We're going to start this post up north on Canada Day, and we'll end it down south at a 4th of July after party, so to speak. Here we go!
My main gig for Canada Day was up at Sun Peaks Resort, BC. Tuesday night I had my weekly gig at the Taphouse in Surrey. I could tell the night could easily get out of control if I wanted it to, but with Canada's big day tomorrow I listened to the angel on my shoulder, had 1 Corona and left. It also helped my decision that earlier at the dentist I had 3 fillings put in. My jaw was killing me and my face was still partially numb, but the show went on. It was a relatively early night for me as I 'hit the hay' around midnight.
HAPPY CANADA DAY!
Wake up call from my daughter Haven was around 830am. Jaime (gf) and I packed our bags, got the car loaded up and headed out from South Surrey to my first of 3 gigs in Langley at 11 am. This was the local country station, JRFM's, big JR-BQ where I was playing acoustic guitar and singing back-up vocals for Miss Danielle Marie (<<check her out!). 40 minutes on stage with her would usually be a breeze. Unfortunately due to an error at the soundboard my monitor mix (the speaker on stage used to hear myself and others) was WAY too loud and as I stepped up to the mic to sing I almost went deaf. For the next 15 minutes it felt like my ears were bleeding. After a few not so subtle hints to the sound guy it was finally fixed. Danielle put on a hell of a show with Dylan Weightman, drums, and Adam Coleman, Bass guitar, who also perform with me in BIG SHINY.
Now Dylan, Adam and I were in a race against time to get up to Sun Peaks for a 4 o'clock show. Leaving Langley at noon, needing time to find parking, unload, and set up, this was not gonna be easy. Luckily the Peter Ernst Band was playing before us and we got to share most of there gear. Also, as always in the music biz, the band started late. This meant we even had time to stop and pee in Merritt, and of course grab a few beers as per tradition. Dylan and I gave this beautiful little mountain town a new slogan a couple years ago:
"Merritt - Just in time to pee"
Big Shiny, minus lead guitar player Brendan Woodroff (stuck at work), hit the outdoor stage in Sun Peaks Village around 4:15 pm. We played until about 5:30 pm, and then Peter Ernst took the stage again. The Sun Peaks corporation has not done much for Canada Day the last few years so local bar owners Peter Ernst (Powder Hounds) and Kevin Tessier (Voyageur Bistro) organized and funded this outdoor concert and then continued the celebration through the night at their respective venues.
By the way... How long are blogs supposed to be? I haven't gotten to the good stuff yet, so keep reading!
We all checked into the Delta Grand hotel to relax for a bit before my next performance at the Voyageur Bistro (VB). We filled our bathrobes with a couple beers each (except Adam who wisely chooses not to drink) and headed down to the pool. After a few handstand contests, and an underwater running race, which I won (in your face Dylan) I recognized someone else in the pool. I said "Hey, you're that guy from Global TV right?" Then Dylan added "Steve Darling!" We met Steve a few years ago when our band Pardon My Stripease (RIP) performed on the morning news. We had a quick chat, then checked the clock and at 7:30 pm we figured we should get out of the pool and get ready for an 8 o'clock showtime. Dylan and I, performing as a duo, have our set up down to a science. We walked in the door at 7:55 pm, and we were rocking by 8:02...ish.
The Voyageur Bistro has been one of my favourite places to play for a couple years now. Its a Canadian themed bistro with amazing food, and ice cold Jager on tap. Pretty much all I need in life. After 5 or 6 encores and 5 or 6 Jagers we finally shut'er down and headed to 'Bottoms' another local pub for last call over there. My dad and I, Team Canada took on Alex and Luke, German and Australian, in a very poorly played game of pool that I don't think ended before we were kicked out at closing time. We ended the night at our hotel room for a nightcap and my beautiful girlfriend and I comfortably slept in separate beds, we just aren't sure why :).
Thursday - Recovery day + a couple games of slo pitch with my National Champion Men's Team, the Bus Drivers (cause we are taking you to school).
On Friday, my family and I left bright and early and got to Portland, OR. around 11 am and spent the day confirming that Portland is definitely weird. From an old fat guy soaking in a public fountain, to the creepy man exiting an adult xxx theatre at 2pm striking up a conversation with me as we waited for our 'Voodoo Doughnuts', we saw it all! Lucky for us, the Portland Blues Festival was going on. We entered with a donation to the food bank and saw 3 huge stages of incredible performers. This was the biggest music festival I had been too and such a great experience.
Thanks Portland, But we're heading further south!
Florence, OR. was our stop for a fairly tame, family friendly 4th of July. We went kayaking, BBQ'd, and had our own fireworks display with a couple other families on a ranch just off the coast of Oregon.
NOW, this 'after-party' I mentioned took place on the Sunday, July 5th. Jaime and I headed into downtown Florence for dinner and our hosts told us the "Travellers Cove" had live music so of course thats where we went. As well as some wonderful margarita's that are a must have each time Jaime goes to Florence. As I saw the band loading in, I must admit I didn't give them much credit. First of all It was a huge set up for a tiny restaurant. The drummer's kit looked like it belonged to an 8 year old boy, with no hi hat and tiny blue drumsticks. Bass players always look the same to me, so I figured this older silver-fox was gonna be solid, and he was. The guitar player resembled a high school chemistry teacher. But at least I knew, without a doubt, the saxophone player was gonna be incredible. Black on black dress pants and shirt. heavier set, with sunglasses and black 'paper boy cap'. I was totally judging these books by their covers, and I went 2 for 4. They opened with Van Morrison's - Into the Mystic.
*Jaw hits floor*
It was incredible.. the fisher price drum kit guy, and the chemistry teacher proved me wrong. Dead Wrong. Turns out the drummer's car broke down with all his gear in it and he had to scrounge together whatever he could for this gig, and the drum sticks were his daughter's.
Paul Biondi was the sax player. And he's world famous. He played with Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, and Barbra Streisand, BEFORE he finished high school. He then went on to tour with Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin and Smoky Robinson. This guy not only plays the flute, clarinet and every version of the sax, he played 2 saxophones at the same time!!!
Now the guest appearances started. A big, rough, tattooed, skullcap wearing, 60ish year old biker takes the microphone and of course sings Elvis' -Cant help falling in love, perfectly. Paul Biondi got on the mic and explained that it was his late uncles favourite song. He further explained his uncle is still alive, he's just always late. (I'm stealing that one.) Next, a blind woman, who would usually be playing the piano as well, if it was there, absolutely KILLED (in a good way) Chain of Fools! I felt like I was in some kind of twilight zone and I was loving it!! Next, Mac and Linda, the 80 year old house dancers. Dressed head to toe in matching cowboy/girl outfits with rhinestones and all, danced the same dances they have done for 50 years I'm sure! Also sporting pins on their hats letting us know they are "Just here to get drunk."
I was so happy just to sit back and enjoy the music with my margaritas/local beers but of course as I snuck off to the washroom, Jaime went and asked the band to let me sing. A few of the cuff classics are on video below. I was so honoured to share this stage with these guys!
Paul chimed in after I finished, "You know we always get pretty girls telling us their boyfriend's are such good singers, wanting them to join us, so we let them up, and they sound like they've maybe scared off a karaoke crowd a couple times, but man, you can really sing!"
Aww shucks Paul, I'm sure you say that to all the guys.
Thanks so much for reading, and if you enjoyed this blog share it around and keep looking back from more!!