Montreal-Toronto-Halifax trio Kestrels kicked off their second US tour last week, and are now heading down to Austin, Texas for SXSW. In this CJLO exclusive tour diary, guitarist/vocalist Chad Peck gives CJLO Magazine readers a sneaky peek into the daily grind as the band tours from one city to another, and the people, places, and things they encounter along the way. Check back often for new updates and photos!
Kestrels hit SXSW on Saturday, March 16th at BD Riley's. Consult the SXSW schedule for the most up-to-date information.
In this instalment of the Kestrels SXSW tour diary, the band finds themselves in Manhattan's Lower East Side, and Chad is in a New York state of mind—sort of.
10 MARCH 2013
It's a slow start to Sunday as we navigate to the Providence Whole Foods for burritos and snacks. We finally start the drive south in mid-afternoon and get to the Cake Shop for a deadly load in (long narrow staircase).
The Lower East Side was my neighborhood for a summer a few years ago, so the last few times we've returned I feel very nostalgic for the time I spent wandering the streets. We don't have much time in New York on this tour, so sightseeing is kept to a minimum. The show itself is relatively well attended for a Sunday, and the venue is great. I'm glad to see Soccer Mom again. Their record will be great.
The size of the venue means our stage volume is significantly lower than normal which is unnerving. Our publicist Zach assures us we sounded good. A dreadful load out and a sad goodbye to Soccer Mom later, we head to a discount motel in New Jersey for much needed sleep.
152 LUDLOW STREET
RELATIONS @ THE CAKE SHOP
In this instalment of the Kestrels SXSW tour diary, Chad, Paul, and Devin go record shopping in Cambridge before heading out to their next show in Providence, RI.
9 MARCH 2013
Our show tonight is in Providence. The short drive means we get to spend most of the day hanging out in Cambridge, which is beautiful in that north eastern way. The walk to Harvard Square is proceeded by brunch at Veggie Galaxy and stops at every record store along the way.
I bought a vintage Big Muff in Harvard Square in 2003 at Daddy's Junky Music (famous for selling Kurt Cobain his chorus pedal), and I am sad to hear that the shop went out of business. It was full of props from Alien and had a good selection of gear and negligent employees. Our afternoon is spent kicking around and looking for Swirlies records to no avail.
After the hectic manner in which the Boston show happened, the leisurely pace of Saturday is a welcome change. Our drive to Providence is short and full of laughs courtesy of best friend/label rep Ryan. The last time we played in Providence was at the end of our last tour, and exhaustion levels at that time meant we didn't explore much. The show tonight is at AS220, an art gallery/restaurant downtown. It is close to an Irish bar called Finnegan's Wake, and the pedant in me wants to spray paint over the apostrophe.
Relations, the opening band, has one of the most impressive back lines I've seen, and I admit to being a little green with envy at the liberal use of high-powered amplification.
There were a few technical hitches in Boston, mostly dealing with my pedal system/command center. Those are all worked out tonight which makes the set feel more effortless. Afterward, a man who had been filming us tells me a story about when he hung out with D. Boon a month before his death. Very surreal. A good portion of the load out is devoted to discussing the finer points of Canadian metal band, Anvil.
Afterward we head back to headlining band Glow Kid's massive loft/apartment complex for a very late night.
RECORD SHOPPING IN HARVARD SQUARE
GLOW KID AFTER PARTY
In this first instalment of the Kestrels SXSW tour diary, Chad lands in Cambridge, MA en route to Austin TX, meets up with bandmates Devin Peck (bass) and Paul Brown (drums), and the band plays their first show of the tour.
8 MARCH 2013
Greetings from Cambridge, MA. Yesterday was the first day of the second US Kestrels tour, and the good people at CJLO have asked me to keep a tour diary of the dizzying heights and crushing lows of our trip to SXSW.
Work commitments meant that Devin and Paul drove our new van down from Montreal and I flew in from Moncton, NB. There was some general anxiety about border crossings and delayed flights, but everything went well and I landed at Radio Bar just as the opening band (our friends Soccer Mom) finished up. Many thanks to my cabbie who looked like a disheveled Noam Chomsky and sang Beatles songs on the way from Logan International. For whatever reason, he told me he stopped listening to rock music in 1986. He was a good man.
Despite the tight timelines, we played a good set. Devin was stuck with the house bass amp, a 1x10 Orange combo. With my 100-watt plexi half stack and massive pedal system, things looked a little lopsided on stage. Speaking of which, there were a few technical glitches with massive jumps in volume on my end, but by all accounts we made a good racket. It always feels good to get the first one out of the way.
The deadly Speedy Ortiz followed us and blew minds. Their new record is due out in the summer, and it is anxiously awaited by our band. We played their cassette EP in our old van (RIP) about 200 times last summer. We played with them in Chicago last summer and hope to do so again soon. The New Highway Hymnal closed out the night with some serious psych-rock and visual experiments.
We're joined for the first weekend by Ryan from SIANspheric, and post show laughs meant a long load out. There was a half-hearted attempt at finding pizza at 3 am, but it was fruitless. We landed back at Danielle from Soccer Mom's apartment and crashed hard.
AT THE AIRPORT
EN ROUTE TO CAMBRIDGE, MA
SOCCER MOM @ RADIO BAR
KESTRELS' DRUMMER PAUL BROWN