Hard to believe we’ve played Owen Sound twice, and not once in this great city right next door. Not that it hasn’t been on my radar since we started gigging in 2009. It has. Somehow since my last Grateful Dead concert (ironically Copps Coliseum on 1990-03-22), and my popping my head up out of the studio trenches in 2007, curious once again about the ‘jamband scene’ (always a dubious term, but we’ll save that discussion for another time), Hamilton had become Ontario’s hub. Obviously bands traveling in from the US were more likely to stop in TO, but not always – Garaj Mahal and a few others were notable exceptions, adding a stop in the Hammer to their short North-of-the-border schedule, or playing exclusively there.
How did this come about? I personally have no idea. There’s always a reason, though. Fill me in. Must Stash Hat were uber-kind to ask us to open for them at what I’ve heard is a great venue: Homegrown Hamilton. We really dug MSH’s set when we gigged together at The Bovine in February – very tight, almost hypnotic, groove-oriented jamming, that really floored me. I was struck again by how many different approaches exist under the ‘improvised music’ umbrella, all taking us to the same place, but along different paths.
Crosswires is a recently launched pwyc night Sundays at The Garrison, curated by Doc Pickles of TO’s Wavelength crew. So far the lineups have been very interesting, and tastefully eclectic, with visuals by General Chaos being a regular feature of each gig. Nice! FB Event Crosswires Blog
Lee’s Palace! The one place I used to check out bands during my time at U of T that is still around and I still haven’t played myself. I saw many bands there back then: The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, The Phantoms, The Shuffle Demons, The Hopping Penguins, Punjabi By Nature, Chunk O’ Funk….. That great gig with Treble Charger and The Posies on a bill – that was a good one…. And many more that I can’t quite recall now… Now if you chat up some older scenesters, you might learn that Lee’s is also the venue where a legendary Black Jello / Neon Rome / Mike Marley and the Sailors gig took place (1986?) that involved an altercation between a soundman working at Lee’s and Black Jello’s lead singer, who pulled a Roger Daltrey, but he wasn’t a seasoned ‘mic swinger’, and it hit the floor, causing the sound man to attack. Quite a skirmish. Mr. Lee (RIP) himself was even in the thick of it and got hit in the head, if you believe the stories. Supposedly there’s some video footage, but it’s not in circulation yet… (I missed that gig, but am happy to say that I caught Neon Rome at an all ages gig that went down before this one). My point: Lee’s is one of the few true TO rock venues with history that is still around. And lightsweetcrude is psyched to play there tomorrow night. Come join us!
Psyched to play at Sneaky Dee’s this Sunday, with fellow TO bands Kundalini Vibes and New Stems. This venue has some strong points, and one of them (1) is the sound – good people are usually on the case in that dep’t, and (2) there’s a screen at the rear of the stage…. which means the overhead projector will be fired up, and cooking some liquids… after all, crude oil is an essential part of the psychedelic experience…
Last Summer we did a road trip to Owen Sound for OtherFolk, and it was a blast! We have played out of town festivals before, but had previously met up at the gig, and traveled separately – this was the first time the whole band was in the Crudemobile together for a voyage. I was curious how it would turn out. After all, if we found for some reason we couldn’t get along for 12 hours together, the “live” future of lightsweetcrude would be looking grim. We’re still trying to learn from our audiences here in TO, but the plan is to eventually make extended visits elsewhere to learn from other audiences, as well.
Obviously things went fine. 12 hours isn’t such a long time, especially when you’re psyched to play in another city. The entire trip out there just builds the excitement! Yes, I may be an older hand in the studio, but regarding the “road”, I’m green and not as jaded.
Music selections on the road were interesting… I was able to turn these guys on to a stretch from Miles‘ “Live/Evil”, and King Crimson‘s “Lark’s Tongues In Aspic”. Michael hippified us to Ronnie Boykins‘ 1975 album, “The Will Come, Is Now”. On the way back, I played some long overdue live Grateful Dead for Alexei and Mark, who had never heard any before(!), but were constantly subjected to references from Kaler and myself. 6/22/73 was the jam du jour. Let’s just say all Crudemobile passengers were ready to hear it with open ears at that point. (If you check the link for this show, we listened from track 22 onward, just fyi). Then Alexei hippified us to Talk Talk‘s “Spirit Of Eden” – an interesting album with a real sense of space, true to the ‘ambient’ ’80s. Mark has to bring his iPod next time!
As we arrived at the venue, so did Kyle Haight from Blobject, who were headlining that night, and Kyle was generously supplying the kit. The gig was on the rooftop of the Chaise Lounge. Putting aside the possibility of rain, a rooftop is an amazing place to play…. There’s an amazing view, the sky above, snare hits reverberating off buildings across the street – you get the idea. It was even nicer once it got dark, and the bar was a big source of light.
We had some time to kill, and went for some coffee. On our return to The Chaise Lounge, Kyle was carting around a portable live painting station that he was pumped to put to use that night, converting different bands’ music into art. After our set, he handed me this:
Beautiful! So generous of him! Check Kyle’s website. A very talented individual.
It was a great road trip, and we played to a great crowd. It’s hard to nail exactly why, but the vibe and energy was so different from a Toronto gig, and I really think the music responded to this. Feel free to check it out below. We’re heading up to beautiful Owen Sound again this weekend for Lupercalia fest, also helmed by Joshua Richardson, and we’re looking very forward to it!