Tour Update #1: Vancouver, Maple Ridge, Mission

Here we are in Kamloops, having survived the first leg of our cross Canada tour. A Kill Matilda tour is always a bit of a gamble; we picked up our van only a few days before we headed out onto the road and knew very little about it. We also had a hitch installed so we could pull our trailer full of the combined lives of four people all making the move east; would the van be able to handle that load on the Coquihalla? It’s the kind of thing where you wait with baited breath and white knuckles gripped to the steering wheel… but we made it.

Our opening act, merch guy extraordinaire and close friend G Lazarus brought along about three shoeboxes of CDs. I myself had a few loose CDs kicking around. I don’t actually own a CD player at home and I use a Google Chromebook, which doesn’t have a CD drive, so I actually haven’t listened to or even looked at these CDs in probably two years. Going through them was a trip down memory lane for sure; a combination of our favourite artists and all the CDs of local bands we’ve played with over the years, some amazing, some not so amazing. Some of the CDs were just straight up unplayable because of the scratches.  Some were rare personal gold that we had forgotten about.

It’s weird to have lived to see the rise and fall of the CD. I know I’m not alone in wondering and feeling a little nervous about where we’re headed with the future of digitizing all our media and entertainment consumables. Movies, shows, games, music; everything no longer has a necessary physical counterpart, all can be experienced and enjoyed digitally. I used to buy CDs, bring them home, put them in the CD player and read the lyrics along with the music. The artwork in the CD booklet was an important key to understanding what the band was trying to do with the album, or with their sound. Did they do a black and white photo collage, a photo set, hand-drawn artwork? I’ll never forget the artwork in the “I, Bificus” CD by Bif Naked; it was a set of photos of her in a sort of Greco-Roman outfit with a bowl of golden grapes on a throne. Just page after page of photos; as someone who has independently released CDs, that ain’t cheap! The more pages you print, full color, the more expensive your disc is. I felt like being able to hold something in my hands was a real part of the experience of learning about and loving my favourite bands. Now that everything is online, and there is so much of it, will the next generations experience of what it means to love a band be different? For the One Directions and the Justin Biebers there’s a whole world of consumer products, of which the music is only a tiny part… there’s perfumes and blankets and backpacks. The music is almost the least important of all that. But what about for the rest of us? Where are we headed? long gone are the days when kids would watch MuchMusic for hours just waiting for the hope that they’d see their favourite rock or punk music video, wedged in between the hip-hop and the pop music videos on high rotation. Now kids have unequivocal access to as much of their favourite artists as they desire. What romance is there between the young fan and the “rock star” of today? I guess Kill Matilda will be on the forefront to find out!

The Vancouver show at the Railway was great; thanks to everyone who came out and to the other bands who played; we were pleasantly surprised by Tickling Grandma, a 2-piece act that blew our socks off. The Injectors were tight as fuck as per usual. Our promoters, Taser Fraser and Art Signified did an awesome job. Sadly, the Railway was out of Longboat Chocolate Porter, which I only discovered after I convinced a patron that he should buy me a pint. I spent a bit of time working in a liquor store with a sizeable craft beer selection and I finally got into it a bit, but the Phillips Longboat Chocolate Porter was one of the varities I never got around to… and I missed my chance. Can you imagine? A pint of Chocolate Porter! I feel a bit of loss that I missed out on that, though I might have barfed everywhere onstage after drinking that much. What struck me was how classic of a stage and venue the Railway is; it’s really got a great aesthetic. Will be missed! It was lovely to see a lot of old friends and fans turn out, the support we received at our send off show was really touching… we’ll be back to see you guys on our next tour!

We played the next night in Maple Ridge after spending a long day organizing and re-organizing our lives into the trailer. Between four musicians we have about twenty or so guitars, only about five of which are in cases (cases are friggin’ expensive!). So we did a little creative bubble-wrapping and some seriously tight packing. Four lives, four sets of gear ready to go. Big shout out to my sister Cailey and her man Gord for lending us their beautiful home for the day to do all that work. We played at the Wolf Bar, which is kind of a classic dive-biker-bar with the entrance in the alley. We didn’t know what to expect really, but the turnout was great and the crowd loved us; I’m thinking a decent part of our market might be men in their forties and fifties, who can appreciate our raw rock n roll sound from back in their youth, haha! I think every biker in that bar must have come up and shook my hand. Another highlight was getting to see Season to Attack perform, who played with us; David Isbister is a mainstay in the Vancouver music scene and I’m honored to have gotten a chance to share the stage (dancefloor) with him. Also Brian Badd has accompanied Kill Matilda on drums and we’ve played several shows together with his other band Unlabeled (featuring former Kill Matilda guitarist Dave Roberts as well). Season to Attack is a supergroup of all the best musicians in Vancouver, and it comes through in their amazing set. Thanks guys!

We played Mission with the help of Mission City Music at the Zoo. If you live anywhere accessible I really recommend this bar; they were advertising a onesie party they were having later in the month, and who doesn’t like that? The crowd was definitely off the wall; it was a pirate-themed event and about half the audience came dressed for the occasion. I daresay the other half were just Mission regulars. Some of these bargoers sitting closest to our merch table were being loud and obnoxious right off the hop and had an ongoing conflict with one of the musicians in the other band that nearly escalated into a fistfight. The security guard later told me that the night before there had been a 20-person brawl and someone pulled out a gun. When we got onstage everything was gravy; the crowd ebbed and flowed and everyone got right up in our faces for Geisha With A Switchblade. Good to know it’s still a hit! A less exciting hit of the night was trying to pull into the trailer park where my aunt lives, and where we were staying, only to bottom out our new hitch and trailer several times on the speedbumps. We lost our electrical connection and freaked out a bit but with some finagling we managed to reconnect it and learned an important lesson about speed bumps; avoid them at all cost on this tour. Thanks very much to Aunt Theresa for putting us up for the night and for feeding us delicious foods!

Now we are in Kamloops looking forward to a day of rest, some work on the van and to play with the Real McKenzies tomorrow night at Cactus Jacks! Event info here. Thursday is Vernon at the Village Green, event info here. Friday catch us in Williams Lake at the Overlander Pub, and Saturday in Prince George – event info here.

Till next time!

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