What does autumn mean to you? Is it school supplies? Country drives? Pumpkin beer? Crippling fear of the upcoming winter? Excitement for the ski season?
For Beams, and many other devout music lovers, it means going underground to cozy up in the Dakota Tavern, where we will be every Tuesday in November!
We’re going to be kicking off every Tuesday at 10PM and sharing the night with different folks each week. We’re going to play old Beams stuff, new Beams stuff, borrowed non-Beams stuff, you get the drift!
We’ll be playing early sets for the 9-5ers and late sets for those who don’t have anywhere to be in the morning or are just too cozy to leave.
Here’s who we’ve invited to the party:
Week one: We have special guest Chris Culgin, from Peterborough, with his excellent boot-scootin’ band and old-timey croon:
Week Two: This Hamilton favourite will be ringing their Dinner Belles (which also happens to be their name!):
Week Three: The smooth, tasteful and fantastic Stonetrotter from Barrie, who have a new album out! words don’t do them justice, you have to come out, says I:
Week Four: The cinematic folks Torero (our neighbours!) with their self-described “desert rock”, so good:
I’m glad I had the foresight to take Wednesdays off in November. This is gonna’ be good.
Hey! So, it’s time to tell you about the rest of the tour, which will be difficult to do within the conventions of the length of a blog post, but I’ll try.
A couple of weekends ago we continued our US tour, this time to Arlene’s Grocery in Manhattan! We had a great time exploring the city on our day there, and then playing with Floating Compass and Oak and Ash. We played a great set, had some delicious pizza, and then went for a nighttime adventure in Bay Ridge. Beams <3 New York.
After a few days back at work, we set out again, stopping off for a show with pals Run Coyote at the Boathouse in Kitchener before heading down to Cleveland. Where did we play in Cleveland? I’ll give you some clues: it’s a multi-level old-school bowling alley with pinball machines that also contains a fried chicken stand, a bar, and a small vintage clothing store. You guessed it! Mahall’s. What a place. It was so nice that we played there twice. What a treat.
We ended up with the second Cleveland show because we had a day off. We got the offer while we were at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. By the way, did you know that if you’re a band, and you bring a copy of your album, you can get admission for free? So awesome!
Anyway, once we were done at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame it was time to drive back to Mahall’s for the second show. We were about halfway there on the highway when Keith turned to me and said there was something wrong with the speedometer – it was showing zero, but we were travelling at highway speed. Right after he said that, we heard a loud “clunk!” underneath the van, so we decided to get off the highway. As we slowed our speed we realized that the transmission wasn’t shifting properly, so we drove in first gear, slowly, to Mahall’s. When we got out, we realized that we also had a fast leak in the rear tire. Since it was Saturday and all of the shops were closed, Keith changed the tire, Craig got a rental minivan, we went ahead and played the second show and left the van in a parking lot for the night.
The next day we woke up early and called some garages, but none were open because it was Sunday. Also, Sunday brunch isn’t really a thing in Cleveland, so we went to Happy Dog for some breakfast hot dogs (and to try to get a last minute show). After being there for a couple of hours we finally left and gravitated toward the van, not really sure what to do. At some point, Mike walked over to Mahall’s and ran into a friend who connected him to a mechanic on the phone. The mechanic suggested that it was the speed sensor that had malfunctioned and that we could probably find the part ourselves at Autozone.
At Autozone, Keith got underneath the van in the parking lot, found the part, and we confirmed the part number – but they didn’t have any in stock. So we called around until we found an O’Reilly’s across town who had one. Success! We managed to get there five minutes before closing time. Then Keith installed the part and we had a celebratory dinner at the Winking Lizard.
Monday morning, now that shops were open, we went to a Firestone for a new tire and then carried on to Columbus, where we played a cool house show. The house seemed like it was mainly for music-making, not so much for living, but it was awesome and I found what I think might be one of my new favourite bands there.
On Tuesday we woke up and got on the road to Bowling Green, Kentucky, stopping for lunch at Eli’s BBQ in Cincinnati on the way. My uncle currently lives in Kentucky with a couple of pals, so we stopped off at their place, had a swim and some sloppy joes, played with some tiny dogs, and went off to the gig, which was at a cozy pool hall. Everyone was very sweet there, I believe we crossed the ma’am line at some point while we were driving. We also visited the Buffalo Trace distillery and learned a lot about how bourbon is made. Education!
We’re still recovering from the many, many hours of sitting in a van, but it was one for the books and that’s why I’m writing so much about it. If you’ve made it this far, I should tell you about some upcoming shows:
Fri, Sept 11 – Wakefield @ The Black Sheep (tickets)(Facebook Event)
Thurs, Sept 17 – Toronto @ Burdock Music Hall (Facebook Event)
Fri, Sept 18 – Owen Sound @ Heartwood Concert Hall (Tickets)(Facebook Event)
Thurs, Sept 24 – Toronto @ The Gladstone (Details Here)
And we’ll have a residency at the Dakota in November, so stay tuned for that! We’ll be trying out some new stuff and have a different guest every week. It’ll be fun.
First part of the news: we have a new video! I’m not sure why, or if I’ve said this before, but videos are very difficult and take a long time for us to make, so this is a big deal. I worked with Erin Fleck (one of the creators of the Black Shadow video) on the treatment. The Way We Run is about how oppressive the city can be if you don’t have the time or means to enjoy it. In the video, Beams has to escape the city. Each member is only allowed to bring three things with them, and we choose snorkels, wine, cats, snakes, gameboys, special photos. What would you bring? My original choice was trail mix, water and toilet paper, but then we decided to go with things that were more sentimental than sensible.
The Way We Run was directed and edited by Luke Higginson (who did the trailers for Just Rivers as well as the video for I’m Not Human) and shot by Cabot McNenly with his assistants Tyler Shoemaker and Andrea Krepelka. The animation is by Aaron Long, who’s recently had a sweet gig storyboarding Bojack Horseman.
Now for the tour news. We had originally planned to play Nashville on August third, Bowling Green on the fourth, and Nashville again on the fifth, but as things sometimes go, our plans were foiled. Our visas took longer to process than originally thought: after waiting the standard forty-five days, we found out that there was an additional twenty-six day backlog, meaning that we would get our visas after the last date of our tour. The options seemed stark: either shell out another grand to expedite them (and still get them two weeks late), or convince one of the venues to ask their local congressman to request it be expedited. It was a long shot but Marty from Mohawk Place in Buffalo came through for us and his congressman in New York helped us out!
We thought that we’d have our visas by Monday the third, so we played a last minute set in Windsor at the Phog on Sunday night so that we’d wake up nice and close to the border, but Monday morning we got an email saying that our visas would actually be ready Tuesday afternoon. So, we had to cancel our first Nashville gig, which was a bummer. We made the best of it though. We hung out at our friend’s place, played Settlers of Catan and Euchre, went to a local pool, had dinner; we made do.
We woke up on Tuesday morning to see that we had been approved on the visa website but wouldn’t get the papers that we needed for a few days because of some sort of bureaucratic shenanigans. Mike fought hard for us all day, and someone working in the office did eventually take mercy on us, but even her powers did not manage to get our papers to us on Tuesday, so we had to cancel our Bowling Green show. By this time we’d also learned that our second Nashville show had been cancelled. So, although we were quite disappointed, we set out on a mission to get another gig in Windsor while we were there, and ended up playing a pretty fun gig at the Windsor Beer Exchange.
Finally, everything came in Wednesday morning and, after not too much time at the border, we got over to Detroit (USA! USA! USA!) where we were welcomed by Robocop.
Since our show at BLDG in Nashville was cancelled we decided to visit PJ’s Lagerhouse to make the best of our day off and our expectations were greatly exceeded. We made friends, ate delicious po’boys, Heather had a beer that she actually liked (I had a mango habanero cider!), we got to play with an incredible band called Mountain Animation, and slept for free, courtesy of our gracious hosts at Trumbullplex.
Thursday morning found us on the road to Buffalo after a little brunch, and when we got to Mohawk Place I knew it would be a good show. The audience actually threw down to some of the songs, Mike’s mom came, we made even more friends, and then got to sleep in our own beds that night. Score. Buffalo is not just a place to get cheap Levi’s.
Our tour continues even though we’re home: on Saturday we woke up super early to drive to Boler Mountain in London to play Mantis Eco & Arts Fest. I am a sucker for playing outside, and as we played the songs I was reminded of the environmentalist themes that live inside them. Then, in the evening, we played at the Manantler brewery in Bowmanville. I suppose that has environmental themes too – buy local!
We’ve got lots of stuff coming up! This is what’s set in stone so far:
Yeah, I know you’re going to ask – what’d it do to us? 😉
We are making our first foray into the States to make some new friends and playing a few gigs around town too. The summer is coming alive!
Here is what we have lined up so far:
Aug 3 – The Basement East (Nashville, TN)
Aug 4 – Tidball’s (Bowling Green, KY)
Aug 5 – BLDG (Nashville, TN)
Aug 6 – Mohawk Place (Buffalo, NY)
Aug 8 – Mantis Eco & Arts Fest (London, ON)
Aug 13 – The Cameron House (Toronto, ON)
Aug 14 – The Junction City Music Hall (Toronto, ON)
Aug 16 – Arlene’s Grocery (New York, NY)
Aug 21 – Mahall’s (Cleveland, OH)
Aug 25 – Melody Inn (Indianapolis, IN)
Sept 11 – The Black Sheep (Wakefield, PQ)