Thursday, November 19, 2009

Evidently Billy Bragg
Phoenix in Toronto
The Studio at Hamilton Place

Billy Bragg back in the Southern Ontario area and this time I opted for two shows. I don't have much to either get this guy or never will. Seeing him live is always life-affirming and a real bargain as you get terrific bang for your buck.

I try to see about 50 or 60 shows a year, if possible. Some nights I'm dragging my ass wondering why the fuck I bother. Then there are nights like these where I remember you can't get this stuff just anywhere.

Billy's had a great track record lately of inserting something in his show that I interpret as a personal treat. One year he brings CR Avery to open and the kid name-checks "Blind Boy Grunt" before doing a cover of Dylan's Things Have Changed. Another year he's booked into the Danforth Music Hall, my favourite city venue, I used to live around the corner from it back in the day and walked to many concerts; George Thorogood, Rockpile, Marianne Faithfull and Iggy Pop among them. Great memories.

This year he throws in a cover of John Cooper Clarke's Evidently Chicken Town sung to the tune of Bob Dylan's Desolation Row. Now the Dylan part's a no-brainer, but JCC...well that's another animal altogether. From this side of the pond you had a very narrow window of opportunity to be exposed to the witty Mancusian. (This was before the interweb.) I did find myself at one of his North American shows back in '81 when he played the Voodoo Lounge in Toronto. Best line of the night, as the fans called out for the radio versions of his manic musings, was JCC telling us... "If you want the fuckin' music, buy the fuckin' album!"

Billy Bragg
Phoenix Concert Theatre
Toronto ON

Disc 1

T01 The World Turned Upside Down
T02 talk - "we know how to deal with those bastards, don't worry"
T03 Accident Waiting to Happen
T04 Cindy of A Thousand Lives
T05 The Warmest Room
T06 Mr Love and Justice
T07 A Lover Sings
Woody Guthrie Suite
T08 talk - Tumescence, Google It
T09 Ingrid Bergmann
T10 Way Over Yonder In A Minor Key
T11 Ain't Got No Home

T12 talk - oxymorons
T14 Sexuality
T15 talk - John Cooper Clarke/Bob Dylan
T16 Evidently Chicken Town (DesoRow) (JCClarke/Bob Dylan)
T17 Oh Freedom, What Liberties Are Taken In Thy Name
T18 Levi Stubbs' Tears
T19 The Saturday Boy

Disc 2
T01 All You Fascists Are Bound To Lose
T02 talk - fight cynicism
T03 I Keep Faith
T04 Power in a Union
T05 encore break/talk
T06 Milkman of Human Kindness
T07 The Busy Girl Buys Beauty
T08 Richard
T09 The Man In The Iron Mask
T10 To Have and Have Not
T11 Lovers Town Revisited
T12 A New England

Second night was a touch mellower, especially without the inclusion of the JCC tune, due mostly to being a 'sit down' venue, very proper and all that. Great talk about his 15 year old son. Not the soccer player dad had a hope to bring up, but Billy knows his kids job is not to be what his dad wants. He seems to want to be a musician, got figure.

10 different songs tonight...thank you much. I think the tunes we lost were stronger than the songs we got...with the possible exception of Old Clash Fan Fight Song, but not by much and the variety made it worth the trip.

Billy Bragg
The Studio at Hamilton Place
Hamilton ON

Disc 1

T01 She's Got A New Spell *
T02 A Lover Sings
T03 Like Soldiers Do*
T04 Mr Love and Justice
T05 The Shortest Answer*
Woody Guthrie Suite
T06 talk - Guthrie talk
T07 I Woke Up In A Dry Bed*
T08 Way Over Yonder In A Minor Key
T09 Ain't Got No Home

T10 talk
T11 All You Fascists Are Bound To Lose
T12 talk
T14 Sexuality
T15 If You Ever Leave*
T16 God's Footballer*
T17 talk
T18 Oh Freedom, What Liberties Are Taken In Thy Name

Disc 2
T01 talk
T02 Milkman of Human Kindness
T03 talk
T04 Old Clash Fan Fight Song*
T05 talk
T06 I Keep Faith
T07 Power in a Union
T08 encore
T09 Tank Park Salute*
T10 Sing Their Souls Back Home*
T11 Jeane*
T12 A New England

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