Friday, November 2, 2007

Moose Jaw, SK

This is how it looks on the road out here!
Not a long drive from Nokomis to Moose Jaw. I'm really glad to be playing Moose Jaw because I've never been here before and because it's got such a cool, Canadian name. These gigs carry a lot of weight in other parts of the world! Moose Jaw, Medicine Hat, Saskatoon... Too cool. I'm in a bit of a panic today as I've noticed a little ripple in the back bumper of the rental van. Just a little ripple. I didn't hit anything, but I'm thinking somebody must of backed into the truck at some point. I didn't notice it before. I'm thinking how another rental company once charged me hundreds of dollars for a similar ripple. Dave is saying don't worry, they'll never notice. I'm thinking about the ways in which the universe seems to come up with to separate me from money. I try to put it out of my mind. I'll find out in a couple of days, and there is surely nothing I can do about it today. But it is a tiny, little ripple, very hard to notice. Maybe we'll be OK.

Moose Jaw was Dave's home for a few years when he was a kid, so we took a few minutes and toured his old stomping grounds. We took pics of the house where he used to live, and the church where his Dad used to preach. The visit brought back a lot of old memories for Dave, and I was happy to be along for the ride.

Here's a cool shot of Dave casting a long shadow on his past. "Send us your money- and say you BELIEVE!"

Jake's Saloon is down on River St., with a couple of other big old hotels. When we walk in there is country music cranked up on the jukebox. A couple of pool tables are busy. The video gambling terminals are also busy. It's a big room with signs on the walls that say things like "yee-haw, partner!" There is a huge dance floor in front of the small stage, and a battered PA system is piled on the floor, not connected. This could be an interesting night- like real work, not the sissy, soft seaters we've been playing for the last two months! We've got four hours to kill before soundcheck, so we head over to our hotel to sleep for a while. This is the place- Capones. Named for Al. I end up doing a merch inventory, and checking the books. I do this pretty much daily, with a different merch sheet for each venue, and I also keep detailed expense and income books. Receipts are filed, fuel expenses are calculated. I can run an Excel spreadsheet on just about any aspect of the Tour. All the sold out shows and merch sales have enabled this Tour to gross well beyond my original projections. A little luck and a little skill, and quite a few years of doing this. It's all teamwork.

Back for soundcheck to discover that the PA has been set up and is waiting for us. I bring in a couple of mics and stands, and after a quick strum we are pretty much in gear. The room is nearly empty, and Dave is not optimistic. But we've got a ten o'clock start here, so it's back to the hotel for a couple of hours. I'm noodling around on my National when Dave drops by with his. We trade off a few licks and chords. This is the first time, off stage, in two months that we've had time and energy to hang out and jam a little. Here's a cafe across from the Hotel. I'd like to buy this place and open a blues club in it. The neon sign out front "National Cafe" would be worth the price of the business. It's now a Chinese food joint, so no breakfast treats for Dave and I.

To our surprise the club is beginning to fill as we arrive. It's a friendly crowd and Danny, the owner, is playing DJ and setting the mood in the room. We hear Sonny Terry, Wolf, Harpdog Brown... a whole bunch of cool stuff. Just before showtime a bunch of pals from the Regina Delta Blues Association came walking in! Too cool! They'd driven to Moose Jaw to catch the show again! Red Beard and Dale are hard core! We've got a good crowd as we roll into our first set, and they appear to be listening. Dave and I are in "bar mode" anyway, speaking a bit less and wanking a bit more. The night goes well, and passes quickly. I end the night with an old Pearly Brown number, sung off- mic. We pack out, buy hot dogs from the cart outside and head back to our hotel.

The heater in my room is broken. It's over 90 degrees, so I turn the air conditioning on full blast. The two units will fight with one and other for the rest of the night. There's nothing but 50 channels of nothing on the TV. Sleep. There's only one show left in this Tour. It seems unbelievable.

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