Tuesday, October 14, 2008

London, ON. Full Moon Crazy

I picked up messages at 10:30 last night only to find an urgent call and email from Brian Mortimer, the promoter of tonight’s show. He’s got a significant regional television show lined up for us, and we had to confirm that we’d be able to do it. The catch? Of course, there’s always a catch… We’ll need to be in London by 1:00 in the afternoon. Fine. Except that we are preping to fly out for the Western leg of the Tour, and need to be completely airport ready BEFORE we go to London. Basiclly, Michael and I will pack gear, do inventory, laundry, guitar repairs, etc. instead of getting a full night’s sleep. Then we’ll take off and get to the gig over 8 hours in advance of show time. We’re shaving 8 hours off of our most demanding 48 hour schedule. Right, then. Let’s do it!!! I hope this show puts some bums in seats. It’s election day in Canada, and it’s the Tuesday following the long, Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. And a full moon, so who knows?

Out the door and to the polls to cast my vote. Michael is doing the same in Crystal Beach. We’ll meet up in Hamilton, ON at about 11:AM. Remarkably I get there early in good weather, and have time for coffee before Michael and Louise arrive. A quick transfer of gear and we’re bidding Louise good-bye. She’s going back to Crystal Beach, ON, where she’ll be working on Michael’s upcoming winter tour of the South-East states, and his spring trip to Europe.

Meanwhile in Oh, Canada, we have an uneventful trip into London, ON. We’ve both played this town dozens of times over the years, so getting in and out of the downtown is smooth. After a little difficulty in finding the Lounge (building was being refaced, so no numbers…) we are met by Mortz himself, who helps us to load in and shows us around the venue. Here's the wall by the door... It’s pretty nice. We meet Flex, the full time sound tech for the place. He knows his stuff and has great gear. We’re using some pretty nice Sennheiser ( how the heck do you spell this?) mics both up top for vocals and for the guitars. Here's what it looked like from the stage:

Rick Taylor arrives to set up. He’s our opening act tonight, and he’s got a great looking new tricone. Wow. Nice to catch up a bit with Rick. We played the Winnipeg Folk Festival together in the mid 1970s, and I remember we had some great shows with Blind John Davis, Martin, Bogan and Armstrong… Others. Anyway, cool to see him again. We’ve both located to Ontario after lengthy stays elsewhere. I look forward to his set. He’s got a new CD called the Wonky Years, which seems to be picking up some airplay across the country. It’s a sparse crowd when he starts his set. Too bad, as Michael and I really enjoy his guitar playing— some nice slide playing in standard tuning, great picking and grooves. Very cool! Thanks, Rick! Here he is, raisin' a little sweat—

Below see Rick's guitar, tryin' to get close to mine!

The room has filled up quite a bit by the time we start, it’s still not as big a crowd as we’d like— but we do have some fans out from across south-western Ontario.
A couple of people come in wearing Big Road Blues tour jackets from last year. Nice! Very stylish. Michael and I dig in deep this night for the Great Lakes Blues Society members, and Karma. I think we have an exceptional night! After the show people are taking pictures, and we’re signing posters and cds. It’s very nice. I chat for a while with a blues society member who has driven in from Sarnia, ON for this show. It seems we had lunch one time in Memphis, back in 2000. Time flies when you’re having fun doesn’t it?

We load out, and it’s now way later than I would like. The truck has got a near flat front tire. It’s close to 2:AM when we get in gear and start to roll. Gas station. Air. Tim’s (Canadian coffee chain) for coffee. Out on the Big Road. By 3:45 we’re at my place in Toronto. In three or four hours we’ll continue on our way. The East is done. The Western leg is about to begin. I hope nothing messes up— we’ll be playing Kenora, ON in about 16 hours. Good night!

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