Happy belated 4th of July, friends! It's Saturday the 5th and we are slowly making our way off of the island of Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montréal, Quebec. Today was day two of two in Canada and we’re finally heading back to the states. Since I last updated you all, we have driven two thirds of the way across the continental US and made our way through Canada. I’ve gone from Portland, OR to Montréal in 6 days - pretty insane, huh?! When I last left you, we were heading into our dates in Seattle and Portland. Our show in Seattle was the first time I had been in Washington while it was raining. That's insane, I know, but of the three times I've been to the pacific northwest this was the first time it had actually rained. My tent was essentially a puddle all day, and my shoes were SOPPING wet come 7pm breakdown. Portland was much more dry, and a quick day with an early set to give us some time before we began our epic trek from Oregon to St. Louis, MO.
It took us two 15hr drives (complete with day stops in Salt Lake City, UT and Lincoln, NE), but we survived the 2,000 mile journey without issue. You can imagine that when we finally arrived in St. Louis it felt nice to be off the bus stretching our legs and be back to the grind. St. Louis brought out a pretty big crowd which was a great welcome back from our few days off. Since the band is from Chicago, outside of a few “nerdy” hotspots (and Denver) the midwest is still where I Fight Dragons has their largest fan bases, and you can really feel the difference. Being in St. Louis was just the tip of the iceberg, so I can’t wait to get to Ohio, Chicago, Wisconsin, etc. and have some huge crowds. Our date in Indiana started off a bit rainy and overcast, but our day ended with every single band’s crew team lifting endless amounts of boxes out of trailers and into box trucks. Why, you might ask? Just this little thing called international touring.
When touring into Canada, they will charge you for any sellable merchandise or promotional goods you bring into the country. This means that most bands only bring what they expect to sell so they don't have to pay for ALL of the merchandise they have in stock. To get the rest of your goods around the border fees, bands will rent box trucks to store their excess merch and rent the remaining free space to other bands so we can all store our Merch in the US and just have it meet us at our next show when we return stateside. All of this workaround requires merchies like myself to essentially re-pack and condense your entire stock down to what you need for Canada, and what's going on the trucks. Warped this year filled at least 3 box trucks, and my condensing took a little over 3 hours. Canada is beautiful and fun to visit, but it is barely worth the trouble it takes to get there.
Our first stop up north was Toronto. Last time we did Warped, Toronto was the storm of the century. A 2.5hr rain delay complete with insane lightning strikes less than 5 miles away and an unfortunate medical emergency made the day one long, relentless disaster. This time around was 360º different. A beautiful cloud-filled sky greeted us as we arrived in the city after a painless border crossing. We had a great crowd, a mid-day set time, and tons of excited fans there to see us. After the show, Warped threw a 4th of July BBQ for all us Americans complete with a full bar, assorted hand-rubbed BBQ meats by Mr. Kevin Lyman himself, corn on the cob, and classic party music. Our next day in Montréal had some unique quirks, but was just as fun. The venue in French Canada’s capital is on a somewhat skinny island in the middle of the city, so the tour buses park at one end, and the venue is on the other. This means it’s mile and a half load in/load out for shows, but it also means a great workout and some beautiful river views along the way. Tonight was the second night of the Montréal Fireworks Festival, an international firework competition in the city every summer. We caught the show from our bus as we began to leave the city; it was a beautiful sendoff from our host country.
We're currently en route to the duty free shop right before the border, and I am writing this as I listen to Chad and Packy jam out in the back lounge. Moments like this where I can just enjoy the company of some of the most truly talented individuals I know do what they love are my favorite. These little jam sessions, shared giggles, and back lounge talks are what make my 7am wake ups and mile and a half load ins so very worth while.
Until next time,