Road Rituals: Blood Ceremony Tour Diary, Part 2

Pre-show vampification
***As chronicled by Alia O’Brien, singer/flutist/organist for Canada’s finest occult rockers, from their current tour with Kylesa, White Hills, and Lazer/Wulf. Remaining tour dates listed below; preorder their phenomenal new LP, The Eldritch Dark, here

Many people that we met in New Orleans insisted that the city is alive, and a short stay in America’s most haunted city suggests this is true. We arrived at our hotel early in the day and used our abundant time to explore the French Quarter. Condensation rained down on us from the awnings of music clubs and cafes; a byproduct of the soupy air that envelops the neighborhood and its inhabitants.  “You haven’t really been to New Orleans unless you’ve gotten drenched,” a local assured us, and we quickly realized that humidity is one of the defining features of the city. Sean and I couldn’t resist taking a tour of the city’s most notorious haunted buildings, and our guide was quick to point out that the high density of weird happenings in the city hinges upon its dankness, as spirits tend to linger in misty climates.

At night the French Quarter hummed with a distinct pulse as its streets filled with music. We were excited to offer up our own sounds to a city with such a rich musical history, and what better venue to play than One Eyed Jack’s? With its arched stage and dramatically-lit green room, it still retains traces of the glamour of old fashioned show business.

BC 2

Vampification redux.


The day after the show, we wandered the streets with members of Kylesa and Lazer/Wulf, sampling some of New Orleans’ famous cultural wares: jambalaya at Coop’s Place, various Abita brews, and some live traditional jazz. Brad, Lazer/Wulf’s drummer, performed the Herculean feat of sampling Louisiana’s hottest hot sauce, and lived to tell the tale! As our stay drew to a close, we found ourselves reluctant to leave: the city had cast its spell over us.

BC 3

This sauce will haunt your ass.


The weirdness followed us to Texas, where we happened upon the Monolithic Dome Institute on our way from Dallas to Austin. Founded in the 1970s, the Institute is both a campus and experimental community. Although fully functional, there was absolutely no sign of life in the neighborhood, save for a lone goat tied to a stake outside of one of the homes. The entire complex felt a bit like the set of The Prisoner. A mile out from the Institute, we encountered an abandoned gift shop called the Starship Pegasus–also a Monolithic Dome. Not quite as majestic as the Enterprise, but an excellent photo opportunity!

BC 4

“I am not a number!”

BC 5

The Pegasus was infested with fire ants, not tribbles.


In Austin we played an open air stage to an enthusiastic and packed house. Afterwards, we moved to a bar called Valhalla, where we blasted the Who and early Priest on the jukebox, sampled various local beers, and played a bit of pinball. Special thanks go out to Cece from Phobia for bringing delicious vegan cupcakes for Kylesa and ourselves, and to Gary from Mala Suerta and his friend Brent for hosting us for the night, and encouraging us to stay up until 6AM drinking and listening to doom metal.

BC 6

Cece from Phobia and her friend Mia made these. So sweet!

BC 7

White Hills at the merch booth in Austin.


Our journey from Austin, TX to Albuquerque, NM began smoothly, but ended in near disaster.  We spent the night in Littlefield, the birthplace of Waylon Jennings, and were making good time in the morning, so we decided to take a break to visit Billy the Kid’s tombstone in Fort Sumner. A bit of lunch and we were back on the road.  An hour east of Albuquerque, however, and our van begin to swerve from side to side.  Within a few moments, a sound like a canon shot erupted toward the rear of the van as our tire blew out.  Our drummer, Mike, calmly steered us over to the highway shoulder as we rattled at 55mph on the wheel’s rim.  Once we had stopped, we got out and were able to assess the damage.  One touring van; three tires.  Lucas and Mike volunteered to make the one mile hike to the nearest rest stop as Sean and I stayed with the van, trying to locate the car jack, and wondering how many rattlers and scorpions we’d encounter under the blazing New Mexico sun.  Assistance arrived when a state trooper pulled up to help us change the tire.  We thanked him and gave him a t-shirt and a copy of our first album, which he blasted out of his squad car as he peeled away.  We were able to make the gig in time. One way or another, the show must go on!

BC 8

Minor setback on the road in Fort Sumner. Freedom isn’t free!

BC 9

Another minor setback.

w/ Kylesa, White Hills, Lazer/Wulf
05/29 Vancouver, BC Electric Owl
05/31 Calgary, AB Dickens
06/01 Regina, SK The Exchange
06/02 Winnipeg, MB The Pyramid
06/03 Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock Social Club
06/04 Iowa City, IA Gabe’s Oasis
06/05 Chicago, IL Bottom Lounge
06/06 Grand Rapids, MI Pyramid Scheme
06/07 St. Louis, MO The Firebird
06/08 Columbus, OH Ace of Cups
06/09 Lexington, KY Cosmic Charlies
06/11 Toronto, ON Lee’s Palace
06/12 Ottawa, ON Maverick’s
06/13 Montreal, QC Il Motore
06/14 Brooklyn NY Northside Fest (Music Hall of Williamsburg)
06/15 Albany, NY Bogie’s
06/16 Boston, MA Middle East Downstairs
06/18 Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts
06/19 Washington, DC Rock & Roll Hotel
06/20 Asheville, NC Asheville Music Hall
06/21 Atlanta, GA The Earl
06/22 Savannah, GA The Jinx