Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Mini-Staycation
Echo Beach<>BMO Field
Kitchener Blues Fest

Wow, this weekend came upon us suddenly. Didn't even know we had plans.

The Offspring is bringing the Summer Nationals back to Toronto. The 20th year anniversary of their break-out tour with three other Orange County acts: The Vandals, Pennywise and Bad Religion.

I may be getting too old for this shit.

I've got both my kids in tow, each of them with a date. It was back in 1997 I had a 14 year old Emily and 12 year old Michael on the rail at the Warehouse for The Offspring's Ixnay on the Hombre tour. Somehow this makes sense.

Boy the punks are getting old. And we're talking Third Wave punk. Of course with Joe Strummer gone and all the Ramones passing on, the First Wave isn't fairing so well either.

But you gotta love the sound. Three minute pieces at full throttle and all the anti-authority rants you can handle for someone looking ahead to collecting their pension.

This may not be an accurate set list but it's pretty close. Lots of crowd favourites in here. 

    It's a Fact
    People That Are Going to Hell
    Happy Birthday to Me
    Live Fast Diarrhea
    I've Got an Ape Drape
    Oi to the World
    I Know, Huh?
    Anarchy Burger (Hold the Government)
    And Now We Dance
    My Girlfriend's Dead
    Don't Stop Me Now

Pennywise hit the stage with a lovely anniversary banner (it's their 25th) and more power-punk, a notch up in intensity. I was up on the rail for these two bands. The mosh-pit continued to grow and get a little more rambunctious but they kept a tight circle and there was plenty of space for those who just wanted to watch and listen.

        My Own Country
        Same Old Story
        My Own Way
        Restless Time
        Minor Threat
        (Minor Threat cover)
        Unknown Road
        Perfect People
        Fuck Authority
        Bro Hymn

Here's a picture my daughter took from the soundboard, with the CN Tower in the background so we will always know where it came from.

I thought they had the opening bands in the wrong order. Bad Religion's set was a little muddier, moodier and less fun. Of course my son and 8,000 other fans begged to differ. 

        Stranger Than Fiction
        New America
        21st Century (Digital Boy)
        Fuck You
        Struck a Nerve
        No Direction
        Only Rain
        True North
        You Are (The Government)
        1000 More Fools
        Best for You
        Do What You Want
        American Jesus

And here's The Offspring's even shorter version.

Ahh, The Offspring. Always a good time. Have had my son beside me all 4 times we've seen them, it's a family tradition. This year they are playing their hit album SMASH in it's entirety, in order.

        Time to Relax
        Nitro (Youth Energy)
        Bad Habit
        Gotta Get Away
        Something to Believe In
        Come Out and Play
        It'll Be a Long Time
        Killboy Powerhead
        (Didjits cover)
        What Happened to You?
        So Alone
        Not the One
        Self Esteem
        All I Want
        (Can't Get My) Head Around You
        Why Don't You Get a Job?
        You're Gonna Go Far, Kid
        Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)
        The Kids Aren't Alright

We're out of the park, everyone in a good mood, stuck in the horrific traffic jam that is Construction Season in Toronto. Day 1 down.

Day 2 starts with the car in the shop and the utility company replacing our water meter. Than another horrific traffic jam entering the park.

We were watching the World Cup awhile ago and saw the advert for the Women's Under 20 World Cup being hosted by Canada. There's something about International amateur events that allows me to overlook the Roman Empire elements of our sporting culture. It's even easier when it's the women who are sharing the spotlight. Sport is purer.

Our girls are not expected to win this event but they have a chance of getting out of the group round with a victory tonight. After losing the opening game to Ghana by a score of 1-0 it's imperative we beat Finland. Of course 'beat' sounds harsh when you look on the field and see 16 year olds playing at a superb level.

The opening game tonight has third rated PRK (People's Republic of Korea, you know they have property in the far east, on the bad side of the wall) against Ghana, both victors in their opening matches. The game is filled with yellow cards and hard tackles. Even the referee was sent off due to injury. In the end PRK won 3-0 but the lasting memories are of the boisterous Ghana fans who beat drums and sang throughout the match.

When it was over they switched to Canadian flags and broke into a rendition of our National Anthem.

Our girls fell behind early even though they were dominating the possession stats. A couple of defensive lapses resulted in a half-time deficit of 2-0. It seemed insurmountable.

In the second half we made a couple key substitutions, adding some fresh legs up front. Two goals a minute and a half apart evened up the score early. We then netted a third at the 80 minute mark to seal the victory and keep hope alive.

Next up: PRK.

Day 3 starts a little more leisurely with a late breakfast and a short drive to nearby Kitchener for their wonderful, free Bluesfest.

Buddy Guy and Quinn Sullivan opened the festival on Thursday night with a headliner show at the Clocktower Stage in Victoria Park. We're here today to see two artists we've seen previously.

At 3:15 PM we get the Alexis P Suter Band. We saw Alexis back in 2006 when she was a steady opener at the Levon Helm Rambles held in Woodstock NY. She was impressive then, she's a force of nature now.

Soulful blues is what she delivers. Powerful voice. A lotta woman. She's sassy and frisky, just like Big Mamma Thornton but she brings the house down when she pours her emotions into Let It Be. Goosebump time.

She also dedicated a song to Levon Helm, a rendition of Dylan's Knockin' On Heaven's Door that closed many a Ramble.

And she had her own songs too. From her newest release she gave us You Don't Move Me No More and Shake Your Hips and a few more.  Included in the set was her signature song, Built For Comfort, Not For Speed. Great set.

Junior Brown I missed in 2006 when he opened the early portion of Dylan's Ballpark Summer tour but I caught up with him later at the Ottawa Blues Fest and have been a fan ever since. Even made a trip out to Ann Arbor to see him because he doesn't bring his brand of Tex-Mex guitar to Canada very often.

His set list hasn't changed too much, did hear 2 or 3 new songs, one of which was a ballad that replaced my favourite song...but you can't always get what you want. His set was marred a little by muddy sound making it difficult to capture the lyrics on some songs where Junior's baritone voice is the instrument. Impressive guitar playing all the way through...that you always get.

Junior dedicated a song to the Johnny Winter who passed away last month. It occurs to me we're going to see a lot of these dedications if we continue to see these artists who have had long careers.

Had a great day under the big tent. Hooked up with long-time Dylan companion, Michele.

We have shared many a miles and hotel rooms chasing Dylan around North America. Also saw a high-school friend, James, who was in town from Massachusetts for a neice's wedding. A little bit of everything this weekend. The kids, the wife, music, sports, more music, friends and plenty of summer sun.

OH, and here's the Junior Brown song I wished he'd played.

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