Monday, October 31, 2005

I’m having a low-key Halloween. We carved a pumpkin and watched the Freaks and Geeks Halloween episode (featured music: Ted Nugent, "Free for All" and Cheap Trick, "Gonna Raise Hell") on the weekend. The episode is sort of famous for setting all its Halloween scenes in daylight, but otherwise it’s as brilliant as the rest of the series. My favourite moment in that show comes when Alan, the bully, happens upon our trick-or-treating heroes— Sam as robot Gort from the Day the Earth Stood Still, Neil, dressed as either Chaplin or Groucho, Harris as a guy with a knife through his head, and Bill doing an amazing turn as Jamie Summers, the Bionic Woman. The way Alan says, “Oh, my god!” with the perfect mixture of disgust and glee, you know the guys’ night is going straight downhill.

Although we all may not have had our asses kicked, our candy stolen, and gotten egged on Halloween, I think everyone can relate to that final night of trick or treating, when you knew you should have quit after last year. This episode nails that feeling perfectly.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Super Robertson Show begat the Super Robertson King Show begat the Super Robertson Supper Show, which is where I went tonight. I hadn’t got two steps in when Super asked me to sit in on drums for the horn band (AKA the Legion of Flying Monkeys Horn Orchestra). He might as well have asked me to never show my face at one of his shows again. So the horn band did their thing with a different drummer and a ranter doing a veggie rant and then 21 Tandem Repeats played a few of their workaday songs for the everyman who is a failure and knows it, and then This Young Person who’d been hiding in back of the Railway during the show came up and sat with her guitar on stage for about three weeks while the sound person sorted out her backing trax. Once her monitors were up, This Person played a few acoustic hip-hop tunes that (to be honest) weren’t worth the fuss. She had my sympathy, though. Anyone born in 1983 has my sympathy. When I was 22, my artistic output was embarrassing enough to warrant my euthanization, so kudos (even ‘props’) to This Person for her gumption. Maybe I'll play with the horn band next time, if they'll have me.

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.