Tuesday, 24 July 2012

We opened for Pearl Jam (Day 21)



                That morning, the Argyles snuck out of the motel and made our way to the local Safeway for breakfast. There wasn’t much driving to do that day, but we wanted to get there at a decent hour. Where we were headed? The backfields of Eastern Sasktachewan to a place called Round Lake. It would be best described as cottage country. Greg had relatives living there and had lined up a cabin to stay in. He had also gotten us a gig at a bar in Crocked Lake, their rival community which was a twenty minute drive away. It was a Saturday night and the only bar in town.
Dining on cereal in the parking lot
                After ripping our way through poorly maintained country roads, we made it to yet another isolated part of the world. We met Greg’s relatives who then cooked us a lovely dinner of burgers and beer. But I was disappointed: I had perfected my “oh yeahs” only to discover that people don’t speak that way in Saskatchewan. They seemed to enjoy the company of rockstars. We told them the most uncensored tales from the tour, but they roared the hardest at GD and Martin being unable to drive.

GD financing the final leg of the tour

                Upon arriving at the bar, I was greeted by a large boisterous man in a green shirt. “So, you guys opened for Pearl Jam right?” Caught off guard, all I could do was lie. He continued to assert this fact throughout the set, mostly through yelling.  There were some people in the bar, but not as many as expected. Were there so many better things to do in this sleepy town? But we started our set anyways, performing mostly for Greg’s extended family. After an hour and a half, we took a break and decided to call it a night.

Old wounds were soon forgotten

                Half way through packing up, people started to arrive.  They were upset that we had already played our set and wanted us to play again. They even started getting belligerent, blocking our way to the door, glaring at us, and continuing to yell. I had never been subjected to such collective hostility. The cause: the man in the green shirt, whose named we would later discover to be Tomahawk, posted on facebook that we had opened for Pearl Jam, a lie which this group of local youths believed. But Greg was exhausted from his two sets and three hours of playing yesterday; it was no dice.
 
They like to drink alcohol
                But in a moment of good judegment, we decided to stay at the bar. After nip of van-whisky to calm our nerves, we headed into the jungle. There were open seats next to Tomahawk so we decided to take them. Although there were others seated with us, no one could match the quantity and volume of his speech. We got our first pitcher and poured ourselves glasses. “Bottoms up,” Tomahawk commanded, and we had little choice but to comply. 

                The evening progressed in a similar fashion. Tomahawk went outside and returned to show us a video of himself puking. Then one ill-tempered member of their group ordered 20 jagerbombs and handed them out to us. Once again, we complied.  Then Tomahawk decided it was time to move the party back to his house. His friend purchased 72 beers from the bar to fuel the next stage of the evening. We then piled 10 into the van and ventured out into the unknown.

Tomahawk made the van look small


Martin trying to get everyone to sing along to Robots
                2 minutes later, we arrived at Tomahawk’s pad, or rather his mothers. It was a nice house. Indeed, Tomahawk repeated that his mom was a millionaire, owing to her position as a manager of several banks at a nearby reserve. Whenever he mentioned this, he beamed with pride about her success. We sat downstairs in his basement, waiting for the rest of the party to come downstairs. Tomahawk gave beers to each of us; then, he pulled out the guitar. We were going to have to sing for our supper. But Greg was up to the task and began what would be the soundtrack to the entire evening.
                   
As Greg serenaded the party, Tomahawk continued to shove beers into our hands. The night progressed as expected: Martin spent 5 minutes trying to get everyone to sing along to Robots; Tomahawk challenged Martin and I to go; we complied; two locals nearly threw down over a girl. Then day broke. With much of the party retired, we decided to head on our way. After some bear hugs from Tomahawk, we drove off into the distance.

We took the hockey helmet with us
Matt, stone cold sober, had to do a lot of DDing that night
               We pulled into the driveway at our cabin. We got out of the van; a look of panic came across Greg’s face: He had left the keys at Crooked Lake, at least that was his suspicion. Matt, the driver, was less than impressed. But we had little other choice. We left GD on the porch in the fetal position and loaded into the van for the twenty minute drive to Crooked Lake. Matt even drove 100 down the bumpy country roads.  Upon arriving back at the house, Greg dashed into the backyard. He returned thirty seconds later looking like he had just completed a triathlon. The keys were in his hands. Victorious, the Argyles cracked some road rockets and enjoyed a pleasant ride back as day broke.
Greg finding the keys. It was light out.
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