Tag Archives: festival express

Fellowship of the Beards “The Matinée” – Tracks 10 years, part 5

ain’t nothing but a good time, all the time

Dealio: (Almost) cross Canada Rock n Roll Train / Flashback and Preview

Note: can you spot me in on the fun?

Anyhow,… 10 years ago, I was on a train going from Vancouver to Toronto with 10-ish rock ‘n’ roll bands, CBC Radio 3, mixed media documentary film crew and other free radicals + I was on board as Svengali-like guru ;) / advisor.  And finally, the documentary is coming out in chapter/band parts…, ergo:

The Matinée at the Gladstone end of the tracks blow out (i think this is my photo but if its not, just let me know)

Blurb:

“I know that wasn’t the question, but this is the answer”

The friendship and camaraderie of The Matinée is as evident as the affable gents provide cabin tours and compare Canadian landscapes to Lord of the Rings geography while wondering “what life feels like there” as places whisk past VIA Rail Canadian train’s window.

Beyond the witty banter, they play *so much* that Matt Layzell’s voice is almost tossed into the baggage car with the empty bottles ~ from 3 AM group sing-alongs, to Lightfoot/Dylan-esque poetics in the view car (including Kiana Brassett chiming in on violin), and breaking out songs sounding like summer FM radio in a convertible turned up to 11 as the throngs cheers their beers to slinging Matt Rose & raconteur Geoff Petrie on guitars, Pete Lemon switching between brushes, tables, shakers & sticks, and Mike Young swapping bass for mandolin. 

Indeed, The Matinee collectively brought the chops and the charm reminiscent of The Band on the 1970 Festival Express with easy-going sincerity, swagger & style and surprises for everyone – especially for CBC host and singer of The Smugglers, Grant Lawrence who was temporary speechless for the first time in his life.

So continues the Track on Tracks rock ‘n’ roll train adventure from Vancouver to Toronto with 10+ bands, dozens of music enthusiasts, and a documentary crew who were literally climbing the walls to capture it all. Hop on board for part 5 of 10 and see you in the bar car ready to sing-a-long.

by daveo for Green Couch
me auditioning to be “The Matinée’s honorary uncle with Matt Layzell

All the goodness at: Green Couch Films Tracks on Tracks
/ Track on Tracks playlist at YT

We’ll always have Melville “Shred Kelly” – Tracks 10 years, part 4

From the roadside to the box car in 36 hours (or so)

Dealio: (Almost) cross Canada Rock n Roll Train / Flashback and Preview

10 years ago, I was on a train going from Vancouver to Toronto with 10-ish rock ‘n’ roll bands, CBC Radio 3, mixed media documentary film crew and other free radicals + I was on board as Svengali-like guru ;) / advisor.  And finally, the documentary is coming out in chapter/band parts…, ergo:

Blurb:

In a rapid flash, Shred Kelly went from a broken-down van on the side of a mountain highway, to a tow truck then a rental racing the clock to Edmonton to hop aboard the train. Making it just in time to stumble into an epic dance party already in overdrive. Whew.

The jovial quintet then brought relentlessly positive vibes to the town of Melville, Saskatchewan with an early morning luggage car performance, serenading what-must’ve-been-90% of the prairie town’s denizens – complete with lawn chairs, big coffees, and/or tall cans – sliding open the box car to belt out a rousing tune about disaffection for crappy jobs. The beaming mayor expressed his sincere thanks as the train coterie danced alongside the locals.

Once the shock of their unlikely transport triathlon wore off, they settled into their groove of jamming with everyone, pulling out banjos, melodicas, mandolins and rocking with a rapt, packed train car with smiles as bright as an indie-rock Osmond family.

This episode features Tim Newton’s impressive assortment of toques and hats, Sage McBride leading sing-alongs like the grooviest community choir leader, plus Ian Page-Shiner on traps, Steve Polit on guitar, and Jordan Vlasschaert’s scene-stealing ‘stasche rounding out the roster as he shared the band’s ski-town friendliness by thanking the producers/directors/filmers/everyone involved on making this ridiculously awesome journey happen.

And so the VIA Rail Canadian train rolls on, backed by a free-wheeling soundtrack with community coalescing by the kilometre from Vancouver to Toronto – with an important lesson learned, “Whatever it takes, just make it to the station.”

by daveo for Green Couch

All the goodness at: Green Couch Films Tracks on Tracks
/ Track on Tracks playlist at YT

Time-shifting Train for “The Belle Game” – Tracks 10 years, part 3

Behold: the enchanting “Belle Game

Dealio: (Almost) cross Canada Rock n Roll Train / Flashback and Preview

10 years ago, I was on a train going from Vancouver to Toronto with 10-ish rock ‘n’ roll bands, CBC Radio 3, mixed media documentary film crew and other free radicals + I was on board as Svengali-like guru ;) / advisor.  And finally, the documentary is coming out in chapter/band parts…, ergo:

while i understand this is not a photo of The Belle Game, this is a lovely photo of being “on the tracks” rather than “on the road” regardless, dig the salad and cup of soup

Blurb:

An ensemble is solving puzzles: metaphorical about how to play in different circumstances, logistical about how to deal with power outages, and practical like this puzzle has 500 pieces and three waterfalls. Yet, The Belle Game solves all the problems with courage and grace while shifting styles and eras – is this 50 years ago or 50 in future?

Starting with trackside sparklers at a “water stop” at an undisclosed location then segueing into unabashed joy playing with balloons, streamers and shine in the packed “activity car”… as Canada rolls past in endless twilight, the band builds layers like an art school thesis submitted for professors Eno and Bowie.

The band candidly discusses their apprehensions and concerns yet all the trepidation evaporates once they pick up instruments and launch into song – you’ll feel the emotion of “yes i will wait up for you”. Later, they squeeze into the caboose car, along with oboe and bassoon from Sidney York, and a clapalong crowd for a intimate performance to bookend their transcendent offerings.

Together, vocalists Andrea Lo and Katrina Jones (also keys), guitarists Adam Nanji and Alex Andrew – plus Marcus Abramzik on bass and drummer Rob Chursinoff – find ways to solve the puzzles: sing differently, change instruments, and switch approaches to find the infinite possibilities in constraints.

So, c’mon and oll through the “S curves” on this train adventure from Vancouver to Toronto complete with a cadre of bands, fans, documenters, and other free radicals in part 3 of Tracks on Tracks, more to come, more is past.

by daveo for Green Couch

All the goodness at: Green Couch Films Tracks on Tracks
/ Track on Tracks playlist at YT

Vancouver station to Winnipeg crossroad with “Portage and Main” – Tracks 10 years, part 2

10 years distant, songs were sung – for children & mothers – beards were combed, tracks were rolled. You wanna come along?

Dealio: (Almost) cross Canada Rock n Roll Train / Flashback and Preview

Note: can you spot me in on the fun?

10 years ago, I was on a train going from Vancouver to Toronto with 10-ish rock ‘n’ roll bands, CBC Radio 3, mixed media documentary film crew and other free radicals + I was on board as Svengali-like guru ;) / advisor.  And finally, the documentary is coming out in chapter/band parts…, here’s part 2 with “Portage and Main” / I think you will really enjoy.

take a break Driver 8, on the way to Winnipeg (PS evidence i was there :) dvo)

Blurb:

“we’ll find him in the park with a kite.. . blowing bubbles” 

As the Canadian scenery flashes by in impressionistic hues for greens, box cars and rain, the affable fellas of twin acoustic guitar folk rockers ”Portage and Main” talk about their wonder, disbelief and excitement about being on this “Festival Express-esque” journey while sharing their heart felt Canadiana songs.

So continues the Tracks on Tracks journey, a 2012 Vancouver to Toronto train adventure with 10 bands and dozens of music enthusiasts exploring the Canadian landscape aboard the classic VIA Rail Canadian. Fortified with a spirit of camaraderie and pure creative expression, the bands head towards NxNE festival with the mantra of “Every night! Every night!”

Named for the fabled Winnipeg intersection, their songs evoke themes of searching, growing up, being away and coming home. John, Harold, and George move from upper deck dome car with spontaneous collaboration with chanteuse Adaline, to activity car with wide-eyed audience noting the serendipity of the experience paired with the song, to a jam packed sleeping berth with late-night improvs including a sizzling fiddle solo from Kiana Brassett.

Yup, it’s all happening, all at once. Produced by Green Couch Films and now available to spark your dreams of adventure. Get aboard, there’s more to come.

daveo for Green Couch

Epilogue: I mostly really glad that George gets a lot of screen time, he’s a really top-notch dude (check out his digital recording demonstration videos, often out in nature in his VW bus) … In other news, John as “Johnny 99” has a new album out shipping *today* on vinyl, and Harold has done some wonderful online sing-along/a cappella/piano lessons on IG.

All the goodness at: Green Couch Films Tracks on Tracks
/ Track on Tracks playlist at YT

Dance party on the train “Topless” – Tracks 10 years, part 1

Splash! It’s all happening (as the train risks going off the tracks like a glitter piñata into InterGalactic space)

Dealio: (Almost) cross Canada Rock n Roll Train / Flashback and Preview

Anyhow,… 10 years ago, I was on a train going from Vancouver to Toronto with 10-ish rock ‘n’ roll bands, CBC Radio 3, mixed media documentary film crew and other free radicals + I was on board as Svengali-like guru ;) / advisor.  And finally, the documentary is coming out in a series of 10 – here’s part 1 with “Topless Gay Love Tekno Party” (AKA Topless AKA TGLTP) / I think you will really enjoy.

squeeze in where ya can, in this case, basically hanging on Ian Bevis’ back

Blurb: “I like the place the music creates” 

A train car packed with sweaty shirtless dancers, streamers and balloons, and a dance groove sextet called “Topless Gaylove Tekno Party” bursting like a glitter explosion compelling the effervescent passengers dance so hard there was *a legitimate concern* the mighty VIA train could launch into an intergalactic stratosphere as they sing full-throated along with the band – all of them in utility-grey onesies, “I’m not a diamond, I am not cold to the touch” dancing to the sway of the rails. 

So begins Part 1 of 10 of the long-awaited Tracks on Tracks video series, a 2012 Vancouver to Toronto VIA Rail journey with 10 bands onboard, exploring the Canadian landscape and creating culture through performances and collaborations from dome cars to sleeping berths to whistle-stop shows. 

Along the way, the “Topless” members discuss their song-making process, the importance of naps, the logistics of wearing onesie uniforms, sleep-over steam-rollers, Ulysses as a bedtime story, and the joy they find when making something magic together.

Produced/directed by Green Couch Films, you’ll see unique points of view including verdant greens in the ever-changing scenery, freight trains whisking by, and views of the spectacular art-deco rolling stock and so many amazed and enthusiastic faces chanting  “everynight! Everynight!” in joyous disbelief this is actually happening. Get on board, quickly, there’s more to come.

daveo for Green Couch

All the goodness at: Green Couch Films Tracks on Tracks
/ Track on Tracks playlist at YT

(Almost) cross Canada Rock n Roll Train / Flashback and Preview

Such goodness out now

10 years ago, I was on a train going from Vancouver to Toronto with 11-ish rock ‘n’ roll bands, CBC Radio 3, mixed media documentary film crew and other free radicals + I was on board as Svengali-like guru ;) / advisor.

It was our own 90 person indie rock Festival Express co-mingled with the usual passengers and doing ridiculous / ill-fated whistle stop shows along the way and ended up at NxNE festival for showcase and I presented a keynote talk about social media disasters…

Recursive/meta photo of a TV with Grant Lawrence of CBC showing a TV with a video of Grant, me and others on the train from Green Couch film YouTube

And finally, the documentary is coming out in chapter/band parts starting June 8th iirc. Consider yourself warned, amused and excited.

All the goodness at Green Couch Films Tracks on Tracks

Handy playlist at YT: https://www.youtube.com/greencouchfilms

Continue reading (Almost) cross Canada Rock n Roll Train / Flashback and Preview

Note: R. Hunter re: Ripple and Festival Express

Q: How about “Ripple”?

A: We were in Canada on that train trip [the Festival Express, 1970] and one morning the train stopped and Jerry was sitting out on the tracks not too far off, in the sunrise, setting “Ripple” to music. That’s a good memory. That was one of the happy times, going on that train trip.

Janis [Joplin] was the queen of that trip. One of my greatest memories is having breakfast with her on the train. She was having Southern Comfort and scotch, and she asked me if I heard that song by Kristofferson, “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down,” and she sang it in my ear. Can you imagine?

Festival Express Redux: a cross-Canada train trip exploring art, culture, media and business

How do we spark intellectual and cultural exchange across industries? Hop aboard the Festival Express Redux – an interdisciplinary, cross-Canada train trip exploring art, culture, media and business.

read more

Trainspotting: CP Classic on the Gastown Rails

Tis no secret i enjoy trains and would ride trains everywhere given a choice of trains, planes and automobiles. I noticed this noble Canadian Pacific train idling on the tracks by Waterfront station. I snapped some identification shots to find out the story from a transportation veteran like Stephen Rees.

My biggest question is: Can i ride this Halifax? Really, how do i get aboard with a berth and permanent seat in the bar car? Who’s running this train?

CP Train in Gastown CP Train in Gastown CP Train in Gastown CP Train in Gastown CP Train in Gastown

This train looks to be from the era of the Trans-Continental Pop Festival’s fabled “Festival Express” train from the legendary train+alcohol+LSD-powered cross-Canada tour of counter-culture bands (Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band) in 1970. I’d love to recreate that trip!

Side note: here’s how the tour went down:

Concert dates

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