Our motel in Niagara Falls wasn't close to the falls which was a slight bummer for the guys. I, on the other hand, didn't care much having been there two or three times already. Both sides, at that. Our two rooms were next to each other in an otherwise vacant motor court. For our motel rehearsal of new material, we set up a stripped down version of our gear in the older brothers' room. "Maid of the Mist," "Dirty Windshield," "Until It Kills You," and "What Do You Live For?" were a few of the numbers. Mark took copious notes on structure and dynamics that would no doubt come in handy down the line. We had a lovely Italian dinner at Michael's on Pine Avenue. Any time you're in the Niagara Falls area, I recommend eating anything with red sauce at Michael's. Alpha Dog was on the tube later on. Scary film about idiot kids in California. Man, that place seems f'ed up, I'm glad I didn't follow the desire I had to move there back in 1994. Who knows, though? Might have been fun.
We left ALT at the motel (because he didn't have his passport) and headed for the border as a three-piece. Our crossing was painless and we made it to The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto by 5:30. After a slight miscommunication with Brian the Front of House Knob Twister, we sound-checked and all was smoothed out. The first two acts on the bill were ok, the second of the two being the only other band on the bill I liked. Aside form "Daily Life," our set was mainly Porcupine, much like the ones we played at SXSW. At the end of the set, we decided to load straight into the van from the stage. Only problem was that some crackhead motherfucker broke into our van by smashing the huge window next to the first bench.
Thankfully, the club owner caught the asshole in the act which prevented him from totally cleaning us out. As it stood, the theft of his satchel with passport, phone, ipod, the previous night's charts, and other personal belongings left Mark the primary victim. The alleys and streets of the neighborhood behind the bar were combed with hopes that the thief gave the bag a quick rifling through and ditched it in the bushes. Our search was unfruitful and after patching the window with cardboard, loading the gear, using all of our drink tickets and hanging out with the friends and family who had come to see us (great to see you Tyler and Megan!), we headed back to the border. With a U.S. driver's license in his wallet and a tattoo of the Ohio state burgee on his forearm, we had confidence that the patrols would let Mark back in. Correct in our beliefs, we soon had the merciful guards behind us and were back with our estranged bandmate at the Roadway Inn. A damn sucky experience that ruined a great show. The gear was loaded into the rooms and with that Christmas Eve anxiousness, it took awhile for the kids to fall asleep once they went to bed.
The next morning (four hours later), Tim Got up at 8am and started calling auto glass replacement services. In Niagara Falls, Buffalo, and Albany, we couldn't find glass and labor for less than $550. Ouch. Tim called JP down in Brooklyn who started the search for glass while we were hightailin' it to the Mercury. The long drive across the state of New York wasn't nearly as bad with a cardboard window as I thought. And I am always impressed with how beautiful a state it is.