Tuesday, February 23, 2010

CR Avery
Glenn Gould Studio
w/ Special Guests
Corin Raymond
& the Sundowners

Got snowed out of a couple shows this week, gotta make up for it now.

Dude's come a long way from "pay-what-you-can" night at The Rivoli to a $30 ticket in a posh studio setting. Pressure's on now!

Corin Raymond is opening again tonight, this time a different configuration, joined by a back-up band, the Sundowners.

Great set, lively,fully engaged with the audience from the first moment he steps onstage. He's show-casing songs from There Will Always Be A Small Time. Good songs made better by the exhuberance of live performance, most notably the accomplished guitar playing of David Baxter and Corin's infectious laughs.

CR and the Legal String Quartet are coming to the end of a gruelling tour of Southern Ontario. They've not had a day off since their show in Perth on the 18th of February. Three more to go.

Since their date in Windsor last Sunday they've had the added pleasure of dealing with the only real snow we've received this year...and some freezing rain in case it gets too easy on the road.

But this is the big city, a showcase venue, tired can wait for next week. Time to shake the dust off.

Only two different tunes tonight...and both have some Dylan related content. A spoken word piece on Hendrix and Dylan that I call The Grey Armpit... for lack of a better title. The Dylan cover, Things Have Changed, I love. CR played it the night he opened for Billy Bragg back in '08, did the same 'Blind Boy Grunt' intro too.

The band takes their place to a smattering of applause and CR wanders onto the brightly lit stage, squinting, staring deep into the audience he can't see. A perfect lead-in to his pregnant pause and opening line..."I'm petrified..." Got them laughing and paying attention already, two words in.

CR is challenging. The hip-hop-beat-box stuff can be sonically jarring to an arts theater crowd...he's playing that down (a bit) this tour. It's less rock 'n roll than the summer tour and heavily dependant on spoken word pieces. The strings, though, are mesmerizing as they wrap around the lyrics, creating a mood that evokes the '50's beat-poet coffeehouses. This is some intricate shit, well timed, well arranged.

My Bad transcends our perception of spoken-word and becomes a performance piece that ranges from perfectly choreographed facial expressions to a Cossack hoe-down complete with a bow-shredding lead from 1st violinist Meredith Bates.

Track 01 Road Visions
Track 02 German Computer
Track 03 Train Headed West
Track 04 My Bad
Track 05 The Cat (Just Purr)
Track 06 The Prime Ministers Chair
Track 07 Hell of A Hotel Harm
Track 08 Band Intro
Track 09 Dinner For One
Track 10 The Grey Area Armpit of Rock N Roll
Track 11 The Kind Man of Alexander Street
Track 12 Things Have Changed (B.Dylan)
Track 13 talk-
Track 14 Lost Highway (H. Williams)
Track 15 Hymns from the Underground

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