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Diana Krall, Drain STH, Gipsy Kings, Jazz Jamaica, k.d. lang

k.d. lang – Ingénue

There’s no denying lang’s voice, her ability. And this must be one of her biggest records, surely, with Miss Chatelaine and Constant Craving on it. The rest all play like hits too, gentle and gorgeous. I much prefer this period of her life to later (when she butchered Hallelujah). This record is really, really good.

Jazz Jamaica – Motor City Roots

This CD was a lot of fun! Funky ska reggae big band arrangements of old soul and r&b classics. Listening along, all I can think is if I was in a band still, I’d love to be making stuff like this. I love how they replace the Jackson 5 vocal with a trombone, and that’s only track one. I didn’t quite go for the spoken-word thing on What’s Going On, but no matter. This is brilliant fun.

Gipsy Kings – Estrellas

These guys always make me think of the Red Pepper restaurant in Saskatoon – the owner there was ALWAYS playing their hits CD on repeat. We never heard anything else in there, ever.

This CD is brilliant, I just love their ‘rumba catalana’ sound. These are such excellent technical players, yet they play with such passion! I enjoyed this so very much.

Drain STH – Freaks Of Nature

I knew their song Enter My Mind from an old CMJ Music compilation, and always loved its bottom end when it comes crunching in. The whole CD does that quiet/loud thing, but these are strong riffsand a really satisfying metal sound mixed with a touch of that industrial flirtation. Cool CD though it did tend to wash together a bit by the end.

Diana Krall – The Girl In The Other Room

I do love Krall’s smooth jazz approach and sound. She’s a living reminder of the old school, and I love it. The guitar parts are excellent here, and so, of course, is her voice and piano. I could listen to this (and her) any time… And I do!

Intense Dislikes

Do you have an irrational hatred? Or, maybe not even hatred, because hate is a very strong word. Call it an intense dislike. It could be people chewing with their mouths open, or wearing baseball hats indoors (especially at tables in restaurants). It could be dumbass drivers on the roads, or people who misuse the word ‘like’ when speaking.

Well, I have an intense dislike of all of those things listed above. You may agree or not, and you might have your own to add to that list. But I think it’s safe to say there’s got to be something that really gets on yer tits.

Probably my most intense dislikes are music-related. Of course they are, I am wired to think about music all the time. And there are some things I just cannot stand. I tell you these things now with the trust that you may laugh at me and say WTF, but that you won’t abuse this knowledge. *

So why am I even posting this? Because it will probably generate conversation and debate. That’s a good thing!

Here is a list of 5 things that are Kryptonite to me:

1) Anybody singing Behind Blue Eyes. Yes, even The Who’s version. But especially Limp Bizkit’s horrendous butchery of an already bad song. Sorry, I just don’t like this tune at all, in any version. All deference, I know many love it.

2) Adam Ant – Goody Two Shoes. So fucking bad. What a brutally bad song. [James! Knock it off!]

3) Sloan – The Other Man. Yes, one of my favourite bands makes this list. I just do not like this song. It was ill-advised, and it just grates on my nerves. When James and I went to see them play in Saskatoon, we were right down front at the barrier and when the band launched into this song James elbowed me and gave me the biggest “haha here’s your favourite song of theirs!” look.

4) Anything by Simon and Garfunkel. It’s a long-standing dislike, which I don’t even think I could explain to you anymore, at this point. I just spend my time avoiding songs by these people, these days.

5) Anyone other than Leonard Cohen singing Hallelujah. Seriously, everyone. Leave the song alone. Enough is enough. Fuck off. Especially you, k.d. lang, leave it alone. You all miss the sex and humour in the song, and you turn it into some sort of painful dirge (which it is not). Only Leonard gave it the sly wink, and sang it properly.

Ahem.

Well then. How many times, reading this, did you say WTF? Haha well, I did say these were irrational dislikes, my own personal opinions. I have many more, but these are the ones that came to mind as some of my strongest dislikes.

How about you? Do you have songs or artists that really grind your gears? Drop a comment below. I’m curious to hear what other people say about things that really bug them, in music.

 

* Please note: This is not an invitation to mock me, or send me MP3 files of these things. I will just delete them. Even sending me lyrics from a particular song below (James, I’m looking at you) is not required – you’ve done so many times in the past already. Thanks!

SLCR #173: k.d. lang & The Siss Boom Bang (September 13, 2012)

We got to the Conexus Arts Centre with a half-hour to spare and the traffic was already bonkers. I thought this was weird for a show with assigned seating, but it turned out that half of the theatre’s parking lot was ripped up and unusable. No signage on site, no advertising (that I saw, anyway), just one lonely Commissionaire directing traffic – after people had already got caught in the jam. I wound up following some cars who all arbitrarily decided to park on the street in a no-parking zone. I joined in, hoping that they wouldn’t ticket all of us.

Spoiler: they didn’t.

And though there was one hairy moment when leaving when we were being passed by oncoming traffic on both sides of the car, the whole thing went surprisingly smoothly despite some poor (or, rather, non-existent) planning on the Centre’s part. There went my vitriol, and with it, my pre-planned review opening. So instead I jumped straight into the (lack of) action. I hope that was good enough, because the writing isn’t going to get any better from here.

Speaking of stories that don’t mean anything to anyone but me, on Wednesday, I was looking at Hawksley Workman’s Twitter feed. He had replied to someone named Lindi Ortega, and for whatever reason, I clicked through to her Twitter, found out she was a country singer, and wondered if she ever came out this way. Then the next night, we went to k.d. lang and she was the opener. Isn’t that just the most amazing disinteresting and unverifiable story? Remember when these reviews used to be full of hilarious drunken goings-on? Now it’s mild Twitter coincidences.

Anyway, I thought Lindi Ortega was pretty good. There was one awkwardly hilarious moment when she said that the Regina crowd was good-looking, and some yokel in the front row (presumably not from Regina) shouted out “you’re in Saskatchewan.” It sounded like he was correcting her, leading to mass confusion for all concerned.

When that happened, I thought it might make for an amusing anecdote but reading it back, man, I couldn’t make that sound interesting to save my life. I’ve got nothing tonight. So what can I say about k.d. lang, other than she’s really good? I suppose the best endorsement I can give is that it was worth taking abuse from the guys at work the next day:

Scott: “Last night, we had our last football game of the season. Once it was over, we all sat around outside and drank beers for hours. I thought we’d brought enough, but at one point, we had to send a guy out for another 30-pack.”

James: “Last night, I went to see k.d. lang. That’s about as manly, right?”

Apparently, it is not. I didn’t even mention the part where I stood around holding Mika’s purse while she was in the washroom.

The purse-holding took place after Lindi Ortega’s set. A kindly Ontarian took pity on me while he was waiting for his wife – I didn’t notice if he was holding a purse too – and we had a nice chat about how nice the people are in Regina. I’m not sure what it says about me that I now consider every random encounter with a stranger to be a perfect chance to practice my impromptu speaking skills, but it does make me chattier. Toastmasters works in mysterious ways. I’m not sure how well it works when I spend an evening writing concert reviews instead of writing my humourous speech contest entry, though.

Speaking of humour or the lack thereof, k.d. lang and her band, The Siss Boom Bang, were introduced by someone with a fake wacky German accent. He was also wearing a tie with a banjo on it. A BANJO!!! I did not quite know what to make of this. Luckily, we got down to the singing parts pretty quickly, and – I’m sure I’m breaking news here, guys – she’s good at that.

As far as song selection went, it was like an extended version of her set from the Folk Festival last year. And much like I said then, I don’t really understand why she sings Hallelujah in the middle of the set. I know she didn’t write it, but it’s THE song that everyone was there to see. People cheer as soon as they recognize it and then go deathly silent until the extended standing ovation at the end of the song. I am certain she could walk out on stage, sing Hallelujah, and call it a night, and 90% of the people there would go home happy. But we also got close to two hours of her most famous songs, new ones, and covers, including Heaven by The Talking Heads which she joked she sang as penance. “Mostly because I don’t want to lose my Chick-fil-A sponsorship,” she added, which amused and confused the crowd in equal measure.

k.d. really does have an incredible stage presence. I don’t know if it’s something that can be taught, or if it just develops after years of performing, or if you’re born with it. All I know is that while I have no vocal skills and even less range, I’m pretty sure I could match lang in oddball dance moves – except nobody’d care if I did them. Maybe this is something else I could try out at the next Toastmasters meeting.

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