Oct 2014 - Indie Week Toronto, CHRW 94.9 & more...
The main thing to be accomplished during October was to get to Indie Week Toronto, taking up their invite to appear in their UK & Ireland showcases, and bring the UN sound out of Europe for the first time. A fair bit of planning & spending were involved, plus 2 days of travel at each end of the trip because of flying out of Milan. Because of these reasons I was traveling to play solo without bringing a band, but it'll be great to get back to Toronto some time in full electric mode.
» 13.10.2014 - MILAN.
I hadn't really spent much time in Milan before, but given the timing of the flight from Malpensa to Toronto, and the money that could be saved on getting the Freccia Rossa train earlier on the day before, I had about half a day to walk around and see some stuff.
The Duomo (Cathedral) is pretty iconic, and even though I ain't religious, and don't usually spend much time doing touristy things, Mark Twain & Oscar Wilde did it so who am I to criticise? Twain loved it, Wilde hated it, I was somewhere in the middle.
There's a solid gold statue on the roof, slightly out of shot to the left. As a lover of irony at least, that was worth seeing.
Overall though I like Milan a lot, and look forward to playing some great gigs there with UN. Anyway we got another train to the airport which is quite far away, found an internet point and stayed awake all night until time to fly.
» 15.10.2014 - NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO.
Skipping over the 14th, which was mostly just flying & finding the hotel, I've still got to say that Air Canada is the best airline I've been on. Both ways, so they didn't fluke it. The next day, got the train from Union to Burlington to stay a couple of days at Niagara on the Lake. That was all great. Apart from the obvious things to see (Niagara Falls, etc..), got to see a bunch of other interesting stuff from the revolutionary war as well as a pavilion used in the Christopher Walken movie The Dead Zone, adapted from the Stephen King novel of same name.
» 16.10.2014 - CN TOWER, TORONTO.
Said goodbye to our gracious hosts Rob & Carolyn and headed back to Toronto. Not before visiting the Peller Estate winery. I have a thing to say now when trying to blend in with wine snobs, that I prefer a Sauvignon Franc to a Cabernet, as long as they're both free. Ice wines taste the best though.
Walking around Toronto is better at night. Huge clouds of steam rising out of the drains. Dozens of bars with live music and fully fledged music venues open for business. You can see bands all around the downtown area through the windows on the main streets, or by putting your head through the front door. Toronto is easily, easily, easily the most active music scene I've ever witnessed. There's no city in the UK or Ireland I can think of where so many Rock bands are on full display in the most populous areas of the city doing original material.
» 17.10.2010 - THE HIDEOUT, TORONTO.
Friday night was the "Irish Showcase" gig of Indie Week 2014. I followed a couple of bands, but I think was the first artist from Ireland on the bill. Opened up with a new song, "Love Leave Your Mark on Me", which I might be able to drop something exciting about in the next blog. Did a couple of other new songs in a 40 minute set, and a finished version of "Greatest Revivial" which was technically played once before with the full band in an alternate version. Since Milan I've been getting sicker and have a hoarse voice coming on, but thankfully the pollution in Toronto seems to have dried me out and stopped my nose from running. Sometimes being up there with nothing but your songs is a good way of putting into stark contrast which ones are getting the "real" reaction. There's a difference between polite applause & when a bunch of people show their attention has been grabbed for 4 minutes. I appreciate anytime I get the polite applause, but the real one is the thing. The most important instinct of a songwriter might be knowing the difference.
Forthcoming single "Don't Wanna Kill For Religion" never lets me down in this respect. My writing seems to have gotten more direct after the first album and I'm looking forward to seeing how the second album will be perceived. Tonight's gig is the Irish Showcase, so I include a new song I wasn't intending to do, but will be on the next album called "Sincere Desire For Ireland". I spent almost all of the first 25 years of my life on the island of Ireland, and the song lists many of the experiences that stick out. Some beautiful, some ugly, all true. That was something I wanted to be sure to leave anyone in Toronto with who might've come to see UN particularly, or hear some Irish music at random. Something true. Much of Irish folk music is mythical and can hide the reality.
» 18.10.2010 - THE RIVOLI, TORONTO.
Saturday night was the UK showcase. I was proud to be the act with (Belfast) beside their name on the poster. Any UK showcase would be a sham without this as far as I'm concerned. My voice is by now strained and raw as sandpaper, my throat is starting to swell up, but luckily The Rivoli has crystal clear sound and there is a good sound engineer on. In retrospect it really was lucky because 20 minutes after coming off stage I'm trying to talk across the table to some people who've driven a couple of hours to see me and they can't even hear what I'm saying. During the set though it held out enough for me to get the songs across. 40 minutes again, changed it up a bit and started with Triggerfinger which I don't think was played live for a year and a half or so. See the full set list here.
After the set I don't get a chance to see the other acts, there's a gig at Lou Dawg's to get over to. My throat is raw and swelling up. Into a shop for lozenges & a jar of honey.
I also want to thank CHRW 94.9 FM's Madison Foster for playing "Shoulda Said Something" and plugging the Toronto dates on her Wolf Radio show. So the University of Western Ontario have added themselves to the Unquiet Nights radio empire.
» 19.10.2014 - 180 COXWELL AVENUE, TORONTO.
This is the house number where my grandfather lived for a bit from 1929, before he moved to Belfast with his mother, who was a housekeeper of the Eaton family's summer mansion. They're a big name in Toronto still. I had the time to take a walk from the hotel and see it. It's not far from downtown Toronto, even though we took a longer route & saw places like Danforth Music Hall.
» MASSEY HALL, TORONTO.
This is the place where Neil Young did the album "Live at Massey Hall".
» UNTIL THE NEXT ONE...
In the next blog there should be some exciting stuff RE: new recorded material. UnquietNights.com has got a new Latest News feed though so I've been posting more stuff during the month on a daily basis recently. Keep checkin' there.