The Kee To Bala
so after a couple of hours sleep, I met up with mandi and erin on saturday morning at glencairn station and we did the drive up to bala (the cranberry capital of ontario!) erin is a HUGE lifesaver on this weekend. originally, mandi's boyfriend was supposed to drive us up to bala but he bailed on us at the last second (you've gotta be pretty flippin stupid to mess with mandi when it comes to sloan haha) and if it weren't for erin I wouldn't have been able to go. after some traffic and skilled navigation, we got to bala around lunchtime. we checked into our hotel (the bala bay inn..we crammed four people into a room with one bed haha) and then went for a picnic lunch. mandi made these amazing roasted red pepper/caramelised onion/goat cheese sandwiches, we had carrots and strawberries and raspberries, some sparkling grape juice and brownies and fruit.
it started raining and so we decided to head back to our room and watched the olympics (synchronised swimming!! we were amazed!), napped and waited til the rain stopped. we ventured outside and walked into town (by "town" I mean the approximately 10 shops along a 100m strip) and bumped into greg and andrew coming back from the lcbo and then patrick with his bike. we shopped around a bit, got ice cream/frozen yogurt (it was SO hot. like, 30C plus it was unbelievably humid. it was like being in a rainforest or something.) we walked back to the kee (the venue for the gig) and walked around to the back and hung out on the dock for about an hour, dipping our feet into the lake and chat-chitting - it was so nice on a hot day! we listened to the sound check and just veged for a bit
then miranda gave us a call saying that she was in bala and she came around back and we decided to head back to the room in search of dinner. we went to the restaurant downstairs and miranda and erin ordered food and mandi and I held off as we had more yummy sandwiches from lunch to eat in queue at the kee. mandi and I headed over and erin and miranda went upstairs for a bit. we get to the kee at like 7ish and there were already another couple ahead of us! they were called dan and katie and they were so nice and we chatted with them and ended up hanging out the rest of the night. usually mandi and I are first in line for miles but because the kee messed up on the time listed on the tickets (doors were really at 9 but some of the early tickets that were printed read 7pm, so these people didn't know they were so early). we were sitting there for a couple minutes and we saw chris and jay and they waved at us and met us for a chat. both guys were in a really good mood, excited for the show (this year was their tenth year in bala, or as chris said "our tenth year since we started our slow descent into hell" haha) we talked for a while and then the guys went for dinner. we hung out in line for a bit, erin and miranda joined us later on.
it started raining REALLY hard and there was a bit of cover from the roof if you stood close enough to the wall, however there were a ton of GIGANTIC spiders so we got wet and terrorised for a while
before doors, this older gentleman came and started chatting with the people behind us and turns out his son is steve (keyboard) with will currie, he was cute and proud of him and telling his friends that his son would be going on a cross-canada tour with sloan in the next couple weeks. we got into the kee around 9.20 and decided to make for the balcony (last year mandi got stuck up at the front of the pit and the stage is about 7 feet tall so you cannot see a thing if you're anything closer than 10 feet back, so the balcony looked like a solid idea). they were wristbanding the balcony which was really really nice because they only let about 50 people up there so the entire evening we didn't have to battle crowds or anything, it was great. there were a ton of sloan at the kee posters around so I knicked one (they were like industrial-stapled into the venue, so getting it off the wall was a challenge) and I bought another rolling stones/sloan tote bag because the one I have now is slowly starting to fall apart so this will be a good replacer. miranda bought a will currie shirt and a parallel play LP. the kee kind of looks like a barn inside? it was a really cool concept but it was the kind of place that was filled with scrunchies, cargo shorts, hollister polos and sirius 15. overall, cool though.
it doesn't look that tall, but even the tallest guys in the crowd couldn't see onto the stage from close range
will currie and the country french
came on first and during the first song, this guy called peter came up and was like "these guys are great! I've been friends with the bassist since grade 4!" and he was so sweet and stoked to be watching his pal up on stage. I told him I'd seen WCATCF about 5 times in toronto and really liked em etc. peter hung out with miranda and me for a while and went out onto the back porch thing and tried to get people to come in and watch the opening act. anyhow, the currie band were fantastic. they were the tightest I've seen them yet and they looked like they were having a great time and they put on a fantastic set.
the stage turnaround was pretty quick, but sloan didn't end up getting on til about 11.45. erin tried to stick it out but she was feeling really terrible so she decided to call it a night before the guys went on. I got to chat with a few of the will currie guys and tell them they did a great job. they opened with the rest of my life and continued through with a lot of singles and a few tracks that I don't often get to hear. the crowd was great and I was so glad the guys were playing there. everyone was jumping around and dancing and singing along and having a great time. definitely a step up from the football show they did a few weeks ago for sure. peter came back up and brought dan and we all hung out jumping around and having a great time.
during the jam in money city chris asked if anyone in the audience had any olympic connections and then got patrick to do three solos - a bronze (which he dubbed the "east germany" bronze medal solo), a silver (the american silver medal) and then a cracked out gold medal solo (canada I reckon). they did a great job on all the tunes, I was really pleased to hear don't you believe a word (I video'd it) as well as g turns to d and keep on thinkin..no cheap champagne..yet. someday I will cajole that jay ferguson into playing it while I'm around.
about half way through andrew (or as chris and I like to call him, david) took his shirt off and left the three of us speechless
they did end up giving each other a little kiss after this
don't you believe a word video
(watch it in high quality! the standard version is rubbish)g turns to d video
the show ended around 1.45 and people slowly cleared out. I got paul to give me a setlist (which he delivered with a smile, he's so nice to me and mandi lol), I tried to find another poster cos I was gonna mail the second one to my friend ciaran in australia (he's a huge sloan fan and it's unfortunate that he lives on the opposite side of the world and rarely ever gets to see them). there weren't any posters to be had (sorry ciaran!) but there was a drunken brawl on the way to the front doors which was kinda funny but mandi and I decided to avoid it and exit through the back doors. miranda went off to do something else but we decided to re-group by the bus later on. we bumped into chris and greg being mobbed by fans by the ladies' toilet and got up to chat and take a few photos
these are our new friends katie and dan who were in queue ahead of us
the WCATCF guys wanted a photo but didn't have a camera and chris goes "laura has one" and got me to take a few of them together
this girl wanted a photo taken on her blackberry and it was darkish so chris and her stepped into the women's washroom for better lighting and security got all antsy about him being in there lol
I somehow became the official sloan photographer and took some photos for more new friends, two really sweet boys from oshawa
I got chris to sign my bala poster
he also signed my tote
lol he signed the back as well because he didn't like the first attempt, this is his "old school signature with a tail"
we chatted with chris a bit more, fooled around a bit and hung with all our new friends and the will currie folks and then went outside to chat with the will currie people and hilarity ensued. aaron jumped in a puddle of sludge near us and managed to slime me, mandi and amanda. I saw mike and said hi to him for a bit and chatted with more country frenches. we met up with chris again out front and chatted for like an hour or something about all sorts of stuff (apparently patrick is hilarious and andrew's not a fan-hater, he's just andrew.) miranda got a kiss from chris and is looking like she's ready to leave camp patrick. george stroumboulopoulos came and hung with us for a bit too (random? I had no idea he was even there lol..why was he there?) george was like "I was sitting watching andrew drumming once he took his shirt off, and he was hunched over and I was looking for a ripple and nothing! if I was hunched over there'd be 15 rolls!" basically andrew = man of sex. one of the bala security guys came up to us and said "we've got an extra sloan poster if you girls want another" and I thought "great! ciaran!" and then chris was like "yo I want that". foiled again haha. we learned that chris' original twice removed glasses are in the bala lake. we saw jay out as well so we went to hang out with him for a bit. the two currie dans were there and steve and peter and aaron, I chatted with them and was laughing my ass off the whole time, they're hilarious. they've named their van "colonel mustard" (I call it the "currie wagon" haha). they ended up hopping in the van and heading home so we hung out with jay for a bit longer, got the cool oshawa boys a photo with him and just chatted til like 3.30 or so. jay has appointed me curator of the sloan museum haha, he's impressed with all the sloan artifacts I'm harbouring!
where is he looking? probably at patches in the bus.
we meandered back to our room and got into bed and stuff at about 4am and then slept til about 8. we got up, got ready, had breakfast in the restaurant downstairs and then got in the car and drove home! I am definitely keen on making this a yearly event, we had SO much fun. it was great to get to see the guys and hang with my friends and have an all around amazing weekend. :D