Monday, August 18, 2008

SummerWorks music, part 2.

I had intended to go to SummerWorks shows on both Friday and Saturday. This was before I realized that my best friend from grade 4 was bringing her band to town on Saturday. Not sure I've seen her since I was nine, of course I had to go and hang out. No Laura Barrett or Sunparlour Players for me. No biggie. Although I've only seen SPP once before, nearly a year ago, they made an impression. I'll have a chance to see them again. Laura Barrett is one of my favourites (live and on record), and it would have been a nice spot to see her play; I've seen her a bunch, and will undoubtedly see more of her once her album is out in September.

So much for what I didn't do. On Friday I went to Theatre Centre for two acts I had yet to take in: Evalyn Parry and Rock Plaza Central. My friend Steve Fisher's done an excellent job describing them, so I won't. He didn't make it to the show, though. What did he miss? Well, Evalyn Parry was lovely. She's got a great voice, and her band, comprising a woman doing some backup percussion and vocals as well as contributing horns of various kinds, another woman on backup vocals and percussion, and a man playing an upright double bass, complimented her. Her songs were mostly about real-life situations and things she's done. They were lovely, charming, poignant yet still mostly light-hearted. I liked less her spoken-word-like performance of a song about water being the new oil. (I wasn't in the mood to be preached to.) But the earlier songs about Dumpy the Honda dying in Manhattan, a former lover turned stalker, and strange billboards on a US interstate really had me smiling. She'd be great in a folk festival, I'd bet. Some of her theatre colleagues were in the audience, cheering her on like the rest of us. (She performed in two plays during this year's SummerWorks festival.)

The next groups looked equally at home on stage. I've heard a bunch of things about local folk-rockers Rock Plaza Central, including from my young friend who appeared at about 12:20am Friday night. This night RPC was a six-piece, joined for a few songs by someone from the audience with an accordion. (I'm not sure if he knew the band very well or had played with them before . . . I kinda got the impression that not.) All the musicians provided vocals as well as playing instruments. Many of the songs that they played seemed like instrumental and vocal riffs on a single lyric. The band really created an atmosphere with their music in a way that other bands don't (and don't intend to). It was cool, and on a different night with a different opening act, I really could have gotten into it more than I did. I wasn't blown away, but am glad I went and saw and heard.

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