Canadian Band Twin Tries to Canoe the L.A. River, Meets the L.A.P.D.
Among the sounds the musicians of the Canadian band Twin heard while canoeing the Los Angeles River were chirping birds, lapping waves, rustling trees and the screeching of a police department helicopter siren. Musically speaking, the LAPD's Loud Hailer airborne siren leaves something to be desired. As it was blaring, scaring the bejesus out of everyone in earshot, you had to wonder: What's a nice folk band like Twin doing on a river like this?
The band had what seemed like a good plan: Come to Los Angeles. Buy canoes. Use them as a tour van. Paddle from gig to gig with their instruments onboard.
It's not like these guys were river newbies. They had recently canoed 248 miles of Western Canada's Assiniboine over the course of 10 days. On that trip, fans joined them in other canoes, singing and fiddling and paddling along, forming a sort of musical armada. They slept at farms. They ate corn straight from the field. A golden experience.
The band assumed L.A. would be another great water trip. All 52 miles of the L.A. River had just last summer been declared navigable by the Environmental Protection Agency. In the spots where it narrows, the band members planned to hop into the water, pick up and carry -- or "portage" -- the canoes. They scouted the terrain for weeks beforehand.
At night they hid the canoes at a sweet launching-off spot in San Fernando Valley's Sepulveda Park. By dawn, they were in the water, six people in two canoes: lead singer David Fort, his girlfriend, violinist Lesley Brown, and videographer Danny Louangxay in one canoe. Vocalist Ally Leenhouts, keyboardist Eva Klasser and guitarist David Enns in the other.
The voyage did not go as they'd imagined.