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March 24th to 28th – Annapolis Valley

Running at Peggy's Cove, NS

I had a couple of chill, relaxing days in Annapolis Valley. Played 2 shows in Windsor, NS, including one at the Spitfire Arms, followed by another at the TAN Coffee shop. At the Spitfire, I signed 4 cardboard coasters for a group of young kids who were stoked about the show. A little later on, there was one young girl that was spinning around the room, dancing, clapping and singing. It was really cute – she was running around for a good 30 minutes!

I also had a ‘mini-tour’ of TAN Coffee shops both in Windsor and Wolfville. Kentville was supposed to happen, but didn’t quite pan out.

Ah well! Still had the chance to visit with Shannon’s wonderful family, and visit Peggy’s Cove. Unfortunately for some of us, the drive was brutal. By the time we got there I was on the verge of barfing, but tried to sprint around the rocks in order to get some more ‘fresh air’. Even then, the wind was so strong that some of us actually had to walk on an angle to avoid being blown over.

Rubber Hats at Peggy's Cove, NS

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 16th – Windsor – Phog Lounge

The good ol’ tourmobile had been acting funny; it’s RPM’s dropping by 500 every couple of minutes or so, making the vehicle feel like someone was holding onto the back bumper slowing it down from time to time. At this point in the tour it was doing alright, so I let Shannon take a turn driving it, as I’d had quite a few really long days because of CMW. We had an ongoing joke that I didn’t want her driving because she might do something to the car, so I got quite upset when AS SOON as she got behind the wheel, she couldn’t get the vehicle to accelerate with her foot to the floor while only going 60 km/hr. We switched places again and crawled to the nearest exit that took us back to London, where we found a Ford dealer. It turns out that the problem was a fuel pump, but it took them a while to diagnose it.  Thankfully, the fuel pump (as well as some additional repairs on sway bars and more) was covered under warranty, so I didn’t pay a dime!

Photo by Jean-Paul De Roover

However, I had to play in Windsor that night, so I made some phone calls and got in touch with Reggie’s roommate Doug who had a van. He became ‘the man’ when he drove us to Windsor in order to play the show, and then drove us back to London to crash that night. The Phog Lounge had just introduced poutines, so I made sure to treat Doug to one of those before he went to visit with his family who lived in Windsor.

Photo by Shannon Lepere

The show went really well, with DJ Whyme opening the show with some live electronica. I ended up visiting with a new friend that I had met at CMW, Patrick LeBlanc, a singer songwriter who was definitely a great person to connect with, as he knows everyone at the conferences, and we shared many a discussion, including watching some of the looping product displays. I played after DJ Whyme, and got a great response (the crowd was substantially bigger than the last time), including some folks that run another bar in Windsor asking me to come back in June. We’ll see about that, but right after my set was Stefan Cvetkovic from Michou. He has a live looping set up as well, but had been having a really bad bunch of days, having broken several drum skins, and a bunch of other gear malfunctions.

Stefan Cvetkovic - Photo by Shannon Lepere

We then returned with Doug to London, where we spent the next night partying for St Patrick’s Day. And by party, I definitely mean that Shannon fell asleep at 9:30 while I watched X-Files in Reggie’s basement while a college keg party happened upstairs (party fail!). The next day, there was nothing else to do but get addicted to the newest video game craze: Peggle. Shannon even downloaded to her iPhone later. Nerd-dom, for sure.