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Archive for the ‘Bonnie Raitt’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: BIDINIBAND-Call the Office, London, ON (April 18, 2008).

Dave Bidini played some solo shows in 2007 but by 2008 he had cobbled together a band: Bidiniband.  The band includes Dave, Paul Linklater, on lead guitar, former Rheo Don Kerr on drums and Doug Friesen on bass.

I’m not sure when they started playing together, but this is the first live show at Rheostatics Live.  The set list hasn’t changed much since his solo shows, but the songs sound really different with the full band.

Some of Dave’s solo work is about telling real life stories of unsung people.  They

re usually really interesting the first one or two times you hear them, but they kind of lose their power after multiple listens.  So “Zeke Roberts” and “The Land is Wild” (except for the fantastic chorus) wear out their welcome a bit.  But again, it’s a nice change to hear them with the full band.

“Fat” is interesting to hear with other musicians.  The ending isn’t quite as wild as with the band but these guys chant the “everyone’s a robot” with great energy.  After the song Dave says “Good  night everybody” to much laughter.  For the next song he says, “This is basically the same song but with a more ironic joke.  The irony is not in the tuning or lack thereof.”

Someone says, “You guys and your new strings. I haven’t changed my strings in like two years.”  “I thought t would be cool, you know, on a new tour.”

“This Song Ain’t Any Good” has a very different delivery than the folksier style that I’m used to.  He asks the band, “You want to do it sad, what did you mean?” They do the chorus in a kind of repeated downbeat “singalong.”

Thanks to Andy and The Two Minute Miracles for playing tonight.  We’re gonna do another song based in our country: “The Moncton Hellraisers.”  It has a rather country flair to it.

Someone shouts, “Do a hockey song.”  Dave says, “I think you’re out of luck tonight  Oh, no there’s a longer one later tonight….we’re making you wait for it.”

I love the jazzy opening of “Memorial Day.”  But even better is the full band rock of “Terrorize Me Now.”  Who ever in the band is screaming “And then we killed again,” is totally intense.

Dave asks, “Could anyone deliver a water to the stage, or I could put my guitar down…  From off stage: “only whiskey and cold coffee!”  “cold cuts?”

This next song is gonna feature Dog Paul’s on double bass for a song about cannibalism and Canadian rock.  “Desert Island Poem” features the line   “Rheostatics eat their drummer who would cook and season the body?”

Dave once described the song: “Yeah, and that’s sort of a true story in a way. I mean not the cannibalism part. But one time the Rheos were stranded in Drumheller [Alberta] and we were listening to the radio and we heard this story about that plane that crashed in Alaska. And we began to wonder what would happen to us if we never got out of Drumheller.”

For “The List”, the replaced Zack Warner with Sass Jordan (a Canadian singer) which features the line “you say I suck but it’s that suckdom of which I’m proud.”  Some one shouts, “that’s a fucking song that needed to be written.”  Dave says he has one more verse but he can’t remember who its about.

“The Continuing Story of Canadiana and Canadiandy” has a cool slide guitar solo in the middle of the folk.  Dave, “That’s from back in the day where all the Canadian folk singers looked like Jesus.  Those nice sweaters on, a nice beard.”  Mitsou?  “When I think of Canadian folk I think of Mitsou too, ironically.”

Someone in the band proposes the “Top five Canadian folk albums: Summer Side of Life, Old Dan’s Records,”  Dave notes: “That’s two from Gordon Lightfoot are you allowed to pick two from the same artist?” “And The Way I Feel.” Dave: “You’re just doing Gordon Lightfoot.”  “That’s what I’m trying to say, dude. “I’m getting your drift that you like the Gord.”  “Gordon never looked like Jesus did.” “No, he looked more like Bruno Gerussi.”

“Is everybody ready for a long death ballad?  You look like the kind of crowd who would like a long death ballad.”  Someone in the crowd shouts: “kill us, kill us Dave.”

We haven’t performed this song successfully ever life.  “Zeke” sounds better with the guitar sliding up and down and in the middle when there’s a few complex moments  and the band really takes off.  But there’s all kinds of flubs at the end.  Dave says, “you’re too kind.  That was the best first half we’ve done for sure.”

They play “My First Rock Show” at a slower pace.  “A bit of banjo for this, Paul?”  After the swan dive, there’s some crazy feedback and effects manipulation and then Dave starts singing “Happy Jack.”

They finish “Rock Show” and then begin with “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” and then Slade’s “Run Run Away.” (did that song have a chorus?).  And then it shifts to Bidini’s “Pornography.”

“Rock Intro?  Is it a rock intro nigh?” “Progtro.”  Someone says something about YouTube.  Dave says “Whats YouTube. They’re an Irish rock band, right?”  There’s great noisy opening to “The Land is Wild.”  It quiets down but sounds great with the full band.  I like the lead guitar line that runs through the song.  During the slow part, the person who mentioned Gordon Lightfoot sings “Ode to Big Blue” as the song gets bigger and noisier.

It segues into a really fast version of Rheostatics’ “Earth.”  Its rocks.  “Don Kerr on the drums everybody.”  And then a romping “Horses.”  Midway through the song he starts reciting the lines to “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads and then some of “Another Brick in the Wall. Pt 2.”  He also throws n the “facts” portion of Talking Heads’ “Cross-eyed and Painless.”

This all segues into a stomping, guitar-light version of “Life During Wartime.”  Dave starts singing lines from “One Thing Leads to Another” (“one gun leads to another”), “Relax Don’t Do It”  then “When Two Tribes go to war, war is something you can’t ignore.”

As the song ends Dave thanks everyone for coming: “a small but mighty crowd for a small but mighty band.”  Then he introduces the band: Douglas Friesen from Manitoba, Paul Linklater from Manitoba, Dave born and raised in Etobicoke, Ontario.  Donald S. Kerr from Mississauga, Ontario.

As they finish, the crowd is screaming screaming for an encore with one guy even telling him not to put their instruments down.  But there is no encore.

[READ: April 15, 2017] Writing Gordon Lightfoot

The title of this book is unusual–it’s hard to even figure out what it means (until you read the book), but it’s also deceptive.

The title means writing to Gordon Lightfoot.  Bidini is basically writing Lightfoot a series of letters. But it is far more than that.  In fact the scope of the book is really the Mariposa musical festival that took place in Toronto in 1972.  Lightfoot appeared (along with many other folk luminaries).  Interspersed with his documentation oft he festival (he was too young to go so it’s all research) are his letters to Lightfoot.

The reason he is writing letters to Lightfoot in a book is because Bidini believes that Lightfoot won’t speak to him.

His band Rheostatics, recorded a cover of his “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”  It was one of their big songs when they were first starting out.  And then, as a brash young kid, Bidini once said that it was actually based on an old Irish melody and that it really wasn’t Lightfoot’s song anyway.  Yipes.

So, assuming that Lightfoot will never talk to him (I wonder if he actually tried), he decides to write letters.  But the letters aren’t “hi how are you” letters, they are a biography of Lightfoot’s life as written by a fellow musician.  He bases most of his notes on things that were in other biographies and he says he makes a lot of it up too.

So it’s an unusual book in many ways. (more…)

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592016 SOUNDTRACK: PETER FRAMPTON-Tiny Desk Concert #526 (April 27, 2016).

framptonI’ve never been a big fan of Frampton.  Never disliked him, just never got into him.  It always made me laugh that Frampton Comes Alive was so huge and yet I only ever knew two songs from it.  And in my head the only thing he was known for was that voice guitar thing.

So it’s interesting to see him now, considerably older with much less hair. Indeed he changes the lyrics to the first song “All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side)” to “I don’t care now that I’ve…lost some hair.”  For this song it’s just him playing an acoustic guitar and singing–no effects.  (This is all in tour of his new Acoustic Classics album).  It’s interesting to hear him playing such a folkie song (which sounds a bit like Eric Clapton).  But the more important thing is that his voice sounds great.  Many singers his age simply don’t have the voice anymore, but he certainly does.  He hasn’t lost anything.

For the second song, “Lines On My Face,” he is joined by Gordon Kennedy.  Kennedy has been his writing partner for decades.  Together they wrote some of Frampton’s classics as well as a song for Eric Clapton and Bonnie Raitts’ new single “Gypsy in Me.”  He says that this song is something he wrote a long time ago and it’s still a favorite.  While Kenendy plays acoustic backing chords, Frampton plays some good solos on that acoustic guitar.

For being Peter Frampton, he was actually very humble and self-effacing and rather funny.  There’s a good moment when he says he didn’t expect quite this many people.  “You hear like “clap clap clap….”

Of course, I know “Baby, I Love Your Way.”  I’m not exactly sick of it, but I don’t go out of my way to listen to it.  However, in this new acoustic format I really got to listen to the song anew.  It’s really quite a nice song.  And when the crowd spontaneously chimes in and sings along he seems genuinely pleased and it makes the song t hat much better.

This Tiny Desk made me appreciate Peter Frampton in a way I never thought I would.

[READ: June 10, 2016] “Three Short Moments in a Long Life”

I enjoy when a story has Parts.  This one has three and they all connect, which is even better than three discrete parts.  But this story, which covers a man’s life from childhood to old age is really quite a downer.  It speaks volumes about the futility of life without actually ever saying anything about it.

Part 1 is called The Spy (although I’m not entirely sure why).  In it, the narrator talks about Beverly LaPlante.  He and Beverly were in second grade together.  She was very shy and cried a lot.  They both hated recess and he was afraid to get lumped in with–the kids made fun of her a lot.  Midway through the year she left the school and that was that.

Third grade meant a new teacher and he had a crush on her.  Then one day during dodge ball he noticed that there was a new girl.  And her name was Beverly LaPlante.  But there was no way she was the same girl, right?  She wasn’t shy at all, in fact, she ended the dodgeball game by cursing out some of the losers.  He was upset that he sweet teacher didn’t yell at her.  When she finally said something to the girl, Beverly shouted “Jesus Christ and shit, piss, fuck!”

The narrator prayed that night–he prayed that Beverly would die.  He immediately took it back but it was too late.

Part 2 is called The Writer.

In this brief part the boy is grown up.  He is a writer, and has written several books which no one cared about.  While he was thinking about writing, there was a knock at the door.  He opened it and there was Jesus: “he had long blond hair and those eyes that follow you around the room.”  Except of course it wasn’t Jesus, right?  It was a just a guy looking for work or change.

Part 3 is called The Substance of Things Hoped For.

As the section opens the man is now eighty–lying on his bed unable to move.  We learn that he has Parkinson’s and is being taken to the hospital for pneumonia.

He has felt like a burden to his wife and some time ago tried to kill himself. It failed obviously but she told him if he ever did that again she’d kill him herself: “She’s a genuine saint, the real thing, without any pious crap, so she’s not always easy to live with.”

He is in the hospital for a while, marveling at the attendants and how young they seem.  He wonders if and when he is going to die.

This last part seemed really extraneous and not very meaningful.  I realize that it was meant to wrap everything up but I would have preferred to have the two parts together and let me imagine the third.

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522016 SOUNDTRACK: SISTER SPARROW & THE DIRTY BIRDS-Tiny Desk Concert #525 (April 25, 2016).

sistersparrowI was intrigued by the name of this band, but I was so disappointed to find out that they were another soul/blues band fronted by a woman who sounds like Bonnie Raitt.  Between Bonnie Raitt’s new album, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Lake Street Dive and now this band there’s just too much of this music that is basically the same.  And then there’s the song titles: “Sugar” “Catch Me if You Can” and “Mama Said.”

I also had to laugh at the men in the band each one of the six has a beard.  And I got  a big kick out of the harmonica player who looks like he’s trying to be bad ass, but it’s really hard to look like a bad ass when you are blowing harmonica. And the lead singer does all of those bluesy things that drive me nuts—”sing it with me, “can you play that thing for your mama, now,” etc.

Having gotten that out of the way, the band is really quite good.  The sax player has some great solos and the trumpet player sounds good too.  And, while I mocked the harmonica player, he is really good—especially on the second and third songs where he plays an electric harmonica and really wails (he is also the brother of the lead singer).  Speaking of the lead singer, her voice is great.  She’s a tiny little thing but man can she belt out notes.  And she’s got the great ability to “sing” mmm hmmms and have them be really loud—a good bluesy front woman.  The lead guitarist is really good too whether he’s playing with a slide or doing some lengthy solos, the band really rocks.  Frankly you’d have to be a corpse not to tap your foot along to the rhythm or smile at this skinny redhead belting out these notes.

But I would never be able to tell them apart from the other bands I mentioned earlier.

[READ: June 10, 2016] “Choking Victim”

This was the second story in a row that I found hard to believe (and which I didn’t understand the title of).

Karen is in her mid-thirties and has recently had a baby.  She is depressed and doesn’t understand why everything is so different in her life.

The thing that I couldn’t quite get in this story was whether or not all of the people who gave her dirty looks (and there a lot) were in her head or in reality.  I simply don’t believe that so many people would give her a dirty look just as she walks down the street: “When she pushed her baby through the park in a bulky red stroller, people watched her with curiosity and pity.”

Her husband was away for two weeks and she had a hard time with the baby.  It was especially disconcerting to Karen because at six months old her baby wasn’t really talking–hardly even babbling. (more…)

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feb20156SOUNDTRACK: TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND-Tiny Desk Concert #516 (March 25, 2016).

ttbandAs I write this, there is no band I am more tired of than Tedeschi Trucks Band.  It seems like they are everywhere.  Coming home from somewhere the other night, there was a whole hour of a radio show devoted to them.  Gah.

When I first heard about them I was interested.  Their story was fairly compelling–husband and wife join forces to make some music.  And then I heard the song they played and I though, huh, Bonnie Raitt and a blues bar band.  That’s fine.

I’ve grown sick of th eone song they’ve been playing a lot, but I enjoyed this Tiny Desk.

Their music is certainly fun–a lot more so in this live setting than on record.  And it’s very cool in “Just as Strange” to watch Derek Trucks play solos while using that slide on his finger.

“Don’t Know What It Is” fares better–the horns add a nice touch and the song gets treated more like a jam than a song.  I love watching Tedeschi play the bitchin wah wah solo.  There’s a lot of toe tapping in this song.  And after the hand clapping section, the song really takes off–the sax solo is tremendous.

The song segues into the one I’ve been hearing on the radio a lot–the one I assumed was Bonnie Raitt.  The problem for me with this song is that the verses are the exact same melody as Radiohead’s “High and Dry” and I keep waiting for the song to turn into that–which it doesn’t.  I don’t love the chorus so much but I really like the horn riffs at the end of the song and the guitar solo is wicked (I don’t think the end is as good on the studio version).

So after watching this I have grown to like them better.  Their musicianship is pretty stellar.

[READ: January 21, 2016] “The Trusted Traveler”

This was a fascinating story in that I loved some parts of it, didn’t like other parts of it and was amazed at how the main crisis developed and then was basically abandoned.

As the story begins we learn that the narrator and his wife Chris have received an annual visit–right after tax season–from Jack Bail, a CPA who is a former student of the narrator.  The narrator loathes this annual visit.  And I loved the reason why: “For some reason, almost anything that has to do with Jack Bail is beyond my grasp, I can’t even remember having taught anybody named Jack Bail.”

He feels worse for his wife Chris, because Chris actually remembers things about Jack and his life. (more…)

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