On March 31st, 2006 I had the great pleasure of seeing the wonderful Sisters Euclid not only in my own town of Ottawa, but in my own little favourite music venue (at the time, anyways), Mavericks. I’m not sure if this was the only time the Sisters played at Maverick’s or just the first time, but I do recall the place being packed tight with people who were very, very excited to see the band.
Now, I won’t say I’m 100% responsible for getting the Ottawa music crowd out to see this unknown band from Toronto, but I’m basically 100% responsible for getting the Ottawa music crowd out to see this unknown band from Toronto.
Y’see, a bunch of years before I was in Toronto for a few days and my good friend Anne-Marie told me to meet her and her friends at a little bar on College Street called The Orbit Room (I feel like I’ve told this tale before). I arrived first, paid the $5 cover and was absolutely knocked out by the band. I mean I was enamoured; the event might just stand as the greatest example in my life of going from not knowing a band at all to completely loving them.
Basically my music-loving bone went from zero to ninety in about ten seconds, and by the time Anne-Marie poked her head into The Orbit Room to tell me that her friends were actually at a different bar my elation was revving at about 200 mph. I was almost hysterical with glee.
“Then tell them to come here, ‘cuz there’s no way I’m leaving this bar!” I told her, never once taking my eyes off of the stage.
In the end I agreed to go to the other bar only if Anne-Marie would allow me to lobby her crew to return with me to The Orbit Room so I (we) could catch the second set of the Sisters Euclid. So she and I left the Orbit Room, and as soon as I stepped through the door of the other bar I announced loudly and matter-of-factly to the large table of friends, “Finish your drinks everyone, we’re going to The Orbit Room!”
Everything went quiet like when a stranger walks into a saloon in an old Western movie, and all eyes turned to stare at me. Including the guy sitting in a chair on the tiny stage who was in the middle of his poetry reading. Oops. I quietly slid into a chair, whispered for everyone to drink up, and in five minutes a dozen of us left the tiny venue, leaving only about three people in the bar for the remainder of Poetry Night.
I sure killed that evening! But when we all walked into The Orbit Room we basically doubled the crowd there too, so we brought the party.
And so it was that I started going to see the Sisters’ weekly Orbit Room gig anytime I was in Toronto on a Monday, (which seemed to happen quite a lot back then), and I would always drag anyone I could with me. And of course whoever was with me would instantly become converted. One by one I turned my Ottawa tour-buddies on to this band, people started trading their shows and turning on other friends and before you knew it the Sisters Euclid were the talk of my local music message board.
And now here they all were, packed into Maverick’s and champing at the bit to hear the Sisters play.
And man, what a show it was.
Dave Lauzon opened up the festivities, and people were pretty excited to see him too. He was so freshly branching off from his recently-defunct nero days that he had yet to come up with a name for his solo act (which he eventually called “Envelope 3”), instead performing under his own moniker. And he was great.
The Sisters Euclid were great too. Well, they started off great, and then they went off the hook and got greater. When they finished their first song of the night the crowd screamed their appreciation loud and long. This was not the quiet, polite response a band would be accustomed to or expect on their first night in a new market. The guys were looking back and forth at each other in genuine surprise at the reaction the crowd was giving them; it obviously amped them up because for the rest of the night they dug in hard and delivered, big time.
The band was even unfazed when water started dripping from the ceiling right onto the stage during the second set. The bar owner scrambled and ultimately shut off the water main going to the bathrooms in the bar upstairs, which did the trick. And which is also icky. Okay, the band was slightly fazed, but after shuffling their gear around a little they kept right on wowing the crowd with one buzzsaw raging instrumental gem after another.
Gosh, it was all so glorious.
As I sit here typing this a dozen years later it occurs to me that I haven’t seen the Sisters Euclid in a long, long time. They finally gave up their weekly residency at The Orbit Room but the truth is that my trips to Toronto have all but dried up entirely. Sure, Kevin Breit has made it to Ottawa to play with a bunch of other people several times over the years but my interest in those projects generally doesn’t come close to my love of the Sisters. It both pains me and gives me hope when I see that they have an occasional gig lined up in Toronto. It pains me because I’m never in Toronto when these shows are happening, but it gives me hope just knowing that the Sisters Euclid are still together and still playing their fantastic music.
Really, it’s just nice to know that music that good is still being played, whether I get to experience it or not.