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Archive for the ‘Guster’ Category

[POSTPONED: March 26, 2020] Guster

indexMarch was going to be a very busy concert month for me.  S. and I were really really looking forward to this one and we’re especially bummed it’s postponed.

This would have been my ninth time seeing Guster, and this one was going to be so cool–an all acoustic show with strings!  The band has played many of these shows already and the vibe was great and the band raved about how much fun they were having.

What was especially exciting about this show was that I had great seats!  It’s pretty rare for Guster to play a seated venue.  And, since their shows are quite popular I don’t always get to stand where I want.  But these seats were so good!

I know they are going to reschedule, but still….

Obviously, my main concern is for everyone’s safety, including the bands!

My selfish concern though is that once the shows are rescheduled that all of these shows will be scheduled on the same day!  Whatever the case, this one will get a priority over just about any other.

Let’s hope the rescheduled dates also do some social distancing.

 

 

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[ATTENDED: November 4, 2019] Kishi Bashi

This is now the fourth time we’ve seen Kishi Bashi.  The first time was magical–he was solo doing his amazing looping and violin playing.  The second time he opened for Guster and even played with them, which was thrilling.  The third time was at Union Transfer with a small band.  The sound was bigger and really fun.  And K crowd surfed.

This was the fourth time and his band was even bigger.  He had stage decor (what looked like grass and a giant crane in the background).  And his latest album is full of all kinds of instrumentation beyond the violin.  K. played guitar and keys as well as violin.

It also happened to be K’s birthday!  He had posted a few days earlier that it was his birthday at our show.  I contemplated bringing him something, but that seemed silly.

The band came out on stage with frequent collaborator Mike Savino (known as Tall Tall Trees) on bass, Ryan Oslance on drums, Dave Kirslis from Cicada Rhythm on guitar and the most wonderfully dressed musician on flute.  It took me a few songs before I learned that Pip the Pansy was the stunning flautist who kept her flute in a quiver on her back.  She was so much fun to watch and made incredible music.

Then K. came out.  K. always looks nice in a jacket with a bow tie.

He then proceeded to play “Marigolds” from the new album.  I listened to the new album a lot and really like it.  But somehow, I didn’t recognize this song until almost half way through it.  I don’t know if its because the band made it sound so much bigger or that I was so overwhelmed by everything happening, but I actually thought it was a new song until the chorus came back around.  (more…)

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SOUNDTRACKRHEOSTATICS-Le Colisee, Quebec City QC (November 30 1996).

This is the 16th night of the 24 date Canadian Tour opening for The Tragically Hip on their Trouble At The Henhouse Tour. This is the same show that the Double Live version of Saskatchewan was taken from. It is also the show Dave wrote about in On A Cold Road.

The site has recently added a DAT version of the show in conjunction with the existing fan-recorded version (which is quite different and an interesting perspective).

The show opens with a recording of (maybe) a French-language hockey game?  I love how the opening guitars of “Saskatchewan” just start during the cheering.

Obviously this is a great version if they chose it for their live album.

It segues right into “Fat” which opens a little funky.  It runs to about seven minutes with the rocking ending being fun as usual.  “Fat” segues into a quiet and beautiful “Digital Beach” with great guitars from Martin and then, surprisingly into “Claire.”  Martin’s solo sounds very different–single notes played in a unusual (for him) style.  I like the change and it works well for the song.

Dave asks: Whats the shouting?  more shouting.  Martin: WHAT!?  (on the other recording you can hear that some guy is shouting: “Bad. Time. To. Be. Poor.”  The guy then deliberately shouts: “We came here to see you guys.”  Shame it’s not acknowledged).

Dave says, “We’re gonna do four songs in one from our new album, The Blue Hysteria.  Thanks to the whistling bats over there.”

“Four Little Songs” is goofier than usual.  And then Don, ever the salesman says “this next song is the current single from our brand new record which you can buy here at the venue.”  When they do play “Bad Time to Be Poor,” (those guys must have gone nuts), it sounds great.

Dave: “Thanks very much.  Save a bit for The Tragically Hip.  I don’t want you to….”

On “Sweet Rich, Beautiful, Mine,” Martin hits a slight wrong note before the roaring midsection which is kind of shame, but he recovers fine and the rest of the song is spot on.

A lovely “Dope Fiends” ends the show with a cool acoustic guitar and drum middle.  Martin has some fun with the “dark side of the moon” ending growling it somewhat and Dave says “By Pink Floyd.  Side two.”  Just before Martin roars his awesome guitar ending.

The song and show ends with Martin playing and then singing “You Are Very Star.”  It’s a very sweet ending.

[READ: June 2018] Start Without Me

I really enjoyed this story.  It was funny and dark and played with all kinds of twisted family portraits.

As the book opens Adam wakes up in the house he grew up in.  But in the basement.
A young child sizes him up, “Who are you?”
“I’m Adam.  Uncle Adam.”
The boy shakes his head. “My uncle’s Travis.  He lives in Texas.”
“I’m your other uncle.”
“Why are you on the couch?”

Indeed, why is it?  It is Thanksgiving.  One of his siblings or their offspring is in his old room.  They weren’t sure if he would show.

Finally it dawns on the boy, “Are you the uncle who smashed the pinata?”
“Jesus, that’s what you remember?”  Did he actually owe apologies to the kids, too? (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 23, 2019] Dilly Dally

I can’t believe it was actually two and a half years since I last saw Dilly Dally.  I was rather looking forward to seeing them again–their new album is great–an evolution but not a reinvention.

Then our Guster show was cancelled and placed on  this very night.  Coincidentally, in the same building!  Guster was going to play the large venue of the Fillmore while Dilly Dally was scheduled to play upstairs in the Foundry.

The Guster show was great, but since Dilly Dally started an hour later, I thought I’d see if they were still playing as we walked out.  The bouncer guy was rather surprised that I had a ticket for both shows.  But I showed him my ticket and with S’s blessing, I went upstairs to see a song or two (I was bummed and a little surprised they wouldn’t let her up since the show was more or less over).  The bouncer guy said they had the room until 11:15.  It was barely after ten when I went upstairs (S. said she didn’t mind waiting for ten minutes, but understandably, not an hour).

When I walked upstairs I could hear the unmistakable voice and guitar work of Dilly Dally. Dilly Dally are from Toronto and they were described to me as being like the Pixies meets Hole.  I can certainly hear that although they transcend their influences.  They play loud aggressive alternative rock that’s headed by Katie Monks’ snarling singing voice and Liz Bell’s sharp and catchy lead guitar work.  Bassist Jimmy Tony (in a striking silver sparkling short skirt) and drummer Benjamin Reinhartz lay down a low end that keeps the sound grounded. It was a drastic change from Guster.  As was the size of the crowd.  The Guster show was packed uncomfortably tight, but this show was more open and I was able to walk around.

They finished the excellent “Bad Biology” and I wondered how long I could push my luck–how many songs could I make S wait for.  And then Katie Monks told us that the next song was the last song.  Disappointing but very convenient. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 23, 2019] Guster

Back in January, Guster postponed their Philadelphia concert because they were going to be on Late Night with Seth Myers.  They rescheduled it for mid-March and decided that it would be a 20th Anniversary celebration of their 1999 album Lost and Gone Forever.  So although the date change sucked at the time, the new show promised to be freakin amazing.

And, as it turned out, this was the best and the worst Guster concert that S. and I have seen together (number 7 for both of us).

Why the worst?  The worst because we arrived later than we intended and wound up further back than we wanted to.  Which is not the end of the world.  But, when you’re in the back in the Fillmore, you are near the bar and all the people talking.  A lot.  Even people who claimed to love the band, even people who commented on how good they sounded (they did), even people who would sing along loudly to parts of songs, all of these people also talked through huge swaths of the show.

One woman shouted to her friends during a quiet part and I had to say something.  It was really dreadful.  I though that during the intermission, people would pile out to get drinks and we could move closer, but nope, it was jam packed.

So aside from the worst crowd I’ve ever experienced, the show was great.  The band was in amazing form, they sounded great–and the venue helped them to sound great.  It was definitely one of the best sounding shows I’ve seen from them. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: WHITEHORSE-Live at Massey Hall (December 8, 2017).

I saw Whitehorse open for Barenaked Ladies a few years ago and they blew me away.  I really want to see them again.

When I saw them it was just the two of them and the magic of their interplay was what really impressed me the most.  For this special Massey Hall show, they have a full band.  But as Melissa McClelland explains:

This is the first time playing the Massey stage with a full band.  We wanted to … finally invite some friends on stage with us and play music.

Those friends include John Obereian on drums, Ryan Gavel on bass, guitar and backing vocals and on keys and bongos and guitar, the second best singer in this band Gregory MacDonald.  He replies, “Thanks to the second best guitar player in the band.”  I have seen MacDonald on tour with Sloan a bunch of times and he is awesome.

As to why they are a duo, she says

we knew that Whitehorse was always going to be just the two of us and that everyone would know that we are equal partners in the band.  But we didn’t want it to be a folk duo so we started brainstorming and bought looping pedals and a kick drum and a stomp box and we  found new arrangements and once we got it we were like Yeah!

The show opens with hand clapping from the band and the audience and then Melissa’s slinky bass intro to “Baby Whats Wrong.  Then comes Luke Doucet’s echoing Western guitar. Their voices are wonderful together and I love when Doucet sings in that weird telephone microphone.  He also plays a ripping guitar solo.

Luke introduces “Tame as the Wild Ones” by saying they needed to write a sexy song so “Melissa kicked me out and said she’d do it alone.  I go to the bar to get drunk and when I come home, she plays me this song.  And nine months later our son Jimmy was born.”  I love the way the bridge (or is it a chorus) builds and settles–that melody is just gorgeous.

“Pink Kimono” has a simple rocking riff and the two singers singing at the same time.   Doucet’s soloing is on fire in this song.

“Die Alone” is a showstopper.  A slow moody piece in which Melissa sings over a wash of synths.  The music so much build as just unfold as first Luke sings with her and then the band kicks in.  Wow can Melissa belt out a song.

“Downtown” is a celebration of how you can put hundreds of thousands of people in a city and for the most part everyone gets along.  It s got a great throbbing bass and some cool guitar scratching and riffs from Doucet.  It’s a bummer that they interrupt the awesome middle solo section with an interview, even if it is quite interesting.

After Melissa lays out how they wanted the band to sound, Luke says that when people ask him about what it’s like to do Whitehorse, he says

we were solo artists first but we had been involved with each others albums as singer or producer  or touring musician.

So in order to be successful

you have to hang out together for five or six years and play in each others bands and make eight albums together and then you have to go on tour as freelance/hired gun musicians working for Blue Rodeo or Sarah McLachlan and then you have to live together for five or six years and listen to music together and fight and then you have to get married and once you’ve done all these things and listened to 10,000 hours of music and dissected Tom Waits entire catalog and argued about which is the best Beatles record and had fights on stage about who is speeding up or slowing down and once you’ve done all those things together then start a band.

It certainly worked for them.  The only bad thing about this show is that it’s only 30 minutes.

[READ: January 24, 2019] Hits & Misses

It has been a while since Simon Rich published a collection of his stories.  This one was pretty enjoyable.  Overall, not as much fun as some of his previous collections, but still a lot to laugh at.  Rich tends to write what he knows, which is often a very good sign.  However, sometimes what he knows is limited to writing and filming, which tends to miss the everyman silliness of his earlier pieces.

Having said that there are still some hilarious pieces that anyone can enjoy and some pieces about writers that are very funny.

A few of these pieces appeared in the New Yorker, and I indicate as much, with a link to my longer review.

“The Baby.”  This was a highlight.  A sonogram reveals that their baby is holding a pen–he is going to be a writer!  But when word gets out that the baby is already getting a reputation AND representation, well, that baby’s writer father is pretty damned jealous.  Wonderful absurdity based on reality taken to its extremes. (more…)

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[NOT ATTENDED: January 17, 2019] Henry Jamison/Guster

S. and I love Guster and will see them as often as we can.  They are a fantastic live band.  So when they announced a show on a very special day for us, we were especially excited–and even imagined requesting a shout out.

Then five days before the show on Jan 12 we received this disappointing email.

Your event is still on, but it’s been rescheduled.

Guster Fillmore Philadelphia Thursday, January 17th
NEW DATE: Saturday, March 23rd with the doors opening at 7PM

Please Note: On Thursday January 17th Guster will be appearing on Late Night with Seth Meyers on NBC.

Although obviously it was pretty exciting that they were going to be on late night TV!

Then January 14, Guster sent out this email

(more…)

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