Friday, July 04, 2008

I've been bad . . .

. . . about updating this blog lately. Oops. Things are good. I've been getting some work done on chapter 2, have been enjoying nice weather, and have seen some good performances.

On Tuesday I celebrated Canada Day at Harbourfront Centre, catching a chunk of Basia Bulat's set. She is super cute. Just really all kinds of cute. I was off to the side, and seeing as it was an outside venue and there were drunken, obnoxious men about who would not shut up, I didn't have the best concert-going experience. But it had nothing to do with Ms Bulat and her band. I am always happy to see them. Yay. (I didn't bring my camera with me to shows this week, but my blogger friends were at Harbourfront for Basia and Martha Wainwright too, and you can see their reviews and photos on their sites.)

Wednesday evening I saw for the first time the band of a friend of mine. Fire Hydrant was supposed to be opening for an American act at Sneaky Dee's, but ended up being the only band performing that night. There was a decent crowd out of well-wishers, friends, and fans, and I enjoyed what I heard, and would be happy to see them again. I don't know how exactly to describe their sound. Sometimes ambient, sometimes rock (even radio-friendly), sometimes verging on metal. The band played an extended set; I stayed for most of it then headed to the Boat . . .

. . . where Keith Hamilton was celebrating Pitter Patter Night #350. I missed Paper Lions---but heard they were "really, really good"---but came in time to catch the other two acts on the bill: The Northwest Division, a local country-flavoured band, and Aussies The Re-Mains. I especially liked the foreigners, but was impressed with both bands. Definitely a good showing for a mid-week evening. I do have one complaint, though. It was super loud at the Boat. Maybe my week off of shows has sensitized by ears, but even with my trusty earplugs in, I had move back and plug my ears with my fingers. It was just---to my ears, at least---needlessly loud in there. And of course most people don't wear earplugs. I fail to understand this. Anyways, yeah, it was LOUD.

On Thursday I was good and worked a bit, then, after retrieving my bike---I brought it to be fixed the day before (remnants of the car hitting incident of the 23rd)---and having sushi for dinner, I went back to the Boat to watch a practice session. The Postage Stamps, a local band featuring KH on bass and vocals, had not played together in six months, and I'd never seen them. I was expecting some version of Toronto indie rock music (which would have been just fine, at the very least), but instead I was treated to that rare thing, a sound unlike anything I'd been exposed to previously. What a band! I must admit that I was tearing up a little thinking about how this group had split up. Sad. It was really great sometimes-ambient, sometimes heart-felt jam rock (the good kind), and the musicians seemed to play off each other nicely. They were rusty, but I couldn't really tell. I hope I get to see them play again.

Earlier in the evening I had intended to head down to Harbourfront to see Orchestra Baobab, a Senegalese group I'd heard good things about from my roommate. The practice session at the Boat went long, though, and I had no desire to leave early. Good thing my original Thursday night plan was happening a few blocks away, at Rancho Relaxo. No Shame, Lauren Schreiber's indie music series, was having its first Rancho show, with a fantastic bill featuring Fall Horsie (whom I missed), Ghost Bees, and indie darling Laura Barrett.

I had heard from Lauren that when Ghost Bees played for her at the Drake a couple months back, the audience members had all sat on the floor in front of the stage. Last night was no different. A clump of people were seated when I arrived (during set-up), and others were bringing chairs to the dance floor. I did the chair thing too. (It was a sitting night for me; good for my healing knee.) Ghost Bees were amazing. A duo from Halifax composed of twin sisters, these young women have awesome harmonies and lovely, sweet songs. Their between-song banter was charming and hilarious.

Laura Barrett was the final performer. I've seen her a smattering of times, and she's always different. Tonight she had Ajay Mehra with her, as well as a bassonist, Jeff Burke, and Rancho's sound guy joined in on flute for a couple songs. (I think he just had the urge to do so, and so did. It was great.) Laura was endearing as usual. She played some older songs, but with the bassoon they sounded rather different than what I'm used to hearing. And she played some new stuff, which I rather liked. Her new album, a full-length due out at some point soon, I should think, will be worth getting.

The crowd last night at Rancho was a completely different one than I'd seen there before. Much more of the indie kid Kensington set, including a whole lot of young women in pretty dresses and other girlie things. I loved it, but felt a bit out of place in my skinny jeans and pretentious threadless tee! Haha. I'm so glad No Shame is back! Let's hope things go well. I'll be there next week, too.

Tonight TW and I are recording our sixth podcast and then it's back to Kensington Market for me to celebrate July 4 with a bunch of Canadians on a rooftop. Should be fun.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Haha, I saw a dude at Slim's wearing that t-shirt. He was tall and stubbly and a little overweight. He was the anti-jen.