Almost exactly one year ago, my family traveled to Toronto as a mini-vacation. The impetus was my scoring tickets to see The Rheostatics live for the first for me (and potentially–but not in reality–last) time.
They had called it quits 8 years earlier and were reuniting for the 20th Anniversary of their Group of 7 album–a soundtrack of sorts that was created to celebrate the works of the great Group of 7 artists. They were scheduled to perform three nights at the Art Gallery of Toronto. The night before their first show, Thursday the 3rd, there was a tribute show and the Rheos made a surprise appearance.
They played half of the Group of 7 album and a few encores. The sound is a bit muted but is pretty clear.
The opening track, ” One (Kevin’s Waltz)” is played by Kevin Hearn and sounds great. For the first proper band song, “Two (Earth (Almost))” they sound tight but maybe a little stiff in the bah bahs. “Three (Boxcar Song (Weiners and Beans))” is a loose song and the band sounds great. Although I cannot believe that people are talking during the song–especially during Martin’s singing of “Five (Blue Hysteria)” the first time Martin has sung in years!
“Six (Cello For A Winter’s Day)” is usually a noisy/jazzy number. The recording is a little too muffled to hear details, but the song sounds good, especially Martin’s guitar workout at the end. After this, they skip a few songs and go right to the end, with Kevin’s “Eleven (Yellow Days Under A Lemon Sun).” Kevin’s voice sounds a little rough I must say.
And then they take time for a little chat with Dave, in which he says “We used to be the Rheostatics.” And before returning to the album, he says “We’re here for three more night, try the veal.”
For “Northern Wish,” Don Kerr is on cello Tim is on upright bass, and it sounds great, a really beautiful version.
“You guys bought the cheap tickets, eh? We’re gonna cheapen up this next song for you. Martin comments “Let’s get fucking cheap.” They’ll do one more song. Dave says The other shows will be longer. “But they’re fucking sold out–Stubhub, folks.”
Martin thanks Kristine Peters and clonazepam [ a seizure medicine, also called an anti-epileptic drug]. Dave jokes, “that’s Martin’s old band.”
As they play a gorgeous Saskatchewan, Dave notes, that it’s their “First time playing together in 8 years.” Martin plays a slightly off chord and then comments “It’s been a long time.” But his guitar sounds amazing throughout.
Before the final song, David says “because we can’t stop playing we’re gonna do one more–we gotta catch the last street car (someone in the audience yells “too late.”) There are the perennial requests for “Horses” with someone shouting “Holy Mackinaw Joe,” but instead they play “Legal Age Life, with Paul Linklater (who played in the tribute show) to play some guitar.
I’m including the setlists from each night mostly for the duration of the songs–they did some versions longer than others, but were mostly right on time–(and to compare encore selections).
01. One (Kevin’s Waltz) 1:47
02. Two (Earth (Almost)) 7:14
03. Three (Boxcar Song (Weiners and Beans)) 6:47
04. Four (Landscape And Sky) 0:51
05. Five (Blue Hysteria) 3:43
06. Six (Cello For A Winter’s Day) 6:08
07. Eleven (Yellow Days Under A Lemon Sun) 3:32
08. Chat 1:09
09. Seven (Northern Wish) 5:25
10. Encore Chat 2:19
11. Saskatchewan 8:05
12. Encore Chat 1:35
13. Legal Age Life At Variety Store 4:14
[READ: August 19, 2016] “Bye Judy and Good Luck”
The July/August Summer Reading Issue of The Walrus has a theme of “Love and Lust.” The theme promised to be a bit more upbeat than the darker stories in the last few issues.
This is the story about “Fun-Sized” Judy. She’s called “Fun-Sized” because of her height: “she’s no more than four-foot eleven, probably twice as wide.” And, most importantly “None of us would ever fuck her, but we all agree she’s a riot.”
The “none of us” part is interesting because the whole story is written in second person. as the song progresses it’s unclear if the “we” refers to a group (at times it seems like it) or a single person speaking as a group (which seems more likely at the end).
So despite her unattractiveness, Judy is enjoyed by just about everyone: Judy is a lot of fun, “one of the reasons we love her…. she never knows what she’s thinking.”
When she gets drunk she talks about starting her own religion, called Judyism. The only tenets: everyone needs to be nice to cats, you can east as much bacon as you want, and Jimmy Buffett will be sainted for his many miracles.
But the story really seems to be about how we think that Judy is utterly unfuckable. And that’s important because we often see the hope burning in her eyes, “Take me home and fuck me, one of you.”
The crux of the story, though is that one time, one of us does. Although not the “royal us,” but specifically Brian, “our sort of supervisor.”
It’s a pretty public display of making out in the bar and public awareness of them going home together. And it affects Judy pretty intensely.
But Brian feels a little differently, and the final result is pretty harsh. To Judy and to everyone else.
Given all we know, how can we make Judy feel better about the bad things that happened?
So yes, it was a lustful story, but it was still kind of a downer.