Canada - What a Doll
This is my - K J Cooper's version of events...The others may write something. There is a chance they will write nothing because they are overwhelmed with my fantastic ability to capture life in words.
So Canada. Canada in winter and Iron On. And Snow. Real snow and of course shows. Four shows. But let's start with the snow. So we arrive in Canada. 11pm at night and we are waiting on the tarmac and it's snowing outside. Real snow. Everyone surrounding Ross and I are trying to figure out what we are so excited about. Yep. It's the snow. But it is exciting till we get outside the airport and try and breathe ice into our lungs. It's hard and weird but once we hit the pavement we have to concentrate on trying not to slip on the ice so we forget about the breathing thing.
The first big thing on the Iron On schedule is the Independent Music Awards. We were nominated for Best New International Act. We arrive at the venue and Simon (tour manager and all round bearded man) insists on taking our photo in front of the harbour. He makes us stand on the edge of the jetty that is covered in ice. It's freezing. I think we are going to die. I think I am going to slip on the ice and into the freezing harbour without playing a show. We don't. We make it inside. We aren't really told what we are supposed to do so we make our way to the artist area and watch some random bands. One is called Road train. I think they were being accepted into the hall of fame. They have a song called Road train enough said.
We didn't win the award. Ross manages to be in the 'washroom' when they announce the award. Our film clip gets played on some massive screens. Marieca, Ian and I get excited and eat cold food from a platter. We then go to a gay bar and watch drag kings perform Blink 182 and Good Charlotte.
Our first show is at a place called Kathedral. It's a punk club/crack den. And it's cold. At one point during the night I spend at least twenty minutes in the ladies with my shoes wedged in the hand dryer. I do this till I smell burning rubber. It feels great for about 5 seconds. Then my feet freeze and turn black.again(no they didn't really turn black!) We aren't scheduled to play till 1am. It's really late and we are a bit nervous. Some of our Canadian friends turn up about midnight. This makes us a little more nervous. But we play and there are people. More people than you'd expect on a Wednesday night at 1am when it's 20c outside.
The next show we played was at a place called El Mocambo, Toronto. There is some vague story about the Rolling Stones playing there recently. That's one thing about Toronto and indeed Canada, they are Stones crazy. Everyone has a stones story. Even me, except mine takes place at ANZ stadium anyway...
The club is a really nice sized room. Our brothers, the Gin Club play a fine set to a healthy crowd. We play around 10pm. I think we played out most of our nerves the previous show, so accordingly it goes pretty well or so I am told. I tell a story mid set about an incident the previous night involving a mouse, Tupperware and some weird alcohol that had a prawn on the label. I realise that it perhaps wasn't the best story to tell because our hosts were in the audience. I think they got it.
The next day all 14 of us head to Ottawa. We travel in a 4 car convey. Driving on the other side of the road is scary. After I scream and "brace brace" (the way the Cathay Pacific ladies showed us on the plane) because I think Ross is about to run us off the road into a frozen ditch when he turns to talk to me from the passenger seat I relax and tie my scarf around my eyes. Marieca ties her scarf around her head but that's because she truly believes she is David Lee Roth or at least some distant relative (like Liv and Steve Tyler).
The show in Ottawa, which is similar to Canberra but a lot prettier was a fun and hot. The place we played at was called Zahpod's. There of course was a Rolling Stones story. They had just been at the club filming a film clip. Pretty cool. Zaphod's also had a club charter that was amazing and progressive and I think a couple of clubs in the valley should look into getting them.
Before the show I forgot to take off my thermals. By the second song I thought I was playing at the Zoo in December, except that my thermals were bunched down around my knees under my jeans. How attractive.
That night we stayed in a jail. No it wasn't because the Giants committed illegal acts and we got arrested. The old Ottawa jail has been converted into an amazing place to stay. The building was massive, beautiful and vaguely creepy. One crime was committed that night by a nameless Gin Club member. Ask them.
We left early the next morning for Montreal. We stayed on the other side of town to the rest of the touring party and it wasn't because of the Gin Clubber's crimes, it's just how it worked out. The car park of the jail was completely iced over. I tied my scarf around my eyes, Marieca tied her scarf around her head, Ian marvelled at Ottawa clubs and the ability to get in when you are extremely intoxicated, Ross drove. An hour or so into the drive I pulled out our freshly printed MapQuest directions. It was all going smoothly until direction no. 12 instructed us to turn the wrong way down a one way street. A lot of swearing, tense conversation and some corn chips later we made it safely to our Montreal abode.
We had a few days off in Montreal and had a fantastic time exploring, shopping and eating. Montreal is a cool place. It really surprised me that such a place existed in the middle of Canada. I couldn't imagine such a French city existing in Australia. If it did it would be called a 'Migrant Enclave' and there would be stories on Today Tonight about why 'they' won't learn 'our' language.
We had lovely, generous hosts who made us detailed maps of places to visit. These were more accurate than our run in with map quest*. Montreal is a cold place. Really cold. One morning as we battled through ice cold rain that was coming down sideways our host announced that she could feel spring in the air. As she said this I tried not to slip on the ice that covered the pavement, Marieca begged to go home and change her wet jeans and Ian and Ross couldn't hear anything because of the wind.
Our last show was at a place called Main Hall. It's a relatively new venue about half the size of the zoo. Personally this felt like the worst show off the whole tour. I felt like nothing was going well. Half way through the set Satan came through the PA. We couldn't figure out what happened but we exorcised it quickly. We started well and ended well and according to Ian that's all we have to do. So I guess it wasn't that bad and apparently people dug it.
The Giants played a stellar set and Ian damaged his hand playing the tambourine like a maniac when they covered a Superchunk song. After the show we went downstairs to a bar and drank with some real life Montreal natives. There were dance offs and shots that are a whole lot larger than Australian shots. All in all Montreal was a blast. We didn't want to go but we figured we had taken up enough floor space and maple syrup.
The On's stayed on two extra days in Toronto. We had a show that fell through so we spent two days pretending we lived in Toronto and denying 48 hours in transit to get home.
In conclusion, Canada was very kind to Iron On. We played some really fun shows. We had time off to shop and explore. We met some amazing people. We got to hang out with our Canadian friends and we played a really stressful game of Scattergories.
Thanks to all who helped us get to Canada, helped us in Canada, came to our shows, looked after us, cooked for us, kept us warm and all those who were generally nice and supportive. You have no idea how much we appreciated it! We will be back soon.
* mapquest did actually help us in the end.
OH AND MORE NEWS SOON! NEW DATES! NEW PHOTOS! NEW MONKEYS (WE GOT THEM IN HONG KONG SO CHEAP!!!)