11/23/08

Note from the Editor: A Weekend of great music

Everyone have a good weekend? Well, I did, let me tell ya about it... (if you're curious about any of these bands, just click on their names, it'll take you to their myspaces!)

FRI NOV 21

Valery Gore CD Release at the Supermarket
So my Friday night, after a long day at work, was supposed to go like this... Stop at the Magpie to see BirdsacrosswateR and William Delray, then head over to the Supermarket for Valery Gore (10:30 sharp). Off I go. I get to the Magpie and ask "Um... is there music tonight?" The bartender says "Not that I know of". Curious. Later I check the calender again and it turns out the show is for December... oh well. The Supermarket was another story all together. Valery Was great. Her voice is more confident than ever, and the new songs are intelligent, sometimes challenging, and always entertaining. A great band behind her as well, her normal rhythm section of Devon Henderson and Dan Neil, but the addition of 3 horn players and a.. um... guy who plays electronics(?)... took the show to another level. I'm not sure why anyone would want to play at the Supermarket though. Maybe it sounds different on stage, but where the audience is all you can hear is noise from the dinner/bar area. But for some reason I've seen 2 CD releases there in less than a month. Am I missing something?



SAT NOV 22

The White Album tribute show at the London Music Club
I was invited some months back to play in London for a tribute to the Beatles' White Album. I had no idea at the time what an event it would turn out to be. My songs for the night where Cry Baby Cry, Revolution #1, and Helter Skelter (as my alter-ego, Dexter Parks). I'll get to those later, but let me give you a brief synopsis of all the acts:

The Samuel Musical: Back in the USSR, Dear Prudence, Bungalow Bill, While mu Guitar Gently Weeps
Sam Allen was a busy guy the last couple of weeks. Not only was he organizing and promoting the event, he had 4 songs to prepare for. His band took a pretty straight forward approach to the songs, adding small touches like a Sitar in Dear Prudence. The highlight was the sing-a-long chorus in Bungalow Bill.

The Samuel Musical. Photo by Cindy O'Beirn

A Horse and His Boy: Glass Onion, Piggies
This act was probably the most surprising, and ultimately one of the biggest highlights for me. They did away with the chord progressions and made their own, creating a high intensity electro jam. The sometimes shouted lyrics where drenched in reverb, and the synths were loud. I was wondering how anyone could make Piggies (the worst song on the album) an enjoyable song, but A Horse and His Boy nailed it. giving it an Electro-reggae feel. Exhilarating.

For Love or Money, Blair Whatmore, Kristen Berkel: Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, Rocky Raccoon, Blackbird and Honey Pie
As a duo Blair and Kristen took on Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, playing it with a country swing. Blair ingeniously played the Chorus melody on a harmonica, giving the audience the change to sing along. Blair later took on Rocky Raccoon (or as Kaya Fraser quipped Rockin' Raccoon! Get it? Cause his version Rocked!!.. Kaya said it, not me). Equipped with a kazoo, Blair played the song in a more upbeat Springsteen-esque manner. The Audience ate it up. Kristen took on Blackbird and Honey Pie later on in the night, singing sweet harmonies with Paterson from State Bird of Idaho.

The Lava Lamps: Wild Honey Pie, Birthday
Easily the band who looked like they were having the most fun. The descending lines on Wild Honey Pie where cleverly played on 2 Glockenspiels, with moments of Trumpet and Beer bottle slide! Their version of Birthday was like something out of New York in the early 80's; a new wave gem the B52's would have been proud of.

The Lava Lamps. Photo by Cindy O'Beirn

Olenka and the Autumn Lovers: Happiness is a Warm Gun, Martha My Dear, I'm So Tired
As the only Autumn Lover who lives out of London, I didn't get to hear Olenka's versions of these songs until the day of. But they'd done some work in my absence. The transition from Martha My Dear into I'm So Tired was one of the highlights for me as a performer, goosebumps. Sara and Patterson's strings were brilliant as always, and Andrew added some simple yet effective trumpet lines.

The State Bird of Idaho: Don't Pass Me By, I Will, Mother Natures Son
Is there a band more adorable than State Bird of Idaho? Turning Don't Pass My By (probably the 2nd worse song on the album) into a sweet country version (complete with a good ole' hoe-down feel in the chorus) was a stroke of genius. The two Hodgson sisters create very pretty harmonies, supported by the baritone of Aaron Simmons. Oh, and It was planned that I would perform I Will with them, but we had no time to rehearse, so the sisters, with Olenka, Sara Froese and Kristen Berkel, sang an A Capella version to me! Adorable.

Aaron Lozynsky, Patterson Hodgson and Kristen Berkel. Photo by Cindy O'Beirn

Aaron Lozynsky: Why Don't We Do it In the Road? and Yer Blues
There really wasn't a better choice to do these songs. Aaron is a talented blues-man, who knows how to play to the audience. They ate up every moment. Why Don't We... was perfect, funny and sexy. Yer Blues was what it should be, bluesy.

Kaya Fraser: Julia and Sexy Sadie
I had been under the impression that Kaya had moved back home to BC, luckily for all of us the move had been slightly postponed. Julia was gorgeous. The audience was completely silent. Probably the most moving moment of the night. Kaya will be missed here in Ontario, that's for sure.

A Nice Apple Tart: Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey, and Savoy Truffle.
A Nice Apple Tart took a very bluesy approach to the material. The vocals were high energy, and the guitar tones were pitch perfect, nailing every great line from these songs.

Shawn Clarke/ Dexter Parks: Helter Skelter, Revolution #1, and Cry Baby Cry
So, about a month or two ago, Sam Allen was asking me what songs I'd like to play. Cry Baby Cry was my immediate response. It was one of the first songs I ever learned. But half-jokingly I said "Hey, maybe I could do Helter Skelter as my alter-ego Dexter Parks!" Boy, we had a good laugh. Than I get an email saying that I'm doing the song. Finally, I put together a mash-up remix of the song, and in the last minute, asked Andrew James of A Lending Library to play drums. It went a lot better than I thought it would... people seemed responsive. Revolution #1 was a very late add on, I had to get it ready in 2 days, but I was happy with the results.

Me Rockin out with Andrew James. Photo by Cindy O'Beirn

A Lending Library: Long Long Long
After banging on the drums with me, Andrew picked up a casio and played a very eerie futuristic version of Long Long Long. Very creative interpretation, complete with the final breakdown of the song sampled.

Our Nation: Revolution #9
No one was very surprised to hear that Our Nation picked up Rev 9. One of London's premier noise bands, Our Nation was the most logical choice. They didn't disappoint either. It's not really something I could explain in print, but the band was captivating. Saxophone, tape recorders, record player, and some sort of film editing device were used to make the wall of sound.

Everybody: Good Night
At the end of the night, all the performers got up on stage for an a Capella rendition of Good Night. The event went off with very little problems. Some set changes took a bit of time, but it was a minor complaint. London Ontario has again impressed me. Full of great, and creative, musicians. It was a real treat to play, but a bigger treat to see everyone else's interpretations.

Everybody! photo by Cindy O'Beirn

How was your weekend?

1 comment:

Sam Allen said...

my weekend was frickin' sweet thanks to this show!