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March 18th – Toronto – C’est What

Photo by Shannon Lepere

I was excited to come back to Toronto, because I had had a show booked at C’est What last time but it fell through.  It was a really nice venue, and quite extensive for a basement bar/restaurant.  My good friend Nick Sherman kicked off the show with his partner’s father joining him on bass.  Unfortunately Shannon didn’t manage to snap a shot of his new, snazzy rock-a-billy look, because we were both enjoying it too much!

Eric Wright enjoying the show - Photo by Shannon Lepere

I went on next and was then reminded of why I don’t usually do cover songs.  I’ve been doing Idioteque by Radiohead, and did it at the Smiling Buddha show a few weeks before, so naturally I had some friends (repeat fans!)  request that I do it again this show.  I chose to do so, but I don’t want to be known as that guy that does the acapella cover of Radiohead, so I explained why I wasn’t going to do so originally.  I had burned before in Thunder Bay by doing a cover of Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio, until my set got cut off immediately after performing it at a Frosh week event, despite having an additional 20 minutes left to my set.  That’s why I’ve been hesitant about doing certain cover songs since.  The minute I begin to be recognized by a cover, I’ll either switch it or stop doing it altogether.  So for those of you that saw my rendition of it this tour, that’s it!  I would hope to be remembered for my original music than for re-interpretations of others, but I understand how people can find familiar music to be more memorable once a show is over.

Photo by Shannon Lepere

Following me was Brett Caswell, who even brought some fans from Barrie!  He was a hit, switching from guitar to piano and giving out free copies of his newest album.  Either way, lots of original music was spread around that night, through performance, give-aways, and also by leaving some copies of Windows and Doors with the nice people at Criminal Records!

March 13th – London – East Village Arts Co-op

Shannon "Lace Ventura" Lepere - photo by Dana Brushette

Shannon had an excellent time in London. She met up with her old photographer friend Dana Brushette for a pin-up shoot.  “Lace Ventura” looks stellar in her roller derby skates!  She even gave me a copy of the photo to keep on the sunblocker on my car, similar to a war pilot.  London is also one of my favorite places in Canada, probably because Reggie lives there.  This time I didn’t have a bar show, but rather a smaller show at the East Village Arts Co-op. It’s a small hole in the wall, about the size of your grandparents’ living room, in a part of town that might be called a “rough neighbourhood”.  It was structured as an open mic followed by full sets from myself, Jef-Something and Mike Wolski.  I’ve known Mike for a few years (he’s from Dryden), and he started the second half of the show with some covers and an original.  Jef-Something came next, and I was stoked to find he was a one-man-band too!  His setup was mobile though, as he does a lot of busking.  I dedicated a Radiohead cover to him, as he did 2: Creep and another from Kid A (I forget the name).

Richard Modin - photo by Shannon Lepere

My set went over quite well, having Reggie join me on a conga for a few tracks.  It reached it’s apex on the last song when I picked up one of the strands of stage lights and wrapped it around my body as I finished the track by getting people to clap along with me.

photo by Shannon Lepere

You can also read Maggie McGee’s review of the show in the Interrobang (which is also my newest favorite punctuation, pushing the umlaut to 2nd). For those of you that prefer synopses, she found some of my songs “reminiscent of Nick Cave”, and that “De Roover manages to carve his own niche and express his personality and parlay it into a personal chemistry and stage presence that is something distinctly his own. If the innate optimism and excitement can be maintained and nurtured through experience, De Roover’s growth as an artist will be impressive and will come as no surprise.”

March 10th – Hamilton – Pearl Company

Hammertown.  The last time I was in Hamilton I played at the Pearl Company, and this time was no different.  What was different, however, was the turnout.  In October, I played solo to 5 people.  This time, City of Glass joined me, and we performed to over 20.  We literally quadrupled the audience, thanks to certain people like David Kidney, who wrote a show review in the Rylander last time, but has already written another one for the Green Man Review (it’ll be up soon).  He brought an entourage all by himself!

Michael Champion - City of Glass - photo by Shannon Lepere

City of Glass started off the show at the very nice venue of the Pearl Company, and sounded infinitely better than the night before in Toronto. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t last for very long, as the gear that they had rented from Long and Macquade didn’t hold, and the set suffered from ghosts in the machine. However, they handled it really well, and Michael ended up doing a medley of Radiohead and Coldplay while gear was sorted out.

eating a tart - photo by Shannon Lepere

This transitioned well into my set as I also did a Radiohead cover. Earlier that night, I had been running out of time, so I didn’t get the opportunity to eat. Thankfully, Barbara and Gary at the Pearl Company had snacks and drinks available, so I ate several tarts which were absolutely delicious. During my set, I boasted about how great they were, and David from City of Glass even brought me one on stage! So I proceeded to play “I Need You”, which then became an ode to the tart I was eating while playing.

mini-tour wrap up with City of Glass - photo by Shannon Lepere

Although it was brief, the mini, 2-day tour was fun and it was great meeting City of Glass and sharing the stage with them. I’m sure that we’ll play together again, sooner than later!