Sunday, August 26, 2012

The End Has No End

Apparently I really enjoy using lyrics from The Strokes to title my posts.

Last night, Winnipeg said goodbye to the Lo pub.  Oldfolks Home has played so many shows there.  My first real gig was at the Lo pub in 2009 for the CKUW fun drive.  I was so nervous because I was opening for heavy hitters Novillero that night.  I also remember it being the beginning of my music adventure in Winnipeg.  Back then, the walls of the Lo were this terrible green colour, the bathrooms were horrible (that never really changed), and the carpet looked like it hadn't been cleaned ever.  But, this wild-eyed, big-faced peach-of-a-man introduced himself to me as the owner of the bar.

"Hi, I'm Jack", he said.

I nervously shook his hand and asked him where I could leave my things.  Jack has done a lot for me since then.  He hired me to be the first sound tech at the bar.  I had no experience, and he had what you could barely call a sound system, so we were perfect for each other.  Over the next two years, I slowly learned the art and stress of mixing bands live at the Lo.  I don't know how many bands I did sound for, but it was a lot.  Sometimes I would nail it, and sometimes not so much, but Jack was always patient with me.  He eventually let me make a list of gear I thought we should get, then we went down to the local L&M and got it.  I remember taking a day to set it up, and being so excited.  My friend and local sound tech hero, Matt Mayor, helped to fine tune the system, and after that, the experience of doing sound at the Lo changed dramatically.  I could hear the panning, I had better control over EQ's and I had more channels and mics to play with.  I experimented with live panning and random effects, adding my own subtle touch to the live performance of the night.  Jack would occasionally walk up to me and tell me my mix was shit, which made me crazy!  I would have a quick internal meltdown and look for ways to make it better, even if there was nothing to change.  I learned a lot about sound at the Lo, and it was all thanks to Jack for giving me a big break.

I met a million super people in that place.  It was at the Lo that I discovered the amazing community Winnipeg has.  I also bartended there for quite some time, so I would spend the day sitting around wishing there were more people in the bar, talking to the people that were there, then when my relief came at 8pm, I would switch hats and welcome the bands coming in.

I'll never forget the last few weeks of working behind the bar.  My ex and I were going through some really heavy shit, and Jack was so understanding and supportive.  I'll never forget the night we painted all the walls, or the time when the place was shut down and we had to clean everything.  I'll never forget the karaoke parties or the super amazing concerts that I saw or played there.  I'll never forget the difference Jack and the Lo made in my life.  I'm filled with emotion right now, at the point of tears.  The loss is slowly creeping up on me.

I will miss the Lo, but I know Jack, and in time he'll find something that works as the next step.  In the meantime, Winnipeg will be without that special place in the middle of nowhere with the worst bathrooms and the best people.  That sweaty mess of a man deserves a rest though, to gain strength before he unleashes the next incarnation of his venue on this city.

Jack Jonasson, you are a champion and a hero to many people in this city.  I will always be grateful to you.
Here are some pics from last nights final shabang at the Lo.  There were some choice people in attendance.

1 comment:

  1. Aw, Ric. What a great post. This means a lot to me, and to Jack too. Thanks so much.