Travel Diary: South Australian band Olivers Army take us to Toronto, Canada and around the USA

AU Abroad is taken to North America with South Australia’s olivers army from the time they played at Canadian Music Week. They share with us their experiences playing shows in Toronto and the USA, plus reflect on overeating Mexican delicacies and visiting the Smorgasburg Markets for some sausages courtesy of the great… well, actually we’ll let you find out for yourself. Read on! 

There is no excitement quite like escaping the sub-Antarctic conditions of Melbourne and landing in sweet, sunny, sexy LA. First show on the list: Molly Malones- a quirky little Irish bar in the heart of the city. We ended our night by entering a 70s bar – through a fridge – and drank what we could of the jetlag away.

Our second show was at the House of Blues right on Sunset Boulevard, finishing off the first leg of the tour with a bit of class, LA style.

Arriving in beautiful Toronto, we threw our bags to one side and headed straight to Sneaky Dees on College St for a Mexican feast with our dear amigos from Tom West. After a few monstrous burritos and nachos, we slipped into a euphoric (if near fatal) food coma.

Something about Toronto felt distinctly familiar. There’s something very ‘Melbourne’ about the people, the music and the street art. They also have trams, or as they call them, ‘streetcars’.

Here is a photo of us in our Toronto apartment. We stayed above a nail salon, so every day as we wheeled our things downstairs, we got eyeballed by ladies with their toes dipped in goat’s milk.


Our showcase was at The Hideout on Queen Street, which was an awesome start to CMW. A spectacular venue hosting some outstanding bands including Even – our pick for the evening.

the hideout
Next stop was the Footstomp / AU Review party at The Painted Lady, alongside Kingswood and Ash Grunwald – an evening we won’t soon be forgetting. We finished our set with Neil Young’s Heart of Gold, a classic toe tapper with Tom West on harmonica and Todd Sibbin on Banjo. It was a wonder we all fit on stage. Jimmy, our drummer was already crammed into a drum room in the back and Sam, our guitarist was playing in front of the fire exit.

Our final gig was The Aussie BBQ the following day at the Horseshoe Tavern, probably our favourite gig of the tour. The venue had a great set up. We sipped at Caesar Cocktails (the Canadian version of a Bloody Mary) and ate lamingtons all afternoon and watched the other Aussie bands do their thing.

And like that, it was time to bid farewell to Canada. We caught the overnight bus to New York, and arrived just in time for sunrise. Our first show was at Rockwood Music Hall, a beautiful, quaint room with a massive grand piano in it. The sound guy did all his mixing in a loft in the ceiling – an impressive feat and a show in itself to watch.

Our last show for the tour was at Pianos in Little Italy, where we sampled exotic margaritas that toasted us through to the end of the tour.

With a few days left to bask in the concrete jungle, we headed to the Smorgasburg Markets by the river in Brooklyn, lathered with food trucks and records. There we spotted the legendary Charles Bradley serving up sausages. Needless to say, we said hello, gave him a cuddle and smothered him with praise and admiration. Here is the beautiful man with Jimmy and Gina.

At the risk of sounding clichéd, we truly had an amazing tour, met so many incredible people, ate so much delicious food, played so many fun shows, visited so many beautiful sites and loved every second of it.

As we squeeze the goodbye tears out of our clothes and beards, we look forward to playing more shows on Australian soil, and writing our second album later this year.


Canadian Music Week wrapped up last week in Toronto. This travel diary was built around the 2015 event. Follow olivers army on Facebook here:


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