Monday, September 29, 2008

Witches in Quebec, Garlic Works

Back at Pub Limoilou in Quebec City. Richard Carr and Manuella are once again our hosts in this town. We arrived Sunday night after driving from St. Andrews, NB. Drive day. Rain day. It was cold and gloomy, but the with the trees showing off their fine fall splendor the day still managed to be interesting. The highway is largely completed now, and the drive itself was good.

Today I try to upload as many pictures and updates to the Blog as I can. The connection here is not as fast as I would like, but I do get a bunch of things done. (Note: if you’ve been following this Blog daily, you’ll find a whole bunch of new pics up for the last week’s postings.). Michael hangs in the kitchen and plays guitar. Richard’s got the best Yamaha guitar I’ve ever heard, and it gets played, too. I decide to go for a run. These hills are going to be easier than they were three weeks ago. The sun comes out for a while, so I have a perfect day running hills through a residential neighbourhood overlooking the river. Back at Richard’s we do laundry, inventory, and listen to some CDs from his new radio show. The truck has a flat tire. The slow leak is catching up to us. I drive down to a local garage and put some air in the tire. Need to get this fixed properly soon!

Sound check at the club is 4:PM, and a tired looking Mike Deway arrives with some gear to get us going. He’s been at a Quebec Blues awards event last night, as well as commuting between Montreal and Quebec City for his various band gigs. Mike is fun. He has almost no English, and I have almost no french, but every time we meet I come away with a little more common language, another choice phrase or two! Today I’m trying to tell him “too many cooks, spoil the soup,” but I’m not sure he gets it. I leave Mike and Michael to deal with the sound set up while I deal with the merch table, banners, and personal gear. Richard hangs in and translates for us as needed. He will open for us again tonight.

By 9:30 the venue is more crowded than it was last time we were here at this hour. This is a good sign, and the people keep on coming. I’ve got a glass of red wine, and I’m looking forward to Richard’s set. As he settles in to play there is immediate feedback from the system, and then the levels seem remarkably low. Soundcheck was great. What’s this? After a couple of false starts Richard’s set stumbles to a close. He sounded pretty good out front, but was put well off his game trying to deal with the sound difficulties.

Our first set goes well, once we locate the compressors and turn them off. Sound is ok. But what can you do? It’s an appreciative crowd, happy and noisy at the right times. I think we’re playing really, really well this evening. Hi-lights for me were “Narrow House,” “Angola Prison Rodeo,” and Michael’s very cool take on “Fixin’ to Die.” Jay Sewall came down to the gig, and this time he brought harmonicas— so we had him sit in for a few tunes. Jay had picked up a Lifetime Achievement Award just the night before. Congrats!

Outside, we have garlic in the truck to ward off witches. Tonight it works. A quirky night. But fun. We're gonna put garlic over the soundboards from now on, too.

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