Sub Pop’s very own Handsome Furs were nominated for a Juno Award (Best Alternative Album for their really very excellent 2009 release FACE CONTROL). The ceremonies were held in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
After traveling for over 20 hours from Seattle I landed in St. John’s at 4:00 AM on Thursday. I didn’t really know what to expect. When I hopped in cab and heard that the driver had a crazy Irish / Canadian accent I knew that St. John’s was rad. The bars are open until 4:30 AM and you can smoke in taxi cabs (let’s also not forget about dill pickle potato chips and Smarties – the chocolates).
Dan and Alexei were due to get into town on Thursday night. Unfortunately, there was a blizzard and then the fog rolled in. Apparently April is the foggy season and once it rolls in it stays for days. They ended up stranded in Halifax (with two attempted landings in St. John’s) for 32 hours, along with every other person that was headed to the Junos. We had to cancel their Friday night show. They finally arrived early in the morning on Saturday.
Saturday night was the Juno Gala Dinner and Awards. Metric ended up going home with Best Alternative Album (along with a few others) but gave Handsome Furs a shout out first thing during their acceptance speech. After the awards Handsome Furs decided to play a last minute show (thanks to Amy Milan and Land of Talk) at The Ship. The show was amazing and the new songs sound effing awesome. After the show we pretty much ate every type of potato chip (dill pickle, ketchup, etc) that Canada has to offer and watched Much Music.
Sunday night was the filmed awards ceremony where Bieber Fever was in full effect. Dan and Alexei walked the red carpet and looked amazing. Hundreds of girls were lined up screaming and crying for Justin Bieber which was hilarious and cute.
After the ceremony we were at dinner when rumors started to spread that the ash from the volcano was making its way to St. John’s and all AM flights were canceled on Monday. I checked my flight, and sure enough, it was canceled. We went back to the hotel and spent over two hours on the phone with Air Canada trying to book other flights. We got through and rescheduled our flights for later in the morning, took a three hour nap, and headed to the airport.
On our way to the airport our cab driver was pretty much laughing at us for trying to get out of St. John’s. The ash hadn’t hit yet but the fog never lifted. We checked in and were sitting at our gate when we heard our plane coming from Halifax circling over head (not a good sign). By that time our flight should have already left (and I was going on an airport tour of Canada and had other flights to catch like St. John’s – Halifax, Halifax – Montreal, Montreal – Vancouver, Vancouver – Seattle). Then the fire alarm randomly started going off and we started to evacuate right when Air Canada told us that our plane could not land and our flight was canceled.
If there is one thing that brings people together it is getting stuck in shitty situations. The three of us teamed up and split up – Dan to talk to an Air Canada agent even though they told us several times that they wouldn’t rebook us and that we had to call, Alexei talking to other airlines, and myself on hold with Air Canada once again. The soonest Air Canada could get us out of St. John’s now was on Friday (5 days later than our original departure date). We decided to try to fly standby on the next flight out of St. John’s and all three of us somehow got on it. I’m pretty sure my good luck for the year has been used up.
Even though Dan and Lex spent more time in airports than in St. John’s I think they’d do it again (I hope so?). I know I would.
Fun facts—there are polar bears in Newfoundland and Labrador. The bears get there via a floating iceberg. Newfoundland and Labrador only joined Canada in 1949 (the locals told us they voted 51% for Canada and 49%
for the states to remain an independent dominion of the British empire). Newfoundland is the most eastern part of North America.