What a way to end a tour…The main hall of the Tranzac has been on our list of “venues to play before we die” since the beginning and last Thursday not only put a checkmark in that box, but filled it full of dynamite and blew it up in a cloud of coloured lights and confetti.
Surrounded by friends, family and other supporters we celebrated the release of Tortoise while Anna Atkinson (who joined us on stage for “Southern Ontario”) was eagerly doing the same for her debut album, Mooniture.
Of course, I could go on and on about how awesome we were, or how much fun the whole night was, but we had a few very supportive bloggers on hand that night whose take on the evening will likely be a little less biased. Here are a few quick quotes, but click through to check out the full reviews:
“Watson and Heaney have a fantastic chemistry on stage.” –Grayowl Point
“Overall the evening had a loose, comfortable feel. It truly was more like a party with friends than a concert.” –Snob’s Music
Expect more videos from the show too, as we had Laura’s sister on hand filming along with our little sports camera mounted at the front of the stage.
There are shows that are tough; there are shows that are fraught with problems and technical difficulties; there are shows where no one is there to play to. There are also shows where not only does it all work out, but you have a damn good time too. Saturday night at The Central was a prime example of the latter.
Our good friends in Tiny Mountains were celebrating front-man Robb Mirsky’s birthday and were kind enough to ask us to play. The Central is the perfect little spot for such a shindig—big enough to fit a small crowd, but small enough to be cozy, with great beer on tap and good eats too.
The first club show with my new Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin, this was also one of the first shows we’ve actually played with our trusty Roland Jazz Chorus JC-77 amp—felt good to have a reliable and loud tank up on stage with me. Of course, my homemade pedals were acting up as always—no fault of their own, mind you. I simply forgot to plug good ol’ Santa Wahs in at all. Technical difficulties keep us mega-rockstars humble.
As always, Laura was rock solid and even got a few verbal jabs at me between songs (she owes me more than a few by now). This was also the first show with her kick drum mic (a great Craigslist score), something we’ll be using a lot.
Photographer Karol Orzechowski (http://decipherimages.com) almost caught a tambourine to the chin in my exuberance, but still managed to take these great shots:
The idea was simple: pare down the excess (re: no light rings or huge pedal board) and collaborate with our good friend and ultra-talented multi-instrumentalist Anna Atkinson. The result consisted of a quick set by each act before joining forces for what Anna called “the mega set.” “Mega” in this case meaning unrehearsed and haphazard—something that in the wrong atmosphere would have crashed and burned, but in the dimmed lights of Broadview Espresso, amongst an attentive and interactive audience of familiar faces, was welcomed with an air of mischief and fun.
It wasn’t fun and games at first though, as our trusty Korg Polysix seemed to have a mind of its own, bending notes all over the place (turns out it was just cold from having spent the night in the trunk). Thankfully, one of the many perks of living across the street from the venue was being able to run back and grab our Roland Juno 106 as a stand in*. Also, just like the previous show, we didn’t write a set list and forgot to play “Young Enough,” a song we had actually rehearsed with Anna prior (look for a new version of that tune at some point).
Thankfully, the slap-dash set seemed to still go over well (our new Twitter friend Matt, who also helped us name “Little Dragon Slayer,” tweeted: it was probably one of the coolest musical experience I’ve had. follow him–he’s clearly a smart dude).
Speaking of Twitter…one of our favourite online personalities, Louise Andre, took some great photos:
Song Written Upon Getting Cut by the Argos (CFL Sessions cover)
Stan & Georgie
Aren’t You Glad (Beach Boys cover)
Ahh, Project 165. Our home away from home. We’ve played there 4 times and at least thrice have brought far too much gear for the intimate space. This time we finally got it right: acoustic guitar and small keyboard rounded out by tambourine and glockenspiel. No PA, no soundcheck, no blinking lights.
There’s something intimate about performing without a microphone. Aside from not having a mic stand in your face, its’ like a middle-man has been removed and you can communicate with the audience directly—no disconnect. That’s what this night was all about, as other Project 165 regulars, Tiny Mountains, and travelling troubadour, Pat LePoidevin, all made excellent use of the intimacy.
Of course, it’s also amazing when you don’t have to worry about your half-broken amp conking out, homemade pedals not doing what they are supposed to, or keeping time with loops recorded on the fly. We really ought to do this more often…
Here are some photos taken by Joey Bruni (check out that stage!):