I loathe thieves ! So touring season is upon us and out come all the ‘Bad Luck Brian’ stories that plague touring underground bands… Now an unfortunate reason for this is that venues for our subculture usually exist in the less desirable areas of town…. I’m starting to think I need to make a list of common sense do’s and don’ts for band members thinking of visiting beautiful Vancouver with each gig booking acceptance reply….
Rule 1 – Due to a copious amount of desperate thieves, when parking in downtown Vancouver, do not leave anything that could quickly be converted to cash visible in your vehicle…. This means discarded chump change…. Empty recyclables … Intriguing satchels including plastic grocery bags / backpacks / garbage bags … Boxes … Cds … Sunglasses ….. You get the picture …. Welcome to the fringe of the DTES …..
Rule 2 – Gear trailers ….. Find a parking spot where you can back the trailer doors against a wall when your gear is in it…..
Rule 3 – If crashing in Vancouver overnight …. Make sure a band member stays in the van ….. This will save you broken windows from snoopers and leave someone guarding your gear ….
Rule 4 – If you don’t have a trusted merch person maybe consider having a band satchel for all your valuables that someone is in charge of on a given night…. It could contain your merch money / wallets / cell phones / keys / etc that would sit with you on stage by your drummer while you play….
Rule 5 – Street beggars …. It is safer for naive travellers to not engage them … Vancouver is one of the most outreach program oriented aid circuits for drug addicts and panhandlers … It is dangerous to whip out your wallet on Hastings Street to offer someone money for food…. There are enough food programs for a person to have 3 square free meals a day plus snacks in this city, so hunger is really just a veiled excuse to procure drug money …. There is also a token program offered by the cafe next door for targeting safer panhandling options if you’re empathetically inclined …
Now I like being boozy at shows so I’ve taken some precautions to secure myself against the nightmare of replacing all the identification in my wallet…. Someone came up with the brilliant idea of a chain wallet….. Now I never leave my house without my vest so I chained my wallet to my vest and added the extra security of a zippered pocket….. I have a giant clip for my keychain and I also clip my keys to my vest… The only thing missing is my future invention of an iphone retractable chain…. Maybe I’ll hit up Dragon’s Den….
The amount of lost and found items left at the venue is staggering….Every type of music gear is represented, like guitars / cords / drumstands / etc /… This I find kind of shocking as gear isn’t cheap at all….. A patch cord can be 30 bucks ….. Sometimes it remains unclaimed for weeks until a band goes to jam again or panics the next night when they unload at their next gig 400 clicks away…. As for gig patrons there are always shitloads of credit / debit cards … Clothing … And satchels of all kinds …
So be careful out there in the wilds of East Hastings and safe travels band personnel …. See you on your Vancouver road pit stop!