Played it till my fingers bled
Friday, June 16–Toronto
This tour is profoundly altering my sense of the universe. It seems there is a great cosmic equalizer at work, and thus nothing is ever totally shitty, nor totally good. It may be the first time in my life I, an Olympic-level bitcher, am fighting the urge to put a “good” or “bad” sticker on everything that happens. Each day—even each phase of the day–is a consistently mixed bag, and that consistency is reassuring. We as a band are slowly learning to employ our lemons for lemonade purposes. I hope we will only get better at this.
As wished, we get to walk around and explore, have our first sit-down meal since Omaha. The boys lose me in the Eaton Centre when I sneak off to shop at H&M. Nick has been through my disappearing act before, and has little tolerance for it.
Rancho Relaxo is a Mexican-themed, stucco-walled, upstairs venue, which is a nice change of pace from black walls and duct tape. Tonight we share the bill with three other bands, and as we’re all waiting for the sound guy to show, all the bands sit around and chat (sort of a rare occurrence). It gets raucous, a real bro-down, and I love it. When the sound guy finally shows, it is worth the wait. He is carrying a flute and has a ponytail with full-on sixties bangs. As he sets up the mics he plays the flute into them. He introduces himself as Spock. I do not ask if this is his birth name.
We do a radio interview with a DJ named Daria, who asks one of my favorite questions ever: “If you were in a cover band, what would it be?” Quelle coincidence. I AM in a kick-ass cover band, the Shee Bee Gees. Nick says he would cover Thin Lizzy if he could actually shred on guitar. In fact, sometimes we feel like being in a band is futile because Thin Lizzy already existed. Brian Downey’s drumming is so insane it makes me want to set the sticks down for good.
The bill this night absolutely kills. The first band, Terror Lake, is just awesome, like the children of Dinosaur Junior and Sleater Kinney. Bad Flirt is terrific, really infectious and fun. Even though we go on insanely late, 1:30 AM, our set gets the most enthusiastic audience yet, and so we pull out some songs we never play. They’re pretty dang rough, but no one seems to mind terribly. I beg Spock, whom I totally adore by this point, for a picture together.
We set the alarm for four hours of sleep, because Nick wants to catch the US / Italy soccer game en route. It’s standard sleep duration at this point, so we think little of it. In fact, we stay up an extra hour talking.