Friday, October 07, 2005

Seen and Heard Lately
The Velvet Touch of Lenny Breau Live!
I finally found a nice LP copy of this at Neptoon a couple weeks ago. This features Breau on stage at Shelly’s Manne-Hole in 1969, sometimes solo, sometimes as part of a trio. Unbelievable guitar playing from start to finish, and covering a lot of styles; from jazz to Indian to Spanish. The sound is fantastically intimate and haunting, to my mind, knowing what I know about the poor bugger now. You can practically hear him disappear right into the guitar during the tunes, then come back to reality for some almost apologetic between-song patter. I wonder if that amazing film Breau’s daughter made about his life will ever come out on DVD.

Mare/Cursed/Terror/Converge at Mesa Luna, Sept. 24
A gig on a Saturday afternoon is quite a novelty. Mare were a trigonometric trio with a singer who sounded like a piglet being attacked with pliers. I can’t say they rocked, but their use of ethereal backing tapes was gutsy and interesting. Cursed upped the aggression factor a hundred-fold with some straight-up metal/hardcore. As Canadians back in this country after a long tour, they took a moment to appreciate the metric system with the crowd. Some bonding occurred. Terror are just awesome. I liked them after I saw them at the Sounds of the Underground fest this summer, and this set confirmed their greatness. Their music, which references the crossover thuggery of yesteryear, isn’t something I normally go for, but they perform it with such sincerity and passion and energy that they won me over in a minute. And god, the singer’s raps about scene unity and how hardcore saved his life, and the power of an open mind nearly choked me up a few times. Yay, Terror! Converge’s Jane Doe album has acquired a mystique one of the most terrifying records I own, and it was strange to see them in the flesh and realize they’re just four kind of regular guys, and regular guys having an off day at that. They definitely had a hard time of it. They’d just got off the plane from Japan and their drum set was falling apart, which resulted in their set having less impact than it might have had. They explained the situation, and though their exasperation showed through at times, they didn’t take it out on the crowd (except for the occasional chuckle at bad stage divers, which I attributed to their Bostonian sense of humour). They played well enough to hint at how lethal a Converge set under optimal conditions would be. Still, bodies flew, people sang into the mic when singer Jacob Bannon offered it—amazing to me because I can’t discern a word of Converge lyrics, even with a lyric sheet in front of me—and we all got out in time to get home to a hot supper.
Side note: Smash asked afterwards, “What was up with the kids in costumes?” I don’t know, but there were a couple kids there sporting a sailor outfit and a Mexican wrestler’s mask respectively. Is it a hardcore subculture thing? I’m hoping it’ll catch on, because I’d love to see pits at future shows full of sailors and cowboys and wrestlers and astronauts and Spidermen and ghosts doing those new-style kung-fu moves.

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