Friday, March 27, 2009

But it would have been disappointing any other way....

So, the Art Bergmann extravaganza at Richards happened last night. I've been thinking about it all day, my overtired brain trying to sort the experience out. This always happens when I go see bands from back in the day. I'd like to say back in my misspent youth, but truthfully it wasn't all that misspent. At least not in comparison to that of the man on stage last night.

The 'bad':
Sigh. Maybe my brain is the 'bad', but it was really ... not right ... to see Art without his guitar - apparently a necessary thing due to very bad arthritis. And weird to see him having to refer to lyric sheets, but understandable really. And his vocals are maybe not what they have been in the past. All yet another reminder to me about how much I would like to put an official ban on aging, and recommend some sort of butt-stamped expiry date that we can all knowingly work towards. I don't know if it was me projecting that Art seemed a bit lost at first as to what to do without his instrument, but he did. Luckily he also figured it out pretty quickly. Or maybe I just relaxed about it all.

And I have to admit, I yearned for some of the Young Canadians stuff - but you can't have it all I guess.

The good:

The hands may have gone, but the attitude remains. It's always my biggest fear when going to see something like this that you are going to find your edgy hero transformed into a pillowy, conformist guy that is trying really hard to pretend he's still got it. Not Art - he's still slurred, snarling, shooter drinking fun.

And truthfully, he was a bit of a train wreck from time to time. But that is also what gives it the edge Art has always had, and what makes it worth coming out for on a school...I mean work...night.And everything came together beautifully at times - Vultura Freeway was fantastic, fantastic.

The stuff I love, just because being judgmental is FUN:

Oooh I do love to watch audiences, and this was a good one to watch. The club was sold out, and packed with a curious mix of under 20's and over 40's. I sort of missed the first opener (name has gone from my head just like their music did) because I was transfixed by a smurf dancing with a member of The Knack. I was happy to see a Tim Harrington wanna-be in the middle of the audience, exposed belly rubbed by those around him. A good mix. Though I must say I did feel a bit sorry for the woman who asked me how the washrooms were - one of the many I am sure who had not been to Richards recently, if at all. I smiled and told her the truth - well, not quite the truth, which is that they look like something out of a japanese horror film, with moisture oozing out of the walls into puddles on the floor, toilets that either don't flush or continuously flush, doors your hands stick to if you aren't get the picture. Or if you're lucky, you don't.

And my favorite dysfunctional sound guy duo were on site - a strange, master/slave relationship consisting of a anxious-squirrel-like underling (hyperactive, actually gnawing furiously at duct tape on the mic with his teeth at one point, yet inattentive at REALLY key moments), and a larger abusive master. It didn't get to the boiling point I've seen before (where Master got on stage, took over the lead mic, and berated his underling directly to the audience), but there was some interesting bullying going on to the side of the stage anyway. I should feel sorry for the squirrel in the relationship, but I know enough about how a good tech behaves from hanging out with a tech friend to feel much sympathy. And they've been together for years, so they must both enjoy it on some level. And honestly, Art Bergmann has got to be a sound tech's nightmare - tossing liquid waaaay too close to the electronics, throwing mics and stands around the stage - but that's why you've got to be on your toes, squirrel boy.

I have recorded two or three songs that I will post in the next day or so - my camera notoriously struggles with Richard's lack of lighting, but whatcha gonna do. Here's Junkie Don't Care...enjoy (for some reason I uploaded this to a youtube account I didn't actually know I had - don't ask, just know I am tired - but if you want to check later to see if I've uploaded more AB, go here)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Big and small...

Bit of a random post this time around....firstly, a couple of the newer felties - a piccolo porco made for my friend A's birthday (Happy Birthday!), which I couldn't resist posing with a bigger companion; and the newest version of Thomas, which colour-wise is much better than my first effort though I am not 100% happy with his face. I will be replacing his eyes with a slightly more yellow pair when they arrive in the mail (what a weird sentence that is...) I should mention that the real life Thom was suffering from a case of "goopy eye" (official medical term) in his left eye when these snaps were taken, so he isn't showing his peepers off to their full extent.

More importantly this week is Art Bergmann week on the concert front. Really really looking forward to it...though not so sure I'm looking forward to the teenage memories it is bound to rustle up. Here's a taste (very poor quality vids...but hey, remember it was 1980)...can't wait, can't wait.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Something to tide you over....

My favorite home town musician Dan Mangan has just released an EP (Roboteering) and is set to release his new CD in the fall. Can't wait. Something about the tone of his voice gets me every time. A pal who knows Dan accuses me of having a "Mang-on" - but I like to think my admiration is a bit more sophisticated than that.

Here's hoping that the next CD brings him the recognition that he has long deserved.

And thanks to whoever recorded this!

Friday, March 13, 2009

San Fran...

I'm BAAACK...after a fun few days with Miss T. in San Fran. Weather was stunning. Miss T. trying on grad dresses was stunning. I was less than stunning, but worked hard on my ability to stand outside change rooms and field questions about "my TALL daughter."(for those that don't know, Miss T. is 6" taller than my 5'5" - we are definitely of the same genetic stock, but she is the baguette version, I am the sourdough loaf). Considered making a "she's my niece, and yes we both know she is tall" sign to hold up as I waited by the dressing room doors...


Alcatraz! (you have to read that word with the scary drama it deserves). Fun times - but you know, it's a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there...

Hotel Cleaning Staff: We stayed at the Hilton, which worked out well for a whole bunch of reasons. As we walked to the elevators we ran into the woman cleaning the rooms, and she looked at us and started laughing hysterically and saying something that neither of us could understand (thick accent) UNTIL the last sentence "My son is much taller than me TOO!" (followed by more laughter). Decided not to burst her bubble and we both smiled and nodded before cracking up in the elevator.

Canteen: YUM - such a great meal in a really fun setting. Our prix-fixe meal included smoked mackerel with olive butter & a salad of raw artichoke and endive, duck confit with beans and green onion sausage, roast rhubarb with meringue in a strawberry sauce. OH - should mention the meal was accompanied with the most mind blowingly tastey brioche. So good. And fun to do when you are eating with someone who (like me) is fairly foody-open-minded. Particularly when you have a view of the cute chef at work.

Dress shopping: Tiring, no doubt, but a highlight none the less. I would guess that we went to about 8 stores in about the same number of hours, Miss T. tried on about 30 dresses give or take, and after narrowing it down to three finally chose her favorite. The girl has unflagging shopping energy. UNFLAGGING.

Lots of other things were fun too - the cable car (of course), wandering around Alamo Square looking at the amazing painted Victorian houses and the weird display of planted shoes, and lying around in the hotel room watching stupid TV before bed with Miss T's commentary.

And I will end off with a very short pan of San Fran from the boat to Alcatraz

Friday, March 06, 2009

Bleh - but not for long...

How I hate sore throats.
Hopefully it will pass quickly as I am set to accompany my youngest niece on her hunt to find a grad dress next week San Francisco (isn't that where all good grad dresses come from?...)

In other news, Grizzly Bear is coming back! They are at the Commodore ... wish is was the Vogue, as they are a band that needs quiet. And quiet isn't exactly what I'd call the Commodore. Oh well.
Here's a favorite Grizzly Bear moment in the meantime ....