One of the best things about being a touring musician is having the ability to slip back into a city or province that you only visit a very few times a year, but feel like your relationships with the people, the venues and the breweries can pick up where they left off after a short chat over a pint.
It’s been a long time since I released a new album and it only seemed fitting to start the tour in the two cities that I spent the majority of my adult life; Toronto and Oshawa, Ontario. Driving through these cities always bring back vivid memories of awesome times, stupid shit I’ve gotten myself into and pivotal moments of my life. It’s always fun, until I hit that dreaded 401 traffic anywhere around Toronto. This then turns into sitting and waiting on the DVP (the Don Valley Parking Lot as my mother calls it) as I head into the city for the first show of the tour at The Hideout.
There’s nothing quite like the traffic in Toronto. It really tests your patience and the integrity of your car’s brake pads. Something that I’ve noticed after driving through a lot of Canada’s cities is that they all have their own signature style of traffic. Montreal is notorious for it’s traffic on the highway and in the city. On the highway, it gets nuts with people darting in and out of lanes (usually conserving their turn signal’s light-bulbs as much as possible [Toronto and Ottawa honestly seem equally concerned about maintaining their light-bulbs’ life span]) but it does always seem to be moving. Driving in the city is nuts too because you always have to be paying attention because you never know when someone is going to spot the slightest opening and go for it in their car, no matter how minimal it is or who’s side mirror might win the jousting match.
Back to Toronto though. So the first day of the tour I pull into the city and immediately switch back into a Toronto city driver: Always on the lookout for cabs deciding to u-turn at the slightest implication of a fare, cyclists darting through traffic like deer in a stampede and people deciding to stop at any point, anywhere on the road for any number of weird reasons. Now I always try to arrive at a venue early as to anticipate any sort of delay or issue. Even with the Toronto traffic, I was still on track to arrive at my first venue on time for load in. That was until I drove passed the venue’s location that I had played previously on Queen St. and see it all boarded up. The panic sets in. I’m yelling desperately to Siri on my phone, “Where’s Rory Taillon playing tonight?” “What’s the address for The Hideout?” “Toronto SIRI COME ON!! TO-RON-TO!!!” (Hands free phone technology. What a time to be alive.)
The moral of the story I guess is make sure you have the CURRENT address of the venue you’re starting your tour at. Either way, that stress melts away as soon as I load into the venue, set up and catch up with old friends over a pint before my set.
My name is Rory and it’s my pleasure to chat with you about my misadventures and shenanigans as a Canadian independent touring musician here on Slowcity.ca. Thanks for reading and I’ll be back with more tales from the road soon!