Saturday, September 15, 2007

Harvest Jazz and Blues, Day 2

Well, we wimped out last night after our show at the Delta. Running on three hours sleep was not going to be good so we had a big rest and started our second festival day feeling great. First stop was Hammertown for breakfast at Joe's Diner.
Hammertown is across the river from downtown Fredericton and takes it's name from a murder which took place there many years ago. For all I know, Joe's may have been there just as long! It's a classic diner. The waitress was called Flo, they had homemade bread, jars of mollasses on the counter, beans on the breakfast menu... Dave and I pretty much ordered up one of everything they had and stuffed ourselves silly.

Back to the hotel where I thought I'd give a call over to my pals in the Workers- Watermelon Slim's excellent, excellent band. Michael Newbury answered the phone sounding the worse for wear- noon was way too early to be calling these guys! I settled into the hotel lobby to do some press releases for our upcoming Ontario dates. Nice not to be traveling today.

PJ's Lounge at the Delta is a comfortable little room with great food and a friendly vibe. Dave and I played a relaxed couple of sets. It didn't seem as though there were many, if any, festival people in the house. There was some sort of Baptist convention (I think) going on, so there were guys in dark blazers sipping pop and water. We had a great time playing for them- even if we are going to roast in hell for our sins! After the show Dave borrowed a big knife from a table so he could cut bagels in his room. As we walked through the lobby I was expecting security to jump all over us. Instead, we scared some lady in the elevator. I'm not sure if she saw the knife.

Off to the festival to catch up with Slim and the guys. Hung out in the trailer/green room for a while and got up to date. Brent Staeben, the festival AD came by for a visit. This Festival is great. The whole city is really into it, the locations are nice and are walking distance apart without too much sound leakage. Volunteers are all over the place doing a top notch job of making everything go. It's an exciting mix of international, national and regional artists. There are many great players based in Atlantic Canada, and what a treat to hear so many in the course of a few days!

Slim and the Workers delivered their usual knock down, over the top, leave 'em screaming for more kind of show. Watching from the side stage I know these guys are exhausted, but it's a secret. No one would ever suspect that to see and hear them lay down their show.
In my opinion this is the most exciting live show on the circuit today- and you won't meet a nicer bunch of guys. After the encore I'm off to visit Matchstick Mike at the Rogue pub, just a couple of blocks away. Mike is, of course, tearing the house down. He's loud and he's proud. He's got one of the tightest sections I've heard in a long while, and he's got Mark "Bird" Stafford from Toronto sitting in on harp. I've heard the Bird many times over the years with his own band, but I'd never heard him in such a ramped up band setting before- killer! This band was fun! Spoke to Sarah French briefly before heading back to the hotel. These guys were going to play all night. Dave and I have three shows on Saturday, so I'll want to be in good shape.

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