Markham. A town that many of us all grew up in; just thirty minutes North/East of Toronto, is a town full of teenage angst, new suburban trends, plenty of stereotypical small-town pubs/bars but most of all, this little town is where so many people live out their aspirations of becoming the next superstar musician. Typically though, many of these up-and-coming high school bands unfortunately fade away through all the years of high school, college and university and the seperate career paths that we all choose. I was tossed in that pile of teenage drummers. In high school, my parents bought me a set of TAMA Rockstar drums! I banged away my teenage years with after school band practices, local weekend battle-of-the-bands gigs, but most of all, gave my parents never ending migrains. Haaaa! Suits them right for buying their teenage son a set of loud drums though right? Oh the stereotypical characteristics of the suburbs! One of the unique events that our town Markham has isn’t so stereotypical though. Sure, every small town always puts on their “local fair” where local businesses, farmers and kitchens all bring everybody together to enjoy suburban family life, but our fair is different. The Markham Fair has been deemed to be Canada’s Largest 4 Day Agricultural Fair with tons of fun things to do there: Monster Trucks, Demolition Derbies, Tractor Pulls, Horse Pulls, a Teen Talent Show, Huge Fireworks, a Midway full of Fantastic Games/Rides, New Born Farm Animals at Old MacDonald’s Farm, Maple the Cow, Face Painting and the best of all, plenty of wine and beer tents with some live Country and Rock Bands! The best thing about this year’s Markham Fair: The main beer tent had 2 of Toronto’s biggest NEW ROCK bands play back-to-back on the main event night on Saturday September 29th, 2012! Future History opened up for USS (Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker)!
Future History didn’t only start things off on Saturday though. Being Markham boys themselves, Chris, Justin and Kev were invited to play on the fair’s opening night on Thursday. I met up with Kev and his 2 awesome kids during the day on Thursday, so we could take them to the fair. Kev, knowing almost everybody in Markham, was such a cool Dad that he got both his kids all-day-ride-passes! Kev and I took the kids to the midway, where the 1st game we played was the water gun game. From left to right sat: Kev, Harmony, Hayden then Me at the end, all aiming our waterguns at the little orange bull’s eye to hopefully win some cute stuffed animals. RIIIIING! …..and we’re off! The loud spray of our waterguns smashed up against our bull’s eyes when everything stopped. RIIIIING sounded the winner of our 1st race. Kev won this race, letting Harmony choose her cute little animal. I wasn’t cool with this. Not at all! We just had to play again man! Besides, Hayden needs an animal too right? The pressure was on MOK! Can’t let Ker win twice in front of the kids! So I psyched myself out, took a few deep breaths, shook out all the nerves in my hands and was ready! Round 2 Ker….Game effin’ On Son! RIIIIIING goes the starting bell again. And again, all four waterguns splashed up against the bull’s eyes. RIIIIIIING went the finish bell. Guess who won? Hehe VICTORIOUS! MOK gets the prize! But really, Hayden gets the prize. So there! Both the kids got prizes from the very first game that we played with them! Pretty awesome I think! Walking around the midway, the kids took full advantage of the wristbands that Daddy got them and went on practically every ride. It was reeeeally cute. Kev had Hayden at some crazy boy ride and I had Harmony at the Haunted House. After the Haunted House though, Harmony saw this Rock Climbing Wall that she really wanted to climb. I read all the restrictions and Harm was able to go on. I read the pricing and her wristband didn’t cover this ride, but who am I to say no to a cute little angel that I would do just about anything for just to see her smile? So I paid the man so that he could strap Harmony in. Dude lol I must have burned a hole in his hands as I was staring and making sure that he strapped my best friend’s little girl in properly. Hahaha he even joked about it after he finished, laughing at how paranoid I seemed. Hahaha Whatever man, that’s our Harmony you’re keeping safe. Of course I’m going to pay attention! The cutest thing ever happened next. Hahaha No exageration though, Harm didn’t even climb up 2 levels (about the 10 foot mark,) when she looked back at me with tears in her eyes, all scared of heights and yelled at me to get her down. Oh Harmony lol You’ll always be our Scaredy Cat =) After a couple of hours had passed, Jen met up with us and took the kids as it was getting about that time for Future History took to the stage to play their Thursday night set. Warming their spot up on stage in the beer tent for Saturday, Future History took to the stage like they always do, commanding everybody in the crowd’s attention and kick starting the fair’s notorious talent for tunage. Still to this day, do I get a kick from quitely watching faces in the crowd and how they’re all astonished by how full of a sound that these guys throw in our faces. Their bassist Paul wasn’t able to make the show on Thursday, so a really solid friend of ours was called up by Kev and asked to fill in on bass guitar. Randall, that was a stellar job that you did and I couldn’t think of a better dude that Kev could have asked to help the band out that night! Future History’s Thursday’s show was a fun and relaxed segway of what was in store for us all on Saturday. Especially when the monster truck show on the track right next to the beer tent was finished. CRASH BOOM BANG went off the sequence of spectacular fireworks, lighting up the sky and illuminated the fellas playing their segway set. Good times on Thursday fellas!
Along came Saturday. The notorious night that almost EVERYBODY in Markham hits up the fair’s Beer Tent. Only this year, 2 Toronto Bands will be hitting the stage. Just like Saturday, I arrived on the fair grounds a little earlier to help set things up/support my pals. I stuck around for sound check, but when that was done, Kev, Steph and I went to go grab stuff to eat. Mmmmm lol Footlong corn dogs! I only had one lol. We then met up with more family along the midway, when Steph had the brilliant idea of buying us and the kids more ride tickets. ……and of course little Hayd persuades me to go on some rides. Man lol My tummy doesn’t take too kindly to suspended rides like it used to. In fact, my tummy’s still spinning around from all the crazy commotion! I did however, turn down the Gravitron that almost made Opps puke! Serves you right Opps! Just like clockwork, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE lol More like fireworks to sound the time for the beer tent to start all it’s mischief. Only this time, when I returned from the midway, the beer tent was PACKED TO THE TITS!!!! There must have been a good 1400 – 1600 people all standing there, chugging away and waiting for Kev’s notorious riff to shoot out at them. You know how the crowd starts to get filled in while the opening band plays their set? You know, to “open” the show up? To fill in the spaces? Not surprisingly, although they were the opening act, Future History filled the entire beer tent full of anxious fans, already standing there; waiting for them! It was really nice to see all the familiar Markham faces rock out to the tunes that we’ve been living out for the past 4 -5 years! Without failure though, the fellas played another brilliant and mindblowing set of tunes after tunes off their new lp Loss:/Self, along with a few staple classics from their self-titled debut ep. Joining back with them on stage was Paul on bass guitar, slappin’ da bass! Killer set like always guys!
After Future History’s set, I of course grabbed the next few beers for myself, walked around and schmoozed with the crowd and also stood at the merch table to keep my buddies Opps and Mayla company. A fella named Jason Parsons also grew up with all of us in Markham. And just like all of us, music was at Parsons’ #1 passion! So much that he formed a 2 piece band called USS (Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker.) Another friend of ours Ashley plays guitar, the erhu and sings his heart out in USS, as Jason “Human Kebab” Parsons backs him up as the turntablist/hype man! All that I can remember was I was keeping my pals company at the merch table, when USS started their set. The crowd went absolutely bonkers! My phone buzzed when I received a text from Kev asking me where I was. I told him. After a few more USS tunes, out from nowhere pops Kev and he takes me backstage. All of us were standing backstage, watching and enjoying USS’ brilliant set! PUFF PUFF PASS! Their set ended up getting so hyped, that out from behind me backstage, Justin runs out and onto the stage and dives into the mosh pit to crowd surf! Everyone loved this! After a few more USS tunes were played, Ash thanks Future History for opening up for them on the P.A., when Kev runs up on the stage and personally high-fives everyone in the screaming mosh pit, thanking them for their undying support. You know how I always tell y’all about one specific memory that I get from our crazy nights? I’ll always remember Kev look at Ash on stage, get all serious and both of them sharing a moment; shaking hands and giving one another daps for both their support. Community.
Which is what Markham Fair brings together. Whether it’s communities of businesses, food, religion, cultures or MUSIC….we all still need to be brought together every so often to share the things in life that we love with the people that live around us. I’m so thankful that I grew up in Markham because I don’t know of any other small little town that is as cool, loving, trendy and real as Markham, Ontario. Until next year Markham Fair….until next year!
……..pssshhhhhh! over n’ out!