Welcome to the First Ever Giveaway on 2Loud2OldMusic.com. Let’s kick off November with a Bang!! And it is an easy one…very simple. Here are the Rules: Like AND Share the post Follow the site (an extra entry) If you do the same on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you will get extra entries as well for […]
With this, the fall 2018 concert marathon comes to a close. It was actually supposed to end the night before with the Headstones, but a week before this show, the Conexus Arts Centre put third balcony seats on sale for $20. I went into this not knowing much of anything about either the Glorious Sons or the opener, the Beaches, but figured $20 was a cheap-enough price to pay for some new music.
I remembered seeing Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt from the third balcony and often feeling like falling from a great height was an inevitability. This time, I bought my seat one row back, which shouldn’t have helped, but somehow did. The balcony was pretty much deserted when I bought my ticket, but it filled up quite well. I got to get nice and cozy with strangers. Next time I should worry less about being dead centre and more about being off to the side where there’s more likely to be a little room to breathe.
The Beaches – all ladies from Toronto. The Glorious Sons – all dudes from Kingston. The Beaches played on a plain stage in front of a big backdrop with their name on it; the Glorious Sons got the full fancy light and video screen setup. Both bands were absolutely beloved. A very vocal contingent was there specifically to see the Beaches. When the Glorious Sons led singalong parts, it was amazing how loud the crowd was. Cool atmosphere for both bands.
It’s not entirely fair to say I knew nothing about either band. I didn’t realize it going in, but I knew one whole song by each. I’ve actually heard (and enjoyed) the song T-Shirt by the Beaches about a million times, because it’s on Mika’s car playlist. And I knew S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun) by the Glorious Sons because a burnout was loudly singing it on the bus last week. He was either on a lot of drugs at the time, or had the brain of someone who’d done a lot of drugs in the past. Maybe both. Regardless, at the concert (the real one, not the free one on the bus), it took me about 30 seconds to remember where I’d heard this song before. Then I remembered it was some dude on the bus hollering to himself about the taxman and Oxycodone and a sawed-off shotgun. This was when I got the giggles, so I was not only the old guy at the show by himself, I was the old crazy guy at the show by himself.
I knew two songs from each, actually, if you count the covers – Be My Baby from the Beaches and Gimme Shelter from the Glorious Sons. Beaches win on that front. The Ronettes are better than the Rolling Stones, don’t @ me
Or maybe it’s just that I liked Beaches better than the Glorious Sons. Don’t get me wrong, both were fun, the crowd loved both of them – really, if you’re looking to check out some new rock bands, you could do worse than either one. But the Beaches’ songs were a little catchier and a little poppier and just overall more my thing. Very deep, that. If you want thoughtful analysis of these two bands I’m completely unqualified to write about, you’re in the wrong place.
• Hawksley Workman w/Kobo Town and Suncliffs (January 27)
• Danny Michel (February 10)
• Matthew Good (February 24)
• Hawksley Workman & the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (April 13)
• Elton John (October 1)
Headstones reviews are hard to write. They’re really fun shows, but more or less the same every time out. You know it’ll be loud, lots of swearing, probably some spitting (though this has been dialed this back over time and I can’t say I mind), Hugh Dillon will run around in the crowd a lot. I even know which covers they’re going to play. All of this is fine – it doesn’t stop me from going to see them every time they come through town. But I could rerun old reviews for the most part. Hopefully I’ll have enough sense to make this short.
Got to the casino with plenty of time to pick up my ticket. No incidents this time out. Saw the same guy from work that I always see at Headstones shows. Killed time playing phone games until the show started. Christ, this is riveting.
Our openers were the Matchstick Skeletons, who got off to an inauspicious start through no fault of their own when the local radio idiot introduced them as the Matchbox Skeletons before correcting himself. They were fine. Decidedly better than Snake and the Chain from the last show, but far less memorable as a result. “You didn’t suck so bad that I’ll remember you forever” is probably not as much of a compliment as I intend it to be.
They felt restrained at points; the harder songs with more energy were fun, but too many just didn’t quite get there. They also covered Fame and (part of) When Doves Cry and it’s an interesting choice to cover well-known songs by legends. They can be crowd-pleasing numbers but you’re probably not going to compare favourably to David Bowie or Prince – few will. At least When Doves Cry was redone as a rock song, as opposed to the note-for-note soundalike version of Fame.
Speaking of covers, I am the last person on Earth to realize that the Headstones song Tweeter and the Monkey Man is a Traveling Wilburys cover. This is doubly egregious because Mika has played the Wilburys song for me before, years ago, but I forget things. Apparently the Wilburys version has more verses and makes more sense. Talking to Jeff about this, he said that it sounds more like the Wilburys slowed down a Headstones song than the Headstones sped up a Wilburys song. Personally, listening to the Wilburys’ version now, it sounds like when Mika and I are on a road trip and she makes us listen to podcasts at 1X speed instead of my normal 1.5X.
The Headstones were touring to promote the 25th anniversary re-issue of Picture of Health, their first album. This would probably make me feel super old if I was listening to them then. The entire set, before the encore, was the album in full. So a little less variation than their normal shows, but whatever, it’s a good album, lots of songs I like on it. As before, Dillon ran into the crowd a bunch and I felt for the poor techs and security staff who had to chase after him. And as before, they played a bit of Low Rider and New Orleans is Sinking.
After Tweeter, which is four songs in, Dillon asked the crowd to put their phones away so he could tell stories and we could watch the show, adding that he’d let us bring them back out later. Most folks cheered and happily did so. One guy tried taking a video of the next song, which seemed like an unwise choice given that he was close enough to the front for Dillon to see him, and Dillon had already shown a propensity for running out into the crowd. Phone went away. “I’m not going to kick you out or anything, I’m just asking you to be a man of your fucking word.”
The stage setup was pretty simple, but the lights, fog machines, and projector were all employed to good effect and gave the show a really cool look. I got a few pictures at the start and a few more during the encore once the ban was lifted, but I won’t lie – there were still a few times when I would have liked to snap a quick picture. Which is dumb; they never look good and I never go back and look through old ones. Regardless, I wasn’t about to risk incurring the wrath (or disappointment, which would be worse) of Dillon.
I won’t go into detail on the stories – if he didn’t want them recorded, he probably didn’t want them transcribed either – but it was a lot of stuff about growing up in Kingston. Some of it funny, some of it touching. Dillon went to high school with the guys from the Tragically Hip, Finny McConnell from the Mahones, and David Usher. What a ridiculous amount of talent in just a few years.
For the encore, they started with the cover of The Gambler that they now seem to do at every show. Dillon then polled the audience to see what they wanted to hear, and the calls for Cubically Contained lost out to Unsound. Or maybe that was just the plan all along. They also played Fuck You and Smile and Wave and, somewhere in there, a bit of The House of the Rising Sun. Nothing I hadn’t seen before. And Dillon said they’re coming back in 2020 and I’ll see it all again then.
Immediate disclosure: I didn’t go to this to go to Classified. I went because one of the three openers was Maestro Fresh-Wes, whose first big hit came nearly 30 years ago. I remember listening to Let Your Backbone Slide at my Grade 8 grad dance, when the song was still so new that the DJ didn’t have it so we made him play Cam McDonald’s dubbed copy that had a few seconds accidentally erased out of the middle.
Classified, I’d seen him do a few songs back when the Junos were here. Fun and all but not someone I’d necessarily have paid to see. Part of me considered leaving as soon as Wes was done and heading to the campus bar, where they were hosting Mac Sabbath, a Black Sabbath cover band that wears bootleg McDonaldland character costumes and sings the songs with new lyrics about fast food. I figured it would likely be terrible, but possibly the kind of terrible I should see. Or maybe not.
Doors at 8:00 and I got to the sold-out Exchange around 8:30. Had I checked Twitter for set times, I’d have stayed home a bit longer. I found my way in past the merch table adorned with DO NOT PUT YOUR FUCKING DRINK HERE! signs – really, I don’t know why this is the first time I’ve ever seen that – and found a post near the stage upon which I could lean.
I, a fat 42-year-old with a grey beard and thinning hair who mostly listens to singer-songwriter types, did not feel entirely at home at this rap show filled with near-children and the incessant smell of weed. Fortunately, I am at an age where I am largely invisible to the youth, so I just leaned on my post and played games on my phone while the place filled up. I bet I got a better time on the Saturday New York Times crossword than anyone else there.
According to the set times on Twitter, the opener, starting at 9:10, was Local Contest Winner. This turned out to be Kalem Moses, though he called himself Big Mo. And if you want to double check spelling and you google Big Mo Saskatchewan, you find our Premier’s Wikipedia page.
I’m not sure what exactly the Local Contest was that Big Mo Winnered, but he was very appreciative of the opportunity to open up the show, and it seemed like lots of people there knew him already. I think we’ve established that I have no business critiquing anyone here tonight, but he was pretty good. He said he was nervous but didn’t show it, and he rapped about being a recovering addict and the struggles that come with that, so I can’t fault the message.
At the end of his set, Big Mo tossed some CDs and shirts out to the people up at the front. One CD landed short, ending up behind the barricade at the front of the stage. This dude tried to reach over and grab it, but got stopped short by a large security guard who wasn’t approving of this at all. But then the guard got the CD for the guy, so everyone wins.
Next up was Choclair, who was a pretty big star in the late 90s and early 2000s, though I went looking back through his hits and really only kinda knew one or two. I wasn’t really listening to much rap then. This was only a half-hour but it was fun, and certainly felt like something I’d have been into if I’d heard it back when he first came around. Despite the age of the crowd, Choclair’s biggest reaction was saved for his 2000 hit Let’s Ride, so the kids today are clearly learning some history. Or maybe there were just more of my fellow olds in the crowd than I realized.
Up next was Maestro Fresh-Wes, much to the delight of 13-year-old me, and he opened with Drop the Needle, one of my favouites from back then. Really, he could have done that and Let Your Backbone Slide and I’d have been set, but we got a short set spanning his whole career. Lots of Canadian content included, with songs sampling The Guess Who, Rush, and Gowan, among others. And of course he played Backbone and of course I geeked out. Maestro Fresh-Wes does not age and this was super fun. The aforementioned large security guard also seemed to enjoy this set, with a few quickly suppressed smiles sneaking out. There may even have been some brief tapping of toes.
I never seriously considered leaving to see Mac Sabbath, but if I had thought about it, I’d have passed. I mentioned that this show was sold out, and the crowd was great. Jam packed, mostly not dicks, and super supportive of everything. These people loved Kalem Moses. They loved Choclair. They loved Maestro Fresh-Wes. They loved putting their hands in the air – like, a LOT. And they hadn’t even gotten to the guy most of them were really there to see yet. For atmosphere alone, this show was great.
I mean, not the literal atmosphere. When the Exchange is full, you might die of heat stroke. And again, it never didn’t smell like weed. Though I don’t really care about that, and I doubt anyone there considered that to be a negative.
My take on Classified – having heard all of two songs before this show, and only remembering one – is that he seems like he just wants everyone to drink and smoke and party and have a good time and feel good. And in a world that often sucks and is terrible, I can’t really take issue with this. I like having a good time and feeling good! In front of a backdrop made to look like the corner store in his hometown, Classified delivered party anthems to an adoring crowd. They sang along with everything, old and new, hits and deep cuts alike. You’ll be pleased to learn that he played the one song I know (Inner Ninja, the one Classified song everyone knows) and it was fun.
While I didn’t know many songs, one made an impression. Classified did one of his newer songs, Powerless, which talked about empathizing with sexual assault survivors and working to resolve racial inequalities (including the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women). Given the themes of the rest of his songs, the tonal shift was a little jarring, but that was more than offset by the importance of the message. And judging from the reaction (especially from female fans) when he introduced the song, people are paying attention.
But mostly, it was just a fun party show. At one point, he brought a fan on stage, did a song with her (always a risky move, but she did well), then had her stage dive back into the crowd as everyone cheered her on. I don’t think the large security guard liked that. I think he had a few objections to different things on this night, but mostly just tried to get through his shift with minimal hassle.
At the end of the show, he called Choclair and Maestro Fresh-Wes back up on stage. I’m sure this is a planned part of every show, but Choclair had been enjoying his Saturday night and seemingly forgot that this was going to happen. No matter – he found his way back to the stage and they pulled off a fun cover of Northern Touch (well, not a cover for Choclair, but you know) and Classified looked like he was loving it.
Ultimately, this was a really enjoyable show. The music was fun and the overall vibe was really positive. I did feel a little bit like an alien spying on another civilization – there was never a point where I wasn’t at least a tiny bit conscious of how little I fit in there – but whatever. It was a good show and I’m glad I went and that post probably needed someone to prop it up anyway.
For Stone Temple Pilots, I initially decided against going and wound up getting in for a fraction of the original price. For Reuben and the Dark, I held off on buying a ticket and wound up winning my way in. When Jack White’s Canadian tour was announced, I really wanted to go and carefully considered my options, which amounted to Calgary and Winnipeg, but again, I stopped myself. Even short trips can be expensive and it’s not always fun to travel at this time of year. But no worries – when I decided not to go to Jack White, Jack White came to me, with the late addition of a Regina stop. There’s a lesson here. Never take any action to improve your miserable life. Fate will do it for you.
When the on-sale date rolled around, I was ready. I was at work when tickets went on sale, so I booked a ten-minute meeting with myself – this is not a euphemism for anything – so I’d have the best shot at getting tickets. Ticketmaster’s site chugged and churned, but finally, I got two general admission floor tickets – just what I wanted. I also got a premium parking pass to make leaving a little easier.
I needn’t have worried. The crowd was ultimately respectable but far from a sellout. There was even a student deal for cheap seats in a few specific sections. I could have bought floor tickets on the day of the show. The Brandt Centre is a much larger venue than TCU Place, where we saw The White Stripes (checks) eleven years ago?! Christ. Anyway. That show was an instant sellout. This one, decidedly not. I guess I do sense less interest in White’s solo material than in the White Stripes (even from myself), but I did think this show would be a bigger deal to more people.
In the email announcing the show and approximately thirty subsequent emails, we were warned that this was a phone-free show. It was the same message every time out and you may as well get to enjoy it too:
Please note: This is a PHONE-FREE show. No photos, video or audio recording devices allowed. We think you’ll enjoy looking up from your gadgets for a little while and experience music and our shared love of it IN PERSON. Upon arrival at the venue, all phones and other photo or video-capturing gizmos will be secured in a Yondr pouch that will be unlocked at the end of the show. You keep your pouch-secured phone on you during the show and, if needed, can unlock your phone at any time in a designated Phone Zone located in the lobby or concourse.
What this means for you, dear bored skimmer: everything here is from memory and may be 100% wrong.
What this meant for us: not wanting to fart around with magic pouches, Mika and I left our phones at home. Between dinner out and the concert, I was without a phone for over five hours. Sad as this is, it might be the longest I’ve been truly disconnected in years. I actually considered bringing a pen and a notepad in case I wanted to take review notes. And during supper, I couldn’t check the exact date of my grandma’s birthday (December 20) and I couldn’t Shazam the familiar sounding song in the restaurant (Ophelia by The Lumineers). I think my phone is making me really dumb, guys.
Dinner was at Table 10, our favourite nearby spot. Monday is burger night and I got the day’s special, a barbecue bacon cheeseburger with grilled pineapple. I’ve had a few of their burger specials now and I think this one was the best. I also got chocolate peanut cheesecake, which was very good but I really didn’t more food. Mika had a veggie burger and raspberry creme brulé and enjoyed that. When I was paying the bill, the server asked if we had other plans; when I mentioned the concert, she got really excited. Not because she likes Jack White, but that this wasn’t just dinner, it was a date night. I guess it was. I’ll have to remember that it’s not date night unless there are at least two activities.
We drove to the Brandt Centre and parked in our special reserved lot. This was a better idea in theory than in practice. The fancy lot is a bit of a hike to the arena. Not enough that it would normally matter, but it was snowing and windy and generally awful out. And I was underdressed for the weather, since I didn’t think a parka in the arena for hours would be a good idea.
We found our way in and took a walk around the concourse. The line for the stuff table was orderly but ridiculous – I didn’t even consider getting anything. It was quite the contrast with Stone Temple Pilots, where I would have been no worse than third in line any time I went by. Jack White fans like to buy things.
We went down to the floor and stood around for a bit before Rob wandered over and invited us to come hang with him, Char, and Karen. We chatted about our respective concert histories and mostly-shared love for Frank Turner (I haven’t asked Mika but I suspect she would say “he’s fine”) before Crown Lands took the stage.
Now, about these here Crown Lands. They came out, got set to play, realized they forgot to hug, hugged, and then got back at it. They looked like modern-era “Weird Al” Yankovic on the drums and Will Forte in his Last Man On Earth beardy longhair phase on guitar – both wearing the Seventiesest outfits you ever did see. This is not entirely fair because I’m sure real Weird Al is old enough to be their dad, but Al doesn’t age anyway, so whatever. They walked onstage to Closer to the Heart and their last song was a cover of Kashmir, which tells you what they sounded like better than I ever could. Someone warn Greta Van Fleet that a new challenger approaches.
I tease. But this was actually pretty good! These guys were great musicians who won the crowd over during their short set. At one point, Will Forte traded his guitar for giant a two-necked bass/guitar hybrid and the crowd oohed appreciatively. If that whole Rush/Zeppelin thing appeals to you, check them out.
Then we had a break until Jack White. After a while, a countdown popped up on the big screen, looking like one of those old-timey alarm clocks where the numbers flip down. After a while, the silhouette of Jack White wandered out and knocked a few minutes off the timer. Everyone rejoiced! But then he added a bunch more time on. Then he messed with it for a while longer and ultimately left us more or less where we started.
While waiting, a lumbering oaf shoved past us, calling Mika “girl” in the process (his most egregious offense, I was told). He was very tall so he pushed his way to the front, and he was loud and stupid and acted like everyone in his vicinity was glad to see him, even the ones who were subtly backing away. I wanted to grab his braid, shove it up his ass, and pull it out his dickhole. Instead, we just moved a bit back.
Finally, Jack White and his band took the stage, the familiar red of the White Stripes’ peppermint motif replaced with blue. And before I get into anything else, this was a great-looking set. Jack White out in front with the band on risers around him, with giant rotating panels in the back – lights on one side, video screens on the other.
They opened with Over and Over and Over from White’s newest album. I’d wondered if they’d play his solo stuff exclusively, and that was answered with the second song, Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground from the White Stripes’ White Blood Cells. The set spanned most of White’s career, with White Stripes classics mixed in throughout, and even a Raconteurs song (Steady, As She Goes) as the first song of the encore.
Steady, As She Goes might have actually been my favourite performance of the night, just a killer version that brought an intensity that destroyed the album version. But there were other worthy contenders. My Doorbell is just a fantastic song. I really dig Love Interruption. And Hotel Yorba was made better with the addition of honky-tonk piano, as most things are. We’re Going to Be Friends, Ball and Biscuit, Blunderbuss – really, there were just a ton of great songs. This show ruled.
There was a long stretch in the middle where I wasn’t as familiar with everything. I haven’t spent as much time with his solo albums as I did with the White Stripes. That said, between the fantastic band and the visual spectacle I had nothing to complain about.
During the encore break, instead of calling for one more song, the crowd sang the bassline from Seven Nation Army. If you don’t watch wrestling, you’re wise for many reasons, not the least of which is hearing that song doesn’t remind you of Enzo Amore. And I thought his second-last song, Connected By Love, would have made a great show closer, but when that bassline hit for real, the place went nuts. And I know it’s not actually played on the bass (at least on the album) so leave me be.
Early on in the set, some dude fainted or passed out or something near me. He was able to leave under his own power with the help of medical staff, but it was interesting to see that White’s stage crew immediately saw what was going on and were there to help. We weren’t even that close to the front, but they were on it. I think maybe the bass player saw the commotion and alerted them – he kept scanning the area with concern.
In an unrelated note (I assume, anyway), I’ve discovered the reason why none of the cannabis stores here can get enough supply to open their doors: all of the pot was at the Brandt Centre. It’s gone now. I’m used to smelling weed at concerts but I’m not used to the smell never really going away. Tom Petty has been dethroned as the stinkiest concert I’ve been to.
I did miss my phone a little, but on our way out, it was nice to briskly skip past the lines of people waiting to unlock their phone sacks. “This is the worst invention ever,” hollered one guy, “I’ve got 300 people here who all hate this!” I laughed and Mika told me to not encourage him. We trudged through many snowdrifts to our special parking lot, but we did get priority when driving out, so that was nice. Not $15 nice. But nice.
I don’t know if this ever happens to you, but it does to me, on occasion:
Some songs have lyrics that hit you just right at just the right time in your life, or in a song by itself, and forever afterwards, whenever you hear them, you know that music is, for these small moments, still in good hands.
Here are three (of so many) Eagles/related moments:
Eagles – Take It Easy “We may lose and we may win, but we will never be here again, so open up by climbing in, and take it easy”
That line just hums with real.
Eagles – Hotel California “we haven’t had that spirit here since 1969”
Inspired writing and nailed perfectly in the tune.
Don Henley – Boys Of Summer “Out on the road today I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac / A little voice inside my head said / Don’t look back, you can never look back”
You can probably quote a ton more. Drop a comment!
Here’s another song I gotta rant about:
They play this one at work all the time, and it occurs to me that Chris DeBurgh’s popular song, Lady In Red, is actually a pretty damn insulting tune. I think people take it as a love song, but check out the ineptitude of this dude:
I’ve never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight
I’ve never seen you shine so bright
So every day up until now she’s just been OK? Unremarkable?
I’ve never seen so many men ask you if you wanted to dance
They’re looking for a little romance, given half a chance
The jealous lover. Real confident in your relationship there, pal.
And I have never seen that dress you’re wearing
Or the highlights in your hair that catch your eyes
I have been blind
I can forgive the dress, I mean, maybe she wanted to surprise you. But she changed her hair and you didn’t notice til now? Dude.
The lady in red is dancing with me, cheek to cheek
There’s nobody here, it’s just you and me
It’s where I want to be
But I hardly know this beauty by my side
I’ll never forget the way you look tonight
It’s nice only she exists for you in this moment, but you hardly know her? How long have you been together? If it’s any longer than fifteen minutes ago, brother, she’ll question why she’s by your side.
I’ve never seen you looking so gorgeous as you did tonight
I’ve never seen you shine so bright, you were amazing
Again? Dude, we got it the first time. Lazy writing.
I’ve never seen so many people want to be there by your side
And when you turned to me and smiled, it took my breath away
You admitted earlier that all those people by her side were other dudes looking for a little romance. Cherish that smile, brother.
And I have never had such a feeling
Such a feeling of complete and utter love, as I do tonight
It was tonight that did it, then? No other night in your time together? What about yesterday? Nothing?
This ain’t a love song, though it’s selling itself as one. This guy has, apparently, been oblivious, and this lady in red is the most patient woman in the world to put up with his ineptitude. At least, on this one night, he figured it out.
Is it just my ears, or does that riff bit in Bryan Adams’ song Brand New Day (2015) sound a wee bit too close to his hit song Summer Of 69 (1984)? Was Bryan recycling a bit? You decide!
Every now and then, I’ll hear a song and it’ll tick me off. Then I come here to rant about it! Lucky you!
This time, it’s Garth Brooks’ Friends In Low Places. Now, country music is full of songs like this, so this one’s not special, but it’s what I heard this time. Anyway, we all know this song, we’ve all probably sung along to it and had a good time. But the lyrics just hit me wrong, and then I got thinking about it…
Blame it all on my roots – Why? Have you not grown as a person at all?
I showed up in boots – Depending where you live, those might be considered dress attire.
And ruined your black tie affair – Only one of your mistakes this evening.
The last one to know – I doubt it.
The last one to show – So?
I was the last one
You thought you’d see there – Hoped, more like.
And I saw the surprise – Naturally
And the fear in his eyes – Fear? Really? Isn’t he marrying your ex? Why does he fear you?
When I took his glass of champagne – Champagne not beer, as you’d prefer.
And I toasted you – This is not going good places…
Said, honey, we may be through – For probably a boatload of reasons, all of which you’re convenitently forgetting because you’re probably the cause of a lot of it.
But you’ll never hear me complain – And yet you’re here, complaining.
‘Cause I’ve got friends in low places
Where the whiskey drowns
And the beer chases my blues away
And I’ll be okay
I’m not big on social graces
Think I’ll slip on down to the oasis
Oh, I’ve got friends in low places
Yes. Let’s all venerate drinking and drinking buddies as some form of revenge and ‘better life’ instead of healthy emotional relationships.
Well, I guess I was wrong – You knew you were.
I just don’t belong – You expected they’d welcome you?
But then, I’ve been there before – How many times, exactly?
Everything’s all right – No it isn’t.
I’ll just say goodnight – No you won’t.
And I’ll show myself to the door – No you won’t.
Hey, I didn’t mean- Yes you did.
To cause a big scene – Yeah, it’s all about you.
Just give me an hour and then – An hour? To get to the door?
Well, I’ll be as high – You seem pretty high already.
As that ivory tower – Oh that’s not condescending at all.
That you’re livin’ in – She didn’t choose the gutter. Aw.
Then the chorus repeats. Three times. And the song fades out on it, suggesting this will be an endless immature experience for him. ‘Cos nothing is catchier and drunkenly inclusive than easy rhymes and mentioning alcohol lots of times.
This song made me tired.
Here’s a surprise bonus review because I need to generate Content to maintain the Perception of my Brand. And because I’m getting good at remembering to check the Facebook pages of Regina media outlets a few days before any concerts that I wouldn’t mind going to for free. Thank you, CJTR, for sending me to this show because I commented “Comment!” when you asked for a comment. I’m glad my hard work paid off.
With Mika still tied up with school, I sought out the newly-retired Other James (retired from work, I mean – he’s still James) to join me as my +1. I looked up the start time when inviting him, and it was good I did, because I’d have wound up sad and lonely at the Exchange when this show was actually at Westminster United Church. I also had to look up the location of the church, and that was also good, because I learned you can give churches Google reviews. The best by far was a two-star review, saying “it’s ok if that’s what you’re into.”
Other James and I were to meet at “8-ish,” and I would have been there right at 8:00, but there’s a candy store across the street so I had to stop and browse. With treats acquired, we met in the lobby, the ticket folks found my name on the list, and we were inside. It’s a very nice looking church. At least a 3 out of 5. As a concert venue, it has some of the drawbacks that you’d expect from a church – few washrooms, no food or drinks. They should have had old ladies in the basement selling funeral specials – ham sandwiches with one slice of ham on buttered (well, margarined) bread, cut into quarters and served with sweet pickles, slices of marble cheese, watered down orange drink, and date squares.
I knew nothing about either Reuben and the Dark or openers nêhiyawak, apart from having heard their names before. I had a little more than 24 hours between winning the tickets and the show starting, but chose not to seek out any of their music and just enjoy the show as a brand new experience. Doesn’t that sound nicer than saying “I started off ignorant, became aware of my ignorance, and decided to remain ignorant?”
nêhiyawak is a three-piece from Edmonton – guitar, drums, and synthesizers. The synths in particular give them a unique sound, driving some songs while adding a dreamy edge to others. The trio are all of Plains Cree ancestry and sing songs that draw on that history. It wasn’t always easy to make out the lyrics, so I wound up relying on the singer’s explanations as to the songs’ meanings. It was a short set, but powerful and compelling – the kind of music that I suspect is best experienced live. And probably in a smaller venue – Other James said he’d seen them at the folk festival this summer, but thought this was a better showcase for them.
Reuben and the Dark are a five-piece from Calgary. The lead singer is, in fact, Reuben, though the other guys didn’t look particularly Dark. Reuben was clad in all white, so I guess they were kind of darker by comparison. Also, he’s a brave man who clearly eats more neatly than I do.
Whereas nêhiyawak had the synths as a differentiator, if I can use obnoxious business words, Reuben and the Dark had great vocal harmonies that stood out for me. All five had mics and the harmonies added warmth to songs that were already great on their own.
Like I said, I was going in blind, but one song, Rolling Stone (not THAT one) (or that other one) seemed so familiar to me. Either I’ve heard it before, enough to know it, or it’s just one of those songs that feels like an old favourite from the first time you hear it. There were a few other songs that sounded a little recognizable, so I’m assuming Mika played them in the car at some point. And the first song of the encore was a cover of Bobcaygeon, which was really well done. The band recorded and released the song as a single, donating the profits to the Downie Wenjack Fund. So, if you have a spare $1.29 in iTunes credit and want to direct whatever fraction of that to a good cause, you could do worse.
Reuben is a charismatic fellow, holding the audience’s attention with songs and stories, or leading the crowd in song. A few times, he walked up and down the church aisles, crouching down to sing directly to individuals (including one very appreciative young fan in the front row). The last song of the night was done entirely off-mic, capping off a great evening and making the small venue feel even more intimate.
This was the kind of concert I love, where you go in with no expectations and leave with a new favourite. Great songs, killer harmonies, and a really enjoyable show. I left humming their songs and next time, I won’t rely on luck to get me in the door. By which I mean I’ll buy a ticket, but it sounds pretty underwhelming when you put it that way.
For the most part, I thought the sound in the church was pretty good. I thought the mix was a little better for Reuben and the Dark and I had an easier time hearing what he was saying than with nêhiyawak, though a few songs in, someone up on the second level yelled to turn the snare drum down. Everyone laughed and this became a recurring theme throughout the evening, with Reuben later checking in about the volume of the snare, and later saying that Bobcaygeon would have benefitted from a little more of it. Though when Other James was chatting with the sound tech on the way out, she said that the snare really did come through excessively upstairs. Maybe Mr. Two-out-of-five had a balcony seat.
I’ve made it a bit of a project to educate our children in music. I play jazz, classical, country, just about anything around them. We play music in the car, and I have an iPod in a player in the kitchen, just running through a big playlist while we go about our lives in the evenings.
I do this because (selfishly) I am always listening to music anyway, so it’s natural to me. But for them, I do it out of love – love for them, certainly, because I want to try to help them to be well-rounded and intelligent people. But also for love of all music. If I generally played one genre non-stop, like… the only thing on was country radio, all day… it could take them years to get around to other things, and where’s the fun in that?
Still, both of our children tend to prefer rock music. Our son (9) prefers metal, especially Iron Maiden. Our daughter (7) likes metal, but also digs on CCR and more classic rock. So, because I was the first one I knew in the 90s to have a CDr drive (2x, baby, yeah!), I still live that instinct to make mixes. And I made the kids a classic rock car mix on a 700mb CDr.
I tried to go for the classics, anything with big riffs and that attitude, you know. My only rule was to try to only have one song per artist (I think I came close to succeeding). And I ended up with one helluva track list which, I’ll admit, looks like every animal-themed classic rock radio station’s playlist for the week. But from our kids’ perspective, it’s a goldmine of new songs.
Right now we’re at the Guess Who’s American Woman in an alphabetical run-through. Some hilarious moments have already happened, like their belly laughs at Alice Cooper’s School’s Out. They loved the line about the teachers’ dirty looks. And during Dio’s Rainbow In The Dark, our boy turns to me in the front seat and says, “Dad, you can’t have a rainbow in the dark. You need light, and it has to have just rained so that the water can refract the light.” I couldn’t argue, but I did tell him that was just Ronnie James Dio doing what he did best. Inwardly, I was chuffed our boy was listening so closely and thinking so critically.
Accept – Balls to the Wall
ACDC – Back In Black
Aerosmith – Sweet Emotion
Alice Cooper – School’s Out
Animals – The House Of The Rising Sun
April Wine – I Like To Rock
Bachman Turner Overdrive – Takin’ Care Of Business
Bad Company – Feel Like Making Love
Beatles – Day Tripper
Billy Idol – White Wedding, Pt. 1
Billy Joel – It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me
Black Sabbath – Paranoid
Blondie – Call Me
Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t Fear The Reaper
Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer
Boston – More Than a Feeling
Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run
Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69
Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth
Cars – You Might Think
Chicago – 25 Or 6 To 4
Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go
Cream – Sunshine Of Your Love
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Fortunate Son
Cult – She Sells Sanctuary
Deep Purple – Highway Star
Def Leppard – Photograph
DIO – Rainbow In The Dark
Dire Straits – Sultans Of Swing
Don Henley – All She Wants To Do Is Dance
Doobie Brothers – China Grove
Doors – L.A. Woman
Eagles – Life In The Fast Lane
Eric Clapton, Derek, The Dominos – Layla
Europe – The final countdown
Five Man Electric Band – Signs
Foghat – Slow Ride
Free – All Right Now
George Thorogood – Bad To The Bone
Golden Earring – Radar Love
Grand Funk Railroad – We’re An American Band
Guess Who – American Woman
Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
Heart – Barracuda
Iron Maiden – Run to the Hills
Janis Joplin – Piece Of My Heart
Jefferson Airplane – Somebody to Love
Jethro Tull – Locomotive Breath
Jimi Hendrix – Foxey Lady
Joan Jett – I Love Rock n’ Roll
Joe Walsh – Rocky Mountain Way
Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’
Judas Priest – Living After Midnight
Kansas – Carry on Wayward Son
Kick Axe – Heavy Metal Shuffle
Kinks – You Really Got Me
Kiss – Rock And Roll All Nite
Led Zeppelin – Kashmir
Lou Reed – Walk on the Wild Side
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama
Molly Hatchet – Flirtin’ With Disaster
Motley Crue – Kickstart My Heart
Motörhead – Ace of Spades
Mott The Hoople – All The Young Dudes
Mountain – Mississippi Queen
Nazareth – This Flight Tonight
Ozzy Osbourne – Crazy Train
Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb
Police – Roxanne
Queen (f. David Bowie) – Under Pressure
Quiet Riot – Bang Your Head (Metal Health)
Rainbow – Since You’ve Been Gone
Ram Jam – Black Betty
Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop
Robert Palmer – Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)
Rod Stewart – Maggie May
Rolling Stones – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Rush – Closer To The Heart
Santana – Black Magic Woman
Scorpions – Rock You Like A Hurricane
Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen
Slade – Cum On Feel The Noize
Spencer Davis Group – Gimme Some Lovin’
Status Quo – Rockin’ All Over The World
Stealers Wheel – Stuck In The Middle With You
Steppenwolf – Born To Be Wild
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Pride And Joy
Styx – Renegade
Survivor – Eye of the Tiger
Sweet – Ballroom Blitz
T.Rex – 20th Century Boy
Them – Baby, Please Don’t Go
Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back in Town
Three Dog Night – Joy To The World
Twisted Sister – We’re Not Gonna Take It
UFO – Doctor Doctor
Uriah Heep – Easy Livin’
Van Halen – Panama
Warren Zevon – Werewolves Of London
Whitesnake – Here I Go Again
Who – My Generation
Yes – Owner Of A Lonely Heart
ZZ Top – Tush
The only one in the list you might wonder about is the Queen selection. Honestly, the Hits Of Queen disc plays in our car quite regularly anyway*, and our kids know all those songs inside and out, so it didn’t really mater what track from them I included and Under Pressure seemed like a nice change from We Will Rock You, or We Are The Champions, etc.
You can probably think of others I missed, or songs you’d have chosen differently for a given band, and that’s awesome. Drop comments!
*And here it behooves me to reference Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens r.e. mixed tapes in the car. You’ve read it, so you’ll know what I mean.
Welcome to the first-ever bone chilling, spine tingling, Halloween SLCR spooktacular! Oooh, scary! A night of ghosts and goblins, witches and draculas, your credit card debt, giving a presentation and PowerPoint won’t open, making eye contact with a stranger, 63 million Trump voters, the ceaseless passage of time reflected in your ever-decaying body. And a full-size Snickers if your costume is special enough.
For only the second time in SLCR history, I went to a show on Halloween. The last was when Pat and I saw The Tea Party at Louis’ in 1996 – 22 years ago, SLCR #4 – see above re: ceaseless passage. I didn’t know the band and only went because Pat had a spare ticket at the last minute. It was sold out, absolutely jam-packed, and there was a girl in a genie costume. Barbara Eden genie, not Robin Williams genie. Beyond that, I don’t really remember what she looked like anymore so much as I remember being very invested in what she looked like. As far as The Tea Party, I liked them fine, probably. I don’t remember anything being spooky.
However, I picked an appropriately frightening show for this occasion. An arena full of Halloween drunks! Four bands on a worknight! One of which I’ve never heard of, two I actively don’t care about, and what amounts to a tribute band as a headliner!
Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland battled addiction issues for pretty much his whole career. The band broke up, got back together, they kicked him out, they brought him back – it was constant chaos. I finally saw them with Mika and Dave in 2009 – fifteen years after I was really into them – and though I was expecting a trainwreck, it was actually pretty fun. They played tons of the songs I would have wanted from my high school days, and Weiland sounded great. (We’ll quietly move past the incident at a concert a few months after ours where Weiland fell off the stage but somehow kept right on singing.) Unfortunately, Weiland’s issues continued; he was eventually replaced in the band one last time before dying of an accidental overdose in 2015. A sad end that, frankly, most people saw coming but nobody was able to stop.
The new Stone Temple Pilots’ singer is Jeff Gutt, previously best known as a contestant on the reality show The X Factor. I had some curiosity about what they’d sound like these days, but not enough to get me in the door. Not at $100 for a general admission standing ticket. Not when I also had to buy tickets for Jack White and the Headstones (not together) (but now I wish they were). Not when the openers are Seether and Default, two bands I could happily go my whole life without ever seeing, and Age of Days, who I don’t know but I assume fall into a similar category.
I don’t know if a lot of people felt the same way I did or if everyone had Halloween plans, but I got an email out of the blue. Those $100 tickets? On sale for $25. Much more reasonable for a night I might not enjoy. I’d have been spitting nails if I’d spent $100 when tickets went on sale, but I didn’t, so hooray for a brief flash of fiscal responsibility and subsequent irresponsibility! Premium parking pass? No thank you, the free lot will have room enough for all.
I was flying solo for this one. Mika had to do school stuff and also had no interest in this clown show. And I should clarify, there were plenty of costumes, but not enough that I could call it a literal clown show. Probably for the best. No genies, but there were hundreds of random wigs and painted faces. I found Jesus AND several Waldos. I also got to play lots of my favourite Halloween game, “costume or oddball?” The answer may surprise you, but likely won’t.
After showering, dawdling, skipping supper, and handing out candy to all of three trick-or-treaters (policeman, princess, zombie princess), I got to the Brandt Centre as Age of Days was playing one of their first songs. I didn’t expect to recognize it, and I didn’t expect it to be a cover of Roxette’s The Look, but there we were. It was pretty good but you’d have to put effort into wrecking something that catchy.
I wandered around the stadium, passing some people enjoying a newly legal substance in a still illegal place, and taking a quick look at the stuff table. Eventually I found a spot to stand on the concourse level. I could have gone down to the floor, but why bother?
Age of Days played perfectly competent late 90s/early 2000s rock, the kind that I find kind of catchy but not super memorable, which is exactly what I think of both Seether and Default, so they were a good fit on this bill. I enjoyed it while it was happening, wouldn’t be in a rush to listen to more of their stuff, but wouldn’t turn them off if you put their record on. And that’s how you say “this was fine” in a paragraph’s worth of words.
Is it obvious I wrote most of this (to this point) before the show started and I wrote the bit about Age of Days while waiting for Default? I feel like I’m being inconsistent with my verb tenses and I don’t feel like caring.
As predicted, there aren’t a ton of people here. Or weren’t a ton there. Whatever.
Default got to use the lighting rig, so they’re officially a bigger deal than Age of Days. I liked Age of Days better, though. I thought I knew one Default song (Wasting My Time), but I knew two! So that was nice. They said the other song, Deny, was on the soundtrack to NHL 2003. Also, their new guitarist “refused to play Default songs in his high school cover band, in case you wanna know how fuckin’ old we are.” The highlight was when a crayon stood right by me, turned his back to the stage, and excitedly jumped up and down while his girlfriend, a dragon, shot a video.
Mika just texted. She’s back home and has had 2 more trick-or-treaters, bringing our combined total to 5. Verily, the gods have blessed us and we will feast for weeks on Mikes and Ikes. Which is good because I’m starting to regret skipping supper. I don’t want booze and not much else is open here. Maybe I can find a big pretzel while Seether is playing. I suspect my knowledge of Seether songs will make me feel like an expert on Default.
I spent $10 on a soft pretzel and a Coke Zero. The pretzel was crispy and chewy and salty and warm and the Coke Zero had little ice crystals in it. I’m not saying it was the best $10 I’ve ever spent, but it was worth arena prices.
Seether gets the lighting rig AND video screens, so we’ve leveled up again. We’ll see if Stone Temple Pilots can take things even further, though maybe not – Seether is technically a co-headliner. I’m just not giving them their due because I don’t care about them. I know one (Remedy) and a half (they did one with Evanescence lady I think?) Seether songs and they played all of them. I walked laps around the concourse and a very nice Brandt Centre employee offered to let me onto the floor, that area I have a ticket for but haven’t visited. The highlight, apart from “dinner,” was the fans throwing random costume parts on stage and the band gamely wearing everything, even though one wig/mask “smells like a ham sandwich. Did you smoke cigars in this thing?”
I should point out that there are people here really into Seether and Default. Don’t take my lack of enthusiasm at face value – the fans are having a great time. This just isn’t entirely my thing and I knew that going in. Age of Days are still my favourite so far.
The place is starting to fill up. The drunks haven’t been too bad; one just had a nice chat with me about what I was doing. (He guessed “texting” and I went along with that.) There are some couples where only one of them wore a costume and it’s never not funny. I wonder how their dinner went. One couple wore themed costumes and it made their fight in the lobby that much more distressing. I hope you can find happiness and peace, Wayne and Garth. You’re both worthy.
I just took another lap around the concourse. In the empty area behind the stage, another drunk told me how lonely everything looked. As a security guard passed us, the drunk loudly said “I come back here so I can put drugs in my drinks!” The security guard kept walking. The drunk laughed. Then he found another friend of his and I slipped away.
STP up shortly. I hope this doesn’t suck. I bet they play a bunch off their new album. I maybe should have listened to it once.
I’m home now. First things first – STP had the big lighting rig but no video screens. Seether wins. Anyway, the concert. I was way wrong about the setlist. Only two new songs. I took notes, and also had to google some of the titles because with STP, I have the hardest time associating titles to songs:
Big Bang Baby
Interstate Love Song
Roll Me Under
Dead and Bloated
Sex Type Thing
Piece of Pie
Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart
The real question is how did they sound, and – yeah, a Stone Temple Pilots cover band. A good one, mind – on Wicked Garden, Jeff Gutt sounded so much like Scott Weiland that with my eyes closed, I wouldn’t have known the difference. For the other songs, he sounded more like himself, though sometimes still sounding like he was doing an impression. But I don’t know how you avoid that and still give people what they expect from an STP concert.
The one misstep was Plush. It started with just Gutt and guitarist Dan DeLeo, and it felt like they were on entirely different pages. The rest of the band came back out one at a time and eventually everything came together, but it began on a really rough note. But that could just be the relatively short time they’ve played together, or maybe everybody loved it and I’m wrong here. Either way, beyond that, everything sounded really good. Big Bang Baby and new song Letter were particular highlights, as was Sex Type Thing (shame about those lyrics, though).
Gutt had big shoes to fill, but he delivered with confidence. I really enjoyed their set, but it’s hard to praise the show and the band without having it sound like a backhanded compliment. “He’s no Scott Weiland, but…” “It’s not the same, but…” And he’s not and it’s not, which isn’t meant as a knock. It just is what it is.
While I was watching the show, there was a baseball player and a nurse standing next to me and I was pretty sure they were going to start having sex right there on the concourse about three songs in. They left after a few more songs and I’m certain they just found a quiet corner somewhere to finish what they’d started. Then another guy came along and his costume was an insulation bag. Rockwool insulation, specifically. He cut armholes and eyeholes in it and that was that. Sounds scratchy.
During our last (most recent) Taranna trip, I scored this brilliant 2cd tribute to Neil Young. It’s chock full of cool stuff, just like the first volume one was (I have that too). Lovely!
When I went to the Grail List to update it for the Last Pogo DVD that I also found (wahoo!), I realized that this Borrowed Tunes II set was also on the list!
Double Taranna Grail List Score!!
NB: The list is now updated with these two items removed. Awesomeness.
Hey dear KMA Readers,
Time isn’t on my side. I’ve tried for a couple of months, now, to have any sort of regularity in my Reading in the Community and have failed miserably. Even writing time is less and less, first time in 12 years on this blog it’s been this crazy, and there’s no end in sight. I have managed to get a daily post up here and I’ve tried for brevity, but even then…
So, since we’re starting a new month today, I’m (once again) trying something new to try to adjust and at least get something on here daily, just to keep my hand in. I’ll post cover art of an album I’ve heard recently, and use the caption to drop a brief barf about it. In this way, you’ll get a sense of what’s in my ears. Also, let’s assume that whatever I hear is a Hit in the Hit It Or Quit It sense, unless I say otherwise. If I hear something crap, you’ll know it…
Yet another bootleg I found, this is the best-sounding of the lot. Hooray!
Recorded at Finsbury Park, London UK on 1992-06-06, this 10-track live boot captures the Cult on fire and taking no prisoners.
There’s a cool write-up on the back cover so, since I am too lazy to re-type it all, here is that back cover, complete with write-up and track list of the set:
As you can see, this was a smokin’ set. Hot DAMN! It’s also cool that they left in all the between-song banter, so you get the whole set as it was. Lovely.
Hit It Or Quit It? Unquestionable Hit!
* Come back this afternoon for a second post!
Here’s another Italian bootleg I found, which I snapped up because I have fond memories of seeing Adams on his Waking Up The Nation tour in 1993.
The sound quality here isn’t great, pretty static-y and with a low hum underneath some of it. But I never expect bootlegs to be studio quality, and this is honestly listenable.
There aren’t any notations in the liner notes about where the tracks were record. Somewhere in Europe, of course… that could be a lot of places! Ah well.
It’s a classic setlist, very reminiscent of the show we would see a year later, though this one includes a cover of Joe Cocker’s When The Night Comes… Check it out…
Tracks: House Arrest / Kids Wanna Rock / Hey Honey-I’m Packing You In / Can’t Stop This Thing We Started / Cuts Like A Knife / Touch The Hand / (Everything I Do) I Do It For You / Run To You / When The Night Comes / Somebody / She’s Only Happy When She’s Dancing
Hit It Or Quit It? For nostalgia’s sake, Hit!
PS: I looked this one up on Discogs, hoping for more info about the tracks, and was disappointed. But I saw this notification, the first time I’ve seen it on Discogs: “This release has been blocked from sale in the marketplace. It is not permitted to sell this item on Discogs.” Cool!
Last Friday was a professional development day (PD Day) for the kids’ teachers , so my lovely wife took the day off to be home with the kids. Sadly, I had to work. When I got done my shift, I came home to a new family member.
We do have one cat already, our dear Sammy, who is (at a guess, as he was a shelter rescue cat so we don’t know for sure) around 16 or 17 years old. Sammy rules. My lovely wife and I had talked that maybe one day we’d bring a kitten in so that Sammy could raise him up properly before he leaves us (which will be years yet, touch wood). Just trying to be realistic, too, for our young kids.
Enter Oscar. He came with the name Pumpkin, but none of us liked that, so we tossed around a few names. Oliver, Ginger, Mittens (all four feet are white-tipped), Caramel. But I was recalling years ago, in Montreal, when my lovely wife and I had another great cat, Satchmo, and while naming him some of our other name-choices were Miles, Oscar… Oscar… Perfect.
Oscar is 10 weeks old, weighs two pounds, and is a rip-snorting good time. Very playful. He’s also (already) a total mush. Loves bellyrubs, so this bodes well for the future.
Welcome to the family, Oscar!
If you want the real deal on this one, just go read Mike’s post. He’s in-depth and clear about the whole thing (as always), and lays out exactly what’s here. Me, I’ll just say it’s a cool collection from a band I loved a lot a long while ago. I fell for that whole punk-ska sound, with Toasters and Reel Big Fish and Slackers and these guys and many more, and I still like it now. It’s probably the horns. I always cheer for the horns. Score!
Hit It Or Quit It? Hit!
Yup. My Dad and I went to Taranna yesterday. Much goodness. Of course, I hit up BMV and Sonic Boom. Here’s a quick post to share what I got. You will be seeing all of these at some point in future posts!
Pretty sure I owned Hindu Love Gods at some other point but it ain’t here now and I wanted it back! Warren Zevon fronting a bunch of the R.E.M. dudes? Awesome. The Memoirs Of A Geisha soundtrack looks sweet: music composed and conducted by John Williams, cello solos by Yo-Yo Ma, and violin solos by Itzhak Perlman. I loved the film, and this CD looks all kinds of awesome. And a solo Q-Tip album? I’m in!
Jonny Greenwood (radiohead)’s soundtrack for There Will Be Blood intrigued me. Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky was a collection-gap filler. Neil Young’s On The Beach is one I didn’t yet have (exciting!). Wayne Kramer’s The Hard Stuff (complete with ROLLINS liner notes, and it’s on Epitaph Records) totally made my day. And Nine Inch Nails The Slip (Halo 27) is a CD/DVD set. It looks to be numbered, limited to 250,000. Rare? I have no idea. Still, cool!
I also scored a couple of books for winter reading. Our Band Could Be Your Life is one I read years ago, wanna do it again. And Mersereau’s History Of Canadian Rock will be lovely. My copy has a foreward by Neil Peart!
Someone in the Community (sorry I’m tired and I forget who) was recently talking about Biffy Clyro. Found this Puzzles album for $2.99 and decided to give it a go. Cynic’s Kindly Bent To Free Us finishes off my Cynic collection (sweet!). GZA’s Legend Of The Liquid Sword is exciting, I’ve never seen one in the wild before. Happy to have this one on board! And the 2CD Borrowed Tunes II, a collection of Canadian bands covering Neil Young songs, is gonna be sweet. I loved volume one!
GRAIL LIST FIND!!!!
Super-stoked to find this DVD copy of the remasterd and re-released Last Pogo DVD. Documentary about Toronto’s punk scene 1976-1978 and the last-ever punk show at the Horseshoe. Dubbed ‘Punk’s Last Waltz.’ So many bands involved, including Teenage Head, Viletones, Diodes, Simply Saucer, Forgotten Rebels, Demics, and tons more.
It also has a 24-page colour booklet and 1.5 hours of special features! Including the film itself, this set is 204 minutes in total. Whoa.
I cannot wait to watch it all!
Story: I asked at BMV if they had this DVD. They did not. But the dude there said to check Soundscapes or She Said Boom! as he knew the director had dropped off copies at those shoppes for consignment. We checked both, and that was about three years ago… no copies left. But then I walked into Sonic Boom, asked the lady there and (Sonic) Boom! There it was! I wasn’t even in the store more than two minutes and I had a Grail Item Find!
And those were my scores. Sweet!
Funny, I spent my time in both stores telling myself this could be my last trip before spring (we don’t tend to try to fight our way to the city when the roads are shite), so I oughta load up for the winter! And, comparatively with my usual piles, I came back with far fewer items than most trips. I tried like crazy to find more things that would suit, and I guess this time it wasn’t as many as usual… So I feel that I shopped for quality, not quantity! I am thrilled with it all.
‘Twas a great trip down to the city, no real traffic, and no snow (which had been forecast). Ultimately a perfect day, as not even the drizzly rain bothered us.
Watch for all of these scores, individually, in future KMA posts!
Pretty sure this was the deluxe 2CD Mike bought off me, if memory serves. Well, this single disc edition served me pretty damn well for this (and many other) run-throughs. In fact, over the years, I couldn’t even tell you how many times I have jammed this record. It’s a lot, anyway.
Their first album for Island Records, this is pure classic work, top to bottom. In fact, as I sit here typing this, I wonder if I even need to tell you about it? Probably not. Y’all know this record. You know its power, its sound, it’s majesty. You know that this is one of those records, in a lifetime.
As you were.
Hit It Or Quit It? Absolute HIT!
Tracks: Concrete Jungle / Slave Driver / 400 Years / Stop That Train / Baby We Got A Date (Rock It Baby) / Stir It Up / Kinky Reggae / No More Trouble / Midnight Ravers
I first started getting into They Might Be Giants in 1999. I remember watching the then-new video for Doctor Worm with Steve when I went to Toronto for the first time. If anything, it’s weird that it took me that long to become a fan; they’ve been making music together since 1982 and their particular brand of weirdo oddball alt-rock is right up my alley. It wasn’t long after that until they climbed to the top of the shortlist of bands I wanted to see in concert that I’d never seen before. As I cleared out the list over time, TMBG eventually secured the undisputed top spot.
I did have a ticket to see them in Minneapolis about five years ago, but that’s a really long drive. I wound up opting against the trip when work got busy and I realized that to pull it off, I’d have to leave Saturday morning, drive 13 hours, go straight to the show, sleep, and turn around and come home the next day. I’m capable of some incredibly stupid things, but even I have my limits.
Earlier this year, on their mailing list, TMBG began teasing a real Canadian tour, giving me high hopes that it would be more than just the usual combo of Vancouver/Toronto/somewhere else maybe. I assumed Calgary would be my best option to see them, so I held that in mind for my fall trip. When they finally released the dates, I was delighted to see Saskatoon made the cut. Even better, it was at the Broadway Theatre and not the loud hot place with terrible sound and terrible people, or the bar that sometimes has tasty foods but shows don’t start until after midnight.
Needless to say, this was a pretty highly anticipated show for me. However, as the day grew near, I started thinking about it, and I wasn’t sure if my TMBG fandom had kept up with this “most wanted concert” idea. Some of it is just volume – they have 20 albums out and release a song a week onto their Dial-a-Song service. It’s a lot to keep up with. And some of their music is different for different’s sake, which means that while I really dig some of it, there are other songs that just don’t click with me. I was still really excited for the show, but wasn’t sure they’d live up to years and years of my own hype.
I also wasn’t sure how much Mika would be looking forward to show, especially since it fell on our seventh wedding anniversary. On the one hand, it would ensure that we actually did something for our anniversary, or indeed, remembered it at all. However, I don’t know if a big ol’ nerd-rock show in another city was what she had in mind. But as fate would have it, my mom won a silent auction this summer for one night in a suite at the Sheraton and a giftcard to the fancy steakhouse therein, and gave it to us as an early anniversary gift. What better day to use it than our actual anniversary?
The drive was uneventful and podcast-laden and I said that last week. But checking into the hotel? Also uneventful. We changed into what I’ll say were nice clothes – Mika looked nice, I looked business-casual at best – and made our way down to the restaurant. I may still have been the best-dressed man there, which is not boasting, merely a reflection of societal standards plummeting, a trend that I unabashedly support. Dinner was great; I steaked it up and ate way too much even before dessert. This did not stop me from actually ordering dessert and I shoveled in beignets until it hurt. I had to leave one behind and I still regret that. Mika had some fish thing – I don’t know, she said she liked it, whatever, it was fish, I’m not responsible for her choices – and a chocolate truffle bar that was the size of a small brick and nearly as dense. It bent light towards itself with its gravitational pull. This was a lot of chocolate. All the chocolate. There is none left for anyone. I tried a bit and it was incredible.
After changing back into normal slob clothes, we drove to the Broadway Theatre. Could have walked it – would have done well to walk it – but it was chilly out and the meat inside me was repositioning itself with every step.
I bought tickets online right when they went on sale, ultimately settling for two seats in the centre about four rows back. Or at least that’s what I thought; I might have gotten myself confused in my attempts to nab the best seats I could. Anyway, the seats we actually got put us in the second row, but far off to the left. I thought we were on the aisle, but no, this was the farthest left possible, past the aisle, right up against the wall, all squished in and at an awkward angle. Not ideal. Then the band came out and immediately told everyone to stand, so we did, and told everyone to come up to the front, so we did that too. We wound up standing in the aisle, maybe six feet back from the stage, right in line with John Flansburgh. Much better!
What happened next was a nearly three-hour show played for some of the happiest nerds you’ve ever seen. I had kind of expected them to focus on new songs – and there were plenty, including Dial-a-Song songs that were only a month old – but the classics and cult favourites were out in full force. I don’t know if that’s a regular occurrence or if the set was chosen knowing this was going to be the first time most of the crowd had seen the band, but either way, it was welcome.
They’re switching up their setlists every night and the internet is only being somewhat helpful, so some of this might be out of order. The first song I recognized was Your Racist Friend and the first one I got really excited for was Doctor Worm. “This next one is called ‘Vogelhaus in deiner seele’ in German,” said John Linnell. Or something like that, I can’t speak German but I can use Google Translate. More importantly, I know “haus” and Birdhouse in your Soul is my favourite TMBG song and with that, I would have been fine with anything. But we didn’t just get just anything, they played Fingertips and The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) and Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had a Deal and How Can I Sing Like a Girl and I Like Fun and The Mesopotamians. Someone at some point has sent you the song Older on your birthday; they played that. Don’t know any TMBG but you enjoyed Tiny Toons? You’d think they’d be sick of Particle Man and Istanbul (Not Constantinople) but they played those too.
Musically, the band was killer. John F. stuck to guitar while John L. alternated between keyboards (including with a little bleep bloop blorp pad that he called a “chaos pad” for wacky effects) and accordion. The two Johns were joined by their regular backing band of Marty Beller on drums, Danny Weinkauf on bass, and Dan Miller on guitar – all fantastic musicians. Trumpet player Curt Ramm doesn’t always tour with them, but he was on this tour and every email leading up to the show mentioned his presence. He was given plenty of opportunities to shine and was a definite highlight – he also plays in Bruce Springsteen’s touring band and yeah he’s real real good. As I suppose one should expect.
The band also brought tons of energy to the show, moving around the stage, switching up instruments, letting everyone get some time in the spotlight, and changing up arrangements. More than most bands, it felt like they were trying to play to everyone there and make sure everyone got into the show. At one point, John F. handed a pick to a fan and then held out his guitar to let the guy strum away.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the band was so good – in a shocker, professional musicians discovered to be good at music – but TMBG plays a lot of wacky stuff and some songs would fall into the novelty song category. I suppose Weird Al also works really hard and has a super talented band too and maybe people (by which I mean me) should quit automatically associating “funny” with “easy.”
Speaking of funny, at the end of the intermission, they dimmed the lights and played a music video to get everyone’s attention for the second set. Not a TMBG video, exactly – the video for Walk This Way by Run-DMC and Aerosmith. One of the first songs I remember really getting into as a kid, and it’s still great. Except they didn’t play that song – it was a whole new song perfectly synced to the video. Google tells me it was a demo for the song Last Wave off their most recent album, I Like Fun. Apparently it’s been on the internet all year and I just missed it.
There was another funny moment when the show came to a screeching halt due to the presence of a maple bug on the keyboards. Maple bugs are harmless but I guess you don’t know that if you don’t have them where you’re from. It was shuffled onto the chaos pad, where a little camera allowed the bug to be projected onto the big screen behind the band. Everyone cheered for the maple bug and it’s certainly the first time that’s ever happened. It was at this point They Might Be Giants discovered that maple bugs have the power of flight. They were dismayed to lose their new friend, but someone in the crowd correctly observed “there’s more of them.” It eventually came back and landed on John F’s shirt where it may still be to this day, but probably isn’t.
For the encore, we got a drawn-out version of Why Does the Sun Shine? which was another favourite that was great to hear live. After a few more songs, they left – and then came back for a second encore, starting with a cover of the Cub song, New York City. I was familiar with they They Might Be Giants version and it was such a good fit for them that I had no idea it was a cover, while Mika knew the Cub song and didn’t know TMBG had covered it. Anyway, I was singing along and John F. saw me and shot me a smile back in a neat little moment. Finally, they played my favourite of their new Dial-a-Song songs, The Communists Have the Music, which I wasn’t expecting and was a great note to end on.
This was the kind of show where I could have gone in blind and left a fan. But even having waited so long for the experience, it went way beyond what I was hoping for – just a super fun, high-energy show. Tons of the songs I wanted to hear (though it speaks to their ridiculous output that I could list many more that I would’ve liked), great band, great crowd, great venue. It better not take 20 years until I get to see them for the second time.
Just like yesterday’s post about the string quartet tribute to NIN, this disc makes me very happy indeed. Piano run-throughs of Reznor’s songs, here, are beautiful and stark and wonderful.
Coolest was Closer, where even that thump/throb percussion seems to have been made (and looped) by hitting the side of the piano, or The Downward Spiral’s use of the piano’s innards like a harp while knuckles wrap on the instrument’s top…
But all of the tracks here take NIN’s propulsive sound and turns them into believable piano sounds. Brilliant stuff.
Hit It Or Quit It? Hit!
I love discs like this. Something about taking songs that have no business being classical-sounding tunes and turning them into, well, classical-sounding tunes, pleases me greatly. I pictures myself sitting somewhere at some hoity-toity gallery or function and a string quartet jamming these tracks instead of the typical stuff from 400 years ago. Love it.
If you know/enjoy Nine Inch Nails, the tracks chosen here are fun and interesting. If not, you come away knowing that even if you don’t like Nine Inch Nails, the songwriting and structures definitely lend themselves well to string quartet interpretation.
In fact, with as dark and angsty as NIN can be, these versions turn those same tunes into something equally harrowing, fascinating and awesome.
I’ll listen to this again, easily!
Hit It Or Quit It? Hit!
Tracks: Piggy / Heresy / Just Like You Imagined / The Fragile / Into The Void / Closer / Something I Can Never Have / Suck / Eraser
This is an interesting one. It’s clearly a single for the song Armageddon It, as it’s track 1 and the text on the CD for that song is exploded out when the others aren’t. But the cover art says Pour Some Sugar On Me…
T’was Discogs that cleared up the confusion somewhat: this single I have here, with the PSSOM cover, is identical to LEPCD4 single for Armageddon It (The Atomic Mix). In fact, this CD says U.K. LEPCD4 while the maxi-single card sleeve I have here says Bludgeon-Riffola 870 239-2. Maybe I got the wrong CD in this sleeve (or maybe not!), but it matters not because the tracks are the same either way.
Opening up is the album cut of Armageddon It. You know it well, I’m sure.
Ring Of Fire is definitely not a Johnny Cash cover. It’s a full-on DL rocker b-side and a ton of fun. Animal and Pour Some Sugar On Me seem to just be album cuts.
Confusion aside, this is a single that’s really just three album stracks and one b-side (which appeared on Retroactive anyway).
Hit It Or Quit It? May as well Hit it, as I seem to be amassing a small DL collection…
First up is the album version of Hysteria. You know this one already.
Next is Ride Into The Sun, which includes a brief note from the band on the sleeve: “This is a song that appeared on our first EP. We re-wrote it and re-recorded it in the summer of 1987… spot the difference.” I have that first EP here on 7″ and both versions are of their times. The original is rougher, faster in the right places, and has more cowbell! The newer cut is cleaned up into the modern DL sound. I preferred the original.
Love And Affection, recorded live in July 1987 in Tilburg, Holland, is being played live here before the album even dropped. It’s something to hear the band go from zero to full DL in about three seconds. The sound quality is good.
And finally it’s I Wanna Be Your Hero, which Wiki tells me was on the Pour Some Sugar On Me single, as well as the Animal US single as well. It’s a straight-up DL rocker, sounds fine to me. I liked the punk guitar line throughout.
Again, in all, a cool single to add to the pile.
Hit It Or Quit It? Hit!