Well, now that my hearing is about back to normal (or about as good as it will ever be) I might as well tell you about my trip to Sackville, NB, last weekend.
You see, Bagtown (as it is apparently referred to by the locals) was playing host to the Sappy Records Music Festival, a three day celebration of New Brunswick indie rock. Also, it just so happened that the last day of the festival would feature a performance by one of my all-time favorite bands, Eric's Trip.
I began the journey to Sackville early and slightly hungover. But after three and a half hours over torn up roads, I reached my destination. My first obstacle was to find my hotel, sorry, my motel. I had some printouts with me from Yahoo maps, but as my friend Danielle suggested, "Yahoo maps is full of lies." Thankfully, Sackville isn't very big, so it didn't take me too long to reach the motel.
My next obstacle was the motel itself. I had reserved a room at the Tantramar Motel. Now, while it is possible that at one point (say the late 80s) the Tantramar Motel might have been a thriving location, it seems to have descended into a poorly run Mom 'n Pop type establishment. I don't mean to give the impression that it was a bad or dirty place, it just seemed very slack. My key wouldn't work, so I was instructed to jiggle the doorknob until it sorted itself out. It was lame, but I wasn't going to let a shitty doorknob ruin my weekend.
Eventually, I met up with a bunch of my New Brunswick friends. It was a mini Flophouse reunion. (The Flophouse being the nickname of a house many of us shared near the STU campus in Fredericton.) We headed down to what was advertised as a record fair. Now, as a record collector, when I hear the words, "record fair," I expect to find lots of reords for sale. Unfortunately, this wasn't really the case. There were a few tables set up with records, most of which had been released by Sappy Records themselves. I did manage to pick up an Eric's Trip LP and few cool 7"s, but I was hoping to drop some serious cash on vinyl.
While at the record fair, I also managed to score an Eric's Trip t-shirt, but it took a little doing on my part. You see, as a fat guy, I don't tend to fit into the hipster sizes you normally find at merch tables. So, I made some inquiries into larger sizes. Lucky for me, the guy who made the shirts happened to be there and he was kind enough to silkscreen a fresh shirt for me. He also hooked a friend of mine up with a ticket for that nights sold-out show. He totally did us a solid. And if I could remember his name, I would totally plug his print shop.
Sometime later, my friends and I made it down to the show, you know, the thing we came to Sackville for. It was being held at George's Fabulous Roadhouse. I'm not saying that it was fabulous, that's just what the place is called. The bar was small and hipsters tend to be tall, so while I didn't actually see many of the bands, I was able to hear them loud and clear.
One band, the Singing Saws, set up a large tent in the middle of the bar. They had people standing inside the tent spinning it around and shining funky lights while the band played. I didn't care much for their music, but I was impressed by the whole tent and lightshow shtick.
The band I was most surprised by was Purple Knight. Lead by Mark Gaudet, the drummer from Eric's Trip, Purple Knight put on one hell of a show. While I know little of the band's history, they are celebrated icons of the Moncton music scene. I was right up front for their set. I also happened to be very close to the speakers, so I was pretty much deaf by the time they were done.
The last band (and the best band) of the evening had to be Eric's Trip. I would have driven to Sackville just to see them, even if no one else was playing. Despite having broken up several years ago, Eric's Trip manages to put on a handful of reunion shows now and again. And I was lucky enough to be at one of those shows this time around. They were amazing. They played virtually every song of theirs that I wanted to hear. Everyone was super psyched to see them play. And while I'll admit that the band was a little rusty (maybe because they hadn't played together in more than five years) they still managed to rock my socks off.
Following the show, my newly hearing-impaired friends and I found our way back to the motel and called it a night. A few hours of sleep and a big, greasy breakfast later, I was back on the road.
And that, my friends, was my exciting trip to Sackville.