Sunday, March 14th.
We took off from Cleveland around 10 30 and hit the interstate. Endless brown-yellow fields and leafless treats covered the landscape. Early spring is pretty bleak in Indiana, Illinois and Ohio, but our spirits are high. Our Cleveland hotel room turned into a slumberparty giggle fest, were all buzzed and excited about the gig, we would start to drop into sleep, then one of us would chirp up and the conversation wold continue.
The ride between cities was spent swapping tour stories and discussing our contemporaries. Tara was got a call from AOL spinner and was interviewed over the phone. We passed burned-out houses, old stock yards and big old industry buildings. Eventually we made it to Chicago which is a lovely city. There was thick fog off of lake Eerie so we didn’t see much of the sky line, but the waterfront and parks were charming and quite Torontoesq. It seemed gritty and cool, a type of city I could live in for a few months . We dropped LNS and Tara off at their respective friends, then Amanda and I made our way to our see our host, the charming and talented Brad Cole. Brad has been working in the financial scene for years, but now that he’s got enough dough saved up for his daughter’s education, he’s following his heart and is going to re-embark on a music career. It was a pleasure to welcomed into his beautiful home, he took off to band practice, Amanda napped, I picked at twelve string and read Jimi Hendrix’s biography. After a quick nap of my own, it was off to the the Elbo Room for Brad’s monthly “Acoustic Circus”.
The main drag in Chicago boasted a huge strip of bars and many young drinkers filling each room. St Patrick’s day is a few days away and the Chicagoans were gearing up in style. Young folks were swaggering everywhere as the bars seemed to keep coming block after block. Finding parking was a miserable experience, but it was cool to be emerged into the wild friday night scene. In the basement of a club was the full band venue, two rock bands then a soul band played to an exuberant audience. The whole bar was a jovial scene, people were out going, and seemed overjoyed to be out and about. One observation that I’ve made is that our cultures are highly similar, I’d call it north american style. It felt like I was in any other bar in Canada, then would be reminded where I was when saw cash being exchanged. There was a girl in the big downstairs room that had strikingly beautiful eyes and a captivating smile, but who’s skin had the rough quality of a burn healed. I wanted to talk to her and find out what her story was, but she seemed enamored with the boy she was with, maybe I’ll see her next time I’m in Chicago.
Brad’s band had a great folk pop sound, they were tight, had nice harmonies, a great fiddle player and enticing energy. The dace floor was open so I took the opportunity to break it down in my usual outlandish manner. One woman said I was very comfortable in my body, I told her that it was tailored to fit. Eventually I started getting applause, so I took a break. We only had an hour or so for the four of us to play, so we took turns of 4 songs a piece. We were quite well received, making all kinda of Canada jokes, and the crow came up close. I went up last and a tall blond woman rushed me before I started, shocked that I wasn’t just there to dance. I got people moving, clapping and smiling, just like I like it. After the set, praise came from around the room and our plastic gas can was neatly stuffed with bills.
Off to Brad’s read some more about Jimmi and slept like a log. Brad was kind enough to wake up early with us to serve coffee and we were off again. The consensus was McDonalds for breakfast and I broke my year long break from Mc D’s. It was in a suburb of Chicago and appeared to be under construction. All the patrons and staff were black and apeared to be amuzed by my dancing to the soul and early r’n’b that was playing. On our way out, a distinguished gentleman in a suit pointed to me and said “that guy’s got rhythm”. “That’s nothing” as I broke it down further, to the laughter of the table. “Careful now, I don’t want to have to pick you up” said the gentleman as we left the restaurant.
We’re driving by yellowish fields again, it reminds me of Manitoba, flat forever. Cape Marneau next, in Missouri. I’ll let you know how it goes.