But on a more serious note......
Festivals are fun, awesome, exhausting, invigorating, and, ultimately, if you are lucky enough to be on the stage, fulfilling, scary and awesome (where's the thesaurus when you need it?) There has been plenty to digest since we played the Ness Creek and Gateway music festivals last month, and it feels like the right thing to do to share some of the joy, none of the pain, and especially none of the NSFC (Not Safe For Children) aspects of our times. So, without further ado, let us start with:
Steve Earle. Yeah, yeah, yeah, there might be too much keypad attention towards this guy on the blog of late (he'll never beat Dylan on that front - right Sleights? - so whatevs), but on so many levels Mr. Earle delivered the goods. He played a killer set (did Tyler actually request "Copperhead Road"? He won't let on...) that covered much of his new record, with stops along close to two-thirds of his 15 studio albums. Sleights, Dev, members of the Pile o' Bones band, Etienne of The Lazy MKs, along with many, many other Saskatchewan musicians there to perform could be seen bug-eyed and giddy throughout the set, and I was easily as floored by that as I was by Earle's genuine enjoyment of playing that Friday night. Add to that a meet-and-greet after the show that had one fan sobbing with joy at meeting the man (no, I held it together, thanks to my baby and my lady), and I still don't think I've come down!
Kory Istace. Yeah, yeah, yeah, maybe you don't tune into this blog to read about other local musicians, but let me explain. First, his set that ended all music at Gateway Saturday night was pretty freakin' great, the drunks still awake were stoked, and his orange shirt with vest and bowtie made him easily tie, if not outright beat, Prpich for the best dressed man award that evening. Hey, some men just understand show clothes! This man also understands enthusiasm. The week prior at Ness Creek he relayed a story to me of how he missed out on seeing Steve Earle due to family obligations earlier in his life, and how his fandom since he was a wee lad had never yet been satiated. I had never seen anyone so eager to see another artist, let alone have the chance to actually meet him. That indeed came to pass, and Korey hilariously and graciously relayed that story to me. It showcased both his humility and, possibly, his silliness, in that his side of the conversation he had with his idol included (I think) no four letter words (!!!), yet did have an overabundance of one three letter word - sir - a word which he bestows on no one, unless he is in serious, serious trouble! To me, something was completed in the man because of that experience, and judging by the manner in which he told the story, I do not think Mr. Istace would disagree. Aaaah, festivals......
Playing on festival stages. Yeah, yeah, yeah (does that ever get old?), who wants to hear about a band member stroking his own band's ego? Anyways, Ness Creek later on a Thursday evening, and Bengough earlier on a Saturday, couldn't have been both so similar yet so different. In the former camp: incredibly receptive audiences. There were some folks engaging in a bit of "foreplay" during our set (Ness), there was my family singing and dancing along and causing me to miss a chord or two (Gateway), and at both places there were just the nicest and most helpful sound/stage crews in recent memory! In the latter camp, I really feel that a certain percentage of what we do works better when the lights are low, there is no sun, and people perhaps have imbimbed at least to a percentage of what the band has. At Ness, this was no problem, but at Gateway, well, it is hard to get into a moody, drunkin' rockin' groove just after supper, but thanks to the people who tried! We did!!
All of our friends, family, and other musicians that did not play music either weekend, but were there because we were, and took everything to another level: Marsh's entire family at Gateway (his bro Pipes met the next level and was on crutches b/c of it!), a large contingent of folks swayed by Prpich to come down and keep it real (Pamps, Kale, German Karl, helllloooooooo!), Mr. Wilson and Mr. King from Saskatoon representing the old guard, true, strong and free, Jim and Kirsten, and everyone else I am too foggy to remember!
Mike and Amber at Gateway, and Deborah at Ness: Thanks, thanks, thanks (three thanks, ah ah aaaah!). Hospitality, accomodation, sorting sh*# out, all top shelf, all on a level that is encouraging for anyone involved in these festivals for the years to come!
Here's a new tune that we didn't play at either festival; the shot is static, but the perks involve intimacy not normally had in a performance (plus you can steal all of Ty's tricks if you pay close enough attention!).