The day before this show, I was explaining to Mika that I had a good feeling about the concert. I find to get the best concert experience, you need a mix of anticipation and… well, when I was explaining this to her, I said “anticipation and ambivalence,” but that’s not entirely accurate. See, I like Joel Plaskett. He seems like a good guy, I’d never seen him in concert, and his new album – Ashtray Rock – is my favourite of his. Having said that, I can’t claim to be his biggest fan or to know all his work in depth, which meant there was room for me to be pleasantly surprised. And if the show stunk or got called off, well, I’d be sad, but these things happen. Whereas I’m going to see the White Stripes under two months; this idea makes me shiver with glee whenever I think about it, so if their show gets canceled, I’ll be heartbroken.
Anyway. The point of that jumbled mess was that I was going into the show with a nice mixture of anticipation and ambivalence, but that was just me. Mika, on the other hand, would have been heartbroken if the show had been called off. She’s a fan, he said in his usual understated manner. At random points in the past few weeks, she’d get a big grin and start hopping up and down in anticipation of the show. Or else she maybe just had to pee – you never know – but I think it was the show.
Spoiler: the show happened and it didn’t suck. Parts of it sucked, but this was no fault of Mr. Plaskett.
The first part that sucked was the pita I had for dinner. Chicken, of course, since that is a concert requirement. I don’t know what the deal is with Saskatoon, but I don’t think there’s a competent Extreme Pita in the whole city. One of them always looks sketchy and the food looks like it’s been sitting there a few days too long. I have learned to avoid that one, but I’ve now had three sub-par pita experiences in a row at the second one, so I’m done with it. There are two left in the city – one is hell and gone out of the way, and I haven’t been to the other in a while, mainly because it was super busy the last time I tried, so maybe there’s hope for that one. That would be nice, as I just got a whole big batch of coupons. It’s nice, this apartment living – even when the coupons are awesome, there are always some old ladies who don’t want them.
Anyway, we had our lame dinner and with time to kill, headed to the university. We wandered, which is something I like to do there every so often. The university is really pretty, but more importantly, they have bunnies! Four of them living in the biology building. When we showed up, one white bunny got very excited to see us and he popped up on his hind legs and pawed at the glass. It was adorable. Then he ran around the enclosure, hopping on all the other bunnies’ heads. By the time we had to leave for Louis’, all four bunnies were showing off for us. I think the brown bunny was the most adorable of bunnies, but it was a close call.
The tickets said the doors would be opened at 8:00. We showed up at about 8:15 and found a table. I looked at the merchandise booth but there was nothing that caught my eye. We sat around and some people came over to say hi to Mika, but they weren’t people that I knew. What the hell, how am I supposed to write stories about things like this?
Mika promised that the show would start relatively early, and it did when Peter Elkas took the stage at about 9:15 or so. I had been listening to his new CD, Wall of Fire, in preparation for the show, and I thought it was perfectly fine. Then he played some songs from this album, and they were perfectly fine too. He also played some songs from his previous release, as well as a Local Rabbits song (that was his old band), and though I don’t know those songs, I’ll assume that they were perfectly fine as well. Mika was delighted to hear the Local Rabbits song, so I’ll assume that means the song was perfectly fine. I don’t know if I have a lot more to say about the guy, but it should be mentioned that he was very skilled at getting the crowd to say “woo” and “yeahhh” on command, which he worked into a song later. This was pretty entertaining.
More entertaining, though, was the table directly in front of us. A group of Asian students were drinking beer and ignoring the show, and then two of them started doing magic tricks. This was AWESOME. It started with one guy pulling a coin out of a girl’s ear. She thought this was great. Then the coin was made to disappear and reappear. Then the deck of cards came out. Mika leaned over and asked “but where did the lighter fluid come from?” which means she is awesome.
Eventually, they started doing a trick which appeared to work as follows:
1)- Crumple up a napkin. Put it in one of your hands.
2)- Make two fists. Move them left and right in front of your face really quickly.
3)- At some point, pop the napkin out of your hand. It doesn’t really matter where it lands.
I am very disappointed that these people were not speaking English because I REALLY wanted to know what the point of this trick was, although that might have killed the magic of it. Anyway, you see why I maybe had a hard time paying attention to Peter Elkas.
I think Joel Plaskett started around 10:30 or so? Who knows. And do you really care? No.
Anyway, he’s great. Really great. I liked his CDs, but he’s one of those guys where the CDs don’t do him justice. Not to the same degree as Shout Out Out Out Out, but more than Danny Michel, as if that makes sense to anyone but Mika. So if you heard his CDs and maybe weren’t impressed, you should check him out in concert and you’ll probably change your mind. And if you DO like his CDs, well, then you are in for a treat.
On this night, a whole lot of people were in for a treat. The new Louis’ (which still sucks) holds a lot of people, which can be cool. If people don’t show, the place looks cavernous. But tonight they were there in droves , and that just made the atmosphere that much better. Well, mostly.
No surprise that the show focused on tunes from Ashtray Rock, but there were lots of songs from older albums too, for people who like that sort of thing. True Patriot Love, with which I’ve closed many a mixtape, was a singalong favourite. So was Nowhere With You, which might have been the song that got the best reaction – I guess that means a lot of people listen to the music in Zellers commercials. Not that I can blame them, it’s a great song. Anyway, yeah, either that one or Extraordinary, those were the favourites. No Come On Teacher, which saddened me a bit, as I do quite enjoy some half-assed French, but hey, you can’t have everything.
At one point, Joel introduced a song by saying that the crowd was acting like Drunk Teenagers, and, well, that was true. Certain people, anyway. It’s been a while since I got to talk about drunken antics in one of these. Sadly, they weren’t really hilarious drunken antics. I don’t get why someone would spend over $20 to go to a show and ignore the band, but whatever, I don’t really care as long as you’re not a dick about it. I don’t understand why people do that and talk and yell and generally act like asses to people who are trying to enjoy themselves, though. And I really don’t get why you’d spend $5 on a beer just to pour it on the floor – on purpose, mind you – and then hollering. At this point, I traded spots with Mika so as to put myself between her and the beer-spilling douchebag, and for a second, she had a look on her face like she was afraid I might punch the guy. Which I wouldn’t, probably, but the thought did cross my mind. It was a good thought. I liked it so much that I thought it repeatedly.
But despite that guy and his moron pals, I still had a good time. I credit Joel Plaskett because I was some kind of surly for a minute or two there, but then he sang more awesome songs and made me have a good time again. When he closed the set with Maybe We Should Just Go Home, I was sad. Then they came back and sang more songs, but soon they played the new single – Fashionable People – and it was all over. Great show. I’d go back. Tomorrow, even. Especially if I get to see bunnies again.