Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Beach Boys
Molson Amphitheatre
Toronto ON

Saw Brian Wilson in the cozy confines of Massey Hall a couple of years ago. That was nice. This was great. They are The Beach Men now but who among us is what they were 50 years ago? With Lake Ontario at our backs on this hot, muggy night on the cusp of summer, this is as close to a surfin' safari as I'm likely to get.

First and foremost this is an emotive band. Not in the 'emo' way the current generation of shoe-gazers have hoisted on us. There was  time , BC (before cobain), when music stirred positive emotions in people.

The Boys were a terrific flashback. Some of the lyrics have changed know, the passage of time. "Help Me Rhonda, help me get her outa my heart" is now "Help Me Rhonda, help me get up offa this couch," the Little Deuce Coupe is now a Little Deuce Scooter©, Good Vibrations is all about marital aides.... most of that I could accept. Thought they stretched the bounds of decorum when they closed with, "we'll have gums, gums, gums, when my baby puts her dentures away." I jest.

Highlights of the evening: Opening the second set with the surviving members huddled around Brian's piano to sing Add Some Music to Your Day. Brian's rendition of  I Just Wasn't Made for These Times was powerful.

The back and side screens were filled with ancient pictures of young versions of the boys. Special tribute was paid to Dennis and Carl Wilson during Forever and God Only Knows.

The surf songs and pop hits were all met with wild screams and dancing in the aisles.

Sloop John B is one of my favourite songs by this band and together with Good Vibrations, really made the night for me.

One thing that occurred to me is that as I get older my hearing seems to be slowing down.

All night long I had Billy Joe Armstrong in my head, evoking the band to PLAY FASTER.

Set One
Do It Again
Little Honda
Catch a Wave
Don't Back Down
Surfin' Safari
Surfer Girl
Then I Kissed Her
(The Crystals cover)
Kiss Me, Baby
Getcha Back
Why Do Fools Fall in Love
(Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers cover)
When I Grow Up (to Be a Man)
Disney Girls
Please Let Me Wonder
Isn't It Time
It's OK
California Saga: California
Cotton Fields
(Lead Belly cover)
Be True to Your School
Don't Worry Baby
Little Deuce Coupe
Shut Down
I Get Around

Set Two
Add Some Music to Your Day
Heroes and Villains
Sloop John B
Wouldn't It Be Nice
I Just Wasn't Made for These Times
Sail On Sailor
In My Room
All This Is That
That's Why God Made the Radio
God Only Knows
Good Vibrations
California Girls
All Summer Long
Help Me Rhonda
Rock and Roll Music
(Chuck Berry cover)
Do You Wanna Dance?
(Bobby Freeman cover)
Surfin' USA
Barbara Ann
(The Regents cover)
Fun, Fun, Fun

Sunday, June 10, 2012

CR Avery
The Brownstone Cafe
Orillia ON

2 hours on the road with cottage weekend traffic and classic blues on the player.  2 housrs drinkin' and chattin' with my wife and the artist. 45 minutes of music and words. 1 1/4 hours back home on the major roads and testing the limits of speed and my endurance.

Not a bad way to use up 6 hours on a Friday.

The Brownstone Cafe in Orillia is a terrific local waterhing hole. If it were in Toronto it would feel at home on Queen St West. Friendly staff, local beers and a conflicted attitude towards live music. Actually not conflicted, more polarized. Front of house was populated by attentive fans of music. Rear of house was populated by your regular local Friday night crowd that didn't have to pay a cover. Pretty evenly split.

In the end it was a draw.

CR steps into the ring knowing it's going to be bloody. An opening beat-box harminica salvo of Leadbelly's Sylvie has some success in focussing the crowd. Front half enraptured, rear half somewhat perplexed at the cacophony emanating from the stage but not yet lubricated enough to overcome it or disreagard it.

CR Avery: 1  Bar: 0

Not willing to risk any downtime CR swings into Maggies Farm. The front of the house is still mezmerized, this time by the PJ Shadow piano riff in place of the harmonica. Back of house thinks it's akin to race music and begins to assert itself. Aged but comical in a libertarian kind of way, drunk bar-fly can be heard commenting, "This is my bar," in response to requests to shhhhhh.

CR Avery: 1 Bar:0  Tied: 1

Boxer usually stops everybody dead in their tracks. Not so tonight. Front of house was attentive and laughing at all the right times. Rear of house was lost and loud. CR even called out to them in the middle of this piece, to no avail.

CR Avery: 1 Bar: 1 Tied: 1

Time to  venture into the snake pit. CR picks up his banjo and makes his way to the center of the talkin' crowd. Up close and in your face they had no choice but to tone it down a touch. This one worked. The show could have gone any way from here. It unraveled for all but those in the front.

CR Avery: 2 Bar: 1 Tied: 1

Time for something a little different. If CR really wanted to hold the audience he would have broken out Stairway to Heaven or some Abba tune...but nooooo, that would be too easy. With copper mic in hand and a new beat courtesy of his plugged-in iPhone, CR tears into Voodoo Child and the rear of house checks out.

CR Avery: 2 Bar: 2 Tied: 1

CR rips off a frenetic KKK. Everyone could have walked out and this would still be a win in CR's book for the performance alone. A tree falling in the forest with no one near.

CR Avery: 3  Bar: 2  Tied: 1

One more time into the audience, with the guitar and a new song from East Van, 4 AM Text. By this time the rear of house had moved beyond ignorant to belligerent. The bar-fly was so loud a friend of his walking by outside the venue heard him and came in to reminisce. The skater dude (who would later knock over a lamp while trying to stagger out of the venue with his oversized board) thought the last song was a call-and-response for him. Except his responses were boorish grunts.

CR Avery: 3 Bar: 3 Tied: 1

Maybe it wasn't a draw. The last volley goes to CR. Show's over.

Maggies Farm
Boxer Who Just Returned From London
Hollywood Movie Blues
Voodoo Child
4 AM Text (Happy Valentines)

CR Avery and Friends
The Cameron House

CR is on a fastbreak tour, 2 shows in So Ont before he takes a week off to work on new material while basking on the beaches of Cuba. He's more likely to be busking on the beaches. He does like Fidel Castro and his beard though.

Support tonight comes courtesy of the spoken-world underground in TO. David Silverberg, by day a mild-mannered digital journalist,by night the Grand Pookbah of the Toronto Poetry Slam Circle, is hosting.

David opens with a piece on opening up to strangers, likely called, The Story of Frank Warren and Post Secrets and tossed in a haiku about a startling street person with a Jesus complex. He introduces Robert Priest, Amanda Hiebert, Lara Bozabalian and Evalyn Parry.  Priest reminded us of the nobility of not fighting while Evalyn tackled the issue of self-identity in these post-modern times.

CR Avery is...well, as always, challenging. Comes out of the box strong with his Maggies Farm mashup, sliding into the piano ballad homage to Amy Winehouse and other artists who fell, Israel's Saviour and Queen. He's feeling the harp tonight and rolls out Springsteen's 57 Channels and Hendrix's Voodoo Child

Got some new songs, 4AM Text showcased CR doing an unplugged guitar tune. Don't think I've seen CR pick up a guitar in over 30 performances I've witnessed. This song is fun and I hope it sticks around for the tour. The second unplugged song of the night is the banjo tune, Rednecks and Dykes.
Gotta love CR's social commentary songs; got a problem with gays, homeless people, liberals, revolutionaries, outsiders??? Well, fuck you, you're a douchebag.

What might have been called Bonfire Orgasm was another new song for Cece and I. Not too often you get a saw in a show. A little eerie background for what is like the Guernica of word. Hard to see/hear it all the first time through. Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson are evoked.

The show closes with a dedication to MCA and Levon Helm, recently deceased, That's It For This Cowboy, an end of the road tale.

CR Avery and Friends
The Cameron House

David Silverberg - The Story of Frank Warren and Post Secrets
Amanda  Hierbert - You've Been Calling Me
Robert Priest - Muhammed Ali
David Silverberg - (haikku)
Lara Bozabalian - Victor Hugo
Evalyn Parry - They Thought I Was A Boy

CR Avery

Maggies Farm
Israel's Saviour and Queen
57 Channels and Nothing On
4 AM Text (Happy Valentines)
Bonfire Orgasm (Cathy Petch on Saw)
Voodoo Child
Rednecks and Dykes
That's It For This Cowboy (Dedicated to MCA and Levon Helm)

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Corin Raymond
The Cameron House
w/ guests
Miss Quincy and the Showdown

The wife and I are celebrating our 33rd anniversary tonight. In the recent past we've had the good fortune to be in Paris one year, Venice another, New Orleans on two occasions, BC and NB...this year, we're upgrading.

I'm getting to really enjoy walking through the red curtains into the dark and inviting confines of the front room. Every Thursday brings a new living room experience. Tonight we're missing Treasa Levasseur and David Baxter, both in Hamilton thrilling the patrons at The Pearl Company. In their stead we have fiddler, Trent Freeman, a BC expat recently relocated in Toronto and on the piano we have Mike Evan. Brian Kobayakowa and Corin Raymond flesh out The Auxillary Sundowners, May 10th, 2012 version.
One night only, don't you dare miss it!

In November of this year Corin Raymond will be releasing his third album, Paper Nickels, featuring the songs of numerous 'small time' artists; great songs by people you may not know. The album buzz will circle around the trailer park love song that is at the heart of the Canadian Tire Caper, Don't Spend It Honey, but the whole thing will be killer. Songs from the record that were showcased this evening: 100 Candles (I can SEE that beach), Anastasia (my favourite song of the week for 17 weeks running), Old Fort Mac (Vaarmeyer writes some of the best pop-hooks in Canadian roots music), Nine Inch Nails (she moved to Montreal, well eventually don't they all?) and the aforementioned anthem to paper nickels.

Thursday night at The Cameron, with Corin hosting,  is the musical equivalent of Bits N Bites. Every time out it's something different, something unique. Tonight's set is enhanced greatly by the lovely piano fills provided by Mike Evan. These songs won't be done the same way ever again.

When the full band is not out we tend to get some surprises in the set list.

Tonight we have two Jessie Winchester covers; Isn't That So and That's What Makes You Strong...dedicated to my wife and I. Corin's also added a song by local artists The Warped 45's, the topical Progress, a testament to the insanity of uber-consumerism.

Filling in between sets we have  Miss Quincy and the Showdown who are stopping over in Toronto on their way home from a European tour. A sassy trio and an eclectic little break.

t01    Intro
t02    100 Candles (Swiftys)
t03    Anastasia (Max Metro)
t04    The Law and the Lonesome (Raymond/Byrd)
t05    Ridin' West on Dundas (Raymond)
t06    Isn't That So (Jessie Winchester)
t07    That's What Makes You Strong (J Winchester)
t08    Hard on Things (Raymond/Vaarmeyer)
t09    Progress (The Warped 45's)
t10    Stealin' My Heart (Raymond)
t11    3,000 Miles (Raymond)

Miss Quincy and the Showdown

t01    Intro
t02    Nobody With You
t03 Dead Horse
t04 You're Mama Don't Like Me

Corin Raymond

t12    Intro
t13    Old Fort Mac (Rob Vaarmeyer)
t14    Something to Lean On
t15    Nine Inch Nails
t16    Hello Hello (Raymond)
t17    Canadian Tire Update -talk
t18    Don't Spend It Honey (Raymond/Vaarmeyer)
t19    "I Have the New Total, I Must Call the Wall St Journal immediately!"
t20    There Will Always Be A Small Time (Raymond)