West is maybe my favourite direction. In Canada, anyway. It’s not that I don’t like East, but heading out West always feels like “coming home,” no matter where you end up. I don’t mind the flat, infinite stretches of Prairie, I fell in love with the mountains, and could spend days staring out at the Strait of Georgia and the North Pacific Ocean.
But this blog is specifically about the Prairies. We’ll be playing in and telling you about our time in every major city that the Spectator covers, starting with my default favourite – Winnipeg. Of course, we’re not playing here this week (just wait for September and October), but I can’t overlook our hometown.
It’s about 7:30 a.m. and I’m typing this as I sit in my tiny kitchen in the heart of Osborne Village, counting down the hours to getting the hell out of here for a while. I say that only because the waiting part of the whole pre-road trip/tour thing is a brain-killer: you can’t really do that much but sit around until things start to happen, or the van gets moving. Said van is currently being picked up in Lockport by our drummer Ryan Coates and guitarist Jory Hasselmann (who will be joining me in some writing here at some point).
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Waiting to get going also sort of forces you to start missing your city. While everyone thinks that touring is nothing but fun (and it is really, really fun most of the time), you’re still taking time off work that could’ve been used for a “real” vacation, and leaving most of your friends and family behind, just to hang out in a van for some long, long drives. I miss Winnipeg every time I leave it. I miss my girlfriend, I miss my favourite pizza place, I miss Standard Lager. Luckily, playing shows while you’re away is usually enough to keep those things off your mind for a little while.
So today, we and Cannon Bros. are off to Regina to play O’Hanlon’s. We’ve never played in Regina. I’m hoping we don’t get run off the road by Roughriders fans (like my family). After this year’s Folk Fest, though, every time I think of Regina I’ll think of Hayes Carll’s brilliant t-shirt idea – “Regina: Not the hole you think it is.”
We’re not chasing a dream, or an idea, girls, boys, fame, or even money. What we’re chasing on this tour, the thing the journey is really all about, is pizza. So tell us where to get the best slice in Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, and Edmonton. There’s nothing we’d like to know more.
And here’s the best song about touring Western Canada that we know: Rheostatics – We Went West.
Haunter & Cannon Bros. Prairies Tour 2013 dates:
Aug. 20 – Regina – O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub
Aug. 22 – Calgary – The Palomino
Aug. 23 – Edmonton – The New Wunderbar Hofbrauhaus w/Animal Teeth (WPG) and The Good Goddamns (EDM)
Aug. 24 – Saskatoon – Vangelis Tavern w/Pandas in Japan (SK) and Acronyms (SK)
Matt Williams is a Winnipeg-based writer and musician infatuated by lady country singers. Follow him on Twitter @MattGeeWilliams. Follow his band, Haunter, on Twitter @HaunterMusic.
For more, follow @SpectatorTrib on Twitter.