A couple of weeks ago, our Fan(s) of the Week for May 4th, Stacey and Jodi, ventured into Ohio to see a couple of the band’s shows and graciously agreed to write about their trip for us. Thank you, ladies, this is a great read – and the photos are wonderful, too.
For the Travelin’ Kind…it’s nice to have some time – to stay for 2 Trews shows in Ohio!
My best friend Jodi Helps and I have taken many road trips in our long friendship. Should we do two shows in Ohio in May? The Trews hit Toledo, OH, on May 11th and then onward to Columbus, OH, on May 12th. Do we need to do two shows? Can we get away for a whole weekend? It’s Mothers Day on May 13th. Happy Day to me so YES, let’s go for it!! Thus, the planning for our Trews Trip 2012 begins.
Any good road trip starts with picking the most perfect music to drive along to. Lately I have found that House of Ill Fame, the first album for The Trews has become a staple for me. It sounds like it’s filled with possibilities and laced with hard rock hope. I LOVE it!
My partner in crime Jodi isn’t completely familiar with every single track on the CD, so I planned on this music taking me from Paris, ON, to Woodstock, ON, and then onward to Sarnia, ON (we are both originally from Sarnia and still call it home. Please note – Sarnia is a favorite spot for The Trews. HOLLA!). Snacks in hand and coffees within reach, our journey commences!
Day one: The show last night could NOT have been better. Having said that, the entire day went so smooth, I think we knew that we were in for a magical night.
After I (semi-rushed) my girls off to school, it was time to get into Trews mode and focus on the task at hand, taking off to Woodstock to pick up Jodi and heading West to the border.
In the weeks leading up to this, our emails and texts were filled with witty banter and excitement. Just giddy with anticipation of what was ahead for us. We had NO idea what was in store for us in Toledo, OH (aside from a heads up from Sean Dalton: “Toledo has great pickles!” Tony Packo’s; we had to stop by Tony Packo’s!)
After our drive to Sarnia (which consisted of more witty banter, and we solved at least three world problems), we hit the border. Pretending to be in the wrong lane on the Bluewater Bridge (…sort of pretending. It did happen inadvertently, but then it ended up saving us a ton of time, so onward in wrong lane! Thank you to the nice fellow who let us in front of him.) The customs officer asked us where we were going; I said “Toledo, OH!” to which he laughed. “What is in Toledo, OH?” I said, “Aside from pickles, our favorite band The Trews are there.” He was not familiar (which is criminal as far as I am concerned, but I digress). He then asked how long we would be in the US; I said, “Well, we are heading to Columbus after Toledo so we will be returning on Sunday.” He just smiled and said, “Just gonna follow them around uh?” YOU BET! Off we went and we hit the I94 running.
We found the hotel right away and unloaded. The valet guys were asking us what we had planned for the night; we asked them about Frankies. “Oh yeah, its like a concert hall/jamming bar. Why are you girls in a band?” Oh yeah. I am the drummer! You can’t tell?? We headed straight to the venue just to see where it was and give us an idea of what size it would be. Surprise is a good word for what I felt initially, then utter excitement: it was teeny tiny and dark. It was going to be an experience for sure!
The size of the venue was awesome, the stage was small and we were right up front with a few other hard core Trews fans. John Angus was engaging with the crowd right from the start. As we usually stand to the left of centre, this was a different vantage point from which to see John Angus upfront. And by different, I mean stellar. I loved watching his hands fly across the frets and strings, creating the sounds that we adore and travel for. I fully intend to relocate to stage right (from the audience) to be able to witness his craft again.
They noticed Stacey’s shirt first and she got a great smile and a nod; Colin noticed mine about half way through and they laughed. John Angus said, “I love that! Call me. We gotta get a picture of that.” and Colin read it out. From the back, Sean said, “That’s a mayor that didn’t get nuthin’ done!” They came back for an encore and John Angus said “We don’t have a set list, so we are kind of winging it.” We all started shouting out songs we wanted to hear and because we were up front, John Angus could hear or possibly read lips that I was yelling for “When You Leave”. They played “Ishmael and Maggie” first, and then John Angus started into the chords of “When You Leave”. I loved that Colin had to listen to what John Angus was playing, as it was a bit of a teaser…and then it started. I love that song and when it came to my favourite part, we hooted it out and Colin saw us and gave us a smile.
After the show, we did get to get some pics and my ticket signed. I asked John Angus and Jack if they’d play “Sweetness” or “Stray” the next night; I said, “One would be great. Two might make me lose my mind!” John Angus said he would definitely look at adding at least one of them to the setlist. Those boys are just all around nice guys and really thankful for every single fan.
I was excited that John Angus took a picture of my Heisholt shirt and he said he would send it to him right away; I was surprised and shocked to see it sent to their site as well. And somewhat embarrassed as my shirt was a bit see through in the bright light of the kitchen; John Angus thought the light would be better in there… and it sure was!! We walked home on a balmy night, waving to all the late night honkers out there – not sure why so many people honk – Stacey looking at her signed ticket stub and us reviewing our pictures and talking about our favourite parts of the night and the set.
Day two: LATE nights lead to later starts. The Trews didn’t take the stage the previous night until midnight; and without the kick start of a good coffee, it was difficult. After having checked out of the hotel, we were headed to Tony Packo’s for lunch (thanks Sean. Excellent recommendation.). We met some interesting characters there as well. One in particular, Bill, recently lost his job (telemarketer) but was a vibrant, exuberant Christian that repeatedly blessed us and told us the Lord would be with us on this day. This blessing came to fruition whilst we were driving down I75 and a certain white van containing the instruments of our joy came past us. The two vehicles with the Ontario license plates followed each other down the interstate for about an hour (I think we should have car pooled. Saved on gas. Did our part for the environment. Etc…Just saying.). We hit Columbus in great time and checked in to hotel #2. How do people do this for real? Live out of gym bags, move from city to city. It had only been two days/nights and I was tired and ready to go home. Show starts at 10pm! Happy times begin!
A little note about Bill, the guy who blessed us: I felt like we had a million tiny little blessings for the rest of the day and night. Aside from seeing the Trews drive along side us on the highway, which was funny and weird, and the awesome experience we had later that night, we had been talking about the Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame inductions and of one of my favourite bands from high school, Guns and Roses (I am a big, big, Duff Mckagan and Slash fan). I mentioned to Stacey that I didn’t get HBO and was unable to see the full broadcast, but I had read about it, and tried to find clips of it. I said I would really love to see the whole thing, as the Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers were also inducted and I really wanted to see GNR play together again, with Steven Adler on drums (minus Axl of course).
Anyway…The ride was great, the weather was great, and when we checked into our room and turned on the TV, guess what was being broadcast in its entirety?? The RRHOF induction ceremony! So we ordered in and sat for a few hours watching it. Stacey teared up a little watching Steven Adler who look so damned happy behind the drum kit and locking into rhythm with Duff. It was great to watch and once again, we couldn’t believe our luck. However, we had no earthly clue just how much luckier we would get later in the evening.
We walked into the tiny little bar to see maybe 30 people; again, I found myself shocked and little bummed for The Trews. Why don’t more people KNOW The Trews? My heart so badly wants them to hit it HUGE all over; I honestly don’t know of a harder working band. We met two lovely couples right away, Jon and Michelle (Erie, PA), and Dave and Heather (Ohio area). Both couples had seen The Trews before and were impressed with our dedication to these guys (please note that I am impressed with Jon and Michelle’s dedication as well; Trews fans are hardcore if nothing else).
There were stools set up on stage so we knew we’d be in for an acoustic set (I actually forgot about how much I love it when they do acoustic sets). Per usual, it was stellar but relaxed and easy to enjoy. They really played around with their setlist and even took a few requests (from the crazy Canadian girls in their Trewpie tees). It was nice being a part of something so intimate and watching people that didn’t know The Trews get to know The Trews!
I couldn’t believe how small the venue was, and how intimate the show looked to be! It was great to be able to shout out a few suggestions and have them played. I was very happy to see that “When You Leave” made it to the set list tonight so I could request another one, which was “Locked Doors”. Who doesn’t love a song that says “get along, little dog”? It was by far the most intimate show I had seen. The Trews shows have always felt like the audience is involved in the show and what a great experience that is; THIS was a whole new level of being involved. As there were so few people there, it really did feel like they were playing for just the bunch of us. The Trewpies even got a shout out.
After the show, I would love to say that the band came to chat with us at the bar. The truth is, there was no other space for them to be, aside from on stage, so beside us they were. After updating the set list and posting it, John Angus handed it to me. I told Colin my favourite dirty joke, did a shot with Jack, and talked about music and our favourite hockey teams. John Angus is a Pittsburgh fan, Colin the Leafs; I nerdily lifted up my pant leg to show my Leafs socks. I mentioned to Colin that perhaps the reason he was so good about writing about heartache is that he is a long time Leafs fans and we all know Leafs fans are destined to years of heartache and grief. It was relaxed and fun and we got lots of pictures as well. Stacey snapped a picture of me telling Colin my two favourite jokes but we look like we are discussing taxes and politics.
Jodi to Stacey
You are the arbiter of cool in this group.
I rely on Stacey to do my hair and makeup and help me decide what to wear. Although my last name is Helps, I am of no assistance to her whatsoever on these trips; I am usually worrying about something, nervous about this and that… and she keeps me grounded.
I must say that, in MOST cases, this is true. However, on day two of our Trews trip I basically lost any level of cool I ever had; something happens to me when I hear those boys sing. In addition to that, I am not sure Trews plus booze is ever a good idea either; my level of excitement tends to be heightened I think. Emotions run deep on a regular day when it comes to Trews music and me; mix that with a tiny little place, tiny crowd and the boys doing an acoustic set, and all levels of cool go out the window. Thank you to The Trews (especially Colin) for your kindness and your patience with THIS Canadian girl.
I was about to say that words cannot express how much fun this road trip was, but obviously that isn’t so based on what I’ve written. It was easy to journal our adventure; it was easy to follow these guys to two cites. It was easy (but tiring, I won’t lie) to drive about 6.5 hours home to Paris, ON (on Mother’s Day no less; tsk tsk to me.) and bask in our Trews Glory. I think we decided that we would do this again; if The Trews are willing to slug their gear around and drive all over the US, I think it’d be easy to follow them again.
One day I would love to say I was witness to The Trews being in the right place at the right time (even if it is Columbus, OH, in a teeny tiny dark bar with 30 other people) and someone says, “Who are these guys?? The talent is endless and so are the possibilities for them!” I know that; lots of other fans know that. They believe in themselves enough to continue to drive in and out of the US and all over, and work hard for every single success. I wish them nothing but the best and appreciate ALL that they do.
I echo those sentiments. When you watched them loading and unloading their gear, setting up and taking down, going from town to town, my admiration for their work ethic grows even more. Throw in sound checks, playing the show, chatting and pictures after the show, getting some sleep, dealing with a throat issue, and doing it all again in the next town the next night, it all really shows their dedication. And they made it fun for the fans. Especially for us, though they may not have known this. To support a great Canadian hardworking band is fun to do and I would make this roadtrip again in a second. The up-close experience, the music (which never disappoints) and the trip with my best friend could not have been any better. And I mean that. Thanks to the Trews for allowing us to take pictures, chat with us, take the time to recognize our shirts ( post them!), and have fun.