10.12.2008. Canada Burns, Exclusive DISMEMBER and AUGURY Official Tour Report
ShutterBLAST's overseas cooperations are bringing to you exclusively the official Augury/Dismember tour report for their trek over Canada in November 2008!
Vocalist and guitarist Patrick Loisel takes over the writing duties in the name of both bands and photos are courtesy of Renaud Sakelaris.
Here is Patrick Loisel, vocalist and guitarist for Augury and this is our official tour report , and quite an adventure it was! We were in studio during the night between October 26th and 27th, and a few hours later we were in the van on our way to Sherbrooke, first stop on our third Canadian tour, this time with Swedish pioneers Dismember. Between now and then, enough stuff to pack a diary but not enough of it that I remember because there is just too much to remember already.
Our caravan includes the four Augury guys (Mat, Forest, Étienne and Myself) , the five Swedes (Matti, Mart, David, Tobias and Thomas) and our beloved support crew : Stephane Paré (the funny guy who used to front Quo Vadis and owner of Disconcert Music), Maxime Bellerose (official merch boy and guitarist of Lacrimae Mortalium ) and finally our commander in chief Mr François Ouellet (Augury manager and bassist for Urban Aliens), all spread between our Chevy Astro Van and the Ostrovan (a pretty battered Plymouth Voyager adorned with brown faux wood door ornaments that fell off within a week). For the first four dates, photographer Renaud Sakelaris joined us and not only did he take great pics, but also helped a lot with merch and gear... all the stuff that makes a tour fun!!!!
We were fully equiped, even with a GPS. That device is magic, it tells you which exit is the right ... the one we just missed!!!
Even before we left Quebec, the adventure started with Stephane getting mistaken for a terrorist at the airport while getting Dismember merch, lots of people to pick up and a hell of a schedule . The first three shows were with Symbolic, a local tribute to Death who are not only as good as the original but hella cool ! We soon discovered that Scandinavians were only serious in appearance because they have quite a sense of humour ! And they discovered that Quebec has some wacky people as well. We introduced them to some local wackiness with Normand L'Amour (an elderly nonsensical signer who says that Jesus commanded him to publish 141 albums in 5 years, the latest one entitled ''Heavy Metal of Love'' !!!). As a fervent disciple, Mat bought a bunch of those to traumatize inexperienced ears! The shows went well and the audiences had a reaction far beyond what their numbers would normally allow. I had a sore throat starting in Quebec City but and only latter in the tour did I stop sounding like the Godfather , thanks to Matti's advices. Dismember always give a tremendous performance with a different set every night ( with much of it often chosen by the crowd) , the major variable between each of their sets being the number of pranks they play on each other.
We played our home town of Montreal on the 27 of November and spent a relaxing night in our own beds before heading for Ottawa were we were introduced to some turtle vs snowman perversion, courtesy of our friends Insurrection who did their best to relive us after a trek in Slush Hell! After mere hours of sleep, we head toward London to play the renovated, and most important, exorcised Embassy. I found there that a less than 100 lbs lady could yell way louder than me!!! Next day, we drive off to Toronto. It's Halloween night and Frankie told us that he bought masks for the occasion. The three others having had their picks, I ended with some kind of bearded pizza face, while Mat gained long hair back again with the facial features of Optimus Prime. Forest was given the Iron Mask and Etienne opted for his long beloved disco afro wig! In all our ungrimmness, we played 'Ever know peace again' with the vocal help and windmill virtue of Stephane Paré.
We were then awaited in Sudbury to meet a bunch of Wolven pals, but less than one hour short of entering the city, our van issued a loud bang, then started to thrash side to side. A worrying crunching noise came from under the engine and we had no choice but summon a towing. We thus had to unload the trailer of its precious and cold sensitive cargo to shelter us from the chilling winds. It almost turned to a party in there before Steph came back with the Plymouth to drive us to Sudbury where we joined Max with our merch. We finally found an hotel and eagerly woke up the next morning to phone the garage. Bad news: The necessary part is back order like everywhere in the area, this was the week end, no repair possible before mid-week...... After thinking the situation, we decided to rent two vehicles. Etienne and Forest completed the tour together in a Dodge van with all the gear while me, Frank, Mat and Max would lead with a small Hyundai, Steph and Dismember having already left earlier for our next resting stop, Thunder Bay.
Our tired team finally made it there in the wee hours of the morning, sadly missing a party thrown for us by local friends. We slept for a few hours and we're ready to depart for the next gig in Winnipeg when Frank's cellphone rang with bad news: Mere hours after our own , the 1996 Plymouth supplied to Dismember by the tour's organiser broke ; this in spite of the fact that its trailer was loaded only with T-Shirts and other light items. It's a blessing that thing never made it to the Rockies or else bigger problems would have arisen for sure. While Steph and the Dismember guys wait at TB airport for a van to be rented, we head to Winnipeg, 8 hours further on the road. We arrived in time and played our set in front of some of Canada's finest metal merchants : Into Eternity. Another band we wish to tour with someday!!! Dismember arrived shortly after we started and played in time too. Our tour was back on the road!
Soon, the lush lake shores and mountains slowly turned into total flatness as we were heading West. There we feel like a point on a giant, perfectly horizontal piece of paper. We could almost perceive Earth's rotundity watching the horizon as we cross what used to be a muddy sea bottom, thousands of years ago... Saskatoon is next on our way. We were pleased to have way more people than the two previous times ( the fate always sends us there on a Monday or Tuesday... ) and we even had enough for a mosh pit!!!! Since both guitar players in Dismember had their birthdays during that week of the tour, they partied... very calmly. To be honest, we are often depicted as calm and quiet people...but those Swedes almost made us look like Guns and Roses!!!! Well, save for bass player Tobias, who gladly stayed up with us and partook into our numerous pranks and jokes. We entered Alberta the following day , playing first Edmonton, then Calgary. Bigger crowds, awesome opening acts, cool people (but you ALWAYS meet cool people on tour!!!)... we wanna come back! The only sad event happened in the latter city, where Mat badly cut his finger tip while trying to fix a fan (the air moving device, not a groupie!) , the propeller of which cutting exactly where he usually pushes on the strings. This was like, the first or second song of the show! Despite the worry and pain, and with lots of duct tape, our brother still was able to complete his performance and go on with the tour.... For my part, I popped a gigantic abscess on my right index that week. It didn't prevent me to play but that was painful. The stuff that came out of it looked like sate sauce, but smellier! Show must go on!
Then, we leave Calgary and I saw my friend Frankie have the blast of his life: The towering Rockies made him feel really, really small. We had some scary moments as well since our rental vehicles were not being equiped with winter tires, as we cross the higher reaches at 40 km/h, even with the brakes fully applied when we're on the downward slopes! We've had snow only three times during the tour : On our way to Ottawa (drowning in frigid slush), there in the mountains, and then on our way back between Prince Georges and Calgary. But that day atop the Rockies was far beyond slippery, me and Etienne spending all those hours trying to keep our respective cars onto the road!
Then, Magic!!! The snow vanishes, the trees are green... no more winter! We entered beautiful Kelowna and played there in a gymnasium, before one of the most hyperactive crowds of the tour. What a mosh pit there was! I wonder if we could channel the energy of a rotating crowd of happy kids somewhere and make electricity... I am working on this! We leave to Vancouver the next morning through the Fraser valley. Boy, where were we yesterday? I look from left to right all the time. Are we in a tropical rain forest or what? Magnificent trees covered with moss emerge out of the fog, the mountain tops disappear in the clouds... I almost expected to see a dinosaur pop its head out of the mist to chomp on leaves (or cars, depending on the species). We are in November, and everything is green, while our hometown is flooded in slush... It's like another world and the feeling of being lost in the wild follows us almost all the way to Vancouver.
The venue tonight is the Cobalt, property of local legend Wendy 13, and our friends Goddess and Todd show up with a gargantuan lasagne for each band... that was godly! I then went to sleep in the van, exhausted from the drive, and woke up surrounded by my worried band mates who spent several minutes trying to wake me up. During my nap, the adjacent car in the parking was broken in and syringes had appeared on the ground next to my door. Forgot to mention that when night comes here, Zombies are out.... They appear in back alleys and slowly spread in the streets, hollow eyed, slow paced and moaning something indecipherable while they scan the ground for a forgotten rock... I get out of the car and into the bar... the place is full, and the heat is.. fewwww! Mosh pits, girls shirts thrown on stage, ovations from cheerfuls kids (and in that case older people )Is it me, or the crowds in the West are really into it? Metal lives in Canada! Load the cars, go to the hotel to catch some sleep (after playing pranks on the local promoter), and we are on our way to the ferry that will take us to Victoria, on Vancouver Island. We crossed the channel in orca territory, trying to look overboard for some marine life and my long haired friends were quite a funny sight in all that wind! We arrived on the island and drove the 24 km to the venue in down town Victoria, wondering if the rent here was affordable... This place was cool, with the hotel being next door to the venue.. to bad we couldn't take benefit of it since we had to leave during the night to be able to catch the first ferry at like, six or seven in the morning....
Then came the long, long road toward Northern BC. We left Victoria at 4-5 in the morning and arrived in Prince Georges for what was supposed to be the last show of the tour. We saw the scenery change from lush to desert and we almost felt we were in some cowboy movies.... along the road, we started to worry since the local promoter had been unreachable for over a week. When we arrived in Prince Georges, long past dusk, a bleak feeling pervaded our ranks. What's happening? We found the venue and were welcomed at the gate by David Blomqvist, founder and guitarist of Dismember. With a sad look he pointed toward a hockey rink full of people... playing hockey. No trace of stage or any concert related equipment. He simply said: ''This is where we were supposed to play''. We happened to learn that the local promoter had canceled the event long ago, without even telling the organiser and the bands. We drove like 12 hours for nothing and when we though about using the contract to collect our guarantees, we found the corresponding piece of paper void of any signature!
This is where Dismember decided to part way with us as they asked Stephane to leave immediately for Calgary where their flight back home was scheduled. That was the very first time in twenty years that they got a show cancelled in their faces like that, without notification. Despite conditions and turn-off far below what they were accustomed to in Europe, they were really cool with us, and they were the ones asking for a group pix before they went they way. It was a sad conclusion but we dug each other's music and will tour together again whenever possible!
Now, we are stuck in there...Since there is no show, there is no Hotel to go and we were invited to sleep over at a house that serves also as a rehearsal space for Native themed black metal band Gyibaaw ( another very cool bunch) who played for us in their well insulated room at 3 in the morning!!! Mere hours later, Mat and Etienne took the plane to rush back to Montreal where our album was getting mixed. The only way to achieve a presence there without cancelling the tour was to fly them since our mix sound engineer J-F Dagenais had to complete the process before we would arrive back home by road. A busy man indeed, but kind enough to give us some unexpected extra time when all off us were back home... Praise this cool little man!!!
The return trip was an adventure as well: Drive from Prince Georges and Calgary through a foot of snow and zero visibility, rejoin Steph at the hotel, sleep, then drive to Regina where our friend Sharee welcomes us with her kind hospitality (that girl rules!!!). Then a 16 hours drive to Thunder Bay, where the van rented for Dismember had to be brough back, (and we left Max there to have the Ostrovan fixed since he had to use it to go pick up Moonsorrow in the USA for a further Canadian tour) ; another 16 hours to Sudbury, where the two vehicles rented by Augury had to be brought back as well (they give a huge fine if you dare let the vehicles in another branch than the one where we picked it up), but we had first to get the Astro at the garage, then bring it back to Sudbury, switch gear between trucks then on the road again for another 10 hours to Montreal where we had to unload and bring the equipment where it belongs (in Cité 2000 for the drums and bass gear, in our respective homes for Mat and myself), bring everyone and their belongings to the comfort of their house and yet my truck is still full with sleeping backs, various novelty item bought along the road.... I am still in the process of cleaning it!!!!