Monday, July 9, 2012

The Works Art and Design Festival

Holy Heat Edmonton. We haven’t been this hot since…. Well, last summer. Hallelujah! July 2nd and we finally got some sun… just in time for a road trip across Canada! At least our new schmick van “Anthony the Brave” has air conditioning. Now we can wear tuques in the summer again. We’re happy.
The Living Daylights Rockin Out.

A festive post Canada Man and his well dressed best friend.

Some of the Tracks on Tracks family.
We opened the stage at The Works Art and Design Festival, and we got some people out after their Canada Day Hangovers. We even met a musical family composed of 3 children and 3 tambourines. They were adorable. The sound there was awesome, and we gave it all we got. We even got to see some of our train family, which always makes any 4:30 am mission from Fernie to Edmonton worth it. John, Michy, Brian and Christina were all there, and we got to hear about their train adventure back to Vancouver. It’s hard to believe 3 weeks has gone by since we left NXNE and the Tracks on Tracks crew.
A few hours outside of Edmonton we realized that we forgot Tim’s spare banjo on stage. Whoops. Did I mention we were up at 4:30 am that day.? Luckily my Uncle Scott was able to come to the rescue and save Tim’s spare banjo Minute Mang from a life of pawn shops. Thanks uncle Scott. Driving through Manitoba we are all eagerly awaiting a home cooked meal, a shower and some beds to sleep in when we get to my Ma and Pa’s in Minaki Ontario.

Oh Canada 2012

Happy Canada 2012. We kicked it old school in Fernie playing the outdoor stage for the Canada Day festivities. Tim and I had the pleasure of helping arrange the musical lineup, so we were really happy to not only get to play alongside really great Fernie musicians like The Runs, Red Girl, The Bickertons, and Kate and Johnny, but also some of really great out of town bands, Cranbrook’s Heather Gemmell and the Peaks and our friends Willhorse from Golden and Redrum Triumph from Lethbridge.
Kate Pollock lookin real good against the Canadian flag and melting our hearts with her incredible voice.
You sure know how to tie one on Fernie. It was a bummer that we couldn’t stay out post fireworks celebrate our nations birthday with you some more… and talk about all of our greatest Canadian memories… but we had to head to Edmonton at 4:30am for The Works Art and Design Festival.
Happy Canada Fernie. We love you guys.

Sweetwater 905 Music Festival

Having never been up to the Fort St. John area before, we were very stoked with how our visit up North went. It seems that Fort St. John is a bit like Fernie. How you ask? It seemed many of the people we met in Fort St. John and Rolla are not actually from the area, but from various parts of Canada and the world. We met some great people on our visit and had one heck of a swell time.
The Sweetwater Festival had some really great musical performances, as well as a good at home country vibe in which you become a part of the festival community during your stay. The Shred Kelly boys got to work helping out Dennis the kitchen cook preparing dinner on Saturday night. And there were many on stage musical collaborations that made this whole experience so unique. Miss Quincy got Picture the Ocean on stage with them and Iyan George one of the festival organizers graced the stage with a few different acts, bringing his banjo musical styling’s to Wax Mannequin’s evening set.
Picture the Ocean
All da boys preparing some bbq'd chicken upon our arrival!

Twin Peaks amazing set. These girls can wail and sing the most beautiful harmonies!

Wax Mannequin

Wax Mannequin all lit up.

The Mystery Cowboy yodeling outside the outhouse.

Rental vans... designed for rooftop parties.

Which way is home?
We took the stage on Saturday night, and the energy of the people there lit us up. We were all so alive playing in the dark with sun still up in parts of the night sky. We danced like it was going out of style and played one of the most energetic shows I think we've ever played.
For our final performance on Sunday we got Iyan up on stage to play Ghost Inside My Head and I Hate Work with us while Timmy played the ukulele. We had also met an incredible yodeler earlier that day, who we got up to yodel “I Hate Work” with us, and a spoons player who joined us on stage. It was one big ho-down up there, and we had the best time!
It was our second music festival of the season, and it is clear that Festival Season was off to a great start. Thank you Sweetwater!!

Tracks on Tracks

A huge thank you to Green Couch Productions for coming up with the concept of Tracks on Tracks, which has changed us forever. Green Couch Productions teamed up with VIA rail and CBC radio 3 to put on the trip of a lifetime for 10 very lucky bands.
After we harassed our fans, friends and family we were one of the lucky bands voted into this adventure of a lifetime.
The night before we headed to Edmonton to catch the train, we played a show in Blairmore Alberta. (which when the clock struck midnight, also became my birthday.) As we loaded the van after our show, to start which I had already boasted would be the best birthday of my life… our van came to a sudden halt at the stop sign beside the Tim Hortons. Immidiatley we put our thinkers on and came up with a plan that no matter what kind of PMS our van was having this time, we would make it to Edmonton to catch that damn train.
Turns out it was the engine (for a second time since we’ve owned Super Dave the van {may he rest in peace})So after chatting with BCAA and the towing company we realized we weren’t going anywhere til 7am, so the five of us cuddled in the van together, with one common goal… catch that damn train.
From there things started looking up. We rented a van and got to Edmonton just on time to catch the train. We were ecstatic. We were greeted at the train station warmly by Green Couch’s Michy Allen and VIA’s Josephine who showed us to our cabins and got us settled in. We mixed a drink right off the bat, to calm our nerves and prepare us for the unknown of what was going on in the other boxcars.
After a drink we made our way through the boxcars of the train until we stumbled upon the Party Car where Topless Gay Love Techno Party was doing their on train set.  They had us dancing and going crazy. I had no idea what to expect and their music and stage presence surpassed any expectations I could’ve mustered up. If you ever have a chance to see a Topless Gay Love Techno Party show, do it! It will knock your socks off.
There we met all of the crew, performers and train go-ers, and from there on in we became a family.  Our adventure really kicked into high gear when we performed in Melville Saskatchewan out of a boxcar to the whole town and even the mayor of Melville. All of the performances were so amazing, the whole experience was so amazing, the friendships we made were so amazing. I think it would be fair to say that we had an amazing time.
When the train arrived in Toronto, sadness kicked in (or was that a 3 day hangover?) But luckily we weren’t away for long. After a party at the Train Station at the Panorama Lounge and then a loft party put on by the Toronto Music Association, we reconviened for a showcase at the Gladstone Hotel on Wednesday June 13th as part of the NXNE Music Festival.
The showcase was a great experience. It was incredible to see all the bands we’d seen play impromptou shows on and off board the train, really give it in their usual setting.
We would just like to tell all of our blog readers to listen to Adaline, Chris Ho, Portage and Main, The Matinee, JP Maurice, Sidney York, Topless Gay Love Techno Party, Bear Mountain, The Belle Game and Aidan and Zach, we think they are all so incredibly talented and we hope that we can play/dance or collaborate with all of them again soon. They all inspired us so much.
To Green Couch Productions Michy and John. Thank you thank you thank you. (It was also amazing to bump into you guys in Edmonton the other day… it seems train family is everywhere! And we love it!) Thank you to the Green Couch crew, VIA crew, Grant Lawrence and CBC radio 3 crew, and to anyone who came on this adventure just cause… we’re so glad you did, because your energy and enthusiasm lifted us all to perform better and connect with one another. (hey ma! That’s you!) One of my personal highlights was having my mom on board the train with her 10 friends, and getting a hug from my pops at our Minaki Ontario train stop at 2:30 am.

 Here are some of the fabulous folks who made this whole experience happen. While we partied like 17 year olds, they put in 23 hour days of work. They are the most hardworking, dedicated, creative and talented people we've ever met.

 We will talk about this experience for the rest of our lives, and can’t wait to be in a room with all of the Tracks on Tracksers real soon. EVERY NIGHT! EVERY NIGHT! EVERY NIGHT!

On The Road To the Tall Tree Music Festival

On the Road To the Tall Tree Music Festival
We began hearing about an Island band named Quoia in November of 2011.  It seemed everywhere we went, and met anyone who had heard of Quoia they recommended we meet each other and play some rad shows together.
After a rocking night at The Griz Bar in Fernie, a mutual friend of ours and Quoia approached us and reiterated this to us. The next morning I woke up and emailed them a proposition. A two week tour, in our area (The Kootenay’s) and their area (Vancouver Island) where we could all rock out to our respective friends and fans.
Quoia was keen, and so began the planning for The Road To Tall Tree Music Festival tour. A two-week tour with the final hurrah in Port Renfrew BC at The Tall Tree Music Festival of which Quoia members Mike Hann and Mike Roma are two of the organizers.
After many an email, we finally met them in Victoria at the Upstairs Cabaret and immediately fell in love.  To all 6 of them, their music, their Island spirit and uplifting tunes. After two weeks of plenty of driving, music, dancing, debauchery, and run-ins with the law, we parted ways, with tears in our eyes.  

Finally we met up with them again at the much anticipated TALL TREE MUSIC FESTIVAL. This was such a magical festival. We arrived to a rainstorm and a mud pit, and were frightened that our 6:00 time slot could be rained out. But as we got the go ahead to take the stage, the rain stopped and the clouds parted and we rocked out to some of the happiest, muddiest people we’ve ever seen. They weathered the storm and embraced the mud and danced their hearts out. A few hours later, Quoia took the stage and although we’ve seen them rock out before, we’d never seen them rock like this. This was them in their absolute prime. All of their hard work of putting the festival together, working their asses off, finally paid off in one phenomenal stage show, and our highlight of the weekend. All of us Shreddies stood embraced at the front of the stage, singing along like proud parents. And as the sun came up, our buddy and keyboardist phenomenon Hugh drove our muddy, stumbly selves to a warm bed… or was it a cold floor…..?