text and photos by James Bailey
I’m writing this while heading south on I-5. Sitting in the passenger seat, The Lonely Forest’s bassist Eric Sturgeon is driving the tour van. The rest of the band, joined by their friend and merch-guy, Jonathan, are asleep in the back. They are thoroughly exhausted, due to the fact that we didn’t get back to Anacortes from the show in Canada until 4am this morning.
I left my home in West Seattle yesterday around three in the afternoon to drive north and meet up with the band. I left my car in a grocery store parking lot just off the freeway, near the town of Mt. Vernon. The van pulled up a few minutes after I arrived, I threw my stuff in the back and we were off to Canada. After being greeted by a full vehicle of my friends and their girlfriends, fiances and wives, the first thing I noticed was a giant cardboard cutout of Han Solo.
Though the ride to the border was quick, we made a pit stop for gas and snacks, the wait to get through was not. We arrived to a mass of cars, whom we would play a 20 minute game of stop and go with. We passed the time by going over each other’s passport photos, laughing about our awful or silly facial expressions. Once we reached the front of the line we were asked the all usual questions, followed by a request to pull over for a more thorough inquisition. After parking the van we walked into the Canadian border patrol building where we sat while the officers went over our passports and starred at their computer screens gong over whatever it is they need to know before letting us into their country. While waiting in the row of chairs the 9 of us sat making jokes about the Canadians looking up our Facebook pages trying to find a reason not to let us pass through.
An hour later they decided we weren’t a threat to national security and let us go. We entered Vancouver city limits around 8pm, the Lonely Forest was to go on at 10:15. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, had gotten through without incident and finished with their nightly check-in routine. They unloaded the equipment, set things up, and did soundcheck while chatting with the guys from the other band.
We came back from dinner to find that the venue had left each of them a shot of whiskey. They downed them in unison before playing an energetic show for our friends up north.
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin were setting up to play. The venue had big black curtains that surrounded the stage from view between sets, which they open immediately before each band starts. I was standing on the side of the stage, with my camera held to my eye, ready to catch the big surprise waiting for the band, or mainly the guitarist, will.
The French-Canadian soundgirl, Swan, who by the way, made the boys sound incredible, came on stage and pulled back the curtain. Standing there waiting with his blaster riffle pointing directly at Will, was Tony with the cardboard cutout of Han Solo. Shouts and laughter filled the room. It was immediately brought upon the stage by the overjoyed band. The night ended with Will’s arms wrapped around the likeness of Harrison Ford, playing what is sure to be the best Solo of his career (I apologize for the bad pun, but it seemed necessary).
The next morning Eric, his wonderful girlfriend Jessica, and I stopped by the Anacortes local favorite, Penguin Coffee LLC, for some much needed caffeine. Inside, we discovered John Van Deusen’s lovely parents with the singer/guitarist coming in the door right after us. John talked with his family and caught up on some overdue hugs, which he’s been denied over that last few months while on the road. Once we had our morning beverages in hand, we were off to drummer Braydn Krueger’s house, also the band’s practice space, where everyone was to meet up to start the days drive. I noticed, hanging on a wall inside the converted garage, a rather large banner that held what must have been hundreds of friends encouraging comments. I was told this was made by some friends and then passed through the 1,300 strong crowd just before they played last November to a sold out Showbox at the Market. Soon we were off to the next stop. The Doug Fur in the much loved neighboring city of Portland, OR.
View more photos from Day 2 here.