Attention: Pics are all on Fun page. Please refer to pics on Fun page, for fun page pic-ness. Also, there are new Costco Cakes.
We had such a wonderful time in Toronto. It's a really lovely city, and further, the people themselves were so kind and open and courteous. I'm not just saying this because we were looking for it. People were so astoundingly Nice everywhere that it sort of took us aback.
The festival was good. It was interesting. It was busy. 400 bands played in three nights' time. You can imagine, that's a lot of self-promotion. When we arrived on Thursday night there were punk kids everywhere spewing their flyers and buttons into the streets, begging one and all to come to their shows.
The Fox and Fiddle, where we played, turned out to be a pub. Like a drinking pub, for football fans and beer guzzlers and bachelor party-havers, not a music venue. Rumor was that we were in the one venue in town that was spillover because they just didn't have enough music venues in town to accomodate everyone. That was disappointing. We went on at 9 PM on Friday, to a huge crowd of rugby team drinkers. You can imagine the disparity. They luckily realized this wasn't going to work and were out the door by the 2nd song. We still played to a very attentive, kind and open crowd of fellow musicians. We were sans a sound person (which was inexcusable and for which the NXNE volunteer apologized profusely), so all the bands really worked together to help each other out. It really was a good night.
Best of all, though, is David and I truly felt that this trip was all about our dreams coming true. We got to do what we love best: be together, play music together, and travel. I can't think of a better way to spend my life.
We went to several panels at the conference including one where Stewart Copeland of The Police spoke, who was hilarious and filled with amazing stories of his time with the band. He's got a film coming out this fall of home movies he shot himself while they were becoming famous, and the clips they showed were very funny and very interesting. We also got to meet one of the founders of Nettwerk Records, which is a label we love, so that was nice.
We had a lot of great food. We went to restaurants in cool neighborhoods and followed a few recommendations from Jane Siberry (it's her hometown), which, again, I say, is lovely and surreal. There were a lot of crepes to be had. Plenty of access to organic food in the markets, as well. That was interesting.
We went to the CN Tower, which is the tallest in the world. It gave us a good idea of the area, which seemed a strange mix of old and new buildings. I was expecting Toronto to be a sort of "clean New York," as people have told me, but it's really nothing like New York. It's a lot more spread out and calm-feeling. There are tons and tons and tons of new apartment and office structures done in the glassy, box style. The houses on the side streets seem to be very brownstoney, sort of Victorian-ish in nature, which to someone who grew up in the desert is always infinitely more charming than stucco.
So, um, the other thing that we did is see the Lord of the Rings stage show. It is the largest, most lavish stage production ever in all of history (or so they say, I mean, how can you account for the Romans?). It. was. guh. uh. uh. orgeous. It was seriously some of the most beautiful design for a show I've ever seen, and the solutions that they came up with for the plot points were often incredibly clever and exciting. The music ranged from ok to Howard Shore-y beautiful, with fiddle and folk and chanting and the like. There is actually some good video of the show at the website. It was 3 1/2 hours long, in three acts, and I can tell you that by the last act, I was really exhausted for myself and for them. It's a visual assault. It lacks some of the gravitas of the book and film but it's definitely quite an experience. It's supposed to go to London and then Broadway, so I'm sure it'll get quite refined along the way.
Canada is just enough off from America that you know you are Somewhere Else, but not enough to be uncomfortable. The way people speak is just slightly off, and you never know if they're going to speak in a British or French accent. Most importantly, we were able to get a sense of the kindness, civility, and respect for the earth that seemed to permeate the culture. We were happy and surprised to see piles of recycling on the curb of every restaurant and shop, something that is very rare here in the States. It's simple things that show a difference in focus and priorities, for instance, milk comes in bags (that you take home and put in a jug), thus saving the huge waste of plastic that is the gallon jug.
We got home and were pretty fired up so we continued recording work on a cover we are doing of "After The Gold Rush" for a Neil Young tribute album. We're very ready to start writing again. We have a very big show on Saturday night, as well. Please come if you can. Bok bok bok, can you tell I'm a bit fired up?
Sounds pretty great. Lovely pics. I have to say that I do love nutella and anywhere that serves it frequently is certainly worthy of a visit.
I do wish you had taken pictures of the milk bags. Now, why can't we do that here? I love that some places here you can bring a glass milk bottle back empty and get a full one of milk, but that isn't available everywhere and it's much more expensive. Seems like the milk bags would be more doable. We have an enormous recycling pile here at our house and the girls have gotten very good at separating and questioning whether they should throw it away or recycle it. It's exciting to have your kids try to recycle the unrecyclable because it's proof that is *is* a way of life for them. Awesome that it is so popular in Canada. Lisa | 06.14.06 - 7:23 pm | #
I'm thrilled that the trip was a success and a good time. Your cheese-burger description made me hungry!!! Congratulations on a great week. Tristen | Homepage | 06.16.06 - 4:10 pm | #
SO EXCITED ABOUT AFTER THE GOLD RUSH. fkdjflkdj ashley | 06.19.06 - 7:51 pm | #
Hey there! I'm a friend of Ashley's and I also know a couple of your songs (and love them). She showed me your blogged experience of your trip here ... I'm from Toronto ... and I was so pleased that you had a good experience. I wish I could tell you there was something exceptional in those burgers, but the Fox & Fiddle pub is actually a franchise here, so I don't know that they have a special chef! Hopefully you'll be able to come back soon! I'm sorry I missed your gig too. I'll eat a crepe in your honour (we do have a bunch of variety in serving them, sweet or non-sweet!). If you ever get a hankering for our fudge let me know and I can ship it. Alicia | 06.19.06 - 8:34 pm | #
Alicia is my new best friend. adriana | 06.20.06 - 11:04 am | #