October 15th, 2004: The Slip with Stephen Franke & Noises from the Toolshed at Pepperjacks in Hamilton, Ontario.
Funny, I just did a bit of googling and discovered that the venue was actually called The Pepper Jack Cafe. I’m surprised I didn’t know that. I had booked nero into Pepperjacks (err… The Pepper Jack Cafe) maybe a dozen times or so, sent out posters and press releases, yada yada yada and here I didn’t even have the venue’s name right. No wonder nero broke up.
Stephen Franke was a jazz-tinged guitar player who led his band Noises from the Toolshed all over Canada skirting the edge of the very thin Canadian jam scene, which is how I knew him. I knew The Slip basically the same way. Though they were American, the trio was one of the few (the only?) jambands that regularly took swings north of the border and we Canadians gave them much love in return.
This was the middle show of a three-night run that paired the two bands in Toronto, Hamilton, and then Montreal. I see that the shows were booked and promoted by UF Productions, which was a Hamilton guy named Shane. UF stood for Uncle Fungi but I think Shane had an easier time with just the initials. Anyway, Shane was another associate known from my nero connection and I wouldn’t be surprised if I had squeezed myself into this show (perhaps all three) on the guest list, cheapskate that I am/was/okay, am.
I also wouldn’t be surprised if I skipped out on dinner in favour of the free freshly baked bread that came with honey-infused butter that Pepperjacks was famous for. At least, that’s why it was famous to me. Oh, and because the owner/booker guy was super-friendly and very easy to work with.
And though every element of this evening was linked to me through my association with nero, I suspect the reason I was free to attend these shows was because nero had recently announced that they were stepping down from their position as CEO’s of the Canjam scene. With the upcoming New Year’s Eve show pegged as their final hurrah (it wasn’t) things in Camp nero had pretty much wound down and as a result I didn’t have much to do with my days and more importantly my nights.
Come to think of it, I probably jumped onto this little mini-tour more out of habit than anything else. After a few years of booking, travelling, schmoozing, driving, and eating in diners in the pursuit of standing in a live music bar from 8pm until three in the morning you just kinda want to keep doing it.
Plus, when The Slip were “on” they were really “on” and I was always happy to be there when the musical dice got tossed. The band caterpillared into the butterflying Barr Brothers long ago so I’m glad for every Slip show I managed to find myself at*.
I wonder where I slept after the show? Another variable left over from the days of small-time band management.
*That was a pun. Get it? I “managed” to find myself at the shows? ‘Cuz I was a manager? And that’s why I was at the shows? Oh, just forget it.