Sunday, 7 December 2014

Death From Above 1979

Show: Death From Above 1979 with Biblical and Phantogram
Venue: Metropolis, Montreal
Date: Thursday, December 4, 2014

I’ve got to say. Death from Above 1979 at the Metropolis Thursday was the best show I’ve ever seen at that venue.

I have been trying to lay low on partying lately. The winter season can make you want to cocoon in your home and do nothing else instead. But also I’m getting a bit run down. I have a full time job and I feel uncomfortable falling asleep at my desk. If any of my bosses are reading this though, I’d like to point out that I only doze off for a few minutes when there’s nothing to do. There’s also the problem that I can never sleep later than 7 am even on the weekends. Often I wake up at 5 am. This is why, for my friend G, it took some convincing on her part for me to go to the Death From Above 1979 concert. I was at home unpacking some boxes and getting my place ready for my house-warming party when she messaged me to come and join her and her boyfriend at the Metropolis. I don’t know Death From Above 1979 that much. The reason for this is that I lent my CD of their first album, when it was released, to a friend. I don’t remember who and I never got it back. I had the chance to listen to the album only a few times. G is good at convincing people though and it didn't take her that much time that I was out the door.

I arrived and Biblical was playing their last song. Very good, however I can’t say much about it since I missed most of the act. Throughout the whole song I was checking out the guitarist’s knee because my friend pointed out that he had none. I can’t, unfortunately, confirm that. His knee looked fine. Then came Phantogram. I wasn’t as impressed. Not because the music wasn’t good but because they didn’t give that great a show. The girl looked uncomfortable in her heels. Yes, comfortable heels can really make a difference. The worst part was the lighting. A lot of flashing lights. We were all looking down and away from the stage. Can repeated flashing lights cause seizures?

When the set was over, country music started playing on the speakers. I was extremely happy (I have a big old soft spot for country music) and started dancing on my seat to it. Got a free beer out of that bouncing from my neighbours to the right. Or maybe I got a free beer because I kept an eye on their seats while they were out smoking or what not.

At long last Death From Above 1979 appeared on stage. Wow. Just wow. I feel that, with the creative process, there’s nothing thought out in advance. It’s just raw. I loved it! It was wild as much onstage than with the crowd on the floor. A huge mosh pit had formed. I'd say half of the floor area. The sound was explosive. I like loud music, but this time I felt lucky to be on the balcony. Furthermore, we had a good view of the breadth of that mosh pit from there. Turned out my friend V was downstairs. She goes to shows as much as I do and often the same ones I’m at. She assured me she was outside of the mosh pit. It made me think that I’d like to see Kathleen Hanna (The Julie Ruin) in concert. I wonder if she still asks the guys to move to the back of the venue.

All in all these guys are awesome and their music is awesome. Effing awesome.

Sebastien Grainger on drums was hot in the white outfit.
I'm curious though, are they obliged to keep the same haircut in order to be recognizable on that famous illustration?

I truly deeply want this poster. By Shelby Hohl

A poster I did.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Thee Oh Sees

Show: Thee Oh Sees
Venue: Le National, Montreal
Date: Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dad and I

Am seldom home. Been partying a bit. Saturday it kind of got to me. Watched Thee Oh Sees half asleep. Couldn't even keep my eyes open. Would’ve given anything for a bed. Not that they weren’t good. They were great. So much energy. Similar to Ty Segall at the Club Soda in September. Le National was the chosen venue chosen. Haven’t heard many good things about it. Don’t understand why though. It’s not too big, the floors get higher as you move back and there’s a good crowd.

Another reason for my exhaustion, learned earlier this afternoon about my dad not doing too well. It hit me like a tone of bricks. You always imagine your parents staying in good shape and living forever. But that’s not reality is it? My dad doesn't live in Canada so I couldn't have been aware of the warning signs. Of course began worrying when told of his condition, especially since he lives alone. Got a text from him later that evening telling me he's at the ER. I was concerned but also relieved. Now he's being monitored. Nothing serious if it’s treated well.

Before Thee Oh Sees, I'm at my friend E’s apartment. We drink a beer or two, some whisky. She's got great whisky. We then head to the concert. As I say they are very good but my mind is elsewhere and I text M, the guy I’m dating, for some comfort. He's a good guy.

I get a few laughs out of the stage diving gone wrong. Most of them fall immediately to the ground (I know it’s not that funny but it’s their bad isn’t it?). One stage diver loses his shoe. Consequently the shoe is being held up high by a spectator throughout the whole show as if it were a trophy. As time goes by the shoe becomes an inner sole and I get sleepy. The drums are great. They placed them up front on the stage. I leave though. The bed is all I think of. M joins me for some cuddling.

Illustration I did for the newspaper edition

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Erykah Badu

Show: Erykah Badu with Common
Venue: Metropolis, Montreal
Date: Early 2000's

Before I start I’d like to point out that I’m a huge Jack White fan. I’d be in the first rows whenever he would play in Montreal. I have a small collection of show posters whether it’s the White Stripes, Dead Weather, Raconteurs or with his solo career. I also own quite a few vinyl, not only his music but anything related to Third Man Records. Even my work colleague jokingly tells me I should get his face tattooed on my arm - but there’s a limit of course. So in no way am I trying to belittle D, an old work colleague with whom I saw Erykah Badu in concert.

During those days, I was working for a marketing research company. That is where I got to know D. She was beautiful (probably still is) and the first thing I told her when I met her was that she resembled Erykah Badu immensely. Not only by the way she dressed but physically also. We became friends.

I spent the summer of ’99 listening to Baduizm, Erykah Badu’s debut album. So much so that my memories of that summer are strongly tied to the album. Therefore when D proposed we go see her in concert at the Metropolis, I immediately accepted. I didn’t realize, at that time, how much of a fan she was.

Common was playing the first part. I remember enjoying it quite a bit even though I was unfamiliar with the music. He sang with a great deal of energy and at a fast pace. Then came Erykah Badu and there was something off that didn’t make me appreciate the show as much as I would have. She sang well. That wasn’t the problem. What I seem to remember is that she would cease singing in the middle of a song and start dancing. But not dancing as if you were being carried away by the music. She was parading more than dancing. All I wanted to do was listen to those songs I loved so much.

We were in the first rows. Nowadays I would tell you that being in the front is the best place to be if you want a full experience. But back then, I felt a bit uncomfortable being there. I believe D insisted. When the concert ended, I was ready to leave but Erykah Badu came back on stage to start shaking hands with the fans up front. It was nice of her but it also felt odd to see the strong urge in which her fans reached out to her. I stayed a bit behind and just waited for it to be over. D wouldn’t take it though. She really wanted me to shake Erykah Badu’s hand. She pulled me towards the front and held my arm up high. It didn’t take long that I retrieved it. Don’t actually remember if I held Erykah Badu’s hand.

This caused D to be mad at me. Even though she was staying over at my place she wouldn’t talk to me. We took the subway home but she wouldn’t enter the same car as I. On the sidewalk, we walked many feet apart as if we were strangers. We ceased being friends. I guess it happens.

Friday, 7 November 2014

The Barr Brothers

Show: The Barr Brothers with Bahamas

First I’d like to say: I hate the Metropolis. I don’t remember ever going there and seeing something spectacular. I remember, though, going there and being disappointed. Not because the musician isn’t good but because the venue just isn’t made to deliver an extraordinary show. This, for exemple, was the case with The Raconteurs (2006 I think), Erykah Badu (beginning of the millennium) and Avec pas d’casque (Montreal en lumière a few years ago). For Edward Sharpe I felt sick, decided to sit down by the wall and an employee came to me and told me I wasn’t allowed to do that. If you want to see something extraordinary go to the Petit Campus. Of course that place has more intimacy so it’s hard to compare one to the other.

Back to November 6. I get free tickets to go see The Barr Brothers. One of the perks of working for a newspaper. I’m with some good friends. The first part is Bahamas. I’ve always liked Bahamas and he is good that evening although I think he takes himself a bit too seriously. G mentions that his guitar has a Sephora logo on it. I find it funny. Her boyfriend doesn’t get it. “Je vous la donne” he tells us. I think, for that kind of music, a small venue is so much better. If he comes back and plays somewhere smaller I’ll go. We’re actually all a bit impatient for The Barr Brothers to start.

As soon as they appear on stage and start playing, you can tell that they are talented musicians, very talented musicians. The concert is good but have I mentioned that I hate the Metropolis? I think that place might be cursed, it can never deliver to the musicians’ full potential. We are right behind the soundman so not only do we hear the music but we hear everybody talking from the back of the room. And there’s unfortunately a lot of talking. This is especially apparent when they play quiet songs.

Something else I’d like to add: the harp player, Sarah Pagé, is impressive.
They end the show with a Bob Dylan song. Like a Rolling Stone. The crowd sings along to help out Brad Barr, who, at this point has lost some of his voice.

Now I, in spite of the Metropolis, will go buy their music because I’m sold.

Monday, 3 November 2014

The Black Lips

Show: Black Lips + King Khan & BBQ Show + Chocolat
Venue: Club Soda
Date: Friday, September 26th 2014

The Black Lips show is a bit crazy. I arrive early as I usually do to meet my friends next door at the Midway. We have a very expensive beer. The place has completely changed. There’s a bouncer at the door and the music is bad. For people that don’t know the Midway, it used to be a dive bar. I went there with a friend once to see Louis-Philippe Gingras in concert and we were sharing a table with someone that unfortunately couldn’t sit up straight.

We only stay for one beer. We don’t want to miss the first part of the show. Chocolat. Don’t know Chocolat (I’m ashamed to admit that) but I know the singer’s solo career, Jimmy Hunt, and he’s pretty good live. Of course they don’t disappoint. It’s a bit dirty and I like it like that.

Then comes King Khan & BBQ Show. LOVE THEM. They have these weird outfits on which makes it more fun. I was introduced to them just a few weeks before with the beautiful song “I’ll be Loving You”. It’s a beautiful song. Pleased it was played.

My friend K and I decide to stay near the stage for the Black Lips. They are good but a bit on automatic pilot. What makes the show great is the crowd. Going insane. K is small in every way. She’s skinny and not very tall. I’m scared for her but she’s having a blast taking part in moshing. All the while I’m against the wall and am approached by a woman. She’s pointing two girls near us and tells me she finds them cute and would like try it with a woman. My life at this point is such a mess that I go along with it. Just to see how far it would go. It ends there. She gets scared and decides to stage dive instead.

Side note : The Black Lips live at Third Man Records is a great live album. Love the A side.

After the show I leave with E & C to eat a hot dog at Fameux. It’s a diner on the corner of two busy streets, Saint-Denis and Mont-Royal. We eat by the window when a car crashes into the wall right outside from where we are sitting. It kills a tree and destroys a bike. It also makes a parked car do a 90 degree turn. The two guys inside make a run for it and of course leave the car there. After talking to the police, we leave for our respective beds. Laying on my mom's sofa (was between homes at the time), I never felt so alive.