2013 North American Tour

Viola Dana headed to North America in April 2013 to take their original, live soundtrack for The General to new audiences!

The first show on the tour - and the North American premiere of Viola Dana's soundtrack for The General - was at the Revue Cinema (that's us in the lobby, on the left) in Roncesvalles, Toronto, as part of the Toronto Silent Film Festival. This was followed by a workshop and performance at the very lovely Aeolian Hall in London, Ontario and further Canadian performances at the Mayfair Theatre in Ottawa and the Belleville Public Library & John M. Parrott Art Gallery.

The band then took a very, very early flight to New York City, where they performed at the Museum of the Moving Image and Goodbye Blue Monday.

Pete and Kathy share some of their tour stories below.

Pete's tour highlights:

One of the highlights of this tour for me came at a time when we were all feeling very below par (no pun intended, Tristen). We had just arrived at our accommodation in Williamsburg, Sunday morning, the day of the show at the Museum of the Moving Image. The night before was an extremely long one, starting with a vegetarian Indian banquet with the wonderful Shirley and Marc from the Toronto Silent Film Festival, followed by some pirate rum at their house, before heading into the city to return our faithful SUV. We luckily managed to hail a taxi that could fit all of us and our gear, and before long we were heading to the Toronto Airport where we had a few hours to kill before our 6am flight.

[R: Kid Carson of Kiddie Car Music supplied the backline for our Ontario shows. We would definitely recommend KCM to any other touring musicians - great service.]

Once we found our departure gate, we settled in, as best one can, on metal benches for a very uncomfortable couple of hours sleep. We awoke to queues of passengers and overhead announcements about delayed flights and final boarding calls – urrrr. Rubbing the sleep from our eyes and the drool from our makeshift pillows, we joined the queue, sorted our boarding passes, made it through customs (another story there) and were finally on our way to New York!!! A short flight, another SUV, and we offloaded on North 6th Street – to a closed accommodation. We spotted a café the next block up. An hour or so and a few flat whites later, we were hauling our gear up five flights of stairs to our double bunk bed abode (no shoes please!).

It was around this time (though I can’t be exactly sure due to the lack of sleep) Kathy received the amazing news that our performance that afternoon at the Museum had sold out! It felt like it had all been worth the effort. Although the thought of performing to a full house would normally make people nervous, for me it had the opposite effect. I knew that the hard work – getting people to come – was over. The audience felt this was something worthwhile to see, as did we, so together I thought we could have a good time of it, even with no sleep. I was looking forward to another show.

Below: Drummer's eye-view at the Museum of the Moving Image

Kathy's tour highlights:

I took away a lot of good memories from this tour. The first of these would have to be meeting Shirley from the Toronto Silent Film Festival in person for the first time after having emailed each other for over a year - and then meeting her partner, Marc, too. Shirley and Marc extended such a generous and warm welcome to us, and we really enjoyed hanging out with people who seem to share a similar zest for interesting films, music, drinks...

Also memorable for me was our very short time in Ottawa. There was something very cool about the Mayfair Theatre on Bank St, where we played. After loading in our gear through a crunchy carpet of snow outside we stepped into the quietly grandiose interior of the Theatre, replete with a retired film projector that stood to attention in the corner where we set up our gear. After sound checking and a dinner reconnaissance mission we returned to the warm haven of the Theatre where we played to an incredibly receptive audience. Cool vibe, cool staff and - again - great to have met uber-friendly programm

er Lee Gordon Demarbre in person after having emailed each other for so long. That's him pictured with us below (thanks to Petr Maur for the photo).

New York had many highlights for me, especially when it came to food. Anyway, that's another story for friends of mine who recognise the dreamy look I get in my eyes when I start talking about cheese and cakes and other such essentials. Just being in the Museum of the Moving Image, let alone performing there, was a treat. As in Toronto and Ottawa, we had a filled room to play to, and a very enthusiastic reception. I really love talking to people who come up to us after a performance to have a chat, and on this occasion was lucky enough to have a couple of conversations with children who had some questions and observations that were at once adorable and acute, and very relevant.

I also really enjoyed spending time with fellow Western Australians Darren Mok (who took some fantastic band photos of us, such as the one below at the High Line in NYC), Robin Alexander, Em McCoy and Ben Vanderwal in NYC. Our very last show of the tour, at Goodbye Blue Monday, was as memorable for its tiny audience as the fact that roughly 80% of said audience were Aussie ex-pats who were friends or family of the band members, who had come along to catch up and check out what we were doing in this neck of the woods.

Photo by Darren Mok

Tour Supporters

Viola Dana would like to thank the following people who pledged their support during the band's Pozible crowd-funding campaign:

Fahim Ahad, Anonymous (4) , Nik Babic, Helena Bogucki, Laura Boynes, Deanne Ch, Brad Coleman, Sophie Curtis, Rachael Dease, Steph Donovan, Tony Edwards, Philip Everall, Andrew Ewing, Chris Gray, Miriam Groenewold, Lindsay Gould, Norma Hales, Taryn Hansen, Michael Harding, Candy Harper, Cat Hope, Vida Hustas, Maleny Jacobs, Mar Knox, Semra Lee-Smith, Kenn Martin, Charlie McCarthy, Claire McGowan, Callum Moncrieff, Christina Morris, Claire Morrison, Steph Nicholls, Cathi Olivieri, Julia Percy-Bower, Malcom Pratt, Andrew Shugg, Tim South, Rod Stephens, Aska Super, Neville Talbot, Christine Timoney, Steve Vacca, Tamsin Waterhouse & Aaron Wyatt.

Background image: photography of Viola Dana by Nik Babic Photography

The General image courtesy of Chapel Distribution