Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dead Weather vs CR Avery
Round 2
The Tango in Toronto
2009-07-22 & 2009-07-23

CR definitely has the advantage this round as his show is in the comfy confines of The Rivoli while the Dead Weather are housed in what's become a more and more uncontrolled club environment at the KOOL HAUS. This place is like an asshole magnet...which is probably why I find myself here a half-dozen times a year when I've grown to not enjoy the venue.

The thing about the Dead Weather is...not much variance in the set list. If they were a real 'new band' we'd probably see them experimenting with songs and styles and taking some chances. Instead we have them here, virtual stage-virgins, pushing polished product. It's not like the Stripes where you know you're getting something different. In that way they are not as exciting to see again-and-again-and-again. There's a couple slots in the set list where there's a chance for some variety...the cover slots, but even those are rather static. Combined with their excessive promotions (I get about 5 emails a week from Third Man Records/Dead Weather/Raconteurs/White Stripes), it's this rather blatant commercialism that turns me off these 'experiments'. With the demise of the record companies you gotta find a new path...but does everything from access to music have to be for sale? I'm out here for one reason: Jack White is rock deity. Opportunities to witness him practising his art will be few and far between. Anytime you can catch him, you should.

On the other hand the band is getting progressively more comfortable with each other and this show was the most rollicking, rocking and sweaty of the few I've seen so far. The volume, as always, was set to 11. Alison prowls the stage, like a tigress on the hunt, perched on monitors or stage wings, doing her petulant "no smoking rules don't apply to me 'cause I'm cool" schtick. Jack's two forays to front-stage are becoming more choreographed as he stands from his kit and meanders slowly, teasingly, towards the mic. His guitar spot on "Will There Be Enough Water?" was through the roof as the audience response seemed to elicit a more energetic solo.

Unfortunately the songs remain the same so I find myself looking forward to Hang You From the Heavens, Jack's vocals on You Just Can't Win, the duet and Jack's guitar on Will There Be Enough Water? and the final song, a cover of Dylan's New Pony. They are worth the price of admission on their own.

Here's the set list and a few mp3 samples:

Track 01 Intro
Track 02 60 ft Tall
Track 03 Bone House
Track 04 Hang You From The Heavens
Track 05 You Can't Win (Van Morrison)
Track 06 So Far From Your Weapon
Track 07 I Cut Like A Buffalo
Track 08 Child of a Few Hours
Track 09 Rocking Horse
Track 10 No Hassle Night

Track 11 Will There Be Enough Water?
Track 12 audience/encore
Track 13 Forever My Queen
Track 14 Treat Me Like Your Mother
Track 15 New Pony (Bob Dylan)

At the CR show we have the added pleasure of promoting my son's DVD capture of his February set at The Rivoli. You can check out some video samples at his youtube page

No Sojourners tonight but we have the CR Avery Band and the strings are still with us.

The trouble with CR Avery's press/bio clippings is that everyone calls him a 'hip-hop' or 'beat-box' artist. Not that there's anything wrong with that! Except it's like saying water is wet. It barely begins to describe the properties. Water is also calm, turgid, hot, cold, and rushing. It's also ice and steam. CR is soulful, melodic, bluesy, pop-punk and a kick-ass rocker. He can change his properties as easily.

He's an unconscious wordsmith. I've seen my share of songwriters over the years but not many as nimble of lip and mind as this guy.

He's a sponge, reminiscent of a pasty faced kid who left the midwest for the bright lights of NYC in 1961. He transtextualizes with the best of them. If you think that's cheating, try it.

At the Rivoli he has his friends from Vancouver, The Legal String Quartet and Noah Walker on guitar. This show was promoted locally by The Undesireables, who usually hold court at The Cameron House. You'll be hearing about them in the next month or so.

CR laid them to waist tonight. Massive set...1 hour and 50 minutes of pure joy. A handful of new songs for me Midight Gold Mining, Dear Colonel, Lemon Meringue Pie, Channeling Frustrated Energy and Work To Be Done) plus two radically different version of familiar songs (a subdued (?) Motel: 50 Miles Out of Town and a sped up version of Folk Singer).

I can't even begin to break down the subtle variances in his rap, or the dramatic changes in the songs because I actually have a day-job and it would take a good 10 hours to point out the changes we get night-to-night. Suffice it to say you gotta see this guy.

And if you're thinking: Who the fuck is CR Avery? Well, just lift up your head and look...his name is written in the stars. Check out The Ballad of Charlie Parker and Patsy Cline. If that don't do the trick, you're free to leave.

Here's the set list and a few samples:

Track 01 Intro
Track 02 ??Big In Japan
Track 03 Rain Falls On Eternity
Track 04 talk
Track 05 ??Push the Envelope (Dear Colonel)
Track 06 Songs From The Underground/Trudeau Rap
Track 07 The Ballad of Charlie Parker and Patsy Cline
Track 08 Door By The River
Track 09 talk
Track 10 Boxer Who Just Returned From London
Track 11 Lemon Meringue Pie
Track 12 talk
Track 13 Motel: 50 Miles Out of Town
Track 14 ??Lover's Tattoo

Disc 2

Track 01 Midnight Gold Mining
Track 02 talk
Track 03 Channeling Frustrated Energy
Track 04 encore break/talk
Track 05 ??Work to Be Done
**Track 06 ??
Track 07 Folk Singer

filler aud. soundcheck

Track 08 ??Push the Envelope (Dear Colonel)
Track 09 Folk Singer

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