Saturday, July 24, 2010

Casino Rama

OK, I know this one's going to look a little out of place when you browse through the shows I've seen over the past few years. Closest I came to '70's power-rock would have been Alice Cooper. I was offered a pair of tickets to this show by a generous benefactor in Chicago. Apparently a big fan of Heart (and Def Leppard too if I remember last years offer.) I'm reluctant to be a gun-for-hire, it seems so mercenary and so much can go wrong. But it can be seen as a service too, and if you want it, come and get it.

What I do get out of it is a night out and the chance to drop a few hundred in the casino. (FTR, I was down $140 at the roulette table when I went 'all in' with my last $25. Won big, got to play another half hour, left a $25 tip for the croupier and was only down $15.)

Ann and Nancy can still kick some rock'n'roll ass. It's a small group of women who have been able to hold their own in the male-dominated group category. Joan Jett comes to mind. Chrissy Hynde, even with the testosterone laden band. Patti Smith. This is not fluff and the ladies are not poseurs. They've been on a massive year long tour that started late in January and runs through to the end of September. Impressive, as the girls start to celebrate b'days in the more advanced range.

They are on the road a month ahead of the release of their first album in 6 years, Red Velvet Car. They debuted some tracks at Seattle's EMP this spring.

An excellent show. Ann's voice is really something and I'd argue she has more skill now than she did 30 years ago. Songs like Magic Man and Crazy on You are improved. Her inflection hints at a wealth of life experience she didn't have when she first sang these songs. There were a lot of highlights but if you want a short list; Alone and Crazy on You. Virtuoso performances.

On a side note it was refreshing to see women give women standing ovation after standing ovation, a real celebration of talent and survival.

Disc 1

Track 01 Cook With Fire (Dog and Butterfly, 1978)
Track 02 Heartless (Magazine, 1978)
Track 03 Never
Track 04 Straight On (Dog and Butterfly, 1978)
Track 05 Dog and Butterfly (Dog and Butterfly, 1978)
Track 06 These Dreams (Heart, 1985)
Track 07 Hey You (Red Velvet Car, 2011)
Track 08 Even It Up/Gimme Shelter (Bebe Le Strange, 1980)
Track 09 Red Velvet Car (Red Velvet Car, 2011)
Track 10 In the Cool
Track 11 Alone (Bad Animals, 1987)
Track 12 WTF (Red Velvet Car, 2011)

Disc 2

Track 01 Magic Man (Dreamboat Annie, 1976)
Track 02 Crazy On You (Dreamboat Annie, 1976)
Track 03 Barracuda (Little Queen, 1977)
Track 04 encore break/band intro
Track 05 What Is And What Never Should Be
Track 06 What About Love (Heart, 1985)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Jimmy Cliff
Massey Hall

One of five inductees to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame this year, Jimmy Cliff is enjoying a resurgence as he tours his first release in six years, Existence.

You know, I hate to be the one to dis the revered Massey Hall but they need some new vocal mics...or somebody at the board who knows what they are doing. I see about 60 shows a year in different venues and this place currently sucks sonically. Smashing Pumpkins, David Byrne, Joan Baez, Levon Helm...all muddy vocals and clear instruments. Maybe it's my seats...dead center on the floor.

Opening act was a folk-singer, Trevor Hall. Bit of a child-prodigy. Was a fortunate son who was born in South Carolina but found himself at an LA arts school where his first record was being sold to friends by grade 10 and he had a Geffen contract before he graduated.

Ain't nowhere to go but down from those lofty heights.

Geffen releases little of his work and subsequently drops him from the label. It's indie time in what is the new world order of the music industry.
He's touring this most recent release, This Is Blue. More than decent, reggae tinged set. Kinda like The Police without that insufferable lead singer and all that Tantric stuff.

Here's his the songs and a couple samples.

Track 01 You Find Me
Track 02 Where's The Love
Track 03 All I Ever Know
Track 04 Om Shakti Om
Track 05 ?Good Rain (new song)
Track 06 Unity

Jimmy Cliff was life affirming and just plain fun. He rolled out all the hits and more and spent a good part of the night jiving around the stage. It's all in this set...The Specials, The Police, gangsta rap, the sounds of Jamaica, a hint of Bob...a real treat.

Disc 1

Track 01 Intro
Track 02 Wonderful World, Beautiful People
Track 03 Sitting in Limbo
Track 04 Rebel Rebel Rebel
Track 05 Wild World
Track 06 One More
Track 07 Save Our Planet Earth
Track 08 Vietnam (Afghanistan)
Track 09 The Harder They Come
Track 10 World Upside Down
Track 11 I Can See Clearly Now
Track 12 Many Rivers To Cross

Disc 2

Track 01 Bongo Man/By Rivers of Babylon
Track 02 Treat the Youth Right
Track 03 My Rub A Dub Partner
Track 04 encore break
Track 05 You Can Get It If You Really Want

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dead Weather 2.0
Sound Academy

Jack's back!

It is what it is, but it ain't no White Stripes.

It's not even The Raconteurs.

First time out to the Sound Academy. My KOOL HAUS boycott is forcing me to find new venues. Wish I'd have missed this one. Lovely looking place with great sound. Stage is too low and the bar is too big, at least 60% of the audience wouldn't have been able to see the artists. Don't get VIP parking. It's close to the venue but it takes a good while to get out if you don't miss the encore. If you take the TTC, bring a lunch for the walk in.

Opening band, Lullabye Arkestra, was, ummmm, melodically challenged. You know it's not a good sign when ticketbastard mispells your name.
Shame on the people behind Dead Weather. I see live music in this city. I know there are more worthy bands. It's nothing but laziness that sees this act win a covetted opening spot. Strange thing is Jack has seen his 'other father' Bob Dylan books acts as talented as The Raconteurs, The Foo Fighters, Elvis Costello and Kings Of Leon, in front of his set. The old goat may not be the stallion he once was but he ain't afraid of no pony's.

Next time you venture this way drop me a line and I'll find you a group that challenges AND pleases your audience.

Their set list went something like this:

Drone #1 Instrumental
Drone #2 w/ vocals, duet
Drone #3 w/ vocals, solo
Screamfest #1
Screamfest #2
Sonic Insult #1
Drone #4
Sesame Street Song, as in "one of these things doesn't belong here, one of these things isn't the same." Some lovely classic sounding country tune that really spotlighted the chicks singing abilities. I'd give you an mp3 but it might suck you into tracking this band down.
Screamfest #3
Sonic Insult #2
Drone #5 and onwards.

Thing is this husband and wife team is about 12 years too old for what they're singing and the only club that would tolerate this shit shut down about 6 months ago when the Kathredal/Big Bop et al left the Queen St scene.

Jack's been making some noise about the quality of discourse on the internet of late. He's been planting stories in the press deriding that sea of cowards who hide behind avatars and screen names while pissing on the world outside.

Well, that brings this review to an end.

Just kidding, I'm gonna bitch. These are strange shows with the Dead Weather. I have a suspicion there's a dynamic at play that is never going to let this band grow beyond the status of a Jack White side-project. I know, Jack'd come up and smack me right now for saying so but it ain't just me, check out the event code on the ticket above.
It's like Alison hasn't brought in a group of hardcore Kills fans to see how she's doing. Dean probably doesn't have a flock of QOTSA groupies on the road. I'll bet dollars to donuts that anyone who was enamoured with Little Jack's stint in the Greenhorns would'nt last more than 2 songs. Who's that leave?

Well, two kinds of people...those who gotta go 'cause it's a 'White Stripes happenin' night out' and me.
The first type were the ones jabbering through the intro's to You Just Can't Win and Will There Be Enough Water?

I go because if I could have witnessed Shakespeare writing notes in the margins of Christopher Marlow's work I would have been there to pick it up for posterity's sake.

The band is better than they were last year. Louder. Tighter. The songs...well, I've only heard them once so I can't tell you if the new ones are better. Hustle and Cuss is the only one that stood out.

Set List

60 Feet Tall
Hang You From The Heavens
You Just Can't Win
So Far From Your Weapon
Cut Like a Buffalo
No Horse
Jack talk - collecting Cdn debt
Difference Between Us
I'm Mad
Rocking Horse
Hustle & Cuss
Die By The Drop
New Pony
Will There Be Enough Water?
(encore break/band intro)

Blue Blood Blues
I Can't Hear You
Treat Me Like Your Mother

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

CR Avery
Cicada Music Fest #2

A daytime show in the lovely sunshine. Once again a stellar set right in front of CR's, delivered by Brock Zeman.

CR is up to the challenge as he gives us three covers tonight, Waits' Big In Japan, The Beatles Blackbird and Lucinda Williams' Bus to Baton Rouge. Highlight of the set was the impromptu blues riff that retold the story of last nights post-concert jam.

Track 01 Big In Japan (Waits)
Track 02 Door By The River
Track 03 Small Town
Track 04 ??KKK
Track 05 Bus To Baton Rouge (L Williams)
Track 06 Blackbird (Lennon/McCartney)
Track 07 Evidently Sweet Child Blues(w special guests Shade Proposals)
Track 08 Piano Lessons
Track 09 encore break/talk
Track 10 Folk Singer

Saturday, July 10, 2010

CR Avery
Cicada Music Fest
Port Dalhousie ON
July 10,2010

Poet, beat-boxer, rock n roller CR Avery is still out there, working hard, waitin' on you to get it.

He'll be back here in September for a book tour if fortune smiles.

Yesterday I caught his headlining set at theCicada Music Fest.

He's back onstage at 5pm today so you still have time.

We were well entertained in the early afternoon by Dust Devil alumni Kevin Higgins and Barbara Malteze before the Roger Marin Band put in a headliner quality set of their own.

CR came out and challenged the gathered multitude...complete with a parental advisory at the beginning in case things got ugly. They didn't. They never do. The score is now CR Avery 17, enlightened audience 0.

Here's the songs, with some samples.

CR Avery
Cicada Music Fest
Port Dalhousie, ON

Track 01 Parental Warning/Intro
Track 02 Is This What You Wanted? (Cohen)
Track 03 The Boxer Who Just Returned From London
Track 04 Maggies Farm (Dylan)
Track 05 I'm Gonna Eat You Out
Track 06 Jimi Hendrix/ Dylan
Track 07 Love Song
Track 08 Pierre Eliot Trudeau
Track 09 When I'm Gone