Ticks, tattoos and tacks: EXPERIENCE REGINA
After our show in Fort Qu’Appelle, Sarah and I loaded up our gear (in the rain of course) and started the 45 minute trek to Regina, SK. Since we were playing a show there the next afternoon, Sarah’s Grandma had offered to let us stay at her empty condo. Of course we accepted, because free accommodations/beds is pretty ideal.
The plan was to eat and crash, but upon several unsuccessful tries to open the suite door, it became very clear that we didn’t have the right keys. Now, when you’re tired, have a car full of gear, and a bag of A&W waiting to be eaten, this is not the best news. Luckily, Sarah had other relatives in town, so she went on a text spree to figure out who was still up (it was around 11pm at this point) and could get us spare keys. While she was hustling to solve our accommodation woes, I ate my chicken strips in the lobby, like a jerk. To be fair, there wasn’t much I could do in regards to texting someone else’s family. It turned out that her Grandma had accidentally given us her lake keys, but an Aunt about 10 minutes was able to save our butts. Sleep was now in the realm of possibility.
So we get to the apt, unload, and start to unwind for the evening. Everything is good and chill, until Sarah comes out of the bathroom to ask ‘Is there a tick on my back?’ There was definitely a tick on her back. To most prairie people I feel like this wouldn’t be a big deal, but I hate ticks. I hate every kind of bug that bites. I am terrified of getting Lyme Disease. I really, really hate ticks. They embed their heads into you and suck your blood. No, thank you. It’s gross, but when your friend and tour mate has a tick on them, you rally your nerves and help get it off.
Removing the tick was gross and I hated every minute of it, but I faced my fear and got it off of her with minimal difficulty. If you can call five minutes of squealing minimal difficulty. I can. It was obviously worse for Sarah, so I shouldn't complain too much! Once the adrenaline high wore off, it was time for sweet sleep.
I slept well (hard mattresses are amazing) and woke up to some fresh tea courtesy of Sarah. I had had the bright idea of maybe getting a tattoo at the Pile of Bones tattoo convention, so we decided to check that out before out show. Now, every once in awhile I royally screw up GPS directions. This time I put in the address that I thought was for the convention. In reality it took us to the doorstep of the Hell’s Angel Clubhouse. I mean, whatever. But this was not where we needed to be and time is a precious resource when you have a 2pm show. I quickly corrected my mistake and we were off in the right direction
It turns out a room full of tattoo needles is super loud. The noise was audible before we even entered the room. At that point, I was pretty sure I was going to chicken out. Partially for budget reasons, partially because the tattoo artist I wanted to go to was already working on someone, and partially because I didn’t want an adrenaline crash right before a show. Instead, we poked around, looked at cool art and flip flopped about getting our own tattoos.
Spoiler alert. I didn’t get one. One day I will get a tour tat, though. One day.
By the time we got out of the tattoo convention it was around 11am and we still had to eat and load up our gear. 2 hours till load in. No problem, right? So wrong. Rather than write several paragraphs about what went led us to almost being late for a show, I made a list:
1) The restaurant we planned to go to was closed due to an equipment malfunction. Mercury Lounge, I’ll get to you one day!
2) The next restaurant had a long line up and we weren’t enthused by the menu. At least I wasn’t. That felt important to me at the time. If I could go back in time, I would probably suck it up and order something.
3) The next place we ended up was suuuuper busy, but we decided to stay rather than risk wasting more time driving around just to find another packed place.
4) The food took so long, we almost thought it wasn’t coming. Then it did.
5) After scarfing some grub and packing the rest to-go, we realized the line-up to pay was, also super long. Shit.
6) We weren’t able to pay for our food until uncomfortably close to our load in time AND we still had to run back to the apt to get gear. This is when I started to panic. Bad news.
We arrived uncomfortably close to show time, but WE MADE IT. I was keeping Alex, our library (RPL) contact updated, so at least it wasn’t a surprise. Still, not my ideal first impression or a good way to start a gig. Amazingly, she was super chill about everything. I felt a lot better when she told me Carl from Library Voices once showed up 10 minutes before his show of the series. Carl, thank you for setting a precedent. You were our guardian angel in this scenario.
Stressed and sweaty, we hustled to carry our gear upstairs (more panic), get set up and quickly sound-check. I’m pretty proud of our hustle. We rocked the set up and only ended up starting 15 mins late. I mean, at a bar show that’s considered an early start, so not too bad? Right?
The show was part of Regina Public Library’s Songwriting Stories series, which is a monthly event where, you guessed it, songwriters have a chance to play and talk about the stories behind the songs. Sarah and I had a pretty good banter rhythm as we switched off playing, so we were able to break the ice a little bit by talking about our almost tattoos and our ‘oh, crap we’re going to be late’ moment. For this particular situation, it felt like the best way to acknowledge shitting the bed a bit.
Despite our tardiness and stress, the show went pretty ok! Because we were taking turns, we each got 5 minute breaks in between songs. This was a nice change, especially since I was very sweaty from load in/set up. I took that time to take some deep breathes and enjoy Sarah’s music until it was my turn again. I wish I had remembered to take a photo of the little stage. It was a square platform decked out in a bearskin rug and backed by a folding partition. To the right of the stage was one of those portable fireplace shelves, complete with little wire stands for our CDs. Super cute.
After the show, we chatted with Alex and a couple show-goers, then headed back to Sarah’s Grandma’s to pack up and head home. Sarah had mass to get back for and I was ready for a chill car ride home. Whirl.wind.
I think the moral of the story here is that YOU PROBABLY DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THAT when you’re playing shows at new venues or in cities you’re not from. In our case, a lot of these circumstances were out of our control. I still feel like I should have known better, but it was a good learning experience.
Huge thank you to Sarah Farthing for coming along for the ride, making pretty noises, and indulging my whims re: tattoos and finding food. Great, reliable tour mate there folks!
Thanks to all you folks who stuck around to read this series! It’s my first attempt at tour blogging. It’s been a cool way to process the events and have a record of them for the future. If you feel like I’ve missed something or have feedback for me (aside from grammar corrections), feel free to use the comments below.
Until next time.
I have almost no pictures from Regina because we were so busy! Next time…