Been busy the past few weeks with musical gigs around some of the local high class venues.
In the late afternoon I cram all my gear into the tour bus and hit the road for town.
This night we back up the famous Sam Field with his style of country rock at the luxurious Pemberton Hotel, with special guest star, the mechanical bull.
The posters read, 'Lock up your heifers, the Renegades are coming to town!"
It was going to be a long night, so I stopped to relax at one of Pemberton's finer restaurants.
I hope they have suitable crowd control over at the venue, I'd hate to get mobbed by fans on the way in.
When I arrived in town I had bought a cowboy hat over at the high fashion section in the local hardware store for my evenings wardrobe. I've never been a noisy bar person, and the prospect of entering a jumping, fluid fueled noisy establishment like this on a Friday night holds little attraction. But when you are up on the stage, at a safe distance, doing something you enjoy and causing the mayhem on the dance floor, it is really quite fun. The cowboy hat was a grand idea and made a note to incorporate it in future gigs as I could block out the bright stage lighting. We finished the second set and we turned on the mp3 to keep the crowd dancing and consuming while we had a short break. Sam and Ross had just left the stage, I had taken off the cowboy hat and shades and was lagging behind a little, doing something with my kit, probably carefully wiping it with a dust rag.
Suddenly from out of the squirming, bouncing, yahooing crowd on the dance floor comes a rather lubricated young lady. I think she may have needed a little more elbow room for her particular style of country dancing, and saw the now abandoned stage as a perfect place.
She wobbled around there amongst the mic stands high kicking and sending her flip flops clear down to the other end of the room, one landing in the midst of a pool game in progress, waving her arms, and hollering "Yeehaw Yeehaw!!", all the time splashing fermented smelling liquid from a bottle in one hand.
"No cowgirls on the stage!", I said, shouting over the music.
She teetered around and focused in on whom she probably perceived to be the local bespectacled high school principal.
She seemed a little stuck for an answer, so I added, "Look, your friends are going for shooters, if you hurry you can catch them!".
She did a wobbly shoulder check and I swear her head spun right around, or maybe it was just the strobe effects from the lights. Then she looks down and spies my new cowboy hat, seeing it as just the thing to complete her new wobbly cowgirl persona.
"That your'sh?" she asks, an eye looking on either side of me.
"Yes, and leave it alone please, I need that for the next set", I said, and I almost got all the words out before she put it on her head, pulled it hard down to her ears, yells "YEEHOO!",then leaped off the stage and re-joined the mayhem on the dance floor.
We played the rest of the evening with me trying to keep track of my particular cowboy hat bobbing above the crowd and travelling from one end of the room to the other, making several trips to the women's washroom and a few trips outside for a smoke. I watched it bob over to and stand in the line up for the mechanical bull. I'm playing and watching this and thinking, well maybe the hat will be thrown clear with any luck. My hat eventually bobs up to the mechanical bull and climbs aboard, the wearer being joined by two friends. I didn't know they put three people on bulls.
There is no need to make a long story short here, the trio of bull ridin' cowgirls came off hard about spin number two, all three of them cushioning their fall with my hat.
The bull tender helps the girls up, picks up a white, flat crumpled object, holds it up and punches his fist into it to pop it back into something that resembles a badly abused chapeau.
I sort of lost interest in getting my hat back after that.
Vancouver may have Rogers Arena, but Pemberton village has the Wednesday night Farmer's Market.
Josh and I were invited last week to play an unplugged, stripped down version of Blackwater MC.
I stopped on the way home that evening and took a picture back the way I came.
London may have the Royal Albert Hall. But down the road at the first nation community of Skatin' they have the People's Hall. A church group had just spent the previous week re-fitting the kitchen and foundation and Skatin' was ready to break it in with a Saturday night dance. The annual Inshuckch Days celebration is on this same weekend so there was more people around the country than normal. The old People's Hall has to be 50 years old, and I was afraid of some of the heavy stompers going right through the floor. Archie, Duane, Ross and I got together as the Wide Open Range and set up to put on a memorable evening.
A good time was had by all, and I'm sure they will have to have a crew go around the outside of the hall and hammer back in all the siding nails that we loosened up.
After a few hours sleep down the road we went and moved our equipment into the Head of The Lake School, where we were to close the 2012 celebration with a set after lunch. It is always nice for me to play these 'local' gigs, and I am not far from home.