New venues, new people

I am feeling a little bit off this morning. That’s probably due to the fact that I got around five hours of sleep. I don’t operate well on that little amount. Naturally the little sleep is owning to what I’ve been talking about the last few days, that being Canadian Music Week. Last night was day one (of six) of the festival, and while it was fun, it sure tired the hell out of me.

I’ve already reviewed the music I saw last night, so what this post is going to focus more on is the two places I saw shows last night, both places I had never been before for show purposes.

The place I spent the most time last night was the Annex Live, on Brunswick avenue just off of Bloor. Apparently it used to be a theatre of some kind, or at least i think I remember reading that. The venue is kinda weird- an audience can literally be three places removed from the stage. There’s a very small pit in front of the stage, the pit probably being able to comfortably fit somewhere between 12 and 20 people, I’m guessing. Go up a few steps, and you’re in the middle of the room, which features a few tables and lots of stacked chairs. Go up a few more steps and you’ll be on the upper level where the bar is.

It turned out to be weird for show watching- it felt awkward to be standing in the middle of the floor so I spent most of the show sitting down.

But the place I began my night at was the Dakota Tavern. The only time I had ever been there before was when I was 18, funnily enough, to do the worst interview I’ve ever done. Not because I wasn’t prepared with questions, but because a) the band I was interviewing took longer than usual to warm up to me and b) the interview happened during an obnoxiously loud sound check.

But last night I did finally go there for a show, to see the wonderful Trent Severn. I sat down at a table meant for four people, and soon a middle-aged couple asked if they could sit. I of course told them to go right ahead. After a little bit of silence, they started talking to me about a few different topics. Then the wife of the couple noticed someone by the sound booth and invited her to sit down at our table.

It turns out that someone was Nancy White, a Canadian singer-songwriter. I felt a little embarrassed at first to not know who she was, especially because the wife of the couple that sat down earlier seemed to adore her music so much. But White turned out to be a very fascinating woman, and I learned that she has two daughters who are both musicians themselves. Maddy Wilde, the older (if I recall correctly) of the two daughters, happens to now play in Moon King and used to play in Spiral Beach.

I wasn’t expecting to have as much conversation at the Dakota as I did, but I was grateful for it. It can be a little lonely as a lone reviewer at shows sometimes, so it always helps when I can make conversation.

Yesterday’s chance meeting has really made me want to start saying hi to people at shows a little more. Who knows who they might be.

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