What a trip! It was crazy! Kourosh met me at the airport and the two of us went for dinner to a place called Shanghai – great restaurant. Best hot and sour soup I’ve had since Szechuan Garden (a favourite during my University days) closed its doors. On Thursday nights they run something called Shanghai Hi-Fi – I figured they just played some cool tunes over the house stereo (it’s a small place – seats maybe 40 or 50 people). I was so wrong. While we were eating, a DJ came in and set up a DJ booth at a table behind us, and started spinning. Really great downtempo. Thievery Corporation etc. Very very cool.
On Friday we went to Montreal to catch the Caribou show and that, well that was an adventure.
The plan was to get into Montreal, grab some dinner at Cafe Africa and then wander up to the club for the show. Didn’t happen. Got to Montreal without incident, and did a bit of a drive around to see old Montreal (what a gorgeous old city – stupidly, I forgot my camera so I didn’t get any photos, but next time …) and then we went to the entertainment district for dinner. Montreal was packed. I mean, utterly bumper to bumper traffic, every roadside parking spot filled packed. We wandered for a couple of hours looking for parking. Eventually we decided we’d rather not risk being late for the show (the tickets were waiting for us at the desk, so we wanted to make sure we picked them up in time) so we decided to find the club before foraging for dinner.
We forgot where the club was. Worse, we forgot the MAP that showed us where the club was. An engineer, a teacher and a lawyer – three people that you’d think had their stuff together, and we didn’t. After a misadventure with 411 (the show’s venue is actually listed under another name) I used my phone to google for the club and we found the place, found parking near the club and found our way inside and in line for the show. Our misadventure for the night was, so we thought, at an end. We were going into the show sans dinner, but we figured we’d get food either inside, or after the show. Turns out there was no food at the venue itself, so we were resigned to a 1:30am dinner.
There were two openers – The Russian Futurists and The Junior Boys, in that order. If you ever get the chance to see either (or both) of these bands do yourself a tremendous favour and RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION! The Russian Futurists are a very cheesy pop band, and The Junior Boys a low-rent Bronski Beat without the falsetto vocals.
Then Caribou hit the stage. Like the last time I saw them, they were utterly amazing. Each of the three band members are talented multi-instrumentalists, and it’s a real treat to see them play. I mean, I can’t even really play the one instrument that I claim to play, and these guys play at least five instruments like masters. And they’re YOUNG – Dan Snaith, Caribou’s creative visionary, is but 26 years old. Anyway, they put on an amazing, overwhelming show of musical virtuosity with an amazing video show behind them. Great fun. The crowd was really enthusiastic too – screaming and yelling and making noise like you’d never hear from the more sedate audiences in Toronto. That said, they were also aggressive little bastards, pushing and shoving their way through the crowd, also in a way you’d never see from the more polite audiences in Toronto. In the end, Caribou was so amazing, I could forgive the aggressive crowd, the lousy openers, the long hungry wait for the show to start …
Then after the show we decided to grab cheap fast food at Lafleur – a burger, hotdog and poutine place that serves the same purpose in Montreal that Denny’s does just about everywhere else. Getting our food was the continuation of our Montreal misadventure – our order took 40 minutes to fill, and we had to fight to get the food we’d ordered. We didn’t get back to Ottawa ’til 4:00, and I had to be at the airport by 6:00 for my flight. An hour of sleep, a quick shower and a dash to the airport and I was sitting at my gate, ready to board a plane for my flight home. It was a whirlwind of a trip, but I had a great time.