Of Dogs And Monsters

Give praise, my brethren, for what you are about to receive! Welcome to another Unvarnished Truth. Enter the house of PDC, get yourself a front row pew and please, as much as we love the stuff, do not throw money (we've tried this before with hilariously painful results).


In Search Of...

It felt like the live act is gaining some momentum with our second festival gig in a week. This time, our traveling minstrel show took us northwest to the 17th Annual Sasquatch Gathering. It's in Rangeton Park, a picturesque basin surrounded by sweeping vistas and big Alberta skies... no sasquatch sightings, though. But the day is young.


The Traveling Billworries

To get to our destination, we called upon our friend/road manager/babysitter Kevin (aka "The Colonel") to assist us. He helmed an RV big enough for us, my hair products and our gear for the trip. Luckily, it wasn't a long one as these behemoths of the highway drink fuel like an alcoholic.... drinking.... fuel. (Editor's Note: don't try to be funny.) This was our first foray into the disquietingly expensive world of RV-ing and it was observed that Twisted Sister started out like this. For those of you cheering us on to stardom, perhaps we're only a tube of lipstick away.


To Mayerthorpe and Beyond

Into the behemoth we embarked -- now christened Enterprise -- ready to search for the elusive Sasquatch. As your humble scribe has mentioned, the journey into Sasquatch country was not a long one. With only one pit stop for last chance supplies (it must be noted that the rose hand soap in the Mayerthorpe Burger Baron washroom is dreamy), we arrived at Rangeton Park in good humor and a well stocked RV ready to rock the masses.


High There!

Upon our arrival, we observed a whole mess of activity (from campers & artists alike), dogs, (which would prove cute and hazardous later) and lush greenery.... both in nature and in cigarette. In fact, we were given a hint of foreshadowing during load-in.

Punch Drunk Cabaret: "Hi, we're Punch Drunk Cabaret."

Stage worker: "Hi, I'm Barry. Smoke this."  ... or words to that effect. This was a clue to the friendly and laid back atmosphere that was Sasquatch.

Mythical creature sightings thus far - none. So in we loaded to the backstage area safely supervised and secured by freely wandering dogs and very happy stage crew.


Getting Layed

Not only was this our second straight musicfest in as many weekends, but our second straight headlining Friday as well. The all-knowing Master Creator of the Cosmos, none other than (insert deity of your choice here) was clearly smiling upon us. We still had a few hours before taking the stage so we checked out the proverbial as well as literal lay of the land.

Say what you will, y'all, about the free-lovin', tree huggin', granola munchin' stereotype. The folks that attend and volunteer at Sasquatch Gathering are durned friendly-like. Lots of shirtless middle aged helpers, summer dresses and smiles (hemp-influenced or not) galore.


Inclementitus

The weather was warm but cloudy and kinda spitty but that didn't stop your favorite snake oil musos from some much needed physical activity after a "grueling" 2 1/2 hour, cooped up ride in the Enterprise. Ringleader Randy had the foresight to pack a mini-soccer ball for the trip. With Olympic-sized spirit, we played a little footy in the field, skirting around children, dog poop and what I like to call marijuazombies.


A Little R 'n' R

On excursions like this, schmoozing is imperative (Unwritten Rule Of Rock 'n' Roll #21). After our groin pull-inducing soccer fun, we hung out in the hospitality area with founder of Sasquatch Gathering and all-around good guy, John Armstrong. He provided us with gladly received but curiously dispensed beer form a coffin and a quick tete-a-tete with Aussie artist, Toby, who preceded our stage appearance this day.


Snooze Doggy Dog

The iffy weather did eventually let up and the evening's performers & patrons were treated to a clear sky, a calm valley and the promise of roots rock, Cabaret-style! Now dressed in our usual snappy show attire, we waited for our cue.
In between bands, however, there's the obligatory behind-the-scenes chaos with stage crew and  musicians running around.... and the dogs. My god, the dogs. Never have I seen so many canines backstage and onstage before, let alone one. It was a veritable Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show back there. And although they were cute as hell, they made lousy roadies. If they're not sleeping on your gear, they're walking around the backline innocently looking for a treat or a pat on the head. One particular beautiful shepherd was napping behind my bass rig, happily content to snooze while I and others feverishly work around her, trying to plug things in. I mean, come on! You're gorgeous but GET OUT THE WAY, BITCH!!

Not the first time I've uttered that in my career, btw.


Time To Rock

OK, it's time to rock.

Scheduled for midnight, and despite everyone's best efforts, we didn't actually play our first note until like, 1-ish (Unwritten Rule of Rock 'n' Roll #6 - No matter how hard you try, 99% of the time you will go on late).

PDC were quite spoiled by the big crowd at last week's South Country Fair gig, but dear reader, this one, though smaller in stature, lacked none of the spirit. In our experience there's a little rock 'n' roll in everyone. These happy & high flyin' campers dug the sing-alongs (The Ghost Of Harry Houdini), cover tunes (Rock This Town) and raucous, rabble rousers (Pandemonium) as much as anyone. A good audience is a good audience no matter what size.


Tote Board

Stupid, misbehaving snare drums - 1

Onstage near misses between rampaging guitar and bass players - at least 2

Potential injuries from stage leaping guitarists into miscalculated abyss - probably a lot

Potential wandering stage dog injuries or deaths via guitarist feet - 1

Actual sasquatch sightings - 0

Discarded backstage sasquatch costume - 1 (sorry to burst any bubbles)


Afterburner

The Rev. Robin and I hung out after the show at Hospitality with ol' John A. and his merry band of festivalites. Beer, smoke and campfire pizza were a-plenty. Big thanks go out to that gang for a mellow and fun time. Twas a nice, laid back end to Day One of this charming little Sasquatch that could.

After a few hours of shut eye, we grabbed our gear and loaded up the Enterprise for the trip back home, with the fridge filled with beer, the shower stall filled with beer and the toilet filled with non-simultaneous band urine.

Also: we'd like to collectively apologize to whoever's amplifier we accidentally packed during load out. It does not befit gentlemen such as we to pilfer a piece of professional sound equipment. Traveling carnies of mirth & music, are we.... not common thieves. Mark my words, we shall make amends, oh mysterious victim of poached 'plifier.

With some bitchin' new ZZ Top as our soundtrack and The Colonel ably navigating the Enterprise, your Punch Drunk heroes headed back to civilization, never having once seen the elusive Bigfoot but witnessing a very friendly and far-out Sasquatch.

That, my friend, is the unvarnished truth.

 

Sawbones