Halloween at the Rickshaw: Jinjer’s Last Canadian Stop on their North American Tour

A good friend of mine has music on in the background whenever I pop over to visit. One particular day, Jinjer happened to be what was playing. After seeing this video, I was truly amazed by the vocal range, style, and raw talent of this band. I got hooked.

Which is actually funny, because this song became popular, and vocalist Tatiana revealed to Loudwire, “I didn’t want [“Pisces”] to be popular, [i]t cancels the idea of being Pisces. We’re not the type of people who are popular.”
Pisces has been the encore track in their setlist this tour.

You really have to hear them for yourself to grasp their sound. One of my favorites being “I Speak Astronomy,” played 5th on the setlist

Jinjer has become popular enough to sell out shows across North America and beyond. As soon as I found out they were coming to Vancouver I had to go, and VIP to boot. It was a once in a lifetime, they are from the Ukraine and I wasn’t sure when or if they would be coming back.

I noticed that they were doing special Halloween merch and since I was going to the show on Halloween I wanted to get my hands on something. Lucky for me timing was perfect, two days before the show my hoodie arrived.

Their 4th album, Macro, is already doing well in North America and Europe.

The last show I went to the VIP was an amazing experience. This time was .. well a bit disappointing.. at first, then I realized, this is a different band, they are bound by a record label and management, they did not have a small cut off in terms of how many VIP tickets they sold. This means that your time with the band is going to be shorter the more VIP tickets are sold. However, be grateful you have the opportunity, no matter how small.

Many have voiced their feelings on the matter in the Facebook groups, and Jinjer’s North American Tour manager, Gigi Campbell has been going in circles trying to explain hers and the bands point of view on the subject.

I asked her what her thoughts were. As a tour manager your job is to keep things on schedule. Would you say, if you could give more time you would? 

” The thing is with M & G’s Is… you will never please everyone. So, even if fans were given an hour with the band, there will be someone who isn’t happy. And you know.. that’s ok. You can only do so much. I have had several versions of them over the years with different bands and there is really no great answer… I really like when we can have different levels.. Where you have a super small group that get too like… Disturbed did this group of 10 that got to play football with the band. I loved that .. then the others did the typical step and repeat…. Now they also had a VIP company that had a rep run things…and load ins at 7 am… so It’s all relative. I think that MNG cost 1500.. so… Yeah while they got more time with the band. They paid for it.
If I had my way, and ultimately I will (smiling). I love soundcheck parties. I think it’s a look into our inner world and a sneak peek… But that comes with Band growth.. we are headed that way. “

It all depends on who’s running things, what kind of time you have, how many people there are there, and as Gigi said, you can’t please everyone.

As a tour manager, this chick kicks ass. Extremely organized, everything down to a tee. We were lined up outside the venue for VIP, she came down the line ticked our names off the list and we got our lanyard. She explained what was going to happen, have our phones ready to hand her for the photo, flash off, any gifts for the band ready, no extra things to sign as they were behind schedule a bit. We were let inside and lined up. It went by fast but I still would have done it again.

Oh I forgot to mention, since the show was on Halloween, Gigi and her crew were in costume. I thought there might be more people dressed up. But there were only a select few of the metalheads that attended.

The Dragon Queen (Gigi) took my phone for the photo, I shook one of the guys’ hands (I have no idea who since it happened so fast), I gave Tati my gift, a piece of BC and Vancouver Island,

she gave me a hug, we stood together, the photo was snapped,

Eugene (bass), Roman (guitar), Me, Tatiana (vocals), Vlad (drums)

I got my pre-signed poster and t-shirt and was ushered back outside (but was allowed to use the bathroom first) to wait until doors.

Other nice thing about VIP was that we got a separate line and got to go in first when doors opened. I beelined for the front barrier and I got direct middle. I don’t know that I regret it, but I was not a very happy camper when I left. Maybe next show I’ll go for the balcony.

I had a few good chats with some of the guys outside and before the show started inside near the barrier. There was a mom and son right up front. I have to give her props. Her son has Autism, she goes with him to shows, they get VIP and she makes sure he gets to the barrier up front, gets to know the people around them and makes sure he’s safe and comfortable. That is one badass mom!

During the North American Tour, two other bands were their opening support, The Browning and Sumo Cyco, with a local band at each place being the show opener. I love this! Showcasing local talent to open a big band like Jinjer is extremely admirable.

Halloween’s show opened with local band Kosm, female fronted, soft to growling vocals, experimental and progressive metal. They totally rock the spotlight.

Next was Canadian punk rock/heavy-metal female fronted Sumo Cyco, which totally live up to their name. Lead singer Skye, climbing down from the stage, entering the mosh pit, standing on top of the bar, back to the stage, sitting on guitarist Matt’s shoulders, both moving through the crowd. They even got the whole floor involved in a song, to crouch down then spring back up. I had a bit of trouble getting back up, my knees locked for a moment and luckily I had my arms on the barrier to help pull me back up. In the Halloween spirit, they dressed as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and totally rocked it! Despite Skye being sick, she gave it her all!

The crowd amper was The Browning, and they really did get the crowd going, including the mosh pit. They are best described as club beats gets run over by growling, powerful raw metal fusing together as a love for two genres becomes one. I didn’t know what I was hearing when I first heard it. I really liked the electronic beats and then the metal came in and I was stunned to put it gently. They really focused on amping up the crowd as lead singer Jonny spoke directly to the metalheads uniting for an awesome night.

*Disclaimer: the views expressed are those of my experience, from my eyes and perspective.

Then the moment we were waiting for, me getting whacked in the head and stepped on for a duration of the show from crowd surfers which I did not anticipate, well not realistically. I also got rammed up against the barrier as people shoved into other people, I don’t even want to know what the mosh pit was like.

Also didn’t anticipate going blind from the overbearing flashing lights, nor completely deaf in one ear from the girl who shoved her way to the front and would not stop screaming. It took everything in my being not to say or do anything. I realize these shows come with war wounds, however, there is still such thing as common sense and common courtesy when it comes to certain things. But that is just my thought. Done my little whine. This is the most brutal show I’ve been to, and I’ve been to Rammstein where I had soot up my nose from the fire, and Disturbed, where I was shoved closer to the stage and guys were apologising for running into me from the mosh pit. I will go to the next show with a better attitude and know what to expect. I noticed in the Facebook fangroup, there are people sharing their war wounds from the pit, ouch!

I’ll take this moment to give our main security guy up front his props! Watching for crowd surfers, and yanking them all down and shoving them aside was truly amazing to watch. Especially when he did 3 guys back to back. When I gave him his props, he shrugged and said, “it’s good practice.” (managed to capture him in a photo with Eugene)

We all want to enjoy the show. I did not enjoy seeing everyone’s arms out with their phones in hand. Shoving their way to capture half or over half the show. I took my phone out to get a few shots then tucked it away in my pocket until it was over.

Gigi also expressed her feelings on the subject. “PUT YOUR PHONES DOWN! Live the experience… Yes take a few photos but to just hold your phone up and tape it…. One the artist hate it. Because you are not in the moment with them But two… you are missing SOOO much. But in the moment sing, dance feel it. Stop trying to share it. No one really re watches them … the sound is terrible always on phones… I am so lucky that we didn’t have phone when I started seeing shows… I have only memories.. and I am so not unhappy about that.
Oh and turn your flash off!! It blinds the artist. “

I agree, as much as having video of the experience seems cool, how many times have you actually gone back to rewatch it? If you want to take a video, do your favorite song, or a small clip. I am trying my best with each show I go to, and with smart phones it becomes an addiction to want to capture everything.

If you wish to see any video from this show or others, look on YouTube or Facebook fan groups for those who have posted.

All I wanted was one good shot, maybe two. I got those shots and very lucky being right in front.

The show ended with a photo taken of the band in front of the crowd holding the Canadian flag, signalling the last Canadian show on their North American Tour. Sadly, my face is behind the flag, but I am still there. It was a great show despite my “not-so-great” moments. It was still worth it. Metalheads are a great community and we show great pride in sharing these shows, moments and pictures. I met a lot of great people, and although my moment with the band was mere seconds, I am grateful for the opportunity.

Taking note of how badass of a tour manager Gigi is, I wanted to know more. Especially with the fact that the music industry is still predominantly male, including tour managers.

What made you become a tour manager? 

“I started 20 years ago selling Merch for a local band in Saint Louis. I always knew I wanted to be a TM, but I also think that it’s important to know all aspects of production from Merch on to be a solid tm. So I was lucky and started from Merch and moved my way up. When I was younger, My family was very into concerts. But when I went I was more concerned with what the people in black were doing. The behind the scenes people. The ones in the back in black… ”

How did you become Jinjer’s tour manager? 

“Well, Funny… I chased it. I have known Dez & Anastasia the Managers at the ORACLE, for a long time, but I had never worked with them. I have never really worked in the heavy rock genre.. but when I saw they started the Oracle. I wanted to be apart of it. I was Asst TMing “Bad Company & Paul Rodgers” at the time. But I am always Hustling for my next gig, So I started messaging them and Emailing them. Weekly.. yes Weekly for a year well more like 7 months. They are building something unique and special in this industry and I knew it was a home for me. Finally, because of my persistence they called… and offered me JINJER. I had no idea who they were but I quickly learned…and was on board.”

From what I observed, you ran things like a well oiled machine, even after your tour bus broke down in Alberta. Was literally everything on a tight schedule? 

“Bus issues are the nature of the beast in touring. It actually broke down in North Dakota, we drove to Canada with No heat on the bus. We were 3 hours late for load in…. 3 hours is a day time… It’s a lot… when we load in at 1.. doors are 6 Yeah…. It really hurts to lose 3 hours… But I never panic .. I make the venue aware so they are ready for us to come in running.. My crew knows its all hands on deck and you make it happen. Its what we do… You make it happen no matter what. Sometimes that means, the support bands just get a Line check & not a full sound check. Sometimes that means… the light package gets scaled back.. it always works out. The key is just to stay focused, calm & get it done.”

Would you say you had a good crew to work with? 

“Crews are one of the most important thing on a tour. Not just skill levels but Hang levels.. You need personalities that mesh. I was VERY fortunate that our crew. WE became a family with the band so fast. Days off we all still spent the time together. That pretty unheard of. We just all really got along and Laughed a lot. I think I have laughed more on this tour than ever before. It’s hard work long days but to get a group of pros who also are silly & funny… It’s GOLD….So to say Our crew was good is an understatement. The band and crew all cried when we had to fly out… We really created magic. A magical Family.”

What was you best experience on this tour? 

“Gosh, so many… Everyday each member of the band would hug me and ask me how I was doing, That is crazy, special and made me so blessed. They are really such special human beings. Of all the BIG things. The love that I felt from this band is the best. Watching them shoot the REVOLVER cover, and when We saw that MACRO was #8 on Itunes overall… The way Eugene smiled… That was a great day as well… So SO many!

Have you encountered any “bad” or not so great experiences this tour? For example, when the tour bus broke down.

“Of course, Touring is Fluid. Nothing is EVER perfect. BUT… that’s my job to make sure the band really knows nothing about the crap that is going on. So while yes there was crap to deal with…. And sometimes I felt like a Fireman haaa… I learned and grew from it and now.. if that situation came up again… cake! I try to never focus on the bad because Look… I am living my passion…. How many people can say that. “

What other bands have you worked with?

“The List is long but I’ll give you a small summary… Kid Rock, The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Urge, Seether, Bad Company, Foreigner, Rascal Flatts, Aaron Lewis, …..”

Do you hope to continue to work with Jinjer in the future? 

“I am with them all next year, if I only worked with JINJER the rest of my career… I would retire a very very blessed lady. “

I do hope you get your wish, and I do hope to see you back in Vancouver with the band again. Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions being a sneak peek backstage in the life as a tour manager.

People don’t realize or fully grasp what it takes to put on a show, there are many people involved and it has to be on point with scheduling or everything can turn to chaos. It is with the skill of a good tour manager that things become a well oiled machine. Thank you Gigi for being Jinjer’s!

Kristy O’Regan/ smltwnwriter@feedthefae.com


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