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Canada's most horrible venues

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Paulabass, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    I'm not sure if the U.S. has their own version of these, but every Canadian town with a population greater than 14 has a place Called The Royal Canadian Legion. These were built as a social club for men returning from the war. That purpose is long gone, and now it's only claim to fame is beer is 50 cents cheaper than anywhere else.
    Depending on when it was built, it is either wood panelling, or painted cinder block. It is without any form of decor except the omnipresent picture of Queen Liz, and a Canadian flag. And it is bright. 400 flourescent tubes glowing. It's white-out white.
    The first thing one notices on entering a legion- The smell. Despair. The stench of despair hangs heavy, and cannot be ignored. The same 12 people have sat at those same 12 bar stools since 1949 eating pickled eggs, and Polish sausage.
    The stage is in the corner, with a choice of lighting. Xmas lights, or two garden floods, one red, one green. The whole building is wired to one 15 amp circuit, so remember to tell the bar tender to turn off the coffee pot before your set.
    Common to all legions:
    - If you play any louder than a racoon fart, some irate Scotsman will go into a rant, the only understandable part being his use of the word fekkin' every couple of seconds.
    - You must play Danny Boy. Once minimum, and once a set if you want to get paid.
    - No break music. Hell, the band is already disturbing their silence, don't make it worse!
    - Eat before you come. If it's the Friday night Hoot Night, you will be offered potato chips, and pickled eggs. If you are so unfortunate that you are playing a wedding there (Canadians seem to love getting married at the Legion, I bow my head in great sadness) there will be a hot meal. DO NOT EAT IT. The roast beef has been in the oven since noon yesterday, the scalloped potatoes are just sliced and boiled in milk, and the frozen veg reheated so many times they are the color of an anemic frog.

    As a bonus, drop into a legion for Meat Roll. It's a weekly special event (well attended) were big big wheel of fortune spins around to select the winner of, I can't lie, MEAT. Boxes of it. Legionaires welcome a chance to get more protein than salt and vinegar chips provide, so the action gets fierce. Meat Roll is not to be missed. Some even have bands on Meat Roll night, but will shhh you when the winners are announced.

    Needless to say, I'm playing a wedding at a Legion tonight. I'm wearin' my Crocs, and my camo leggings to fit in. I will have to work on that flat ass that the regulars have from years of sitting on a barstool.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
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  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    There are several more-or-less equivalent types of places in the US, too, the American Legions being only one of several "clubs" whose existence depends on bad beer cheap.
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member


    good luck on your gig! :thumbsup:
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  4. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Oh, and yeah, don't eat that hot meal! :woot:
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  5. Oddly

    Oddly Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    A wonderfully evocative piece of writing. I can almost smell it from here.
    Have a wonderful night...looking forward to the gig report!
  6. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.
    Hi @Paulabass,

    It sounds charming, in its own way. It might not be Studio 54 but I'm sure the place has brought comfort, companionship, camaraderie, even happiness to its patrons over the years. It's quaint, it's dated and run down, but it serves a purpose.

    Whenever I play a critter lodge (Elks, Moose, Eagles, etc) or Legion hall I usually see a community that has been underserved or forgotten about, even after their selfless sacrifices. I am honored to be invited and given the chance to bring them some joy through music.

    So go have a great time, entertain the "troops", share the love, be fun, put on a good show, and take a few pictures of the gig to share with the class. Break a leg and blow the roof off the dump! :)

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  7. Last Rebel

    Last Rebel Lone Wolf - No Club Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2011
    Ontario Canada
    I have played 2 local Royal Canadian Legions in my area 15 times easily and (mine) are nothing like what is described above, but ya they do have pickled eggs.

    I also look forward to my Legion gigs because they are well attended and I love all the memorabilia in these buildings

    .... For me it is a very moving and somber experience to enter this place.

    But I do wish you the best of luck at your Legion gig
  8. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    The Legion (any Legion) is one of my favourite places to go. Not my favourite place to play, though.

    Pickled Eggs Forever!

    Oh, and wear what you want but make sure you take off your hat!

    Last edit: at the the risk of bringing up politics.... @Paulabass you are aware that over 40,000 members of our military deployed to Afghanistan over the better part of a decade, right? The RCL is far from being an irrelevant organization. OK, off my soapbox, back to regularly scheduled programming.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
  9. I’ve never been in one. I’m past the age of being into the bar scene and they had a policy of only allowing servicemen in when I might have been remotely interested. Your description seems bang on from what I’ve heard.
  10. ibasso


    Jun 2, 2012
    Whitehorse, YT
    That reminds me, I gotta go pay my membership fees...
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  11. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    This reminds of several lines from "Liquor and Whores".
  12. BucketOfFish


    Mar 17, 2014
    mmmmm..... pickled eggggggggssses drool
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  13. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    Also we have meat raffles here in my neck of the woods all the time. Love drinking cheap fire hall beer and playing roulette for hams!

    My family emigrated here from Canada, so maybe it's a cultural thing.
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  14. devnulljp

    devnulljp Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2009
    BC, Canada
    Admin on the D*A*M Forum
    I have played our local Legion many times, each time with a growing sense of despair, til no more! I refuse to do it. I'm sick of being the back up act to the meat raffle, I'm sick of the stench of overcooked dogfood from the kitchen, tired of the same dead eyes in the same dead people on the same dead barstools. Not. Doing. It. Any. More!
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  15. jamro217

    jamro217 Supporting Member

    Two of the biggies down here are the American Legion and the Veterans Of Foreign Wars (VFW for short). Same basic premise as what you describe, only the flags are different.
    PillO likes this.
  16. REV


    Jun 18, 2006
    I started out playing Punk Rock, but a friend of a guy I knew had a country band and he needed a bass player on short notice. I learned 40 songs in one two hour practice (yeah I know) and later that night played the gig. I would make $10 or $12 dollars playing Punk Rock at a backyard party but I would make $40 or $50 dollars playing country music. We played a circuit of Moose Lodges, a different one each week. Those places were just as the OP described. It was a great learning experience for me because the other players were older and more experienced and once they learned that I was interested and that I would listen they all taught me a lot about music.
  17. Yep, the OP sounds familliar to this Yank, and I've played those venues a few times. It's almost a rite of passage for bands down here.

    In fact, because Americans put a high premium on variety, we have several permutations of them, alternately know as the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars), American Legion, Elks Clubs, Moose Lodges, et. al. Not identical, each tries to forge its own identity and mission statement, but they're pretty damn close.

    One thing they have in common is a line on bulk discount alcohol (including "the good stuff") and a member behind the bar who pours 'em stiff.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
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  18. G19Tony


    Apr 27, 2018
    Las Vegas, NV
    Well written, @BassCliff . Sometimes, memories are all these old cats have left.
  19. CaseyVancouver


    Nov 4, 2012

    Paulabass you went over the top on trashing Canadian Legions. If they suck so badly ...don't come. I don't think they will mind.

    I first played the Canadian Legion as a teenager, in a jazz band on upright. Later in the early '90s I played electric in one dance band that only played Legions, 5 or 7 a month. I had three kids in diapers and a mortgage. The band leader was very rich and only wanted to play with 'his kind of musicians'. He would give his cut to the sidemen. That's the old gent in the Legion pic attached, me second from right about 30 years ago. I would go to the Legion broke, play some dance stuff, have a few laughs and a couple of beers. Paid cash and on the way home fill the car up with gas, pick up milk/bread, diapers, formula etc.

    Played maybe 500 Legion gigs in my life, usually in a jazz group. I have played some dumpy ones sure. Big deal, we have all played dumps, a lot of them way worse than Canadian Legions. One Legion I still play has been the host of a weekly jazz gig for the last 25 years. These are great people who dress up to come hear live jazz and dance to it. They pay for a 6 or 7 piece band every week, at about afm scale. I've played with Order of Canada jazz great Oilver Gannon and BC Entertainer Hall of Fame inductee Lloyd Arntzen at that Legion.

    I have also played the best 'men's clubs' in Vancouver; The Terminal City Club and The Vancouver Club. Nothing to complain about there. I've played the best and the worst, and Legions do not rate as the worst.

    The Legion is regular people after work for a beer with friends, or a social dance. Give 'em a break.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  20. The US equivalent is the VFW post. Veterans of Foreign Wars, but the exact same type of place as the Canadian Legion.

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