Sunday, August 26, 2007

Did someone say Banjo? Episode 3

Akron/Family - Love is Simple

Going to see A/F again in October - this video doesn't touch on the crazy energy of an Akron/Family show, or the weird meanderings from subtle harmony to total crazed thrash that their music can travel. They are too hard for me to explain, but they are unbelievable live. If you are interested in venturing further into their weird world, this video is closer to the craziness - but there's no banjo ... if you do watch it, you have to commit to watch the whole six minutes to get any sort of handle on it. Trust me.

Bracing for September....

A very, very busy concert calendar next month - and I've got to say a pretty wacky variety too. I'm excited, and a bit nervous about how tired I'll get, but I know it will be worth it. Really.

Sept 1 - Andrew Bird - super talented multi-instrumentalist who is apparently an absolute treat live. Should be good - it's in my favorite venue, which makes it that much better.

Sept 3 - Crowded House - yes, going back to the 80s. Never saw Crowded House in the 80s, though have seen and been amazed by Neil Finn solo, which is what is prompting me to go back in time.

Sept 9 - Brian Jonestown Massacre - Anton Newcombe is probably my favorite dysfunctional control freak musical genius. With emphasis on the genius.

Sept 14 - Rock Plaza Central - my current favorite Toronto band, and not just because their last album was a theme album about robot horses who think they are real horses.

Sept 18 - The Flaming Lips (and god help me the city strike better be over by this time as it is at the city-run Orpheum - mess with this concert date Sam and you'll have the Wrath of Jan to deal with). We don't have floor seats, so we likely won't get to roll Wayne Coyne around in a big ball, but that's OK. (As an aside, I have a big crush on Wayne Coyne. Can't help it.)

Sept 24 - Smashing Pumpkins - or rather, Billy Corgan re-branding something fairly close to Zwan as Smashing Pumpkins, but I find Corgan interesting enough that I really don't care who else is in the band.

Let the games begin!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

No rain, no rain...

Had the fortune of seeing Wilco last night at Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park. It had been raining off and on all day, so I was prepared (complete with my mum's raincoat - you'd think I'd have my own by now....), but the rain gods must be music fans because the weather was great. It was a sea of vancouver alt-hip casual in front of the stage - colours muted, gortex out, trendy (but subdued) poor boy hats, sneakers and wellies. Ahh, the west coast.

My brother and I had originally staked out a space on the slight hill at one side of the field but it quickly became apparent that for some reason the muddy path directly in front of us was calling to the few in the audience that wanted to stand and talk. So, we made our way down into the crowd in front of the stage, an amazingly had a great view, fantastic, clear sound, and were surrounded by (generally) equally entranced audience members who actually seemed to be there to watch the band and not talk/sing to each other/interpretive dance/off-beat clap or the many other unfortunate things people find to do at these events. Bliss.

And the band was fantastic. The set was a great, all encompassing mix of old stuff and new played with was seemed to be genuine enthusiasm. I've been a bit entranced by drummer Glen Kotche since seeing him perform solo last year (he opened up for Jeff Tweedy's solo tour), and it was great to see him perform with the rest of the band. The stuff I love about Wilco - the sweet melodies that suddenly morph into startling discord, Jeff Tweedy's genuine, engaging but imperfect voice - was there in spades. It was great. Really great.

(And this picture of Ed the Sock is for my brother. For comparative purposes... ;-)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Did someone say Banjo? Episode 2

(Carolina Chocolate Drops)

Did someone say Banjo? Episode 1

I've become banjo obsessed over the last year or so. Not really sure why. It's like the twang has the weight of so much history behind it - there is an inherent beauty and a sadness to the sound. Or there can be. And it seems to be having a heyday, being used in so many interesting ways and by so many interesting musicians.

And just put Deliverance right out of your mind.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Yes, the gauntlet is down.... (competitive) family members only, so if you're not directly related, don't worry, you're not being challenged.

It's not about quantity, it's all about colour.

Yes, purple. Enough said (except I had to stand on a ladder to get a photo).

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Inspiration, where art thou?

Just haven't really felt motivated to write much part I know it is to do with my very very annoying, very very bad back, which is putting me in a black mood in general right now. So far, physio is making it feel worse, not better. Sigh.

One thing I have been enjoying though is Season 3 of Deadwood, kindly loaned to me by my pal A. What a masterwork that is. The language is near Shakespearean in its intricacy, and there is a fantastic tendency towards soliloquy that would be awkward if it wasn't done so brilliantly.

A great moment from the final episode, spoken by the solitary figure of toady E.B. Farnum, who has just been spat upon by the terrifying figure of Hearst:

Why I have not wiped his expectoration from my cheek is understandable. I am threatened with death if I do. That I stand immobile these hours later speaks of a flaw in my will. Surely this is not the culminating indignity that remains, for example, receiving his regurgitations. Swallowing his feces. Would I stand stoic still?

Over & out for now. Hope to be more inspired next time.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A post apocalyptic world....

Out in the garden early this morning to do a bit of mowing and weeding before the sun got too hot....and before my back, which right now is very bad, completely seizes up (typically, worse after I saw a physiotherapist Friday, but I'm hoping it is just a part of the ... healing ...process...ouch/sigh. I have discovered interesting ways of putting on socks and underwear without bending, which I like to think will be a helpful skill at some future point).

What I ended walking into was a word that reminded me in no uncertain terms of who or what is actually in charge out there ... what will be around long after I'm gone, what would likely survive any sort of nastiness we may unleash upon the world:

1)raccoons - making their presence known by delicately scattering my garbage in front of my basement door. Don't think there was much edible in there, but lots of cool stuff to strew around apparently

2) horsetail - reading about this stuff, I gather it was the first plant to grow around Mt. Saint Helen after the eruption. In fact, the crappier the soil, the happier it is. Which is telling me something about the soil quality in one of the gardens in the back of the house...hmmm...

3) dandelions - enough said. Tiny, cute little dandelion - leaves perhaps 1 1/2" long. Tap root at least a foot long. I throw my hands up in surrender.

I will sigh and plod on like the deluded garden-insurgent I am, knowing that the battle will never be won by my side. I will bring out some more subtle weaponry perhaps - some fertilizer for the back gardens, and some vinegar for my horsetail friends (I gather vinegar on the soil around them will do them in, provided it doesn't rain). Fight on, fight on.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

An Ode to (Others) Husbands

Fear not, no lyric poem lies ahead...but the sentiment is there. Once again, the superhandy, patient, and always helpful owner of an astonishing number of uber-cool tools J. came to help out at the Bunkle. This time, the project at hand was installing the door frame and door to the bedroom (aka The Cat Barrier - oh bliss! oh joy!). If you look closely, you will also see the 6 inch gap above the door - yes, the door/frame was shorter than the opening. Which, thinking back to a year and a half ago when we pulled down the walls outside this door, I do kind of remember was going to be the case. So - this means drywall above the door. And a bunch of weird trimmy bits that need to be installed inside the door frame because we reversed the frame, and the door... Which also means no finishing door trim - yet. No door trim means no baseboard - yet. But, as he's done before, J. measured all that needs to be done, and offered to drop by again.

Which really brings up how much more difficult this all would be without such amazing, talented, and endlessly helpful friends (and that doesn't just go for the husbands, trust me!) The decision to buy the Bunkle was made in the company of some of these friends, and it was their "don't worry, it can be done" attitude was what tipped the balance. And despite the seemingly endless process of Bunkle renos, I am so happy I did. And I'm so lucky to have my pals around me along the way. I know it wouldn't be impossible without them, but it would seem insurmountable. They've helped out countless times, be it with skilled labour or talk-Jan-off-the-ledge understanding. Thank you, thank you, thank you.