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[ATTENDED: August 27, 2019] Mac Sabbath

When I saw that Okilly Dokilly was opening for Mac Sabbath I had to check out who this band was.  They’ve been around for a few years and this was their “American Cheese Tour” (that’s a good one).

And so basically, they are a Black Sabbath cover band, but all of their lyrics are about McDonald’s and the fast food industry in general.  So that’s pretty funny.  But that’s not all.  They have taken this concept to an absurd length.   Each band member is costumed or wears makeup.  And the costumes are phenomenal–not cheap little handmade things, but remarkably detailed and well constructed heads and bodies.  The attention to detail is really impressive.

The band members are also completely anonymous, which is also pretty funny.   And that is why they have such great band names:

The lead singer is Ronald Osbourne.
The guitarist is Slayer MacCheeze
The bassist is Grimalice (the least impressive name, it’s Grimace with an Alice in Wonderland hat on, but his other name is brilliant: “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butler.”)
On drums is Catburglar or Criss Cut Fries (he is dressed like the Hamburglar with Peter Criss Makeup).

I didn’t really think too much about the music before the show, I just wanted to see the stage show. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: GARY CLARK JR.-Tiny Desk Concert #841 (April 16, 2019).

WXPN has been playing “Pearl Cadillac” by Gary Clark Jr. and I quite liked it.  I knew of Gary as a blues guitarist.  But I didn’t really listen to too much by him–I don’t love blues music, generally.  But Gary adds a rocking and Prince-like atmosphere to his blues which elevates his music for me.

But “Pink Cadillac” is unlike the other two songs because he sings in a delicate falsetto (like Prince) whereas the other songs he sings quite gruffly.

The first song, “What About Us” surprised me.  First because he sang with such a deep voice (with a wonderful falsetto at the end) but also because I knew that Gary was supposed to be a great guitar player, but it was Eric Zapata who was playing all the slide guitar parts. The whole band builds the song nicely for the chorus.  They keys flesh things out nicely.

The middle has a cool funky part with great washes of keys and a funky bass sound from Johnny Bradley.

When the song ends, he says, “It’s a little bit warmer than I thought it would be.  But I feel sexy in this jacket so I’m gonna sweat thought it.  This is my life, people.”

Gary Clark Jr. had good reason to sweat. The blues-rock singer and guitarist opted to play his first-ever Tiny Desk concert — in front of a huge crowd that warmed the room considerably — while clad in a thick knit cap and heavy jacket.

I had heard that this new album, This Land, was quite political but he left the albums

more politically incendiary material for louder live shows.  Clark’s set leaned toward some of This Land‘s softer sentiments — “When I’m Gone” is about missing his family on the road, while “Pearl Cadillac” exudes gratitude for his mother’s sacrifices —

He dedicates “When I’m Gone” to his son.

He’d brought his young son on tour with him and had to contend with a traditional parenting dilemma: How do you bring your kid to the office and still get work done?

He says I’m trying to do the dad thing and brig them out here.  I’m tired, people.

“When I’m Gone” sounds like a traditional love song from the fifties with that simple bass line and stabs of guitar.  And it is a love song, only to his son, not a woman.  Clark’s gruff voice works perfectly.  Zapata plays the guitar licks between the first two verses.

He says “Pearl Cadillac” was written for his mother… who I’m gonna ask to babysit for me next time…  damn…”

Jon Deas starts on keys with simple snare and hi-hat from Johnny Radelat.  Gary gets to show off his guitar chops here.  I love the slightly distorted, slightly retro sound of his guitar as he plays all the licks throughout the song.  This song has a total Prince vibe and it works perfectly.

He sings the whole song in his gorgeous falsetto

I remember when I left home in that pearl Cadillac
I was searching for some kinda way to pay you back
For your love, your love, your love

He even handles a guitar solo flub with the ease of a parent who is overworked–a little grunt and then start again.

[READ: April 11, 2019] “The Wish”

One of the reasons I didn’t want to consider reading a lot of Esquire-published short stories is because I assumed they’d all be something like this one.

Full of death and misery and whatnot.  I mean the story starts “Kamon Gilbert woke up on the morning of the last day of his life at 6:19.”

Now, in fairness, this story isn’t about a manly man shot down in a blaze of glory.  Rather, it is a look at racism and violence and how a man’s life can change in an instant (a couple of times).  And as such it is a powerful and affecting story.  It’s still really dark though.

Kamon Gilbert is a black boy in high school school.  He is very smart and very successful.  He does well in his classes and has been selected as the lead in many of the school plays.

But none of the other kids like him: (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: RHEOSTATICS-Etobicoke Collegiate Institute Auditorium, Etobicoke, ON (October 24, 1996).

This was a homecoming show for the Rheos performing at their old high school Etobicoke Collegiate Institute about a month before heading on the road to support The Tragically Hip on their 1996 Trouble At The Henhouse tour.

They play 6 songs from the soon to be released (in a week and a half) Blue Hysteria.

The band opens with a quiet, almost whispered version of “Self Serve Gas Station.”  The sound cuts out briefly after the “Is he dumb?” line but it quickly comes back up and then the song really takes off.

There’s some long banter.  After some silence, Martin says “Hi, we’re the Rheostatics, we’re playing in a high school.”  He continues, “That was a song about working in a gas station out in Rexdale at night.  I used to work there and bad stuff used to happen.  Tough guys at night.”

Dave wonders where they go know that the self-serve gas station is closed.  They go to the donut shop across the street.  No that’s gone too.

Martin says, No, it’s still there, it’s a little slicker–they franchised it.

Dave: So it’s a bittersweet return.

Martin: we should have built a little more momentum before the banter.

How about two songs in a row–go for two?

The first of the Hysteria songs, “All the Same Eyes” rocks along until a really bad chord right in the middle–but it doesn’t hinder them.  And then a great version of “Fat.”  Then Dave says, “Oh its says right here in the set list: “banter.””

Don, you’re not actually a native Etobicokian?

Don: No, but I did plenty of gigs down in Mimico high.  Tough crowd down in Southern Etobicoke.  The accent is slightly different.  They’re very crude.  And that currency thing.  And those little skirts the guys wear.  [much laughter].

Dave says the new album is coming out in a week and a half.  It’s named after Martins double neck guitar, The Blue Hysteria.

We don’t expect this one to be included in the record of the month club.  It’s a high o honor because all your aunts and uncles across Canada know you’re alive when they see your album in the record of the month club.

That’s all introduction to the title track form the album that was in the record of the month club.  “Introducing Happiness” starts out quietly but gets really rocking–the drums especially.

Someone shouts “Alien Song 88,” Dave replies, “you must be confusing that with “Aliens Christmas 1988.” From Dolphin Music? (Martin does a cool dolphin sound on his guitar).  Dave: “Who’s your favorite dolphin besides Flipper see you can’t name one can you?”

Another new song in “Four Little Songs” which they never get entirely smooth but which sounds good and gets a great response.

Then back to some old songs with a mellow, meandering “Saskatchewan.”

Dave tells a story: The first band I ever saw out of high school was FM–a progressive rock band, they had four albums.  “Phasers on Stun” was their big song.  But this was later FM, their fourth album.  Cameron Hawkins was no longer in the band. They had a Cameron Hawkins look-alike.  More like a tribute to FM.
Tim: It was late in their career when they were playing high schools.
Don: I saw Goddo at my high school.
Dave: Did he have the tearaway suit?  Martin: What was underneath it?  Dave: His big naked body, so it’s probably best that he didn’t have it.
Martin says “I saw Goddo at my high school BB Gabor”

Gabor Hegedus (1948 – 17 January 1990), known by the stage name BB Gabor, was a Hungarian-born Canadian pop singer. Gabor is best known for his 1980 single “Nyet Nyet Soviet (Soviet Jewellery)”, and had other minor hits with “Metropolitan Life”, “Consumer” and “Jealous Girl”.

Don: My friend ate french fries with Greg Godovitch once.  Martin: I met him in New York City in the lobby of a hotel and he said I might go far.
Dave: he said if you can make it out of Etobicoke Collegiate, you can make it anywhere.

Then for “Take Me in Your Hand,” Martin starts by playing and singing a half-assed verse of “My Sharona.”  But it resolved into a very pretty version of “Take Me.”

Before “Bad Time to Be Poor,” Martin says, “this is about scented toilet paper.”  Dave brings it back: we put out a CD pro single.  We sent it to CFNY.  They’ve been playing it a lot between Moist and Pure and stuff so we feel like we’re making progress.

It’s a kind of mellow “Bad Time” but you can really hear the powerful words.

There’s a nice acoustic guitar outro which segues into a lengthy “Claire” intro.  “Claire” is all chords to start–no finger picking.  There’s a rocking middle section with some awesome soloing from Martin–a noisy Neil Youngish solo and then a very mellow return. (Tim is singing kind of funny throughout).

Dave: How many people actually go to this school?  (silence, but presumably a bunch).  Thanks for those who actually go to this school.  It’s a tough call.  You’re in school all day and you wanna actually come back to the school?  (Someone shouts: It was worth it!).  Excellent…well it all down hill from here.

“California Dreamline” Dave misses the squealing guitars during the dolphins line, but no one is bothered by that.  It shifts into a rocking “Feed Yourself.”  The middle gets whispery, but a roaring end segues into “Aliens.”  It’s a little sloppy but it’s got a cool little circular riff in the middle of the instrumental section.

Tim says, “This is our last song, we gotta rush home and watch ourselves on TV after this.”  Dave: “We’re on The National tonight. They filmed us at Algonquin Park and our Group of Seven concert in Vancouver.” It’s an 18-minute documentary.

The final song is “Michael Jackson” which sounds kind of different.  They halt before the “it feels good to be alive” part and the Dave says “Lets do the first verse again.”  There’s a lengthy guitar solo jam at the end (and they do play that last part).

After the encore break, they ask “what would you like to hear?” (Lots of shouts.  Many for “Horses” someone shouts for “Torque Torque.”  And then someone else shouts for “Metropolitan Life” [a BB Garbor song].

Martin says, “Get ready for an onslaught.”  Dave: That’s the band that’s coming up after us.

The National‘s not on for an hour so we have time although we did pick our longest songs–lets hear it for epic rock.

Dave tells a story about going to high school classes to talk about what it’s like to be a musician.  It usually goes pretty well.  Although at Lakeview Collegiate it was a dead class–no feedback.  So he pulled out “my famous people I know thing.”

He smoked a joint with Neil Peart at his house.  He played road hockey with Metallica.  He met Michael Stipe.  Nothing registered Then someone asked, have you ever met Kurt Cobain and I had to say, no I hadn’t. Bummer.

Not a very happy story.

They play a great version of “A Midwinter Night’s Dream” (the first time they’ve played it on this site).

Dave asks: “You guys have school tomorrow?”  Cancelled!”  Cancelled on account of unity!”  A nice introduction to “Horses.”  It rocks.  In the middle they throw in a verse of “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2.”

This is a really great show in front o f home town crowd with decent audio.

[READ: April 17, 2017] “My Pleasure”

I did not enjoy Hawley’s previous story in The Walrus, which I felt was needlessly violent.

This story was far more interesting, but whereas I liked the brevity of the previous story, I felt like this one dragged on (and it was pretty short).

I enjoyed the beginning quite a bit.  Jasper is a twenty-five year old guy working at a McDonalds.  But he has a very distinct memory from when he was a child about a commercial for the short-lived McPrawnster sandwich: Arrrr!  A treasure with kick.

He didn’t like the job but he also didn’t mind it because interesting things happened sometimes. (more…)

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