So many weather metaphors and realities today.
As we left the Coastal Inn toward downtown it was just slightly raining.
We walked down to the main road, along to the tourist information centre, hugged the shore of the Sackville Waterfowl Park, and then headed out onto the boardwalk right across it, and emerged out of a hollow onto Bridge Street, right in front of Thunder & Lightning, where we were headed.
Except we needed to eat first, so we walked two doors up and had quick burgers at Mel’s Tea Room, finishing up just after the 5:00 p.m. doors-open time next door.
Opening act Bernice was just finishing sound check as we arrived; we secured a table by the far wall, right in front of the stage. It’s hard to imagine a better vantage point, and there was a generous nook, between our table and the stage, for Ethan to stretch out.
Things got started just after 6:00 p.m. to a packed house full of young and old.
The presence of the young–Oliver, unusually, was not the youngest present–was enabled by New Brunswick’s liberal liquor regulations that allow minors in a pub (and, indeed, pubs at all) as long as they have an adult present. Such tomfoolery would not be allowed in PEI.
Bernice was new to me, and a revelation: lead singer Robin Dann has a welcoming way, a melliferous voice, and a band of skilled digital musicians backing her whose bleeps and bloops and fizzes miraculously synergized in a way you would think might be annoyingly Super Mario, but isn’t.
The band played a wide-ranging set, and finished with a Shawn Colvin cover as an encore.
After a brief interlude for a set change, The Weather Station took to the stage. The bleeps and bloops were replaced by a band of solidly analogue musicians supporting Tamara Lindeman, and their torrent of sound fulled the tiny room to just short of overflowing.
The band ran through its catalogue, now familiar to me through Spotify replay upon replay, and it was lovely to behold live: Lindeman is an accomplished guitarist and has a substantial vocal range. Her band was crack, and they obviously enjoy playing together, and enjoy being good at doing so.
Given the impending original set at 8:30 p.m., there wasn’t time enough for the usual cacaphony-encore-cacaphony-encore, and both bands departed the stage quickly and without fanfare.
By 8:00 p.m., we were out into the bracing Sackville night, the snow storm having started mid-set.
We set off up Bridge Street toward the Coastal Inn only to encounter the Vogue Cinema just letting in for the night’s showing of Thor: Ragnarok. We had no great desire to see the film, but my personal “when presented with an opportunity to see a film in a small town independent cinema, take it” rule kicked in, and we took our seats just as the film started. The Vogue is a huge old cinema, complete with sloping balcony, that has somehow managed to avoid both closure and being chopped up into a multiplex. The film was mildly more interesting than anticipated, and managed to keep our attention, if not change our lives.
When the film let out at 10:00 p.m. the snow storm was in full throat, and our plan to stay the night in Sackville rather than Moncton bore its intended fruit.
The snow wasn’t enough to keep us from walking home, though, and 20 minutes later, slightly soggy and fogged up, we were back at the Coastal Inn, satisfied with an excellent night out.