Saturday, September 27, 2008

Did someone say banjo Episode #7: RIP Mr. Newman

Ahhhh, it's just not fair. The older I get, the more I understand how cruel aging is. But, you can't escape it, and it finally caught up with a long-standing heartthrob of mine. I have long loved his blue eyes and talent, his determination to stay out of the public eye, except to use his fame to do some greater good. Or make some wicked salad dressing (which was, truthfully, for the greater good).

Add banjo on top of that?

Sad indeed.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Elliott Brood

Went to Richard's last night to see Elliott Brood. Actually, initially bought the tickets really because Dan Mangan was supposed to open - which combined with what I had heard of Elliott Brood, made it an appealing night out - particularly for the under $20 price. Then Dan Mangan dropped from the lineup (an early show so no time for 2 openers). So, I went, expecting a pleasant night, but not a holy-crap-what-was-THAT night.

It was a holy-crap-what-was-THAT night.

Opening up were NQ Arbuckle, and they were really really good (lame description I know). I was worried at first as Richards was pretty empty and the floor was COMPLETELY empty (what joy for a band that must be...). But within a few songs they managed to pull people out onto the floor, and they played as if they had packed the place. As for the audience, a few needed ball-gags to stop them talking. (Which makes me think of a news piece I just saw about "silent" live gigs where all the audience members wear headphones to listen to the band, and take them off when they want to talk. Maybe not such a crazy idea.)

Then Elliott Brood. Who knew that a 3 piece banjo (oh I *heart* banjo) playing band could produce such a wild, dense wall of sound. Incredible energy - my videos don't do it justice. My videos are also all really dark as the main source of light seemed to be the xmas lights on the stage. And the audience was a frothing, happy, bouncing floor of joy. Towards the end of the night the band handed out noise makers to the audience - tin pie plates, wooden spoons, plastic tambourines - and they were participating with unfettered (though not always on-beat) enthusiasm.

I think the wooden spoons gave the security guy on the side of the stage a bit of a heart attack - not sure what he was so worried about, but all night he was like a guard dog on alert. I will give him props though - before the encore a couple of audience members took the set lists, which made mr. security hop on to the stage and take them back (the gig was after all not over). At the very end of the set, mr. security hopped back on stage and handed the set lists back down to the fans. Nicely done - decent security guys have to be acknowledged, as they are a dying breed.

So - the life lesson of the night? There is nothing better than going into something without any real expectations and having your socks blown off. That, and if Elliott Brood comes around again, I will bring my own wooden spoon.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Brief Recounting...or is that Raconting?

A brief update on concert life. So much better to listen to than real life.

Went to the Raconteurs show at Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park this week. Of all the outdoor venues that Vancouver has to offer, Malkin Bowl is the only one I have positive thoughts about. Deer Lake, while beautiful, is too big. And Thunderbird is both ugly and too big. Actually, I'd probably say the same thing about most indoor venues - remember, my ideal club size is Richards.

Anyhoo, the weather cooperated, and it was a great show. The Kills opened, so no complaints there. Nor any re. the Raconteurs. Except maybe the argueably minor point of Jack White's hair. Don't get me wrong - I love the guy, both what he has done both as musician and as producer, so maybe I will just leave it at that. And Brendan Benson's voice was eluding him after about the half way point. It amazes me how rarely you see that happen (singers losing their voice that is, not Brendan in particular) considering what they put themselves through during a tour. That being said, they gave it their all.

As for me, I wandered down front, and stood infront of the speaker bank for a while. Maybe not the wisest move - my clothes were vibrating with each hit of the kick drum so not sure what my eardrums were doing. This is the only half decent photo I got from down there, and admittedly is more half than decent.

Did a bit better standing further back

One thing this does point out is how fabulous bassist Jack Lawrence's hair is. He could be a Breck model there is so much shine on those locks (yes, I am stuck on hair today for some reason)

And finally, I did manage a couple of videos. I wasn't feeling inspired to film much for some reason, but the couple I did catch turned out OK. Here's one...(and remember, if you go to YouTube from here you can watch it in high quality. HATE how grainy and compressed this looks otherwise)

And my life-lesson for the night? Don't think security won't find your camera if you wrap it in a nice soft sweater and put it in the bottom of your backpack. They will. Luckily, this time they didn't care. Honesty is the best policy. Well, either that, or figure out how to be a more successful sneak.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

OK then

Based on the fact that you are too learned a dog to use the word "leggies" in a sentence, I suspect I may be releasing this without your authorization.

But it IS rather flattering, so I'm sure you won't mind.

Regards from Canada.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Attention SADIE:


I have had a message from this man, claiming to be your 'owner'. Please provide confirmation of this fact, as I feel uncomfortable releasing your photos without your consent.

If he is an impostor/has been detaining you against your will, please feel free to provide this photograph to the authorities.

Warm regards from Canada.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Thomas weighs in...again.

Yes, time for the cats to pick more fabric - something they love to do. Well, Thomas does. (I think he'd be a good addition to "Colin & Justin's Home Heist" - official upholstery consultant.) And he is likely just as shocked as you at the cherry red velvet he's sitting on.

In short, I've decided to ramp up the replacement of the red leather Ikea Poang as it seems it could be useful in my Dad's room at the care home (a move that happened this weekend, and something I will write more about at some point when my brain has settled down a bit).

The front runner so far? The shiny stripey number in photo #2, on the chair version of the gold couch I have in the office. Still thinking about it, but I think it might add a bit of zip to the livingroom - and it has the added bonus that it would look tolerable with the gold couch were both pieces ever to end up in the same room.

Thomas will keep you posted on his final decision.


The owner of this dog is officially on notice. If you want to see the front end, you're going to have to show yourself instead of lurking.

It's up to you ;)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sigur Ros: "they might be to music what marmite is to food, but when you get it, you really get it"

That quote is from a Youtube viewer, and knowing my love of marmite, I couldn't resist quoting. I'm not sure he's right, but that doesn't really matter.

Couple of things you can say for sure though:

1) growing up in Iceland does something to the creative side of your brain

2) these guys know how to make a music video

3) if I could get a fox hat without harming any foxes, I would.

Seeing Sigur Ros at the Chan next month. While not my favorite band (in no way meaning I don't like them alot), I have a sneaking suspicion this may turn into one of my favorite concerts.

Just a hunch.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Andrew Bird, Neko Case, Deerhoof & Excess Bodyhair...

...also known as Nardwuar the Human Serviette/lead singer of the Evaporators, who kicked off a great afternoon/night of music at the Stanley Park Singing Exhibition, a fundraiser pulled together by The New Pornographers...and the first day, there were members of the New Pornographers scattered throughout their OTHER bands (Evaporators, Destroyer, and of course, the lovely Neko Case). I didn't make the second day, when The New Pornographers were set to play but I imagine it was big fun.

And I kind of loathe the traditional concert review format, but I kind of feel it is necessary in this case. As mentioned, my man Nardwuar and the rest of the Evaporators kicked things off with a set that it is a little beyond description. Except to say that it was funny, energetic, and got the laid-back, meandering-in Vancouverites engaged whether they wanted to be or not (when a semi-naked, fully pelted Nardwuar is running towards you full tilt with a mic and a crazed expression, you participate because it seems like the ...safest...option). And when he pulls you up to help him ride his keyboard (yes, that's right) in the crowd, you do it - bemused maybe, but you do it. And they have a song about cheese (watch it here). What is not to love? Good times.

Deerhoof were good - didn't leave a huge impression on me, but I may have been in post Evaporators shock. The drummer did leave an impression. That man drums with his whole being (kind of like Animal in the muppets?)

Andrew Bird was a huge treat, bright blue and green socks and all. I have gone on about him in an earlier post, and he really is a cool guy to watch - I'm a sucker for bowed string instruments, and the way he loops and plays with things is really quite something. Quite something enough that the security guards were way more interested in watching him than watching me video the show (cheers to you, security guard!)

After Andrew Bird came the Destroyers, another solid band that didn't really leave much of a lasting impression - may just have been my mood. No shortage of talent, that's for sure - so don't think this is a bad review, I'm just reserving judgment for now.

And then Neko Case and her easy, bittersweet voice wrapped up the night. The crowd was so civilized that I was able to easily get right up front, and have plenty of space around me to watch (and pull a couple of videos). Her voice is sooo effortless. I could go on about how lovely it is but it would get boring. Instead, I'll post a couple of videos from the night. And sorry about the occasional head-cropping - I videoed these vertically (you'd think I'd learn) and had to flip them at the expense of some foreheads. You can find a few more here.

First Niko:

And Andrew Bird (half of Plasticities - I have two full songs posted on the Youtube site):