a delicious vegetarian lasagna earlier that day, which we were late for because of crazy Toronto rush hour traffic (sorry again!).