Living where we do, I never get to participate in Record Store Day goodness. We just don’t have any shops that participate, in our sad little town. So Mike said he’d get me the exclusive Springsteen 7″ from this go-round (which he did, should be here soon). And then James told me about Feistodon. At first, I thought he was kidding. Feist and Mastodon, covering each others’ songs? No way! Stop pulling my leg! Well, there was no leg pulling. It exists!
The call went out. I NEEDED THAT 7″! No one found it in shops, but I managed to find a copy online, and for a whole lot less cost than most places were gouging people for it. Score!
It arrived yesterday. It is beautiful. Sadly, the tape on the cardboad packaging in which it was sent to me was a rushed job, and a corner of the sleeve was protruding when it arrived. There is a small scratch on the record, but it plays OK.
And the music? It’s pretty damn interesting.
Side A finds Mastodon roaring through Feist’s song A Commotion. Jeez, Brann, I don’t think you hit your drums often enough! So awesome. I played the original version off Metals first, and Feist’s version is a quirky, clunky little track of oddness (with her vocals pasted over the top of it all). Mastodon lets the bottom drop out, turning the song into this chugging thing that, quite frankly, gives it a whole lot more life. Nothing wrong with Feist’s song, but Mastodon proved it could easily be a metal song. Metals, indeed.
Side B is Feist covering Mastodon’s Black Tongue, the first track off The Hunter. We all know that the original track kicks all sorts of ass. Feist’s take on it strips away a lot of the hugeness of the track and gone are the thundering drums and full-on metal sound. In its place is a single phase-shifter guitar (did I get the terminology correct?), a slower tempo, and Feist singing the lyrics with her trademark sound. I liked it. It was hard to hear it this way, knowing the original as well as I do, but Feist’s stab at it makes it into something wholly other, and I like that.
Feistodon. Get you some. It’s all kinds of awesome.
I had to think long and hard about whether or not I should go to this show. For one, it meant going alone. This doesn’t bother me much anymore. I was going to say “I have no shame,” but I think the reverse is true. I think maybe I have SO MUCH shame that I’m kind of numb to it, and attending one concert by myself isn’t going to make things any worse.
Instead, I had to make my ticket-buying decision based on two factors. One, this summer is already set to be a big one for shows and I wasn’t sure I really wanted to spend the money. I had also heard some less-than flattering things about Feist’s performance at last year’s Regina Folk Festival. However, as evidenced by this review – and many, many other facets of my life – I have never been one to avoid spending money foolishly, and I have never been one to listen to advice from those more experienced than I. I also know that I am prone to laziness, so I bought a ticket one random night during a fit of enthusiasm knowing that this would force me to go.
Spoiler: I’m glad I did.
In all fairness, all of the negative comments I had heard about the Folk Festival show had come from one person who shall remain nameless. At least two other people – Colin and Mary – were also in attendance and thought Feist was great. If I recall the story correctly, Colin had no plans of attending, but he went outside his apartment (which is not exactly close to the Folk Festival site), heard the music, enjoyed it, and kept on walking until he found the source.
So I got a ticket. 6th row on the floor, right on the aisle. A very good seat, though there didn’t really appear to be any bad ones in the place. I enjoy sit-down shows for no reason other than they tell you the time the doors open and they tell you the starting time and they aren’t even lying. I didn’t have to wait around forever, but I did bring my DS so I could play Picross (badly, as it turns out) before the show started. There was a very strict no-camera rule in place, and I noticed more than one usher glancing in my direction, but given that I wasn’t using my not-camera to take pictures of the show that hadn’t started, they left me be.
I have no great stories to go along with this review, sadly. I didn’t even have chicken for dinner. The only awesome sidenote I could include involves the great text messages I received before and after the show, and I’ve already put that in my blog. If you read it, you WILL find out the identity of the person who didn’t like Feist’s show at the Folk Festival, so there’s that.
The first guy – or “opening act” to use industry parlance – was Chad VanGaalen. It took me a long time to figure out how to spell that properly, so now that I’ve given it my spellchecker seal of approval, I really hope I didn’t mess it up. Anyway. Before this show, I knew all of one song by Chad VanGaalen, that being Burn2Ash which was a free song on iTunes one week. I thought about listening to some other songs of his before the show, but then Mika told me that he has, like, seventeen million songs. I figured that was an awful lot, so I’d be just as far ahead to go in mostly blind, which is what I did.
Mika also told me Chad VanGaalen was awesome. Not that I don’t normally believe her when she says stuff, but I was delighted to learn that she was right. This guy, I liked this guy a lot. The highlight of the set was when he announced a raffle for a mystery present which was up on stage. When I say “present,” I mean just that – it was wrapped up in Christmas paper and sitting next to an 18-inch tall Christmas tree. The tree, if you were wondering, was decorated with a banana peel. Anyway, VanGaalen announced that he would raffle off the present – by which he meant he’d kick it into the crowd, field goal-style – if people could name the colour of the eighth Garfield digest. People shouted responses, things like “blue,” “orange,” “green,” and “WE LOVE YOU CHAD!” Chad, not having any idea what the colour of the eighth Garfield digest is, promptly punted the present into – fittingly – the eighth row. I know this because it landed two rows behind me.
The songs were also awesome. One I particularly enjoyed mourned the death of another song. I’m paraphrasing the lyrics here, which went along the lines of “if only I could go back and add one more track, I could make it sound haunted, like the zombie dream when they’re eating your family.” How could I not love this guy?
He also had a story to tell, but then he forgot it, but then he remembered it. This one time, he was in a Rogers Video, and he was entranced by what they were showing on the TV, and it was Riverdance.
This was an awesome story, as you can tell.
Then he tuned his guitar for a while, and then said “it’s like when you tell a bad joke, and then you tune your guitar for a while.” It is dialogue like this that reminded me, in some odd way, of T-Rex from Dinosaur Comics.
You might think I am being facetious here, but these things really happened, and I really loved them. This guy is a great guy and you should see him if he plays a show somewhere that you also happen to be. He might even kick a present at you, or give you a tiny Christmas tree when he leaves the stage.
I did not get a tiny Christmas tree 😦
An intermission happened so I played more Picross. Still badly. Then Feist showed up. To sing, not to play videogames with me. I can see how you might be confused.
To the Folk Festival nay-sayer, Feist was really good so nyah. I will say that the show seemed to start a bit slowly. Partly I was still enjoying Chad VanGaalen and it took a while for Feist to catch up, and partly, I blame the soft comfy chairs. I like having a comfy chair, and I like having one assigned specifically to me, and I like the announced start times and whatnot, but if people aren’t standing, they just don’t get into a show in the same way. You know what I mean? But eventually everyone loosened up and a good time was had by all.
Feist gets bonus points for using the sampler thingy that lets people have multiple tracks of their own voice. I almost always like when people do that. I don’t know why. She also gets bonus points for having a first name but going by her last name, thus sparing me from the “what do I call her when writing the review” debate. With Chad VanGaalen, I flip-flopped between Chad (are we on a first-name basis? really?) and VanGaalen (sounds so impersonal). Feist makes it easy!
I didn’t know Feist was originally from Regina but I guess she was. She told us how her grandma beat their whole family
eight straight hands in Rummy yesterday. Grandma had also provided Feist with new shoes, which got a nice round of applause from the masses.
Re: the masses, I didn’t really look around, but the place seemed mostly full. And it’s smaller than the Centennial in Saskatoon, which holds 2,000. From that, you – who weren’t at the show – can guess an attendance number and you’ll probably be closer than I would be.
But whatever, back to Feist. I bought her new album last week, and I enjoy it a fair bit, but I don’t know what most of the songs are called. I know the titles of the singles and that’s about it. It’s one of those albums where if I hear a song, I go “ohhh, THAT one,” but I couldn’t tell you what it’s called. Her previous album works in much the same way for me, actually, so I can’t tell you what songs were played, but I can tell you that I heard most of the new album and a lot of the previous one. Maybe. I can’t remember which songs are on which. You know the songs you’d expect her to play? That’s what they played, except not Inside & Out. I thought it a bit odd that they’d skip the song that’s still on the radio five times a day, every day, but hey, it’s not my favourite anyway. The other singles – Mushaboom, 1 2 3 4, and My Moon My Man – got the big reaction you’d expect. So did Sealion, which delighted me because it’s a really fun song, and I don’t think it’s been on the radio or anything, but I could be wrong about these things.
After Sealion, the band slowed things down. Someone yelled something – I thought it was “speed it up” but I could be wrong about this too, because Feist invited the guy onto the stage so that she could auction him off to all the single ladies in attendance. The guy – who was Justin from Saskatoon – got up on stage, and then he was joined by a girl whose name (if indeed she has one) was not shared with us. They slowdanced to the song and twirled and dipped at appropriate points to get good reactions. This was great fun and I was smiling through the whole thing. A cool moment.
So yeah. A good show, a fun show, and I had text messaging fun while sitting in traffic trying to get out of the place. Can’t beat that.