Late nights spent in dark and dreary smoke-filled clubs, sleeping on some dude's floor because you can't afford to sleep in even the worst of motels and massive gas bills. In both America and Canada, these are almost universal truth for our favourite indie rockers. But, there's a hidden maxim that is whispered in the backrooms of clubs--touring in Canada is infinitely worse than touring in the United States.
"Well, often when I talk to bands that I play with in the States or even Vancouver bands, you often hear that touring in Canada is shitty and not worth it," says lead singer Dan Moxon of Bend Sinister. "That's hard to hear when it's the country you're from, and the place where you think you can play, creatively and do it while making money and it being worthwhile. Is there a point going cross-country when you end up $1,000 dollars in debt and with a huge gas bill?"
Vancouver prog-rock prodigies Bend Sinister have taken it upon themselves to explore this sentiment. The band are no strangers to touring, and are on the road to support their recently released self-titled stand-out EP.
"We've toured the country three times," explains Moxon. "The first time, I thought 'hey, this is a pretty neat experience.' The second time I wanted to tell people about the experience. The third time, you wanted to get a camera. This time around, I knew what I was getting into and I have the time and resources to make it happen."
Firing up the van and hitting the road, they've been sponsored by CBC Radio 3 for a cross-Canada tour with a stopover in the burgeoning Pop Montreal music festival, this time grabbing a video camera to film the Canadian tour experience for an upcoming documentary.
"We're going along taping our show and the experience within the band and juxtapose that with different opinions from across the country," says Moxon. "At the start of this tour I put more promotion, publicity and effort into trying to make it into the most successful tour that it can be. If by the end of it, we come out of it with a great tour in Canada, I think it shows that you can be an independent band in Canada and make it work if you put in the effort. But if no one comes out, what does that show about how people view live music in Canada?"
Although the band is touring around Canada for their documentary, they don't want either the tour or the documentary to be The Bend Sinister Show Starring Bend Sinister. Rolling into a new town every day for another show, the band aims to have their shows be a showcase of the rich diversity in Canadian music and discover the band's own experiences in the Canadian music scene.
"I was setting up the tour myself and even got to start booking shows," says Moxon. "I was able to approach bands that I just wanted to interview for the documentary and have them play a show with us. I could shoot their sets and then be able to ask them to come up with what it's like touring Canada. That way, I might be able to come up with a consensus on what it's really like from various bands across the country."
Playing with such bands like Calgary's own Azeda Booth, the Edmonton electronic band the Wet Secrets and Regina's Sylvie, the tour promises to be a showcase of emerging Canadian talent.
"It's not just a Bend Sinister tour where we come through town and get local talent to open for us," says Moxon. "We've got equal calibre bands and bands that I think that are amazing in each town to play in and often headline. Our band is opening for a lot of shows with these bands."
If you feel any patriotic inclinations at all, prove to Bend Sinister that the Canadian live music scene is just as good as and as satisfying as in America. With epic riffs, soaring vocals, and a show that would rock a stadium, you won't regret it.