Cursed Arrows

Cursed Arrows
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010


"What day is today?"
Saw two hawks mating atop a 7-11 on our way out of town - a good omen?

Picked up a limited run of shiny gold tour buttons in Toronto before driving directly to CJLO in Montreal to do a live performance and interview session (which should be archived online shortly here).

Ate a good ol' vegan cafeteria dinner in town, then crashed in a Quebec motel.

"The Grunge"

The shower in our motel room boasted intense, near-painful water pressure, and neither of us could get a particular Quasi song out of our heads when we awoke. Didn't sleep enough as usual, then drove eight hours to Fredericton...

Tried not to notice the dead deer, fox, rabbit, and skunk on the side of the highway. But alas, a live lady moose drinking from a stream makes me feel a little better. Ryan explains the "world's largest beaver dam" located in Northern Ontario, nearly 1km long and the only animal structure that is visible from space. See, animals do crazy shit, too. I want to see that dam thing.

What time you guys playing? Where you going next? What comes first - the music or the words?

Our respiratory systems cleared, and we felt unusually healthy somewhere past Cabano. We stopped at as many of our beloved PQ rest stops as possible - these places are effectively beautifully maintained parks along the highway.

Played a quiet Thursday night set at The Capital with Bad Vibrations - an ass-whooping trio from Halifax. Found out we knew Evan from his Ontario days in Free Maracas. Also, I realized we first met KC when his band Made In The World played in my apartment back in 2003. I hadn't met Meg before this tour, but I am a huge fan of her relentless drumming.

The sound lady treated us to some old Vermicious Knid, Sourkeys, Burdocks and other nostalgic tracks before we played. All of those warm fuzzies mostly made up for the lack of attendance and the barfing guy outside.

Keep hope alive.

"They Don't Look Like They're From Ontario"

'Twas a no-shower, pseudo-breakfast kind of morning at the Prospect Inn in Fredericton - an affordable and hospitable resting place. We overslept, then ate breakfast with Bad Vibes and accidentally ordered toast with butter on it, then had to have the kitchen staff remake us some dry toast.

Next stop was Moncton, first for a feast at Zen Gardens, then a house show - a crowded, sloppy early-evening affair where we made sure to play "Happens All The Time." Petted a presumably deaf punk doggy all night long, and met some kind people.

Funniest of all, we overheard an attendee say, "They don't look like they're from Ontario," as we were setting up.

Compliment or criticism?

We finished just in time to see Bad Vibrations at the Paramount, then crashed for another evening.

"Drunken Butterfly"

Wandered around Moncton's impressive Farmer's Market and indulged in some Egyptian samosas. It was pouring, so we headed out of town, but not before getting pulled over for a minor traffic violation by a smiling cop who simply said,
"I guess you might not be from Moncton, eh?"

Sackville, home of a lovely cafe and ample healthy food choices, was a rainy experience but the sun kept poking out, beckoning us to stay

We rolled onward, stopping briefly to shoot an empty bus (while a self-appointed guard dog barked at us non-stop) and a recently burnt out trailer (complete with smoke damaged clothing and personal effects).

We all get to be gum in graves, anyway.

In Truro (where DD/MM/YYYY references abound), I painted my bass drum head, and then we played for an attentive and hard-nosed audience with whose composure I can surely identify. Thanks to Evan, the sweetest promoter in the whole world, for having us back.

Stayed with Chad Peck of Noyes Records and had some intense nerd-outs about everything music-related, particularly gear and recording. It was nice to finally hang out with our label master, and his lady friend.

"I'm Not Playing With You"

Played the Youth Centre in Trenton and encountered yet another prodigious promoter named Andy, whose insights and ambitions were welcomed like a breath of fresh, salty air.

Felt a little homesick for our cats, whom I knew were in good hands.

A week in Nova Scotia awaits.

"For Worse or Better"

We'd been having lots of musical and personal epiphanies on this tour - the ideal outcome of traveling and playing music with and for so many people. We had talks with KC, Evan, and Meg of Bad Vibrations about "bringing back" certain sonic vibes; however, I know we're just as hell-bent on propelling ourselves forward.
Balls out, so to speak.

(The ipod finally died, six days into our tour, 30 seconds into the last song on Sea of Cowards - "Old Mary.")

At one point, I smelled the residual smoke from my burnt trailer shirt and had unwanted visions of death by smoke inhalation. The last tenant who lived in our current dwelling, we recently learned, died IN OUR APARTMENT weeks before we moved in, so we are prone to thoughts of the worst lately. We heard a sad story about a suicide, which hit hard, but otherwise our ramblings with people have proved fruitful. We're very much in our own heads, but lately it seems as if we're on a subconscious quest to feel like we're connecting (some very large dots).

My latent caffeine addiction took a hit at Just Us, a superior fair trade coffee co-operative based in Halifax. This place is extremely affordable and broad in scope, especially next to its Ontario counterparts.

"People and the planet before profits" says it all.

We tracked down our hosts (and longtime favourite musicians/people) Nancy and Seth of Dog Day, whose enchanted homestead awaited us.
For the record: Nancy is an impeccable cook.

"Breaking Bad"

After one night at Seth and Nancy's oceanside paradise I was delirious from being in good company, breathing real air, playing guitars, staring at the water, and especially, playing with Woofy.

Rarely have either of us felt this relaxed - a near catatonic state that we relished.
We were happy to have days off, for once.
Every tour should be this therapeutic.


Ryan desperately needed to re-string his Gretsch before our Seahorse show in Halifax with The Raccoon Wedding, and I needed to put sunglasses on Woofy.

In the meantime, we listened to Dog Day's last album a couple of times, and discovered our astrological birth charts, like the nerds that we are.

Rain, drumfusion, inaccurate posters, and a mediocre yet expensive meal (I could have sworn that I read that The Wooden Monkey was a vegetarian restaurant; it's not) started off the night on a tedious note.

Then, The Racoon Wedding played far too well, and crawling sweatily offstage after our set to find Seth and Nancy's cute faces in the room made it all worthwhile.


The inevitable happened: a show that we'd booked months in advance was canceled the day before by the chap who we trusted to put it together. Oh, well. Fortunately, this was the only show that fell through. I am still cranky, though.

...Now what?
I shouldn't have fretted, because Seth suggested an impromptu video shoot in their backyard. In the dark. With lots of found props, and a gracious hen. This was one of the highlights of our tour. I recall laughing uncontrollably, and feeling gratefully smitten to have spent time with a couple whose creative energy knows no end.

We miss them already.

"Children of the Grave"

Woke up hung over from our escapades the night before; Ryan, especially, was feeling a bit worn down. We wandered around town, walked off the crazies, ate a therapeutic meal at Satifaction Feast (best veg restaurant we've encountered in Halifax). We also had lots of circular conversations, which were eventually thwarted by our positive revelations.

Later that night, Gus' Pub was home to Long Live The Queen Festival and our last East coast show. (As we've noticed in the past, the bar owners keep VERY close tabs on bands and sound engineers, literally hanging over everybody's shoulders barking orders and nitpicking about instrument and merch placement until the second the noise starts.)

We sound checked an Eric's Trip song, played a short set, and struck up parking lot conversations with PJ from Moncton (whose band Iron Giant was playing that night), along with many of Halifax's musical finest who were in attendance. Though I was cranky as hell, I looked out and saw an extremely happy audience. Imagine - smiling and rocking out at a rock show!
What a great crowd.

Anyway, it seemed like a stellar first year for the festival, and we are thankful to have been a part of it.

Thanks to Noisography for the photos and video!

"Casa del Burrito"

Arrived in Montreal and saw Crosss (featuring Christian of Play Guitar, The Hold, The Burdocks, etc on drums) play their first show then mounted Casa's wee stage for a psychotic, erratic set of our own.

We'd left Nova Scotia that morning, and driven at least 11 hours earlier in the day so it was all we could do to keep our motor skills functioning. Montreal boasted the greatest physical distance between the stage and audience of virtually anywhere we have played: approximately 5 metres of sad gaping floor space sat between us, and a small, partly seated audience.

Nevertheless, we let "Children of the Grave" and "Junk Bond Trader" rip, and tested out a couple of embryonic new songs. Thanks to Blue Skies Turn Black for the show.

A couple of vegan burritos later, we passed out in our motel room dreaming of Ozzy and Elliott and Woofy and ocean beaches.

Seth Smith's solo album, "New Problems," is highly recommended.
By us.

"Got Took"

We realized on our way home that we never wanted to leave...


AshleytheVegan said...

Your pictures are stellar.
Hope you come back to HFX soon!

Ryan Patey said...

The pictures make this blog amazing! I can understand now why I didn't see you in Hali outside of the shows! The beaches are the best part of NS. Try Heartwood the next time you're out this way, I think it will make up for the Monkey (local/organic, not strictly veg) and may do better than Satisfaction Feast.

Chad said...

it was great hanging out and seeing you guys in action. come back soon.