Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Complete Live Performance
by Sean Cotton
Corin Raymond and the Sundowners
with special guest
CR Avery
Cameron House

The Cameron House is  a heritage building but it's the mood it evokes that should be saved for posterity. Indie music rules. This cozy, street-level lounge hosts a variety of local artists and a quick walk-in to the building with ants will result in an evening well wasted.

Last Thursday was a little extra special.

Holding down the fort, as he does most every Thursday during the dinner hour, is Toronto's Troubadour, Corin Raymond. Tonight he's joined by his crack-band, the Sundowners; local guitar-guru, producer, David Baxter, multi-instrumentalist, JUNO nominee, Treasa Levasseur, bassman Brian Kobayakowa and for one night only, violinist and birthday girl, Sarah Fitzpatrick.

Corin is embarking on a lengthy US tour with Jonathan Byrd that will see him absent from this room clear through until April. He's working his new songs that should be available next spring on a collection of covers by various North American artists. Throughout the set he sprinkles tunes from 2004's Lonesome Record Night and 2008's There Will Always Be A Small Time and plays the role of most gracious ring-master, giving up the stage to CR Avery, inviting us to the back room for the Ziggy extravaganza and reminding us that Greg Cockerill's band is filling in the quiet time and closing the night on the front room stage.

Corin Raymond and the Sundowners

Set 1
t01 Intro
t02 Old Fort Mack
t03 talk
t04 River Town
t05 talk
t06 Lord Loves A Wino
t07 Hard On Things
t08 talk
t09 ?Just 'Cause I'm In Love With You(Jessie WInchester)
t10 talk
t11 ?Isn't That So(Jessie Winchester)
t12 talk
t13 I'm A Fucking Genius
t14 Sugar Candy Mountain
t15 talk
t16 If Wishes Were Horses
t17 talk
t18 3000 Miles

Set 2

t01 Intro
t02 Better Him Than Me
t03 talk
t04 Freezing to Death in A Boxcar
t05 talk
t06 Postcard From Winnipeg
t07 talk
t08 Little Bird (Treasa Levasseur, vocals)
t09 There Will Always Be A Smalltime

CR came into town with a box full of new songs. His opener, always a harp-blowout, is from the Boss tonight, 57 Channels.Second harp song of the night is Hendrix's Voodoo Child, complete with PA feedback. And three ballads, from the introspective Troubled Youth, the sardonic Hollywood Movie Blues and the lenghty forary into jazz history, Jelly Roll Morton.

Click on the hyperlinks for sound samples.

CR Avery - harmonica, piano, vocals
Sarah Fitzpatrick - violin

t01 Corin's Intro
t02 57 Channels (and nothing on) (Springsteen)
t03 Blame It On My Troubled Youth
t04 Happy Birthday To Sarah
t05 Hollywood Movie Blues
t06 Voodoo Child (Hendrix)
t07 Jelly Roll Morton

The back room show gets off to a slow start as no one took the time to go to the bar and let everyone know it was on. Sean stumbles over a lyric line in Five Years and doesn't quite find a groove for Soul Love after a false start. These things happen sometimes and the beginning often has nothing to do with the end. I think this is only the second time this performance has been done live and it's one thing to rehearse the songs, quite another to stage the show from front to back with proper pacing.

From Moonage Daydream onwards the performance was inspiring, near flawless and most important, interesting as hell. Sean's between song patter was illuminating us on the themes and schemes behind this story, as well as illustrating why some songs didn't make the cut. The second set was bombastic, well, as bombastic as you can be with one guitar and a mic'd case for foot stompin'. Lots of care put into this show and Sean does a terrific job of simulating little riffs with his limited orchestration. The gadgets helped but it was the arrangements that made it easy to hear the record in your head.

Sean Cotton performs
The Complete Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

Set 1

t01 Five Years
t02 Soul Love
t03 Moonage Daydream
t04 Starman
t05 It Ain't Easy
t06 Lady Stardust

Set 2

t07 Intro to outtakes*
t08 John, I'm Only Dancing*
t09 Velvet Goldmine*
t10 Star
t11 Sweet Head*
t12 talk
t13 Hang on to Yourself
t14 Ziggy Stardust
t15 Suffragette City
t16 talk
t17 Rock 'n' Roll Suicide

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