So right now I’m sitting rather comfortably in the Colours Bar aboard the Marine Atlantic ferry enroute to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland. Since the last update, we’ve basically been at one extended house party for the past 39 hours.
We pulled in to Sydney, NS on Cape Breton Island in the early evening, took care of a few errands, and found our way to the glorious waterfront home of Governors Pub and Eatery. We set up our gear, and chatted for a while with the promoter and the openers, and watched people steadily stream in.
We were playing alongside three local songwriters, Andrew Greig, Danny MacNeil, and Jacob Noonan. We learned that normally they all fronted their own bands, but this evening they’d decided to go the more intimate “songwriters circle” approach. All three played wonderfully, doing both originals and covers, and offered a great contrast to one another. Andrew’s version of ‘Love is a Battlefield’ proved to be a serious crowd favourite.
Since things had gotten off to kind of a late start, we had to rush to set up, as the deadline of 2 am was quickly approaching. We were a little nervous right off the bat, as we’re not really used to following dudes with acoustic guitars, but by the time we were finished opener Kids TV, it was clear we’d won them over.
With each successive song, people crowed closer, cheered louder, and danced harder. The energy the crowd had was like an infection; one we happily caught and spewed right back at them. It was most certainly one of our best shows to date, even including an illegal post 2 am encore.
Major thanks to Threeark Photo for capturing some awesome moments from the show!
The assembled crowd made the next course of action extremely clear to us: it was house party time.
Danny lead us to an unsuspecting old house a couple blocks from the bar, where we found a few friendly faces, and met several more. It was reasonably chill for a while, and we were able to learn a few things about the town. Apparently the local “cabaret” has worked out some deal whereby it is allowed to remain open and serving until 3:30 am because it hires local performers as entertainment for a couple of hours every night. According to the locals “nobody has ever gone to the Capri with the intention of doing anything but getting completely Cape-Breton shittered.”
The upshot is that at around 4, the house received an injection of a bunch more (rather intoxicated) Cape Bretoners. They informed us that all of the evening’s previous activities had merely been a warm up round, and now it was time for the real drinking to begin.
The debauchery that followed is not really suited to retelling, but I’ll leave you with this:
And I’ll mention that at 8 am I found myself surrounded by what had become rather close friends, screaming along to 90’s Propagandhi and realizing that I’d shared my teen years with these people who had grown up thousands of miles from me and had totally awesome accents.
Cape Breton, We love you.