Six Months Later
The Nathan Down Tour
By Aaron Binder
Photos by Emily Sheff
Know Your Booker
In the year of 2010, May came around much faster than anticipated and we after a short sojourn at my apartment, we began our traverse on the famous 401 highway…only to be hit by massive amounts of traffic, of course. Once we bypassed the hell that is the GTA, it was smooth sailing to Kingston where we picked up our talented and deliciously sexy photographer Emily. After cramming ourselves into the cramped backseat of a hatchback Chevy Astra, we were on our way to Ottawa for the first show.
We checked into our hotel at just after 10 pm, about 20 minutes before Nathan was supposed to go on…needless to say, it was a mad dash for the venue right afterward. Here’s a tip for everyone that has ever thought of touring, if you ever do tour make sure that you hire a good booking agent, it is one of the most important things you can do as a band hoping to make it big. Nathan had unfortunately hooked up with a new guy that for his part was really trying hard, just sailing into uncharted territory himself which meant two things, 3 people showed up.
Very few awesome bands ever make it because their promotion sucks, don’t be that band, know the people that are trying to help you.
Anyway, after the dismal turnout and show, we trucked back to our hotel in downtown Ottawa and things started to get dicey fast. The last time I wrote about this tour I wasn’t able to tell you much thanks to the magazine’s social responsibility. In fact, if I may quote myself, this is what I had to say:
“I’d love to tell you all about the crazy adventures we had last night, but due to social responsibility I really can’t mention about 95% of the craziness that was Ottawa.”
Thanks to my social irresponsibility and charming devil-may-care attitude, here’s that other 95%.
Coke and Strippers
Being in a touring band means you’re going to have good and bad shows. After a good show it is customary to party and celebrate success. After a bad show it is customary to party and celebrate the fact that tomorrow is going to be a success, so that’s exactly what we did.
We had stocked up on various types of booze earlier in the day and by 1 AM we had gone through almost all of it, so we decided to go out and hit up whatever dive bar we could find. We landed at someplace that looked like a college aged girl rapist’s dream; dark corners, an abundance of girly martinis, and what could best be described as the worst mix of music I’ve ever heard thanks to the abundance of Black Eyed Peas the DJ tossed into the mix.
Before we get too far along though, I must back-track and introduce you to…umm, well, I don’t think we ever got his name, but he claimed to be the quarterback for the University of Ottawa Gee-Gee’s. Yes, that is the actual name of the team and yes, this guy was staying in the room across from us.
We met this guy, an almost over-the-hill jock who shall henceforth be known as Jockser, under slightly strange circumstances. After partying a little too loudly in our room, security had asked us twice to calm down or they would be forced to kick us out of the hotel, apparently it had something to do with the Christian High School Choir attempting to sleep in the rooms beside us, oops. We tried to quiet down a bit and thought all was well, then we heard another rap on the door. I approached it, checked the eyehole, and then jumped back at the sight of a huge guy standing there just staring at our door.
We opened the door and were greeted with the biggest, sloppiest, drunkest hug ever, turns out Jockser just wanted to party, so party we did. We all made our way to the dive bar and proceeded to get our drink on in possibly the shadiest bar in Ottawa. Somewhere along the line my friend Kimi shows up with some ice-cream bars she had ‘liberated’ from a convenience store. So here we are, sitting at a shady bar, drinking booze that is probably drugged and eating stolen ice cream, it doesn’t get much lower than that…but damn, did it ever feel good.
2 am rolls around so we start making our way back to the hotel. About 100 metres down the street Jockser stops. “Guys, I just remembered, the frat-house I’m moving into tomorrow has a coke dealer, I’m going to go get some for us, I’ll meet you guys back at the hotel.” We stand there for a moment, wonder if the guy is for real and then watch as he gingerly trots away with the biggest, sloppiest, drunkest smile ever.
How it took an hour to walk 3 blocks to our hotel, I’ll never remember, but we eventually arrived around 3:30. We piled into our room, took a couple of shots and then ventured across the hall to Jockser’s temporary abode. When we opened the door we were greeted by the lingering smell of pot that had been smoked sometime while we were stumbling home.
Jockser was almost passed out on his bed, mostly drained bottle of vodka slowly dripping down the beginnings of a bulging belly, a testament to the fast and hard lifestyle that would inevitably catch up to him before the realization of his years and memories lost to partying. As our eyes paced around the room we noticed two new additions to his crew, a couple of strippers from Montreal that were entwined on the opposite bed and focused on rolling another joint.
Seeing no coke and no party we skulked back to our room where Emily and Kimi were busy chatting. It was 4:30 in the morning, the night was finally over and we still had two weeks to go. The tour had kicked off with a huge bang, but that bang would soon turn into a supernova as the next day our paths would cross the bar owner with a heart of gold.
The Bar Owner With a Heart of Gold