Locomotive Ghost and the Physical Maladies

No, it's not a musical side project, or a new Harry Potter book.  This past weekend we had a serious bout with performance injuries and technical difficulties. 

Gosh, sometimes It sure is handy that I'm a sound engineer.  On Friday night when we arrived at The Thirsty Bear Saloon in Waterton we discovered that the venue had no sound tech, no mics, no stands, no cables, no stage monitors - in fact no stage at all.  There was just a powered mixer and a pair of the giant Peavey speakers I battled with for two years when I worked at Finley's Irish Bar & Grill back in Nelson.  Fortunately we'd brought just enough "emergency backup gear" to make the show happen.

The room, with its high sloped ceilings, wraparound upper balcony, and mainly wood construction was actually quite nice to play.  It wasn't a super busy night, but there were enough people there to give us the energy we needed.  The first set played out pretty well and we were definitely warming into it as we went along.  We started the second set with our new cover of "Graceland", and, oh boy, was that fast.  Mike immediately broke a guitar string and had to switch to playing electric for the remainder of the night.  Then Cort's right leg just completely seized up.  When he got out from behind the kit I could immediately tell that something was wrong.  He showed me the knot in his calf and I swear it was the size of a chestnut.  He quickly tried to stretch it out some, but it didn't go away.  He had to completely change his kick drum technique in order to finish the show.  Then Mike's voice started going.  Mike's had nights where he's gotten tired before, but never like that.  Despite our tribulations we finished that second set and had fun with it, thanks largely to the handful of folks who danced right in front of us the whole time. 

Side note: If you ever feel awkward about stepping onto a sparse dance floor just know that, by doing so, you yourself are making a major contribution to the quality of the performance.

On Saturday night we played the Owl Acoustic Lounge in Lethbridge.  That venue has a really pleasant atmosphere and a genuine interest in good music.  I experienced it first hand back in February when I played a show with Myriam Parent.  Our timing wasn't particularly good to play that night because we were competing with a musical festival, Whoop-up Days, absence of students, and a million birthdays and weddings (seriously, every single person I know in that town had prior commitments).  The folks who were there made us feel welcome though.  We had to pace ourselves so that Cortney's leg wouldn't completely crap out.  Also, Mike's voice died again halfway through the first set, and he could barely speak, but for some reason he could still sing well enough that nobody else would have noticed.  That's Mike Buckley for you.  We had our Album Cover Crayon Colouring Contest again, the results of which you can see here.  At the end of the night, when we were far too exhausted to drive, we went to Mike's sister's apartment and crashed in the living room.  Thanks Natalie!

Highlights of the weekend: Donovan's sound at The Owl; me driving a car to give Cort's leg a break (only my fourth time ever); Britney accompanying us on vocals and percussion through a number of songs (she's the vocalist on our recording of "One Night Left"); the stars, lakes and mountains of Waterton (I took some photos on my iPod and posted them here); Matt Robinson opening even though he was way better than us; Mike going vintage electric guitar shopping (stop thinking and just buy that white Telecaster!); surviving the weekend!

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