Monday, September 8, 2014

A Spring Road Trip, Some Damn Good Music and a Leisurely Stroll Around Downtown Halifax

I was just recently unemployed so a road trip was almost certainly out-of-the-question this past May long weekend. I say almost because with enough arm-twisting and coaxing from the right person, I can be persuaded to do anything that involves a car, the open road and a night or more away from home.

I had many excuses to say no when my sister asked me to accompany her to a concert in Halifax. The fact that I was short on cash was just one of the excuses I came up with. In the end, the prospect of a spring road trip before starting my new job that following Monday was enough to get me to finally give in and start packing my bags for a weekend in the “big city”. I had no idea what was in store for me until the last minute. All I knew was there would be several bands playing at a small club called Michael's Bar & Grill. She had everything taken care of including the tickets and the hotel. All I had to do was be ready and waiting at my door when she arrived to pick me up that morning.

The drive to Halifax was like any other long drive. This was the first time I made a long trip in a vehicle as a passenger so I was able to notice a lot of things I never noticed before on the way up. One thing I noticed, despite all the talk about the dangers of texting and driving, is a lot of drivers still text and drive and there was a close call with one of these texting drivers near one of the turn offs into the city.

We checked into our hotel and relaxed for a bit before heading out. There was a very nice bar attached to it and we stopped there for a few drinks before hailing a cab to the show.

Michael's Bar & Grill wasn’t very far at all but our chatty cab driver had some advice for us before we got out. “Your going to Michael's eh? Better watch out for stray bullets”. Apparently there had been a shooting there in the past. Way to instill paranoia into a couple of young girls heading out for a night on the town to enjoy some live music.

The venue itself looked small and deserted from the outside. Even after we entered, it seemed this way. However, that small bar extended into a large back room where many people were gathered in front of a stage. I’d never heard of any of the bands that were playing but my sister did and she assured me that they were all good. Head of the Herd from Vancouver headlined the show with guests The Balconies and The Damn Truth taking the stage first. All the bands pulled off stellar sets and each one had a unique sound. I was quite surprised by the quality of the music considering I thought I was going to see some unknown local bands but soon discovered that these were well-seasoned, professional musicians from all over Canada.

We stayed behind for a while after the show chatting with some people we met at the bar and just hanging out on the outside deck finishing off our drinks before heading back to the hotel. A visit with a friend and a long drive home awaited us the next day so sleep was definitely in order.

After getting a little lost, as per usual on any road trip I go on, we made our way to Clayton Park to meet our friend and her baby. We started off with breakfast followed by a relaxing afternoon in the public gardens and a walk downtown. It had been years since I wandered around in downtown Halifax and it was only slightly different than I remembered.

The drive back was much the same as the drive there and, like any time spent on the road, I was in my element. It was the 5-hour closure to a great mini-vacation before heading back to work at my new job that started the next day.

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