Saskatchewan, Storms, towns like Brigadoon

In music on May 1, 2011 at 11:03 pm

We headed out east in good time, leaving Calgary at 6:00am so that we could play on the radio in Saskatoon at 3. The first ever acoustic  set of Deadhorse happened behind a door in a wood panelled hall up three flights of stairs.

Cafe Sola was welcoming, the show in a cool little  all ages show space recently re-named Jale with a stage covered in plush astroturf. there was a palatial downstairs jam space which is the colourful territory of the equally colourful band Aunty Panty, with whom we shared the bill. We were taken home by Brenda, from the Sea Hags (jokingly described as an all girl bluegrass band with zero sex appeal) .  Few beers by the river, sardines like sleep, One hearty pancake breakfast and we were off to Regina.

Regina’s O’Hanlons was hopping, which appears to be it’s usual state. We played, we ate fish and chips, and were surprised by friends from Brain Sauce who drove down especially for the show. Ryan’s friend Heather took us out to an after-hours sheesha bar, where we danced with several other groovy locals until the wee hours, and then gratefully slept on her very inviting floor.

Expecting a long drive we got up early and headed for Winnipeg. Here is where everything starts to get a bit strange. We reached the #1 highway in somewhat windy but seemingly reasonable weather,  to find that the highway had been closed. Hoping to push forward  and still make the show s we opted for the “Travel Not Recommended” route 48. The view got progressively whiter, the snow progressively higher. Finally, as if in some weird dream we find ourselves being hoisted out of a drift by a giant yellow grader and a bunch of grinning small town men. We opt to drive a half kilometre further to the darkened motel (the whole town is in a black out). After being towed out of a drift a second time, we enter the powerless Motel to find the proprietor demanding $80 a room, and insisting that we need four. We call the RCMP, and 911, to see what our options are, loosing service just before we are connected. We spend a few hopeless, tired dreamy moments in the atrium of the shitty inn, and decide to walk to the hospital, the locals tell us it the only building in the town with any power. Wet, cold and frustrated about missing the awesome gig in Winnipeg with Gobble Gobble, we trudge somewhat aimlessly through the whiteout, on roads that look like ice rinks. The road we were just on has four feet of snow,  it seems as if we have driven directly into the eye of the storm.

Photo By Duncan Kenworthy

The hospital is warm, and we sit in the waiting room, eating beef jurkey and wondering what to do next. What happens is that we discover Kipling Memorial Hospital is the best place to take shelter from a storm. The doctor on call,  who’s name is Moussan (sp?) announces he is from the proud country of Afghanistan, and then opens up a room in the basement for us. We soon have the rice-cooker full of stew, hot cups of coffee, celebrity magazines to read, and our collection of sleeping mat’s laid out on the floor. Sleeping in the basement of the hospital of a hospital seems, creepy, but with the weather looking apocalyptic we are more than lucky, it’s all a surreal dream.

A few hours later the sun is shining, most of us have napped, and it looks possible that we might be able to continue. Already we will be rushing to make it to the next few shows. The Mayor of Kipling who we met eariler ( the driver of the grader that pulled us out of the snowdrift) is telling us it’s looking good, and that we can probably make it to the #1. The Sun is shining, we pack up our gear just as the light is beginning to get low.

We have a somewhat rough drive, but are feeling hopeful until we get to Whitewood which is at the junction of the #1. The place is a circus, cars and trucks line the road, the cafe, the hotel and the convenience store are strewn with people walking around like zombies, sleeping on every available piece of furniture. haggard people occupy the bar. Some of us end up sleeping in the sauna, the rest on the floor in the hotel pool room. We have had to cancel, Winnipeg and Thunder Bay.

So now we have had a few hours nap , and showers in a recently vacated hotel room. There are conflicting reports about where the storm is, and what the roads are like, but we are hoping the storm will be far enough ahead that we can make it to the east in time for the next few shows.

wish us luck!

  1. Hey Deadhorse crew, thanks for a great show in Saskatoon, both at Caffe Sola and your inaugural acoustic performance on the air at CFCR! It was great meeting you, I hope we can get you back to Saskatoon sometime soon! It sounds like things got crazy after you left Saskatoon/Regina, but I hope it’s all smooth sailing for you.

    Jay Allen

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