Ben vs. Adam (Taken with instagram)
Goodbye again, Vancouver. Last show of tour tonight at Logan’s in Victoria w/ Germany Germany, Isobel Trigger & Versa. (Taken with instagram)
Missing this… (Taken with instagram)
After playing Moose Jaw we had a day and a half to get from Regina to Kelowna for our show at The Habitat. Day one was to take us as far as Cranbrook. After a coffee stop we left Regina and were making good time. Too good. We got a speeding ticket just outside of Lethbridge. The police officer grilled us, but let us off easy. Thankfully Matt didn’t respond to “Do you have any drugs in the vehicle?” with the reply he later proposed: “What are you buying?”.
Over the course of our brief encounter with law enforcement we destroyed a huge bag of twizzlers and several chocolate chip cookies. Nervous eating like this has become a habit on this tour. Full disclosure. The van has had “issues”. Brakes have smoked. Unidentified, alarming noises have issued from the van’s internal workings. The phrase “might as well die on a full stomach” has been uttered more than once. But all is fixed now and we’re heading home in one piece. We promise. No worried emails from parents, please.
We got to Cranbrook, “the ugliest town in BC”, by the late afternoon. I don’t know where this moniker came from. Ugly is certainly not one of the adjectives I would use to describe Cranbrook. We stayed with Laura’s family at their house, and perused the gigantic record collection in the basement. Playing pool while listening to Fleetwood Mac and Miles Davis through terrific speakers was a big highlight - one of our favourite nights on tour.
The ride to Kelowna the next day was interrupted by van problems. We had to stop in Castlegar to get advice at an auto shop. Apparently we had been riding the brakes a little too hard through the mountains. After a tense hour or so, we managed to get back on the road with enough time to get to The Habitat for our show. Nuuka was doing their sound check when we arrived, and sounded great. Everybody (Nuuka, Cruel Young Heart and Fields of Green) tore it up that night. What a great bill for our first show in Kelowna!
We drove off to Summerland afterward singing semi-intoxicatedly along to Japandroids’ “Sovereignty” (no it wasn’t actually raining in Vancouver, but we still didn’t give a… fudge). Before I fell asleep, Jamison introduced me to Shreds videos on youtube. I watched them again today and still found them amusing, so I know their hilarity was not solely a product of watching them at 3am. Check them out.
We woke up to a big breakfast put together by Ben and his mom, before being whisked off to play for Austin (Ben’s seven year old nephew, and owner of a brand new trampoline courtesy of Mercy Years) and his classmates at the Summerland Montessori. Best crowd of the tour. It didn’t seem to matter that we were playing three out-of-tune acoustics with more buzzing frets than not. If only their parents had been there to buy merch. Mental note - work on Raffi and Fred Penner covers for the next tour.
The van had been taken to the shop early that day, and had a great deal of work done on it. This great deal of work cost a great deal of money. Dang.
We managed to get to Kamloops in time for our show anyway. Our name was on the billboard at the Dirty Jersey underneath the name of a band that had played a few nights before, “Cocaine Moustache”. We had a brief discussion about precisely how one would have to imbibe cocaine in order to achieve a proper, full-fledged cocaine moustache. We agreed that one would probably have to use it as a drink mix. Kind of like Tang. But with fewer calories and chemicals. And with the added effect of inducing a hyperactive state. Actually, come to think of it, just like Tang.
After hitting a number of SUVs with our frisbee, we loaded in and set up on stage. It wasn’t a busy night in Kamloops but the crowd was good. Chris Brock opened with a terrific solo acoustic set, and Mickael Maddison closed with a rocking set of originals and covers. We had a great time and played our hearts out - it was our last tour stop after all.
A JJ Bean friend, Eric, who has been living in Kamloops for the last few months put us up for the night. I got the bedroom for myself. This is the benefit of having developed very smelly feet over the course of the tour. On a related note, I have ditched socks in every province in which we played. They were simply not salvageable. Had we been camping, they would probably have attracted bears. Disclaimer - I accept no legal responsibility for damages incurred due to bears being drawn to the following locations: Calgary parking lots, Edmonton elevators, Regina driveways and Kamloops trailer parks.
We woke up early. The desire to get home was strong. Not because we hadn’t had fun. In fact, I would say that by the end of the tour, we seemed to be enjoying one another’s company more than we had been at the beginning. We arrived in Vancouver at around 11am local time. See you all soon!
We had a little project during this tour that each of us was supposed to complete. We were supposed to make a playlist of our 20 favourite songs of all time, with the criteria being that we still enjoy listening to them and that they have influenced the music that we make. Here is my list. I’ll try to convince others to post theirs.
In no particular order:
Wilco - I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
Frightened Rabbit - The Modern Leper
Johnny Foreigner - Yes! You Talk Too Fast
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Hysteric
The Band - The Weight
Bruce Hornsby - The Way It Is
The Beatles - In My Life
The Beach Boys - God Only Knows
Feist - Intuition
Sigur Ros - Svefn-g-englar
Broken Social Scene - Ibi Dreams Of Pavement (A Better Day)
Wolf Parade - I’ll Believe In Anything
Sonic Youth - Teen Age Riot
Dinosaur Jr - I Want You To Know
Bloc Party - So Here We Are
Radiohead - Paranoid Android
The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations
Joni Mitchell - Both Sides, Now
Broken Social Scene - Cause=Time
The Beatles - A Day In The Life
We made it! @mattoutofhell (Taken with instagram)
We’re nearly home, greeted by glorious sunshine and familiar mountains! The best. (Taken with instagram)
Laura and Scooby Doo enjoy a little down time. (Taken with instagram)
To clarify from the last post, Benjamin Mott is alive and well. The coughing and hacking coming from the back seat has made me well aware of this fact. Ask him about his Yahk bottle. It is almost exactly what it sounds like.
As I previously said, we left Saskatoon late on Sunday night and arrived at the home of Jamison’s family in Regina as the sun came up on Monday morning. We all fell into bed, waking up at midday to fresh coffee, fruit and pancakes. Jamo’s parents are saints for putting a traveling six-piece up for three whole nights.
A relaxing day, the first one in a while, was followed by our evening show at The Exchange. The show had been moved to The Exchange from The Artful Dodger, which was still undergoing renovations and unable to host the show. While a terrific venue, the Exchange was a little… cavernous. For a band headlining a show for the first time east of the rockies, a room with a capacity in excess of 250 was a little hard to fill. We had fun nonetheless.
Afterwards, we went to O’Hanlon’s for Monday night karaoke. A drunk dude, barking a Korn song into the mic and low-riding his jeans, flashed his man boobs at us mid-yelp. It was the highlight of a fairly predictable, highly unfortunate night of karaoke. If I ever catch any of you singing Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah at a karaoke bar, I will consider our friendship voided.
The next day was our show in Moose Jaw. To kill time in the morning we went to the park and played catch and kicked a volleyball around in absence of a soccer ball. This was part of what we have now dubbed the Mercy Years “Spring Sports Tour”.
So far this tour has included:
- ultimate frisbee with a football
- ultimate frisbee with a frisbee
- pool on a snooker table
- snooker on a pool table
- running after the tour van
- competitive Yahk-ing
The amount of animosity between band members over these Olymp-ish Games has reached a fever pitch. Another closely contested event and we may start throwing things at one another. On stage. Yahk bottles may be involved. Oh well. I guess we could rebrand ourselves as a hard punk band.
We took off in the afternoon for Moose Jaw, where we were to play Kergano’s. Kergano’s is a terrific restaurant in downtown (I guess…) Moose Jaw. While waiting for our set to start, we were fed an amazing meal and given some time to wander around the town. First question to Moose Jaw store owners - why aren’t there more Moose Jaw puns in your names? It’s easy:
Java Express - Jawva Express
Pharmasave - Pharmoosave
John’s Music Shop - Jawn’s Mooseik Shop
I would buy so much unnecessary crap from Jawn’s Mooseik Shop.
We headed back for Kergano’s after some bocce in the park and a fruitful search for ugly/awesome tank tops. The set was quieter than usual (people were eating dinner ten feet away), but seemed to make a good impression. We received two separate offers of accommodations for the next time we end up in Moose Jaw, as well as a festival slot offer for the July 1st long weekend. It was an incredibly friendly town, and arguably our favourite stop on tour
After we were done at Kergano’s, we headed back to Regina for the night. Our last night in we would all be in a proper bed until we were home. We weren’t about to waste those precious hours of sleep.
All it takes to get Adam dancing is two beers and Kind of Blue.
Back in BC :-) (Taken with instagram)
Set out for Edmonton from Calgary on Saturday afternoon and arrived in glorious sunshine. After a lifetime of hearing nothing but negative things about Edmonton I was surprised to discover that it is not in fact a barren hellscape, the spring thaw revealing long-buried casualties of a painfully long winter. On the contrary, it is pleasant both in appearance and atmosphere (in May, at least). Also, downtown is NOT flat.
We eventually found our way to the apartment we were to stay in after google maps sent us on a wild goose chase. If anybody is interested, the clearance of our touring van is JUST over 6’4. If you want to know how we found out, take a look at the roof. Ben’s friend Melissa put us up for the night. If anybody is looking for a roommate in Edmonton give her a shout. It is a nice two bedroom apartment. Mercy Years’ seal of approval!
The Brixx was a great venue. It’s underneath the Starlite Room and has that cool underground/no windows ambience going for it. Great place for a rock show. We had a fun set, even though it was a tight squeeze on stage. Death By Robot followed up with a great set of their tuneful folk-y rock. Thanks to my childhood friend/next door neighbour Allison for coming out to the show with her fiance. We used to play dinosaurs on the front lawn. Every. Night. True story.
The small piece of the Edmonton nightlife that we sampled was great. Sherlock Holmes’ is a great pub. Fun place, good beer selection, and a stoned old troubadour banging out Tom Petty covers.
We woke up early the next morning - Melissa had to leave for work. A quick trip to Transcend for some coffee was followed by breakfast at the Elephant and Castle on Whyte Avenue, where we watched as Manchester City choked away a lead and then staged an impossible comeback in added time to win the Premier League title. All of the good news came at once for the dozen or so Man City fans present: Amid the jubilation over the improbable go ahead goal, scored at roughly 10 o’clock Edmonton time, one could make out,
“She says we can order beer now!”
The trek to Saskatoon was a long one. I do not wish to relive it or force you to relive it through my prose. So here is a haiku:
Gas station bathroom
Brown boots dude hogs only stall
I hate him so much
Walking around Saskatoon we picked up a frisbee and some cassette tapes so that we could listen to some music in stereo (Dear technology, please invent a cassette adapter that allows us to hear both headphones. Thanks in advance, love from everyone who has ears). Jamison assured us that the whole town wasn’t dusty and way too hot, and proved it by taking us down to a park by the river, where we played a variety of different sports very poorly.
In the evening we played a house show hosted by some of Jamo’s Saskatoon friends. Thanks to Emily (The Dire Wolf) for her music and hospitality. Those who managed to make it out got a rare, intimate, toned-down version of Mercy Years. We had a great time - it’s always fun playing your songs in a new way. Songs are like people. The more you do with them and the more time you spend with them, the better you get to know and understand them.
We drove to Regina that night and arrived to find goody bags packed lovingly by Jamison’s parents waiting for us on our bedside tables. The sun was coming up. We fell asleep.
PS - Mercy Years band infirmary/injured list:
- Adam Sharp’s ego is on the long term disabled list thanks to an awkward scratch on his nose received from once-thought-cuddly cat in Saskatoon.
- Jamison Gladysz is out for a fortnight with cuts to the leg sustained during an embarrassing game of ultimate. Amputation pending.
- Matt Gostelow’s hair and beard are both out indefinitely after getting into a fight over which is more hardcore.
- Laura Genschorek seems to be fine. I’ll ask her when she gets out of the shower. She’s been in there half the tour.
- My back hurts.
- Benjamin Mott is dead. Or he has pneumonia or something.