Twin Cans #drtynflrty Tour – Chapter 6 – Getting Your Bucket Filled

Greetings from Fort St John,

The end of a tour feels similar to the morning after a big party; You’re tired, there’s a mess around you, you met some great people, you’re wondering what the hell happened, and you may or may not be covered in vomit. It’s a big comedown, and getting back to “real life” can be a challenge. Here’s how the tail end of the Twin Cans tour went:

-After the Vancouver Island Music Fest we had a few days off to spend in the Comox Valley, so we did what comes naturally: Mostly nothing. There was a successful thrifting mission where Lindsay bought an 80’s-tastic jumpsuit that makes her look like an escaped mental patient or convict or both, and I got a extremely tasteful shirt that features many tropical fish, so I’ll definitely blend in with all the fun-loving old men at future festivals. The girls of Twin Peaks also had one of their first “Getting recognized in public and asked for autograph moments” too, so that was special.

-We headed down island to meet up with the legendary Longevity John in Duncan. John was running around town (actually, he rides a scooter which is hilarious to see) organizing multiple stages for Duncan’s “39 Days of July” festival, and yes, he knows that July doesn’t have 39 days but he also doesn’t abide by most of your societal norms. Over two days we played twice on the outdoor stage and once inside at the Duncan Garage Showroom. This show was a lot better than the last one, mostly because all of my musical equipment didn’t stage a coup like last time when shit really hit the fan. During our time in Duncan, we stayed with our sometimes percussionist Mitch’s parents, and they showed us a delightful new drink called the “Beergarita” that is sure to induce all sorts of tummy-shame. Any drink where you can’t taste the tequila should probably be avoided.

– Apres-Duncan we voyaged back up island to Courtenay, where we were joined by one half of The Cumberland Brothers for some late-night sloppy bluegrass jams and general shenanigans. We’ve been listening to the Cumberland Brothers “Gamey E.P.” for a little bit now, and I honestly can’t remember the last time I was this jazzed on a group. Check them out if you are able. We played the last show of the tour in Courtenay at the Rewind Coffee Bar in Tintown, and just like the last time we played there, it was beautiful. Thanks so much to Tarah for having us back.

-With all the shows done, there was nothing left to do but get our butts back up to Fort St John. We made a stop off at one of our favourite tour destinations, The Beachlot on the shores of the Okanagan. I’ve decided to start calling this place “Never-Never Land” because it seems that nobody ages there….or at least nobody acts their age. Fun times like usual. We made another stop off in Prince George for a relaxing evening with my relatives, and the next day we limped our ’99 Astrovan back to Fort St John.

-Although it wasn’t technically part of the tour, when we got back up to FSJ we opened a show for the Steve Brockley Band, which is something I’d wanted to do for a great while. In fact, it was the whole reason I trekked northerly after the tour was over, and I was not disappointed. The trio absolutely killed it, and we were fortunate enough to get to have some late night jams with them where a denim vest made an appearance.

Epilogue

When we were out in the sticks in Northern Alberta, we were given some sage words of wisdom by an exceedingly bright 5 year old. I’ll paraphrase here, but he told us that “a good friend always fills your bucket, and never takes anything out of it”. It became a bit of a catchphrase for us, and goddamn it if our buckets weren’t overflowing by the end of the tour. I’ve got a few tours under my belt now, but I’m still consistently amazed by the kindness afforded to us by friends, relatives, venue owners, and complete strangers. I’m seriously moved and dumbfounded by it all. Thanks to everyone who filled our buckets, and I hope we’ll see you all again sometime real soon.

Godspeed.

Twin Cans #drtynflrty Tour – Chapter 5 – Ruminations on a festival

It’s been almost a week since Twin Peaks were fortunate enough to play the Vancouver Island Music Fest, and I think the hangover has adequately subsided to the point where I can somewhat accurately recollect the events of that weekend. Here’s some stuff that happened:

We cruised up island from Victoria to Courtenay, enjoying sunshine, Much Dance 2000 & 2001 CDs, and the fact that we didn’t die when an 18-wheeler ahead of us slammed on its brakes for apparently no reason at all. We rolled into the Comox Valley and got checked into our hotel, The Anco, which a local informed us has the delightful nickname “The 24 Hour Anco”. Not too sure what that meant, but it was a nice enough place for us.

We dropped off some stuff and made our way over to the festival grounds. Although the first act hadn’t even kicked off the festivities yet, the place was already teeming with people, and I eyed up bands that were checking in to see if any looked cooler than us. They all did.

That evening we took in performances by The Wailin’ Jennys, Guitar Heroes (Albert Lee, Amos Garrett, James Burton, David Wilcox), Kris Kristofferson, and Walk Off The Earth. We spent most of our time hanging out in the backstage area, taking advantage of short beer and portapotty lines, and waiting for ol’ Kris to emerge from his trailer. When he did finally make his way to the stage, it took about 15 minutes for him to walk the 100 yards because he was frequently impeded by fans wanting pictures, autographs, and conversation. I can totally relate.

The next day we actually had to play music (slavedrivers, amirite?), so we got up at the crack of dawn and went to meet up with our pickup rhythm section which consisted of the extremely musical Brin Porter on bass and the tastefully named Mitch Guindon on cajon. We had a quick rehearsal and then it was over to our first performance, where we’d be sharing the stage with other great songwriters Christa Couture, Jenny Ritter, Leonard Sumner, and a gentleman named Ronny Cox. If I had known that Ronny Cox had been the guy that played guitar during the infamous Duelling Banjos scene in Deliverance, along with a ton of other high-profile movie roles, I probably would have been more starstruck, but ignorance is bliss and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing his great songs.

Later we had our own dedicated show at ominously named “Grassy Knoll” stage, and it went swimmingly and was completely free of any sort of assassination attempt. We bummed around for the rest of the day, I awkwardly sidled up on legend Albert Lee and got a photo with him, and later that night we took in sets from the Indigo Girls, John Hiatt, and an amazing high-energy dancetastic set from Blitz The Ambassador. Later that night we hung out at the hotel with some of the members of Montreal based hip-hop group Nomadic Massive and embarrassed ourselves with our terrible French accents and limited vocabulary. No offense was intended, but much was experienced.

A groggy and short sleep was had, and the next morning we were unlucky enough to have the early “Wake Up!” slot, sharing the stage with Ariana Gillis, Library Voices, and the extremely talented ‘bonist Nick La Riviere. Playing with people like Nick reminds me that we all have a long way to go on our instruments – keep practicin’ people. Immediately after that, we headed over the main stage where we shared our time with other great BC acts Christa Couture, Ed Peekeekoot, The Cumberland Brothers, and Fort St John locals Betty Be Gidd.

With that show over, we were done playing and could really begin partying in earnest. I’d like to give full details of said partying, but our lawyer said that I should keep any incriminating details private. Let’s just say that we shooed away from the hotel and had to party behind a dumpster.

All in all, it was a truly amazing weekend and definitely one of the best of my life. Big thanks to the organizers, the musicians we heard, and most of all, the multitude of volunteers that made the event a possibility. I now think I have a burgeoning addiction to playing large scale festivals, so I’ll continue to chase that dragon I suppose.

A bientot and Godspeed.

 

Twin Cans #drtynflrty Tour – Chapter 4 – Prelude to a Festival

Greetings,

The Twin Cans train continues to chug on down the line, and I know it’s been a long time since I’ve graced you with an update, but I’ve been too busy having the time of my life to bother with updating. Here’s the dirt:

-We had a couple days off in Salmon Arm, so we did what most people do there and went to the beach. Naomi taught me that there’s a product that you can put on yourself in order to expedite your tanning, but since Lindsay and I closely resemble relatives of Powder we opted to just stick with the 60 SPF and not burn ourselves to a crisp.

-We moseyed on down to Vancouver where we played a house concert to a fantastic audience. When people are really paying attention to the music, it elevates the whole experience to the next level and even the barking dogs couldn’t take away from the magic of the evening. Big thanks to Alison and Ken for hosting our rag-tag crew. Later that night we got to stay with superfriend and supermusician Adam. There was a shortage of beds, so we had to improvise and make a “Pilllow-Bed”, and the creation was carefully documented here.

-Next up was a trip to one of my many hometowns, Victoria. We played at the Solstice Cafe again, and although the turnout wasn’t enormous we had a great time. Afterward we had a bit of a party upstairs with our host Meg, and I ogled one of the most badass collections of vinyl I’ve seen in a long time. And no, I’m not talking about a closet full of kinky fetish-wear, I’m talking about records.

Subsequently we headed up island to fulfill a dream and play the Vancouver Island Music Festival. I was gonna include details on that in this post, but it’s really deserving of its own post, so I’ll get that up within the next few days. Tall Cans out.

Godspeed indeed.

Twin Cans #drtynflrty Tour – Chapter 3 – ‘Paradise Found’ in the Kootenays

Salutations,

It’s Mitch “Lanky Fuck” Vinet here (the girls gave me that really nice nickname) reporting live from Salmon Arm. Here’s all the terribly exciting things that have happened to us since the last update:

-While in Fernie we partook in one of our favourite activites: Thrifting. Although I don’t often find clothes that fit me well (due to the aforementioned lankiness), I did manage to find two of the best albums of all-time, Much Dance 2000, and the slightly better Much Dance 2001. I never really realized how filthy the song “Get Down” by B4-4 is, but that shit is straight up raunchy. The upbeat pop music of the millenium era was exactly what I needed to pull me out of a deep depression caused by reading The Grapes Of Wrath. Steinbeck: I love you but you’re bringing me down.

-After a few days in Fernie we loaded up the van and took off up the mountain pass to my old stompin’ grounds of Nelson. There were several tearful reunions with school chums, and we got to hang out with the sexcellent band Tofu Stravinsky. If there’s a better looking band in Western Canada, I haven’t met/stalked them yet. We were joined by the startlingly handsome Charlie Jacobson again and played a morning show at The Cottonwood Market, and just like last year we had a blast and were given delicious treats from the vendors there, including a seemingly bottomless bag of fresh cherries that amazingly haven’t given anyone the skitters yet.

-Immediately following the Nelson show, we abducted Charlie and forced him to listen to Much Dance Mixes in our van on the way to Creston for a show at the wonderful Snoring Sasquatch. This venue is really quite something. The decor, ambience, and attentive audience all make it feel like a house concert, which is really the best way to see some music. The owners Paul and Shelli really know how to treat a band, with Paul ripping across the border hours before the show to pick up some delicious IPA’s to share with the official Beer Snob of Twin Cans: Me.

-On Sunday we said goodbye to Charlie (although I have a feeling our paths will cross again…) and climbed the pass again heading back into Nellytown. We bummed around down on Baker St for awhile, hung out with local legends Patty Pants and Shredward, and then made our way out to Winlaw for a show at the Cedar Creek Cafe. Despite both the girls nearly sharting themselves on stage due to 7-11 sandwich induced sickness, we had a great show and were pleasantly surprised when several carloads of Nelson friends showed up. It was a bit of a mini-reunion for Selkirk music students, and there was only one solfege joke made. After the show we were fortunate enough to stay at an amazing B&B called Arica Gardens. If you’re ever in the Kootenays looking for a place to stay, go see Jane and you’ll be amazing at the idyllic country outpost she has. We felt like we were in paradise.

We’re now in Salmon Arm, where I’m currently basking in the sun, and the shame of becoming a familial pariah for missing my Grandma’s 90th birthday over the weekend. There’s a lot of empties here, so I’m guessing the party was a huge success and that Grandma was shotgunning beers into the early morning hours.

Next up is a house concert in Vancouver, a show in Victoria, and then the reason why we’re doing this tour: Playing at Vancouver Island Music Fest on July 12-14. Godspeed.

Twin Cans #drtynflrty Tour – Chapter 2 – My song “Summer Storm” becomes a harsh reality.

Aloha from the sweltering town of Fernie. The Twin Cans tour continues to roll down the highway, venturing from one town to the next. Here’s how we’ve filled the days:

-We had a show at the Wild Earth Bakery & Cafe in Edmonton, and as it turns out there are actually two locations of that establishment in the city, and guess which one we drove to first? If you guessed “the wrong one”, then I’m sort of mad at you for thinking we’re incompetent, but also…..you’re right. So, we got back in the van and despite iPhone trying once again to thwart our musical plans, we finally made it to the venue after making a bevy of wrong turns. The show was great and the owners loaded us up with baked goods for the road. Afterward, we headed out to meet up with friends Picture The Ocean and new friend Scott Cook at the famous establishment Blues On Whyte, and we downed a few rounds of Burt Reynolds. I’m not sure what’s in that drink, but my moustache is looking a lot more lustrous after imbibing a couple. Oh, and there was street meat.

-Next up on the itinerary was Red Deer, a city we had a lot of fun in last year. Our new friend and male model Charlie Jacobson was kind enough to have parents that are kind enough to let us crash at their place, so we saved out on a costly hotel night. Thanks to Bruce and Theresa! We went out to a Red Deer Centennial event because to be honest, we heard they had free food. Despite my tapeworm telling me to eat a half-dozen of the free smokies that were available, I stayed strong and capped it off at two. That night we played a show at the cozy Velvet Olive, and afterward had a great jam back at the Jacobson studio with new friends Benjamin Button and Maya Rudolph.

-The following day we packed up and made our way to a tiny town that no one has ever heard of, Ferintosh. We played there last year, and when I asked a resident what the population of the town was, he said “200 if you count the cats and dogs”. Yeah, it’s minuscule. The girls had somehow lured Charlie to come join us for the gig, so he played an opening set before we went on. His set was one of those ones that is so good, that you don’t want to play after him, you just want to go hide in a dark cellar and rethink your life. The kid is good. Big thanks to Darlene and Stan at the pub there for being amazing hosts once again.

-We loaded up again and headed in the direction of Kanye’s new baby (North West) into the rockies and the beautiful town of Jasper. We were playing at another Olive venue, The Olive Bistro owned by the wonderful Daryl and Steph. They are truly great hosts and put us up in the hotel upstairs, which kept us from begging for beds. About 15 minutes before our show was about to begin, there was some inclement weather and sure enough, just as my song “Summer Storm” foretells, the power went out. We love to play acoustically anyway, so we soldiered on and had a lot of fun performing for the candlelit restaurant.

-The next day we spent in the van, making our way down to Fernie for a few days of R&R. Nothing notable happened. That is all.

Next up is a stretch of shows in the Kootenays – Nelson, Creston, and Winlaw to be specific. Hope to see some friendly faces out there. Godspeed y’all.

Twin Cans #drtynflrty Tour – Chapter 1 – Gettin’ Skunked and Drunked

We’re almost a week into our Dirty ‘n Flirty tour and I’m still not sure why we decided to call it that. I had written it on the back of our filthy van at the Sweetwater 905 Festival, and I guess it sorta caught on. The other thing that was written on the back of the van was “Chicks with Dix”, so I guess Dirty ‘n Flirty is marginally better.

-Our first scheduled show of the tour was in Dawson Creek at a little bookstore/coffeeshop hybrid called Faking Sanity. We had a pre-show picnic in a park and headed to venue expecting to see hundreds upon hundreds of frenzied fans, but Dawson Creek had other plans in store: No one showed up. Tumbleweeds. Not a soul. We got skunked. Well, actually Lindsay’s parents did show up, but we decided to just pack it in and head back to FSJ. This was the first show I’d ever “played” where no one at all showed up, and I looked on the bright side and said that at least the attendance can only get better.

-The next day we packed up ol’ Sammy (our chariot of choice, a monkey-shit brown ’99 Astrovan) and left FSJ for reals. We crossed over the border into Alberta and made our way to Grande Prairie for a house concert at new friends Shelagh and Cameron’s house. This was a unique show for us, because the audience was 95% male. I like to joke that Twin Peaks’ key demographic is post-menopausal women, so this was certainly a different crowd to be playing to, and I think it was well received. There were lengthy discussions about female body hair after the gals played their smash underground rap hit “Hair Panties”, and my non-consensual education on the inner workings of the “fairer sex” continued. The evening was capped off with a celebration of light as we gazed upon the supermoon and lit off bottle rockets in a nearby park, much to the chagrin of the neighbourhood, I’m sure.

-Monday found us travelling what should have been a couple short hours to Peace River, however the travel time was extended when the iPhone severely marred our plans. You see, when you’re plotting a course for Peace River, it’s important that you type in “Peace River, Alberta” and not just “Peace River”. If you type in the former, you’ll be directed to a quaint little town. If you type in the latter, your iPhone will send you down dirt roads for 40 minutes before telling you to drive directly into the river. We did escape our rural detour with only minimal mental anguish, and perhaps the most entertaining part of it all was when we spotted a sign that said “NO LOITERING”……in the middle of fucking nowhere. Bizarre. We probably should have taken a picture, but our nerves were already frayed from wondering if we’d ever get out of the sticks with all our orifices intact. We eventually did get back to civilization and the show at the Java Domain in Peace River was a lot of fun and went over well.

-On Tuesday we were once again driving down rural dirt roads, except for this time it wasn’t a mistake. We were heading to Naomi’s cousin Hallie’s place just outside of Valleyview to set up for yet another house concert, and we didn’t even get lost once. The turnout at the show was impressive, and we all enjoyed ourselves immensely. While we had a day off, our van Sammy was sent to the doctor and got many things fixed up and we all have the utmost confidence in his faculties.

-We had another day off to leisurely meander down to Edmonton, and we took advantage of the free evening by going to a delightful little public house called “Filthy McNasty’s” to take in a show by my friend April’s band The Seahags. If you like Saskatoon-based all-girl old-timey country garage bands (which is a sparsely populated genre, I’m sure), then you should check them out for sure.

Tonight, it’s nose to the grindstone again as we play at The Wild Earth Cafe here in Edmonton. Stimulating updates to follow. Godspeed.

Twin Cans #drtynflrty Tour Update Zero: The Prologue

We’re at it again. The spring Tour De Fun™ met with a modicum of success, so we figured “Hey, let’s do that thing where we drive around a lot and play music occasionally again”. We did have 3 weeks of downtime during which I learned quite a bit about the bustling metropolis of Fort St John. My days were spent pondering which are more numerous there: massive trucks or baby strollers? I also endeavoured to count all the potholes in town, but then I realized you can’t possibly count to infinity.

We did play a few shows while we were up there, which helped me maintain sanity. Here’s the ever-popular point form recap:

– We opened a show for Edmontonians Picture The Ocean at sometimes music venue called The Stude. We had a great time playing and hanging out with them, and I only had their music stuck in my head for the next 5 days, so that’s good.

– A few days later we played what may just be the Fort St Johniest gig there ever was: The Mud Bogg. That’s not a typo, the rotary council has decided that one “g” in bog just doesn’t look tough enough. This gig had it all: Big trucks that necessitated ear protection, mud being flung several kilometers in the air, ample Canadian Tuxedos, and a strong wind that blew my guitar off of a trailer and gave it several new beauty marks and gave me a minor conniption.

– I had my first ever festival experience playing Sweetwater 905 out in the fields of Rolla BC. The gals had played it the year before so they were seasoned veterans, but I had to be quick on my feet to learn how to cope with intermittent torrential downpours, uncomfortable sleeps, and a near-overload of awesome music.

-The day after the festival ended we were asked by Ted Russell Kamp if we would be his pickup band for a gig at The Rolla Pub, and since he was easily my favourite performer from the weekend, the decision was a pretty easy one. The evening was a lot of fun, as I’m certain every night at The Rolla Pub is, and it even included an impromptu singing saw solo by the MystryCwby himself.

We’re out on the road again catching gravel with our windshield, and I’ll let you know how the first few shows went very soon. I’m sure you’re dying to know.

Godspeed indeed.