District Down @ the Eclipse - Friday March 16, 2012
For anyone who’s ever been a regular at a bar, it can be weird going back long after it’s heyday. At one point I was pretty much furniture at Catch 22, so when I was told to go to the club currently occupying the former Catch I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was weird walking up to the curb where I watched a dude drop like a redwood with his head on the road and his feet still up on the curb, only to to get yelled at by the manager to get off his property. It was even weirder walking down those steps again, for the kabillionth time. But the weirdest part was probably walking in to see the door being run by some of the old crew who’d been called in at the last minute.
After doing a lap to survey the modest crowd early in the night I took a seat at the booth where I had sat at the beginning of one crazy Catch 22 night, nursing a beer by myself waiting for the mushrooms to kick in. This time though I was just setting up my camera while Pressure Makes Diamonds laid down some very competent blues licks for sound check. Sadly I wouldn’t get to see their set but we’ll get into that shortly. After a couple of pints and a few smokes the show proper was getting underway as out-of-towners Take the Capital hit the stage. They must have been under the impression that they were at the capital because they sure did take it. Full force and lots of energy kept their set going strong, and overall they were a real tight unit.
To be completely honest, I could probably get away with using that description for every band on the bill here. My only concern was the startling lack of an audience, which I think can be blamed on a few factors. Primarily, I discovered over the course of the night that this was the first time the establishment had even been open past 9, and had only recently been licensed. As I mentioned earlier even the security was last minute. Secondly I think this is a symptom of a bigger problem in Oshawa. There used to be a few places to get guaranteed exposure, because there were enough headliners coming through you could get on the right bill and make a bunch of new fans, or at least count on a few regulars to be holding it down.
Speaking of regulars, as Survive to Rise was playing in some of the worst lighting a photographer could hope for, I happened to run into a few. While I’m sitting at the bar taking in the show, an older couple sits down beside me clearly somewhat surprised that there was even a show going on. Didn’t take long to figure out it was going to be one of those nights. Conversation picks up and one thing leads to another, I find out I’m talking to a published author and visual artist who’s interested in doing poster work and whatnot. I think this is great, a healthy interest in supporting local music, and then I see his work…oh…my…god.
If I ever write an autobiography this man is going to have to illustrate it for me, and you can look forward to hearing more about him and his body of work soon. Just so happens they lived around the corner so a quick jaunt over there and I’m checking out some more of his work. Oil paintings, ink and paper, sculpture, all sorts of work. Since I pretty much missed the entirety of Pressure Makes Diamonds, I have replaced what would be pictures of them with a piece of this guy’s work. Fair trade I’m sure. Before heading back things get a little weird. His wife asks me if I’d prefer a 15 year old or an 18 year old…Scotch that is. Never been a huge fan of Johnny Walker until I tried the Gold label.
Fortunately I did make it back in time for the headliners, District Down. Despite the modest crowd they hit the stage like they were playing a packed stadium. For my money, that’s the most important thing a band can do. You might be playing for beer 600 km away to the opening acts’ girlfriends, but you give them the show they deserve. They were tight, fast, and entertaining, or maybe I was just getting a few sheets to the wind at this point, but I’m still pretty sure they were good. It makes me glad to see that bands like these are still coming out of Oshawa, so if you see any of these names on a bill you better come check them out and support your local scene before it dies and takes you with it