Alright, First-Years, listen closely. This issue of the paper, if any of you are actually reading it and not floating in a pool of liquor right now, is really an introduction. If there’s anything to take from this it is that Trent, and the town of Peterborough, both have a lot to offer.
Now, especially over Orientation Week, and probably continuing throughout your whole first year, upper-year students and many random people within the Peterborough/Trent community will likely ramble on about the places to check out first, where to drink or eat, and the best way to get around. However, don’t be overwhelmed with the amount of things people are telling you because most of them are bullshit.
“Huh?”, you question my sanity, “I thought this was an article about music.” Okay, settle down, and listen. In my first year, I really didn’t take advantage of Peterborough’s downtown community, other than stumbling around drinking, vomiting, and urinating on things. My shortsightedness resulted in a year of drinking on campus, at random parties, and when I turned 19 (Wink-Wink), at various bars downtown. This resulted in a blurred recollection of many Free Topping pizza slices, and failed attempts at just about everything.
While this is all fun and good, I stress to you to not get caught up in the on-campus drinking-life too deeply. It is very important to meet people, and attend college events. However, take some time to go downtown and get comfortable with the community. And do it sober! Most Trent students end up living in, or very close to, downtown, so it is very important to get used to the area.
Why isn’t this bullshit compared to the rest of the advice that you will hear?
Because it doesn’t matter the venue, bar or restaurant you fall in love with. It only matters that you fall in love with something downtown. I personally love The Spill, Island Cream, and McThirstys. I love the latter so much that I decided to live in an apartment above the bar itself. For real though, if you go downtown, people’s advice about the best place won’t matter. It’s very likely that you will find your favourite place on your own, apart from the pecking and persistence of those older than you.
Moving on from my lame advice, I would also like to stress that one of the main reasons to go downtown, if not the main reason, is for Peterborough’s DIY arts and music culture. I have been covering Peterborough music for this paper throughout the last two years, and it has been fulfilling, intellectually challenging, and some of the most fun I’ve ever had.
The Spill, with its antique punk aesthetic is my suggestion of where to start. The Garnet is also a very accessible space, feeling like a miniature saloon. Both of these venues seem to contain a haze of smoke at all times. I often feel like an extra in an old style movie when I enter these places. There is a lot to take in, especially at The Spill. I often close my eyes when I enter these spaces to reorient myself. I suggest you do the same.
Peterborough’s most interesting venue is Catalina’s. This bar/Thrift Shop/Venue often hosts concerts, film screenings, and other assemblies of the arts, with a vintage, and dare I say, Steampunk vibe. Finally, let’s not forget The Red Dog. While this bar is the most normal of the venues listed, it is also often host to the biggest (modern) acts that come to town. I have been lucky to see Death From Above and a Tribe Called Red there, both giving killer shows in a very open, danceable space.
Okay, so what bands should you go see? Well, some acts that I love are:
The Lonely Parade: DIY Punk Malaise
BA Johnston: Not native to Peterborough, but a right of passage for Trent’s artful drunks
Mary-Kate Edwards: (Sad) Bedroom Indie
The Piss Locusts: Straight up- Punk
Stacy Green Jumps: Distant Angst
Prime Junk: Translucent Moans
Evangeline Gentle: Singer-Songwriter-y beauty
That’s just a short list to get you started.
So get started!