Thursday, September 23, 2010

CR Avery
The Undesirables
The Cameron House
CR Avery
The Boathouse
Kitchener ON

CR is back in the Toronto area almost promoting the delayed release of his rumoured book of poetry, 38 Bar Blues, which should be available from Write Bloody Publishing any day now. He'll be back in November with a full-band tour that promises to be rocking.

Booked for two shows in Kingston ON at the Kingstons Writers Festival this weekend, he flew out early to lay a few tricks on us in London, Toronto, St Catharines and Kitchener. During his downtime he's working on the final edits for his upcoming live concert DVD, Subtitles for a Foreign Film, set for release in October.

Tonight he's opening for story-teller extraordinaire, Corin Raymond and his excellent guitar-picking puppetmaster, Sean Cotton; The Undesirables. The backroom of The Cameron House is cozy. Seats about 30, stands another 30, it gets hot quick. A three-shirt night is in store, I'm told. Also, ladies, don't ever buy a ticket for a backroom gig. The womens washroom is at the back of the room and you have free access from the front of the bar...just tell 'em you had some yogurt induced issues and stay awhile.

Some new songs from CR tonight, 3 in all, with the Neil cover of Campaigner and two originals, one a spoken word piece about Ice Rinks the other a piano ballad, My Own Road To Go. He starts a little slow, taking a few tunes before he can shake tax issues from his worried mind. When he starts feeding off Corin's laughter from side-stage the set turns.

Track 01 Intro
Track 02 Campaigner (Neil Young)
Track 03 Big In Japan (Tom Waits)
Track 04 The Marines Lament (3 months in hell)
Track 05 Ice Rinks Track 06 talk
Track 07 I'm Gonna Eat You Out
Track 08 Love Song
Track 09 My Own Road To Go
Track 10 Blackbird (Lennon/McCartney)
The Undesirables are playing some new tunes as well, showcasing their new release, Cancer Shoes. They are warming up for a weekend of special guests and concerts on the First of October. Locate Corin on facebook for extensive details and get ready to do the (GO) Bus Stop Walk.

Track 01 Intro
Track 02 ?Ooh, Summer's Gone
Track 03 You're Gonna Find Out
Track 04 Good News
Track 05 Cancer Shoes
Track 06 Umbrella Girl
Track 07 Look Out Jack
Track 08 story - singing bones
Track 09 Singing Bones
Track 10 talk - Ferraro's bleedthrough
Track 11 Waitin' On A Later Train
Track 12 Dancin' on the Fault Line
Track 13 It's A Sunny Day
Track 14 encore break
Track 15 Rain Song(w/ CR Avery)
Track 16 When I'm Gone (w/ CR Avery)

The Boat House

It's early morning on hump-day, it's raining and it's dark. Think a round of CR will charge the batteries. Another opening set tonight, which is good, 'cause home's about an hour and a half away and work don't care that I like live music. Or so I thought. As we arrive at the bar CR informs us he's the headliner...and that's good for us too.  Nice little venue in the heart of Kitchener on the shores of Victoria Park Lake. Great locale, with lots of park land and what appears to be a man-made lake ringed with benches and picnic tables. This must be one happening place with walk up business on the summer weekends. 'Course, summers gone and it ain't a weekend so the place is sparsely populated for the opening set by Blair Harvey.

Decent stuff, easy on the ears. The kid has a terrific voice, similar in sound to Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo. Some interesting flair on the guitar with a unique strumming pattern that simulates a snare drum sound while he's playing major chords.

By the time CR's set is underway we have about 20 drinking customers in the place. 18 are attentively focussed on the stage. 2 are not. CR tried his best to shame them into shutting the fuck up, first a full-frontal insulting attack in  Leadbelly's Sylvie then a gentle poke inside a couplet at the beginning of The Boxer Who Just Returned from London that just washed over their self-absorbed little heads. This couple of guys, seated no more than 6 inches from each other, felt they had to talk over whatever din was emanating from the stage. At least 2 different groups in the audience asked them nicely to quiet down, take it outside or get a room. Unfortunately the owners didn't give a shit either as they were almost as loud, saying only, it's a bar, people talk. Point taken, there was no cover charge. However if you hope to attract people into your bar to listen to live music you would think that an atmosphere conducive to that pasttime would be encouraged. There was no way apparent to shut these guys up so CR did the next best thing; cut his set short at a 1/2 hour for a 20 minute break, hoping to let them run out of steam.

It worked, as well as you could hope. Blair gets another 3 songs in front of a half-packed and fully baked house. The alpha-male in our couple leaves. Silence returns as Talker-the-Lesser is on his own. CR comes back for a 45 minute second set that won over the remaining faithful, most notably the 2 cuties in the front row who alternately blushed and laughed through the dirty blues ballad, I'm Gonna Eat You Out. The night closes with a steller performance of Tightrope, sans the tightrope refrain, as CR hits his mark late in the night.

Set 1
Track 01 Intro
Track 02 Campaigner (Neil Young)
Track 03 Sylvie (Leadbelly)

Track 04 talking assholes talk
Track 05 The Boxer Who Just Returned From London
Track 06 I'm A Dairy Cow, Baby

Track 07 Blind Willie McTell (Bob Dylan)

Set 2
Track 08 Star of Bethlehem (Neil Young)
Track 09 Hendix/Dylan
Track 10 The Great One
Track 11 Voodoo Child (Jimi Hendrix)
Track 12 I`m Gonna Eat You Out

Track 13 Tightrope

Disregard the date on that poorly edited photoshop poster. He's in Ottawa on the Saturday the 13th and at the Rivoli on Friday the 12th.

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