Tour diaries: soso & Maybe Smith in France

Editor’s note – Troy Gronsdahl aka soso, a Saskatoon-based musician, producer, poet, artist and all-around gentle soul, is off gallivanting about in France for Les Transmusicales Music Festival from Dec. 3 to 4, which features several international artists as well as local electro fop Maybe Smith.

Mr. Gronsdahl has been kind enough to send us his tour diaries, which will hopefully detail his shows, getting wine drunk in the afternoon and the continued absurdity of Saskatchewan indie talents encroaching on the rest of the world.

Part 3.

The first few days here felt like I was in a performing arts school, like the movie Fame, or the famous school in New York where Tupac honed his acting chops. After consecutive days of twelve hour rehearsals, the first show was nothing short of cathartic. The cast was excited and there was a real camaraderie developing. We celebrated into the wee hours, drinking and dancing to Motown classics. The following day everyone was physically drained and more haggard looking than usual.

Our performance that night suffered as well – I counted at least a few cringe worthy fuck ups and technical problems. I was the first to take the stage and I think my less than elegant entrance set the tone for the evening. Trying to pick my way through a maze of guitars, pedals, stands and other gear, I tripped over a monitor and staggered into centre stage in a hilarious, slap stick kinda way. The crowd applauded.

Post show commiseration evolved into more revelry. I invented what became the official drink of the festival – a cup of beer foam mixed with Irish whiskey. I call it the parfait parfait.

We made amends for Thursday’s spotty performance with a perfect performance on Friday. Once again the musicians were in a celebratory mood and the party moved to an offsite festival venue. With a full day of scheduled rehearsals, sound check and performances, Colin and I (and my petite ami, Carleigh, who just arrived) decided to turn in and catch up on some desperately needed sleep.

The novelty of living and working with 20-odd artists in such close proximity is beginning to wear a bit thin. The house is ripening and the air is getting thick from the humidity of ten thousand showers, sour towels and cigarette smoke. An uninterrupted night’s sleep is impossible with the constant banging of doors, drunk giggling musicians, and angry outbursts from the most senior of artists (the otherwise affable and incredibly versatile drummer, P). Needless to say, the fake enthusiasm is getting difficult for old soso to maintain. Colin and I dragged our extremely tired bodies out of bed for a scheduled 11am rehearsal, first postponed for another band, and again for piano tuning (do pianos really need to be tuned every day? Jesus Christ). We had just enough time to plug in our gear, figure out which guitar to use and run through two and a half songs when we were abruptly stopped so some skinny teen hipster band who I haven’t met could sound check. I don’t care if they’re the nicest teenagers in France. Colin and I hate them and their mustaches look stupid.

As I record these last few bitchy remarks, one of the organizers passes me an envelope stuffed with Euros. My mood has improved considerably. Sound check is at 3!