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Band 2: Pavement in Montreal
When I left off last week, I'd just finished an Iron & Wine benefit in Austin. I needed to get on a plane to Montreal, so after the show I had to keep going!
Checked out of the Driskill and dragged all my luggage to meet Spoon sound man Jeff Byrd for a coffee at Frank before my flight. I'd first met Jeff in a hotel bar in years ago in Portugal, and after a few glasses of nice but overpriced fortified wine we were fast friends. He's now one of the group of friends I see around the world in catering tents and at festivals and in hotel lobbies. This time I just happened to catch him while he was at home in Austin for a change.
Frank has some very nice people working there (the barista let me print out my Canadian work visa in her office), and after two drinks (cortado was king) I was in a taxi to the airport. I was headed to the Osheaga festival for the next three days. Pavement were playing Saturday, and Sonic Youth were playing Sunday. I've missed two Sonic Youth shows this year and that Saturday was one of them. When Sonic Youth played Prospect Park, Mark Ibold was in Canada with Pavement (along with me and SY's tour manager), which meant they couldn't play anything from the past ten years. For the fans (10,000 people showed up, I heard?) that translated to a face-peeling set of killer old songs. Man, I wish I could've been there! They brought Luc, their old monitor guy, up to NYC to fill in for me. He'd retired in 2003 after having a baby with Laura from Superchunk. Some guys have all the luck!
I had a five-hour layover at O'Hare, which wasn't that bad (it's the reason you have this story), and then I landed in Montreal. The airport there is massive and empty, and we were the only people in it at that hour. Got to the hotel super late and needed to hide from the locals as soon as I got out of the taxi. That neighborhood was pretty rockin' on a Friday night; everyone looked dressed up for some sort of strange adult prom (high heels, short skirts) and you could hardly walk down the sidewalk it was so crowded.
Woke up early to try to get a line check (if you can get one, it's really early in the morning, before the gates open) and headed over to the site. I'd heard that the catering at this festival was supposed to be great, so we stopped by before we went to work and it didn't disappoint. Chuck Hughes was catering for the bands and had a film crew around him almost constantly. There were girls in Ray-Bans making fantastic smoothies all day and dudes shucking oysters. Excusez-moi, would you like some poutine? Who am I to say no?
They played a great show, we packed up, and I grabbed a beer and a ride on a golf cart to go catch the end of Devo. I saw the ending of "Beautiful World" with Booji Boy singing (it was their last song) and jumped on another golf cart (it's how you get around on festivals like that), where I sat between Aaron who does front-of-house sound for Sonic Youth and Emily Haynes from Metric. I'd previously been able to watch a little of her set from the TV monitor while we were packing our semi truck, and she looked larger than life and a little like Kim Gordon. She seemed down to earth now, except she still had gold sparkles on her face from when she was onstage. She must have rushed right over to catch the end of Devo. We went back to the artist trailers and had a couple of drinks with the Metric folks, and I can say I hope it's not my last time hanging out with them. When they found the second bottle of gin in the freezer, though, we thought it was time to call it a night. As we headed out of the festival I thought I heard Weezer covering Lady Gaga, but it may have been all the poutine talking.
Back soon with a post about Pavement's show in Millennium Park this week! See you there?
Jeremy also posts on Twitter and is probably on the road right now. . . .