Friday, July 08, 2011

Daniel Lanois' Black Dub
The Opera House

OK, a little outside the box for this one. Continuing a pattern of seeing artists who are tangentially related to Bob Dylan, I find myself in a lovely little venue found in the heart of the Broadview/Dundas residential neighbourhood only steps away from Degrassi High, wondering what Daniel Lanois is up to.

He's jammin'.

Not my favourite form of music; no Phish, Moe or Dead on my calendar. I was going to leave after 17 minutes but I figured it was only fair to give them two songs. It got better, and continuted to get better throughout the night as the jams got shorter and the songs started having words.

The opening act, Rocco DeLuca, was different, actually toyed with interesting at times, but never quite broke through to enjoyable. A strange act full of echo, reverb, feedback loops, a single guitar and a voice that he used as an instrument, like bagpipes. OK, it's obvious I didn't get it. The set did provide a unique experience. Before starting "????" Rocco notes it was done with Daniel Lanois. The crowd isn't biting...especially not it's tongue as the chattering cacophony from the floor and backroom bars was carrying all the way back stage. Suddenly Lanois appears onstage and interupts the song, taking the mic from Rocco to let us know this is a good song but a soft song and everyone has to be quiet and listen. Lanois then leads into the song with the humming intro.

Daniel's looking great as he seems well recovered from his life-threatening motorcylce crash of a year ago. He was out on the floor of The Opera House, chatting with fans, signing autographs and taking pictures, as the crowd was filing in. His mom was in attendance. It was a celebration of being able to celebrate, reason enough for all of us to smile upon waking.

I missed my opportunity to get the sweet spot in this venue. Just before you take 3 steps onto the main hall floor you pass the soundboard. On the right side of the board there's a rail you can stand behind. No obstruction in front of you, perfectly placed between the two PA systems, optimum position. It was open when I came in but I took the time to get close to Lanois at the front of the stage and it was taken when I returned. So it's 3 feet from the stage in front of the left speaker banks. Took me most of the first song to lower my recording levels to something that wasn't totally blown out but I never did get to "not distorted". Fortunately a couple of the softer songs are listenable so I've posted some samples below.

It was a treat to watch Lanois' peculiar guitar stylings. He was working it hard...bleeding fingers and all. What made the vantage point even better was being positioned in front of Brian Blade; his drumming was superb. Brian worked with Lanois on Bob Dylan's wonderful 1997 record, Time Out Of Mind.

Sweet white-soul singer, Trixie Whitley, who has good genes and looks good in jeans, was a treat to hear and watch as she spend some time behind a smaller drum kit helping out the master.

Here are some samples, and, as i warned you earlier, they are a little 'hot' in taping parlance.


The Messenger
Jolie Louis

The Maker

Check out Roger Cullmans blogto post for another review and some terrific pictures.

And more great photos at this blog.

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