Friday, November 11, 2011

Plan B at Moncton, NB

That's the kind of day it is out here. Hard rain all night. I slept in a little attic room with no windows, but I could hear the rain slamming around me. There's a lot of water on the road, and as we drive we watch it foaming and overflowing some of the ditches. The creeks and streams are high. I wonder if we will get into any serious flooding today.

It's a short drive to Tim's - the working man's coffee stop in Canada. A couple of bagels and a couple of coffees and we are off. Fuel stop. Revenues have been so low that we decide against filling the tank. We'll put $40 in the pig, which ought to get us up the road to Moncton, NB. We're covering ourselves- a little cash in our pockets. Hopefully this little show tonight will do more than partially refill the tank and feed us...

Plan B is a fairly new, hip little alt-rock/roots venue. It's in a developing arts district. It's probably at the centre of all that, because everybody seems to drop in here and hang out. A really friendly, all ages walks of life sort of crowd. When we walk in it seems like we are introduced to everybody in the place. Yeah, that means it's fairly small- but it's not that small! There are a lot of people in here this stat afternoon.

We are to stay in the "band apartment" above the club. It's a pretty typical band apartment. Dave, not feeling well today, opts for a nearby hotel. I'm worried about money, so I elect to stay in either the apartment or the Lincoln tonight. The Atlantic shows are slower this year than at any time in the previous seven years of running this tour. I don't know that I've ever invested more time in packaging, marketing, and promoting for less return. And it's a really, really good show at this point. Big Dave and I have never played better.

The local listings have failed to mention the National Steel Blues Tour, Big Dave McLean, or Doc MacLean at all. Rather we are listed in the small print page as "Bad Boys of the Blues." Just another unknown act passing through town, apparently. It's been difficult to get a toe hold in the New Brunswick market, so I'm a little put off by this. Our marketing and promotion was pretty clear and effective everywhere else in Canada. Radio has been very helpful to us, but not being clearly identified in the listings will make it difficult for some people to connect with us on the ground.

By show time the room is nearly empty. A rock show is coming in from NFD to play at midnight, so we'll need to start early and end early. The staff are a lot of fun, Tracy, Brock, Nina, and the others all making us welcome. We play the first set to about nine people. By the end of the second set people are arriving for the rock show, so the room seems busier. We sell a few CDs, and I drive Dave back to his hotel. I'll head back to the venue to settle up and have a drink. It won't be more than a tank of gas here tonight. In the band room I sprawl on an old mattress and look for sleep while the floor shakes to the rock band down below.

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