Friday, December 14, 2007

Good shows all 'round.

I've been preoccupied all week with having to prepare a comment on a dissertation chapter (no, not my own) for a reading group meeting at school. It wasn't a big deal, but it kinda was, if you know what I mean. This was the first time I did anything like that, and I wanted to do a decent job. The chapter was on a topic I really didn't know anything about, though it was of general interest to me. Reading the paper and coming up with reactions to it took me a long time, with lots of procrastination and time off for other things in between. (See my previous few blog entries if you want more details.)

The reading group meeting happened Thursday afternoon, and the whole thing seemed to go really well. Yay! I think my comments were good, and the discussion afterward was quite interesting and hopefully of some use to the presenter. Afterward, a bunch of us went for dinner and beer to the Pour House. We had a good time, but had to suffer with that same surly waiter who inevitably serves us when we go there. He is such a drag. And we're so friendly and nice, it makes no sense to me. I don't really ever want to go there again, I dislike him so much. Ugh. But he wasn't able to ruin the event.

Once dinner was done I came home for a bit, then I was off again. This time to Rancho Relaxo for TWM 7. No Shame ended up being cancelled at the last minute, so I didn't have to show-hop like I'd planned. On the TWM bill was The Craft Economy, Oh No Forest Fires, and Ottawa-based Amos the Transparent. And everyone was great! They were all a little different from each other, but as a whole I think it was a fantastic lineup of indie pop rock (broadly defined). I'd recommend seeing all these bands to anyone who was interested in the genre. Rancho is a good venue; Dan is a good promoter. And a bunch of people I know were there, so it was good times all around.

The Craft Economy put on a fun, energetic show. These guys (and gals) are great on stage, and offer up infectious indie pop fare. It's a little bit edgy and appropriately dance-y, with good sound and excellent vocals. I didn't have any cash on me, so couldn't buy myself a copy of their EP. I'll just have to download their tunes and hope to see them again to give them my $5. Local newcomers and one of my "bands to see" ONFF was also super fantastic tonight. I'd seen a couple of their first shows ever, and liked them. This time they totally won me over, and I will make a point of seeing them lots more times if I can. They've added a guitarist since I saw them last, and it works. Everyone in the group is individually impressive, and they've come together nicely. Or so it seems to me. I loved all of it, and the "Footloose" cover. Nice. (Last time I heard that was . . . well, at your house, Rajiv!) I was rocking out along with them at the front, of course. (And thank you, Frank, for giving me ear plugs. I left my earloves at home!)

Last up were the out of towners. Lots of people had left my the time they started playing---it was after midnight, after all---and I always find this to be a real shame. The culture is to play late shows, I know, and I get that, but it means some people miss out because they have to go home to bed so they can wake up and go to work in a few hours. This, however, does not apply to me. I'd heard good things about Amos the Transparent, and listened to their MySpace offerings, but otherwise didn't know much about them. They play lighter indie fare, and tonight they did so very well. The band seemed to think things weren't going so great---maybe they were out of sorts after the long, snowy drive, and because they were performing as a quartet instead of as a 7-piece---but I thought they were (yes, you guessed it) fantastic. I like my performers to be nice, engaging, friendly, fun people, and these guys were. They also played some great tunes with original musical choices. I enjoyed myself immensely.

If you don't believe me, check out other reviews (and pictures) of the show here and here. It was an excellent evening.

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