Powerful Owl Tour 2018 #2 - The Longest Week!
After touching base at Berry Mountain we got back in our car and got back on the road, making sure to jump in the nearest ocean on the way! The water was glorious and cleansing. We drove to Marimbula (a few hours from Berry) and arrived late at our billet at the lovely Pauline's house. Finally slept in BEDS that night (best feeling ever) and woke up to gluten free toast and eggs! Daine came around to pick us up and we set out on our way. Stopping at a little town on the way we saw the man himself, Simon Mustoe, our manager! He’s the real reason we’re here at all and we gave him, Fiona, Charlie and Sadie big Canadian (and one Australian) hugs! He was on the phone every few minutes talking to our publicist and various other contacts - so much to organize! What a champ - it's not easy wrangling a band on tour and everything that comes with it!
A little more road time got us to our first gig of the year! It was a super cute little one-day festival Simon had set up, complete with fairly floss and a roller coaster! We met our fabulous double bass player Liz for the first time and quickly ran through a few tunes, acoustically, in the basement before sound-check! How's that for an intro? I felt so tired that no amount of caffeine seemed to quite pull me back to reality so I just floated around trying to stay awake and not look stoned. Sadie and Charlie opened for us as their band “Girl on The Hill” - they blow me away more every year! Sadies voice sailed over the hill on the breeze and the crowd sat and listened. It was the perfect setting. Next came Fred Smith (who we had also never met but heard a lot about). I only heard bits and pieces of his set drive across the field (which sounded really good) but I think got a bit lost on the crowd (which was mostly lots of young children). I heard him sing a loud FUCK into the mic and something about someone’s “dick swiffleling” and I felt one of those uncontrollable Grinchy grins spread across my face and had to go hide below the stage. It was so unexpectedly funny. Over the next few nights I’d come to love his songs and storytelling, but he made a few parents very angry that night!
Our show was epic! Playing with a live band for the first time was an adjustment (though they did great), it kind of felt like swimming in an unruly sea for a previously acoustic-only trio. You'd get a bit lost in currents of sound, a little bass would swirl to your left, the rhythm would pull you to the right. It took a lot of focus! We had a bit of trouble hearing each other but it was a fun adventure. Near the end, a group of little girls was dancing at the front of the stage. Marina invited them up to be our backup dancers! It was so cute. I asked them each their names into the mic. I remember my first time on stage - I hope they had fun!
We had our first live radio interview the next day and played Berry School of the arts that night, which was a great old room with excellent acoustics! Simon bought delicious Thai food. Marina practiced some tour-style dental hygiene while we all got ready for the show. It was a good one - great acoustics! Next day we drove to the Heritage Hotel in Bulli NSW and played with the same lineup. Daine and Liz were totally awesome and we even got Sadie on stage to fill in our string section for a few songs, which was perfect! It was so cool to play with a full band for the first time. The Hotel itself was very historic indeed ;). Apparently many big names have passed through there. I could really FEEL (and see) the history and character. Charlie and I went exploring a bit, I couldn’t help my curiosity, wondering what lay behind all those creepy old doors. If these walls could talk! Well, what Simon didn't tell us until AFTER was that in March of 1887 Bulli was home to a major mining disaster resulting in the death of 81 miners which affected most families in the area. It was the first major mine disaster in Australia. Simon said there were too many bodies for the morgue so they stored them at the hotel! Was he just trying to scare us? Well it worked! Take the tour with me and click here.
The next few days were even more of a whirlwind, getting up at sunrise catching the train to Sydney for a NATIONAL radio interview with the ABC (what a milestone) it was so surreal. We had many a huddle to quell our nerves and reminded ourselves, we are here because we were born for this! This is our calling! I had recounted a story of how, right before my biggest gig with Isobel Trigger (before we became Fortune Killers) back in Canada at the Royal Theatre, I was feeling so nervous backstage and I asked fellow Canadian musician Vince Vaccaro (who had a lot more experience than me) if he ever felt nervous. “I don’t know, I used to…” he looked at me with his big earnest blue eyes, “but now I just remind myself, I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t meant to be - I'm here for a reason". It always stuck with me - thanks Vince! I think it helped us that day too - the interview went amazingly well and we were so relieved!
Right after our ABC interview in Sydney we took the train back to our car and drove to the airport to catch a flight to Perth in WA! Unbelievably, we played a show that very night in in Fremantle with Daine. We also met Daine’s identical twin brother Nathan - which was a real trip! Apparently he’s the business-man twin, with slicked back short hair and well manicured facial hair, but otherwise the spitting image of Daine, and just as sweet. He offered to drive us to town which we were VERY grateful for. We were getting exhausted and there was no denying it - this is the hardest we’ve ever gone. I have been consistently impressed with my bandmates for their ability to rise with this challenge. The show that night was totally awesome and adorable. It was an outdoor house concert at the famous Ecoburbia with a fantastic crowd of totally lovely individuals and great sound/lighting. You can get check it out our setup (and witness our delirium) here! The house belonged to a powerhouse team of beekeeping permaculturists, and they gave us a jar of their incredible honey (you have not lived until you’ve experienced fresh unpasteurized honey from a local beekeeper). It was definitely the best honey I have ever had!
We collapsed into bed and finally slept like the dead something like 12 hours. The next day I woke up a groggy old old sea turtle - unable to open my eyes fully or move beyond a slow shuffle… combined with a goldfish… unable to hold onto thoughts long enough to make cohesive sentances! Marina came into my room and said she was going to the beach. “Wait!” I croaked “I’m coming!” and stumbled out of bed throwing on my bathing suit and broken sunglasses (they’d fallen apart at the airport). To hell with it - it’s too bright! I’m doing this. We jumped in the ocean to try and wash our brains out and wake up - it was chilly! Even Marina (our little water baby) was shiverig... which made me feel validated because I’m usually the cold one! Fremantle (Freo as they call it) was hot but in the afternoon they have what they call “the Freo Doctor” come to town… which is actually a very strong gusty wind! I found it a bit disarming as it blew me around from all angles - a little (ok, a lot) disoriented from jet lag and.. well everything else. I think someone told me Freo is one of the top 3 windy cities in the world - but then I may have been delirious and just made that up. ;) Before I left Canada I watched a really cool mini documentary about grounding (literal grounding) so I’ve been trying to get my bare feet on the ground as much as possible (especially in the ocean). I don’t know if it’s helping but it fits the plot and it feels nice anyway!
That night we had another gorgeous show with Daine and Nathan (who both helped us set up the sound system, which was very helpful). Handy to have a sound tech in the band! Daine played a solo set to open the night both nights on vocals and keys and he’s a talented guy! The two of them own their own record label and work hard - they’re from Perth originally but living in Melbourne. The venue was a garden party at this really cute place called the Mosaic carriage house. Our hosts and the audience were so lovely to us once again and through our sleepy eyes we saw many smiling faces. Nigel was one of them. He’d been stopping through by chance on a trip of his own. It was nice (and a little nostalgic) to have him there and we recounted the story of how he and Jaime first met. He was always in the crowd at our little shows back in Canada, helping us load up our heavy gear at the end of the night - he earned his husband status I tell ya!
They got to cuddle that night, lucky ducks, but not for long! The next morning (if you can call it that) we got up at 3:30am to catch a flight to Port Headland and Nigel flew back to Broome. Time to experience the real desert of Australia! This is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time.