After a day of recovery in Sydney, we boarded the night ferry crossing to Port Aux Basques, NL. We had an extremely smooth crossing, though the bar area of the ferry in which we had set up camp was also occupied by an indeterminate and seemingly ever expanding number of high school aged tourists. Needless to say, there was some serious Drama afoot. There were teary eyes, supportive statements, all kinds of hugs, and a truly impressive amount of texting. I thought I was a digital native, but these kids made even my (somewhat embarrassing) iPhone addiction look totally unplugged and out of touch.
I didn’t mean to observe them with quite so much scrutiny, but we were in seriously close quarters and I was seriously unable to sleep.
(Here endeth the grumpy old man’s tirade against ‘kids these days’)
Anyhow, we awoke some hours later on the shores of Newfoundland.
After disembarking from the ferry (we were on the Atlantic Vision, for the record) we immediately sought out a parking space in the shade so as to continue the previous night’s sleep uninhibited by ferry bar patrons and strangely shaped couches.
Let it be said, Lester makes a pretty good hotel room in a pinch.
Later that evening we made our way a few clicks down the highway to the Town of Stephenville. Did you know that in Stephenville, a town of just over 6 000 (roughly the size of Sackville, NB) they have more than 21 bars, and an arts and cultural centre featuring a theater that seats almost 500. Neither did I, but the locals we quick to inform me. Also: apparently it is customary to park on public lawns if you feel so inclined. In the 24 hours we were in town, we saw this occur no less than 4 different times on the same patch of grass.
Right next to a parking lot.
With lots of empty spaces.
I don’t even know, man.
Anyway, we’re made our way to Clancy’s Pub (the site of our previous show in town) and met up with our touring companions for the next several days: Marcel, Andrew and Stuart of Todd What? The guys grew up just a little ways down the road from Stephenville in a town called Kippens (where one ended and the other began was not remotely clear to me, but apparently the difference is significant.) and had just reunited in Newfoundland after finishing degrees and whatnot elsewhere. Lucky for us, the b’y’s we’re able bring out a good sized crowd of musically inclined folks, even on a Tuesday night, and what followed was a most enjoyable evening of Rocking and also occasionally Rolling. We even managed to meet up with the only person who had joined our mailing list from our last trip to town!
Todd What? Have an awesome proggy post punk sound, and have a level of cohesion that makes it clear they’ve been playing together for years. Marcel is an inventive, dynamic guitarist, and a strong and passionate singer as well. Andrew has perhaps the most awesome bass tone we’ve come across on tour, and has the chops to match it. Stu throws down on the traps with total confidence and perhaps the most badass “drummer face” I’ve ever seen.
Also: it turns out that they are also totally rad dudes! After the show, we all piled into a cab or two along with various friends and girlfriends and went back to Marcel’s place in Kippens. His family had recently procured a fishing shack down by the ocean near their house, and they’d kindly offered it to us for the night. It was quite obviously the greatest, most “authentic” accommodation we’d ever had while on the road, despite its lack of heating, running water, or electricity.
We ended the evening with a few deliciously cold beers around an enormous fire on the beach we built out of driftwood, and swapped stories until the rain forced us all to scatter just after sunrise.
Good, Good Times.