Saturday, October 6, 2007

Le Zaricot- tres bon!!

Le Zaricot in Ste Hyacinthe, Quebec, is one of my favourite venues anywhere. Hands down. I love playing this place, and Saturday's show did not let me down! The owner, William, came to Canada from France several years ago with the intention of opening a blues club. Somehow life brought him to Ste Hyacinthe- a very cool little town on the south shore, about an hour east of Montreal. Here he built a room specifically for acoustic blues concerts. It's a beautiful, all wood space with great sight lines, state of the art sound, lights and stage.
William has trained his audiences well- people who make noise during a show will be thrown out- so it's more like a concert venue than a bar. Here's Dave and I relaxing in the Green Room before the show.

Our friends Little Miss Higgens (Little Miss and Foy Taylor) from Saskatchewan, had a night off in their touring schedule of Ontario, so we invited them out to Ste Hyacinthe to open for us, meet William, and experience the vibe. Chris, the sound tech, met us on the street to help us load in. This was only the begining of the courtesy and hospitality we were to experience here. Sound was close to perfect on stage and in the mains. Maybe it was perfect. It sure was easy to play. Likewise, the lighting and stage presentation was great.

Little Miss Higgens put out an intense opening set. Big applause from the crowd. Miss Higgens didn't play an encore, but could of. Very cool show. She's a really good guitar player and presents a contemporary blues show built on influences like Memphis Minnie and early Big Big Broonzy. Foy nails in the second line. Very strong original songs with a strong sense of place. These folks are from a little place called Nokomis where you can look down the street and see the horizon! Little Miss Higgens will be showcasing next week at the OCFF Conference in London, Ontario, as well as doing a couple of dates in the Toronto area. They are well worth going to see, and I bet you'll be hearing them at quite a few festivals next season.

Dave and I had a great time playing for the Ste Hyacinthe crowd, despite being a little nervous at delivering our show in English to this french speaking room. I used what little french I know, and we cut our storytelling down, and everything was tres bon. You could hear a pin drop in that room, and this crowd was with us from the moment we started. Ended the night with two standing ovation encores. We shook hands and waved to the room at the end of the night. What a fabulous way to end the eastern leg of the Tour! We've had a great time, and it all just seems to be getting better.

I sampled a local beer made with hot peppers before going back to the hotel- very tasty, indeed. Thank you Ste Hyacinthe! In the morning I'll be dropping Dave at the Montreal airport before taking the truck back to Toronto. Dave's doing a band gig in Winnipeg on Sunday night. I'll be flying out to meet him on Wednesday, at which point the Tour picks up in Kenora, ON. We'll be playing all but three days of thirty-some odd days on the upcoming western Tour. Could get kinda wild!

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