I apologize for the slowdown in my blogging this last week, but you see we’ve been in Newfoundland, have seen the sun rise 5 times in the last seven days, and have generally been having way too much fun to encapsulate in words. As I write this, we’re zipping our way along the Trans Canada from St. John’s all the way to Port Aux Basques, where we’ll be catching the ferry back to the mainland over night. I’ll do my best to catch you up to speed with our adventures, and so without further ado, back to the story!
After a slow morning, and a delicious breakfast at Mary’s Place (home fries with garlic sauce FTW!) we began the windy trek to Cape Breton Island. Our destination: one of our favourite towns on the East Coast, Sydney, NS. On our last trip through Sydney, we wound up at a 36 hour house party, and nearly had the bar we were playing in burn to the ground. Needless to say, we were excited to return!
We arrived early, and spent some quality time eating sandwiches and walking around the harbor. There is an exceptionally large fiddle about a block from Governor’s Pub. I don’t know why.
As the hour got later, people began to fill the bar, and we began recognizing all kinds of friendly faces from our previous visits. A couple of our pals from the House Party times were opening up the show, performing as a Bass and Drums two piece called Rad and Subtract. The pair played some heavy, aggressive rock, and even through in a cover of Shellac’s “Prayer to God,” a tour van favourite of ours! Andrew (the bass player) admitted it was a ballsy move, as those uninitiated into the cult of Albini might have found the song a tad… confrontational. Luckily I counted a fair number of heads bobbing along, and I know mine weren’t the only set of lips singing along.
Next up were local punk trio Hash Jesus. Beginning their set, the lead singer announced “We rehearse a lot, and these songs are all in the Key of Practice.” Even though his sarcasm was evident, they followed it up with a tight set of rocking tunes. We later found out that all three of the members perform regularly with East Coast legends the Tom Fun Orchestra. According to the drummer, “Everyone in Sydney plays in Tom Fun.”
Around 1 am, we took to the stage and delivered one of our tightest sets yet this tour. After 5 shows or so, we’d really started to get into our groove. We had an awesome time swapping jokes with the crowd in between songs, the folks in Cape Breton are funny ones, I’ll tell ya!
After the show, we found ourselves once again corralled into an all night house party. First up, however, was a quick stop in at legendary Sydney food truck Mountain Fries.
This particular party took place in a giant house on a huge plot of land outside of Sydney, in Coxheath. The view of the river from the backyard was breathtaking, especially with the fog coming off the water as the sun rose.
The house was full of local musicians and artsy folks, most of whom had been at the show. We met further members of Tom Fun, and were informed by the locals that “there are really only about 25 musicians in Sydney.” There are probably between 80 and 200 bands, but there are only 25 musicians. Everybody plays in at least 5 bands, often more. Needless to say, over the course of the party at least three separate jam sessions broke out.
Major thanks to Red and Steve for putting us up in Sydney, and to everyone else we met in town! We love you folks!
Next Stop: NEWFOUNDLAND!