So we left Fall River around 10, hit up a sweet little diner, and headed south to Piermont, NY. We knew it would be a tough one that night: the capacity of the Turning Point is about 75 people, and the stage is roughly two square feet in size. I'm sure you are all aware of our typical, spread-out-wide set-up:
So when we got to the club, we tried to figure out how in the heck we were going to fit us Slicks in our normal spots. André had already begun the daunting task of setting up Ade's equipment in his usual center position (and it was even more difficult that night, as he had to completely re-wire everything to fit the keyboard onstage, which of course had to go right in front of me), so we had to make do, cramming ourselves around pedals and amps. I had a nice cozy nook, behind the keyboard, behind Adrian, on top of guitar amps, and behind the FOH speaker. I felt like the mysterious bass player behind the curtain. Eric arguably had it worse: the only way he could position himself he was off the stage entirely, on the floor and backed up against a foundation column, faced towards the crowd (rather than us).
To say that communication during the show was difficult would be a gross understatement. Luckily, we made it work - and it really wasn't bad at all. The sound was surprisingly great on stage, and we did have a nice meal beforehand (at the Sidewalk Café) that made the trip down pretty worthwhile:
What really made the trip invaluable was a great gift I received from Luke Sheridan (a luthier from Yonkers) who decided to give me his latest piece: a Walnut Burl-finished Zajj Bass with a purple heart neck:
Fear not, dear bassist readers, I'm still a Lakland gal, but this bass is seriously nice and I can't wait to check it out more extensively once I get home. Besides, who could refuse a free (absolutely gorgeous) axe?
After the show, we had our usual meet and greet, though we decided to do this one outside - it was a gorgeous, crisp late summer evening, after all. Well, it was probably not such a wise decision on my part, as I am pretty certain I am known as "Queen Sweet Blood" to mosquitoes worldwide. In a desperate effort to rescue my ankles from further attack, I stood up briskly as the signing ended, and wacked my head on the porch ceiling. Of course my Mom immediately panicked, "OHMYGOD! Are you ok?! We need to take you to the hospital - I don't want a repeat of what happened to Natasha Richardson!" Luckily, I convinced her I was going to fine - I have a nice layer of protection (big curly hair) and a skull made of marble - and it may be full of them too...
I spent the rest of the night with a dripping bag of ice on my head, but at least it felt better in the morning. I was actually more worried that I was ruining a good hair day, hah!
At least it felt fine in the morning...
The next day we awoke early, despite the fact that it was a day off - but for good reason: we had a long drive to make for our next gig in beautiful, familiar Québec City. We grabbed a surprisingly good (and cheap) breakfast on the way out of town (at a place called Skylark) - it was one of the few places open on Labor Day, so the choices were limited. Luckily it all worked out, and with stomachs full, we hit the road.
It was a gorgeous drive for a near-perfect day, going through the Catskills and Adirondacks:
The trip was supposed to last about 8 hours, but we weren't aware that Canadians also celebrate Labor Day (and with further research I discovered that they actually created the darn holiday!). So you can only imagine what the line was like at the border...
We finally arrived in Québec at 9PM, our stomachs feasting on themselves and churning out inhuman sounds so loud we thought we'd wake up Sasquatch - sorry - Le Sasquatch. We had a recommendation for a great resto Le 48 (thanks Patrick!), but our GPS (aka Genie) couldn't find it, so we stopped at the hotel, got directions, and raced to make it before closing time. They probably could have served us sneakers at this place and we'd have hailed it as the greatest meal on Earth, but fortunately they had a nice selection of global cuisine/fusion dishes for us to inhale. The service was also great - our server spoke great English, and even managed to make Adrian a decent Lemon Drop (though it was a bit more sour than usual). The menu was all in french, but I had fun translating it for the table. Ade ended up choosing the Filet Mignon with baby vegetables, and frites. Eric got the Baguette Végétarienne, which consisted of excellently crusty bread surrounding a homemade soy-based patty. I ordered for my Mom - Grilled Salmon with the same baby veggies and basmati rice, topped with a mango-raisin salsa. Not wanting a sandwich, and not a fan of Salmon, I got the only thing I could order (which was a little more expensive than I'd have liked to spend): Shrimp with vanilla star fruit compote, and the same accroutrements as Mama's meal. It was good, not life-changing, but definitely what we needed after that day of long driving.
The next morning, we were Slicks on a mission - Destination: Chez Victor. Challenge: Walk up hills with 45-60º inclines to get there.
We had to pause a few times to help out Mom, but we finally made it (after a mere 30 minutes... of torture for our poor progenitor on cholesterol medecine). Luckily, it was worth the pain:
The walk back was obviously much easier, and it was such a picture perfect day:
When we got to the bottom, we met up with Ade, who was to drive us over to the Théatre Petit Champlain for sound check. More fun ensued, as we came to realize that Genie does not speak fluent French, or understand non-US roads. We were apparently one minute from the venue when she told us to make a seemingly innocent right off a nice, big boulevard to "arrive at destination." Well, we soon noticed the ground beneath us changed into a rocky cobblestoned alley, and that we were surrounded by pedestrians - senior tourists with name tags, who glared into our van as if they wanted to beat us with a wet noodle. Trying to escape, we (foolishly) took Genie's advice to make another left. Now we were really stuck. We were surrounded! I really wish I could have gotten a picture, but we were blue in the face, laughing so darn hard and I simply forgot (d'oh!)
We somehow made it out without running over any blue-haired rubberneckers, and pulled up to the Théatre as if nothing had just happened. I finally caught my breath through the chortling and ran up to the club to set up my gear...
The show was one of the best of the tour, despite some slight inital gear malfunctions. What made it so special was a group of exuberant youngfolk in the front row, who screamed approximately 10-20 times per song, and 2-3 times randomly between songs. Their energy reciprocated back to the stage, where we laughed and jammed away with sheer glee. It was one of the best crowds we've ever played for, hands down. I wish we could hire those kidlets to follow us around to each city and howl like that every night...