Tour Blog Update #2: Kamloops to Hinton. My Bully Died, I Caught a Cold, We Almost Lost Our Gear.

Okay, we played too many places for me to list them all in the title. 

We’ve just pulled up in Edmonton where our trailer door burst open mysteriously in the parking lot. Graham, who was driving at the time, said deadpan: “oh my god.”

“what?”

“the trailer door is open”

“what do you mean?” 

“I don’t know how I can be more literal. THE TRAILER DOOR IS OPEN”

I leapt from the van to find that the trailer door was indeed open although why we still haven’t determined. Luckily, nothing fell out. So after a bit of a scare we’re settled in at Marcus’ friends place drinking beer from Three Ranges brewery which we picked up in Valemount. I had to take a few nights off drinking after waking up hungover more times in a row than I ever have in my life so I’m happy to report my liver is ready for a bit more of the punk rock life. 

In Kamloops we played with the Real McKenzies and local band Second Day Sober. For a Wednesday it was a great turnout and we were honored to share the stage with some legit Canadiana punk. RM put on an amazing show. The next night we were hosted by West Metal Productions in Vernon, BC. I was really impressed with the strength of community I felt in Vernon. Everyone who came out seemed to be aware of or involved in the Armstrong Metal fest, or was friends with or associated with some locals bands. The overall feeling was really lovely and accepting and the afterparty in our room was a lot of fun. The ladies of Vernon and I built a pretty wicked blanket fort. 

We made our way through Williams Lake (another good turnout and a fun night of heavy drinking) and ended up in Prince George on St. Patrick’s Day. If you didn’t already know, Prince George is one of my hometowns. We’ve played here several times and always had a blast. The funny thing is that almost no one I know ever comes out to my shows, other than my best friend Tesia. The popularity we’ve enjoyed here comes entirely from the new generation of showgoers and punk rock kids and I’d say that the scene is as good as, if not better than, when I was a teenager attending shows. We played with Mediocre Minds, Crones & Jamie Bell. The lowest point was the shit-ass side roads of Prince George, which were so icy and snow-covered that we actually got stuck, nearly hit a truck and basically ruined the electrical input of our trailer by bottoming out so long and so hard on the piles of ice that took up space on every road. Luckily for us we have a lot of loving friends who came to our rescue the next day and repaired our electrical hitch. 

Our next show was in Burns Lake BC. This is my other hometown, where I spent time from the age of 8 to the age of 13. This show was of particular importance to me because other than a short visit for a friend’s wedding in 2007 I haven’t been back in a long time. I always tell people that I’m from Prince George when they ask where I’m from, because my time in Burns Lake wasn’t pleasant. Growing up as the child of two lesbian parents in a northern town of about 3,000 meant almost constant bullying, on top of what I’ve realized only as an adult was acute childhood social anxiety. I didn’t know what to expect from the show, which was being hosted at the shop of one of my peers from back in the day. 

My heart is filled with love to say that the show was awesome and everyone was rad. I think when you’re a child, and you face rejection, judgement, and hate, there’s a part of you that never recovers, a part that always craves acceptance. We had an amazing time and played with local band Azrael and Prince George metal band Kleaver who came out as well. It was really lovely reconnecting with everyone I’d seen as little children who were now all grown up. 

There is something that makes Burns Lake a place that captures my heart and it’s only from playing this show that I realized it. It’s a very small community, but being in the north, there is a disproportionately high rate of death for young people from accidents. When I think back on it, there are about seven or eight people that I knew as a child who are no longer with us who didn’t grow up. I was most struck by two of these; while speaking to a young man at the show who wasn’t sure if he knew me, I mentioned that my “moms” had owned the local general store, to which he exclaimed, “oh, the dykes!”. The way he said that brought me right back to my childhood, where the word “dyke” was as sharp as a knife. Not everyone had been so judgemental so it occured to me to ask him his last name and see which family he was from. It was my experience as a child that the kids heard it at home from their parents and brought it to school. When he told me his last name I knew immediately who he was; his bigger brother had been one of my worst bullies. When I enquired as to the status of his brother I found out that he’d since died when he was 18. As much as I didn’t have much love for that kid, I am deeply saddened to hear this news. As I looked around the room with all these young people that night, I realised that almost everyone in that room (because I knew almost all of them and their histories) had lost a brother, or a cousin, or a friend. 

The resiliency of the people of Burns Lake through so much tragedy and heartbreak makes me love my hometown. Looking at the faces of the kids I’d known, how happy they were to be rocking out with us, and how openly they accepted me after all these years heals some of the wounds I’ve carried around almost all my life. It was an amazing experience I’ll never forget and I was so glad to see family friends and familiar faces. That night we stayed at the home of some family friends that I used to babysit for, who also lost one of their sons. It wasn’t until last night in Hinton, laying in bed after the show, that I had some time to think back about this boy; I used to babysit him and his little brother, who was at the show that night. He was a really sweet little guy and the pictures all over the house of him gave me an opportunity to remember him. Two deaths; one of a kid who hated me, one of a kid I loved, both of which affected me equally. Dear Burns Lake; you broke me and you made me, I can’t forget you and I’ve always missed you and wanted your approval, and the lives of the people are deeply entwined with mine. 

We played Valemount for St Patricks day and all I can say is I’m very impressed with how hard such a small community can rock out! Hinton didn’t let us down on a Tuesday night either, though I’m sorry to say both Mykel and myself woke up with the most awful colds and Marcus and Graham had to put up with us coughing and sneezing up a storm in the van on the way to Edmonton, Now for a day off to rest and recover!

 

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