Rock Plaza Central‘s 2007 album Are We Not Horses was an elaborately plotted and immaculately conceived album that brought the Toronto band’s Northern-gothic folk/rock accolades from both critics (MAGNET named it one of the year’s 10 hidden treasures) and academics (frontman Chris Eaton’s 2004 book The Inactivist was taught alongside Horses in a graduate English course at the University of South Alabama). Last month, RPC hit the road to support the release of this year’s … At The Moment Of Our Most Needing, and bassist Scott Maynard filed a tour diary for magnetmagazine.com. If you missed Rock Plaza Central this summer, catch the group on its U.S. tour with the Weakerthans in September.
Toronto, July 28
Well, wouldn’t you know, the fire alarm went off in the hotel just as I was getting back to sleep. Once I’d made sure it was, in fact, a false alarm, I stuffed the bell with a towel and tried again, but the damage had been done. I was fully awake and perhaps better off at the actual festival. So I hitched a ride down to the site, found my friends at Tent Majal and had my first beer of the day. And the music began. Reunited with our friends from Bruce Peninsula (somewhat appropriately in the rain), also Timber Timbre, Tressa Lavasseur, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Final Fantasy, Oh Bijou, etc. Hillside always puts on a good show. I was sad to have to leave it early, but we had agreed to do one more street festival in Chicago on Sunday afternoon, so off we went, early Sunday morning, to make it there by 4 p.m. Which we did, border crossing and all. Blake on the other hand, who had left the previous day and was already in Chicago, somehow got lost or misdirected and barely made it to the show on time. The poor comic they’d stuck up there to kill time between sets ran out of material pretty fast and suffered the jeers of the crowd while we set up and line-checked for what seemed an eternity, but eventually we got going. It was nice to play with Blake (Howard) again; the demands of family life on him have meant that we’ve been touring with another drummer for the past several months. In fact, Andy (Innanen) recently informed me that Hillside was his 50th show with the band. Afterward, we went out for dinner and drinks with Josh, our booking agent, and then we retired to the hotel for more drinks and some deconstruction and plotting for the future. That was it: the last show of the tour. Now I’m back in town and “real” life threatens to crash in on me. It can be difficult to adjust to coming off the road; it often involves a lot of time and depression. I call it post-tourmatic stress disorder. The garbage strike that began in Toronto as we left for this tour lingers on, and although the streets are fairly clear, the garbage receptacles are spilling over onto the sidewalks, and I can only imagine the state of the parks, which have been used as temporary dumping grounds until the dispute is resolved. I am reminded that for all the bitching and complaining I may do—this litany of annoyances about the road—I’d still much rather be doing what I do than anything else I can think of. As the old song says, “See you in September.”