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SLCR #67: The Skydiggers (May 22, 2003)

The followup to yesterday’s throwback review. My only Paul MacLeod concert experience and more early Aaron/James shenanigans. Only 5 reviews later but 14 months have passed. I think I’m around 20 reviews in for the first six months of this year, with at least one more show before June is out.

When I originally posted this, I got an email from the drummer from Honchie because of the random shuffle playlist at the end. I’m pretty sure this review was on the 10th page of search results for Honchie, so dude was egosurfing DEEP.

 


 

Some concert reviews seem to write themselves. Some, on the other hand, do not. And some take two weeks for me to even begin. Sometimes, those ones are the best. Oftentimes, they’re short, spotty, and filled with forced jokes. Let’s see how this goes.

So a while back I found out that the Skydiggers were coming to Louis’. I told this to Aaron, and he said “yahoo!” Literally. He’s the only person I’ve ever known who actually says that. I admire his enthusiasm. It is a powerful force, and I only fear that it will one day fall into the wrong hands. Like maybe the Communists’.

Anyway, Aaron was happy because he likes the Skydiggers, and he also likes Paul MacLeod. Aaron had introduced me to MacLeod’s solo tunes, which I really liked, but – somewhat unbeknownst to me – Paul MacLeod was also in the Skydiggers. I knew he had something to do with them, but I didn’t know he was actually in the band.

Man, that story sucked.

But yeah. Aaron and Cindy and I went to see the Skydiggers. Others were invited but to a one, they all declined. Their loss.

The day of whatever it was – I think the 22nd, but I appear to have lost my ticket and it was long ago, so who knows – we drove to the show. Before entering the pub, Aaron and I engaged in the now near-ritual exchange of big piles of stuff. I now have enough music that I could live the rest of my life and never hear the same song twice. Given that, you might find it odd that I am listening to my Winamp playlist while writing this. What can I say? I am a creature of habit and also laziness and also I am a fan of familiarity. As an added bonus, read all the way to the end where I’ll pad out this review by listing all the songs heard while writing this. If you really care, you can figure out how long it takes to write one of these things.

So we got to Louis’ and it was empty. I wasn’t really surprised, as Louis’ often has crappy turnouts. It’s also filled with metal (the material, not the music), which according to Emm Gryner’s journal, means that it’s a hard place to play because there’s all kinds of feedback and you can’t do much about it. People who are smart about music might pick up on this by themselves, but I myself did not. Anyway, my point is that Louis’ kinda sucks. This is a shame, ‘cause I used to really like it. But the march of progress is inevitable, and in the name of progress, Louis’ underwent million-dollar renovations to make me like it less.

Aaron’s nachos did look good, though. And they even had chicken, thus making this an official concert. Cindy and myself both opted for Louis’ fries, which are like regular fries except topped with cheese, tomato, and green onion. Also, they are apparently served without cutlery. Perhaps the thrill is in the challenge? More on this later, I’m getting ahead of myself. We had all kinds of crazy time to kill before Special Guest, whoever they were, would take the stage. We sat around and talked, mostly about the songs playing at the moment. Paul MacLeod would wander through the bar every so often, and we’d all be like “hey, it’s HIM, it’s THAT GUY” and stuff. At one point, he bought something from a vending machine.

During the pre-show festivities, Aaron also discovered that Skydiggers spelled backwards is Sreggidyks. I suppose this wasn’t up there with the discovery of the atom or DNA or America, but at least it didn’t lead to entire nations of misnamed Indians being slaughtered or shipped off to reservations or given blankets with cholera or whatever exactly it was Columbus and his cowboys did.

History was never my strong suit. But I mean well. Sometimes.

Anyway, Sreggidyks is, of course, pronounced sreg-a-dicks, which made us all giggle. Far too much, probably, but what can you do?

Our opening act turned out to be a band who didn’t mention their name until the very last song. They seemed – and I probably can’t phrase this in a way that won’t sound insulting, but I really don’t mean for it to be so – older than the average opening act that we tend to get, and I thought a couple of the tunes sounded a bit familiar, but what did I know? Besides, due to waiting a bit before placing our food order, the food showed up right as the band started. Now, remember how I said that Louis’ Fries came without cutlery? This meant that we had really good seats, but I now had to try and manage these fries with their toppings and not look like an idiot while this was happening. Of course, Louis’ was empty when we showed up, so we had really great close seats. I had a great view of the band playing, and they, in turn, had a great view of me dropping tomato and onion bits all over myself.

When I say “I’ve never smoked pot in my life because I’m paranoid enough as it is,” this is the kind of stupid thing I am referring to.

Anyway, the lead singer mentioned that he’d been in a band before, revealing that he was Jason Plumb of The Waltons. For a second, I felt my music geek cred slipping because I didn’t recognize him before he said his name, but then Aaron didn’t recognize him either, which made me feel better. The song was Nothing’s Colder Than You, which I like. It reminds me of seeing Barenaked Ladies in Regina, because they had a little story about one Mr. Plumb. I recapped it in my review of that show, and because I like it when people read stuff on my Web site, I will make you go read it there.

If you need any incentive, the story involves Jason Plumb’s naked ass.

Anyway, Jason Plumb and The Willing (I don’t know if he often performed with them; it sounded like he said he didn’t but I wasn’t sure) were pretty good. The songs were a little rockier than the few Waltons songs I know, but I’ve never seen the Waltons in concert, so I really can’t compare. Plumb has a CD coming out relatively soon, produced by Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies. I think that will be worth checking out.

During the break between sets, I decided that Paul MacLeod was secretly a ninja. I forget why, though. And really, Paul MacLeod is secretly the spitting image of Kristin’s brother in law, which I guess is cool, but it’s not up there with ninjatry. And can you believe that my stupid spellchecker says ninja isn’t a word?

Anyway, the Skydiggers took the stage, and I really didn’t know what to expect. The sum total of what I knew about the Skydiggers can be summed up thusly:

  • They were featured on that CBC show that featured bands. You remember? It was on back when I was in high school.
  • Paul MacLeod would be involved in some way, or at least was involved in the making of their new album, or something.
  • One or all of them has something to do with MapleMusic, which is this very good site for buying Canadian CDs.

They came out and the lead singer guy – I could look up his name and I guess I will and MapleMusic says it’s Andy Maize – read a poem and I was like “hmm, what have I gotten myself into? Also, is it proper to say ‘got’ or ‘gotten’?” See, I often find poetry to be frightful. Also, I’ve never studied English grammar.

But anyway, the poem was just a fake-out, because the Skydiggers are all about rocking and it was a really awesome show. Paul MacLeod sang a few songs, as did guitarist Josh Finlayson (thank you MapleMusic). As per usual, I knew none of the songs going into the show, which makes writing the actual review part very hard, but then that’s never been what this is about anyway. Really, I need to find some people who will get drunk and then perform drunken antics, since that’s what I am best at recapping.

Oh well, not every show can have Ian shouting CAN YOU MAKE ME NOT A CHICKEN? But really, every show should.

Anyway, I have no idea if the Skydiggers are going to be touring for a long while. They had apparently been on a long hiatus, and maybe they’re going back to one. Or maybe not.

I am a hard-hitting journalist who digs deep to uncover the facts for YOU, dear reader.

My point – I have a point! – is that if you get the chance to see the Skydiggers, you should go see the Skydiggers. Or the Sreggidyks, if you prefer. You’ll have a good time. Maybe smuggle in some cutlery.

SPECIAL BONUS: SOUNDTRACK TO SLCR 67: THE SKYDIGGERS, MAY 22/03

  • Sour Girl, Stone Temple Pilots
  • Mean-Eyed Cat, Johnny Cash
  • Absolutely Anytime, The Watchmen
  • I’d Like That, XTC
  • No One Knows, Queens Of The Stone Age
  • Confessions Of A Futon-Revolutionist, The Weakerthans
  • Dies Ist Unverschämtheit, The Darkest Of The Hillside Thickets
  • Souljacker Part 1, Eels
  • Fire On The Moon, Bellrays
  • Love You Madly, Cake
  • Fight The Power, Barenaked Ladies
  • Dancing Barefoot, U2
  • The One, Foo Fighters
  • Gel, Collective Soul
  • Bitch Stole My Liquor, Honchie
  • United States Of Whatever, Liam Lynch
  • Keep Fishin’, Weezer
  • Wonder Wheel, The Josh Joplin Group
  • Imitation Of Life, R.E.M.
  • Little Miss Communication, Jim’s Big Ego
  • Citronella, Tuesday’s Girl
  • Casual Viewin’, 54-40
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