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SLCR #221: Chad VanGaalen (September 24, 2015)

It was pretty good. I don’t know.

I am almost a month late and three reviews behind because I didn’t have much to say beyond the above sentence. But I brewed a pot of coffee (and have already drank most of it) and got some chips and dip (and have already eaten most of the chips and as much of the dip as I wanted, which wasn’t that much) and I have read almost everything in my Feedly, including watching all the videos that had been sitting here for a week, and our cable is out, and iTunes is updating, and I have about procrastinated all I can, so here we are. Can I blast through three of these things in an afternoon? Will I get my 10,000 steps today? Will I even shower today? Stay tuned!

Many years ago, I saw Chad VanGaalen open for Feist and I thought he was pretty good. I resolved to track down more of his music, and then spent years thinking very little about him until I read an interview on the AV Club where he discussed being on Letterman’s Stupid Human Tricks in the days before his musical career took off. That was neat. And then I bought tickets to this show. Now you are caught up.

We got to the Exchange and parked a little over a block away, since I hate fighting for parking spaces. This was not necessary. There was, like, nobody there. We got there about 10-15 minutes after doors opened and the place was a ghost town. We grabbed some chairs and bought some iced teas (work night) and settled in. Somehow, I still wound up with an obstructed view. I texted Mark and Other James and invited them to join us, but both were busy. As was, apparently, most of the rest of Regina. By the time VanGaalen started, there were a little over 100 people there – I did a quick count. Still lower than I would have expected, but respectable and the place no longer looked so empty.

The opener was Faith Healer, who I only knew of from seeing tweets retweeted by… Six Shooter Records? Mint Records? Someone else entirely? I don’t know. Anyway, our version of Faith Healer was a five-piece, but I gather from some internet reading that the band is basically lead singer Jessica Jalbert and whoever she collaborates with; primarily Renny Wilson on the album. I have no idea what he looks like and if he was part of the band at our show. Not knowing this probably makes me look dumb.

But here is something that makes me look dumber. Having never heard Faith Healer, I didn’t know any of their songs, except one. When they said “this is a cover song,” I was hoping for something like… I don’t know. Imagine, maybe? Thriller, Hey Jude, something super familiar. “We just want to clarify that this is a cover song; we did not write Twist and Shout ourselves.” But no, it was a song called Cry that was a hit on Canadian radio in the 90s. I was 99% certain that this was by the Philosopher Kings, but when I looked it up right now, I found out that it was a cover when THEY did it and the song was originally by Godley & Creme. I had no idea. I feel like I have been living a lie since 1997.

Anyway, I realize that this doesn’t say anything about Faith Healer, but they were good! Would go see again. Maybe listen to their album, or even buy it if you have $7 Canadian lying around. I just started streaming it right now and I’m enjoying it.

Chad VanGaalen’s band was called either the Beach Wipes or the Bleach Wipes, depending on where you read about the concert. He never actually called them by name, though, so I don’t know if it matters all that much.

As we’ve established, I don’t know much about VanGaalen, so I don’t know whether we saw a typical show and can’t tell you what he even played. Mika is more likely to know his songs but she is outside raking leaves right now and I do not want to risk interrupting this endeavour, lest the leaves become my problem. His second song was about a giant penis made of rocks and sticks and clay, if that means anything to you. And he told stories of the tour, the boringly easy highway and the noisy van and the humanoid at the Co-op station. In other words, it was a show. Enjoyable and a fun night out but not one that stood out in any real way.

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