NxNE (Day 2)

A quieter (ok. Not quieter – less mobile night. It was, if anything, a louder night) last night for us all here. The day was a quick one, waking up around 2:00 or so, and we wandered downtown to Queen West (we spend all our time there!), as Ben was interviewing the PEI band, Eyes For Telescopes for Discorder magazine. Brishen and I wandered around somewhat aimlessly, stopping in at Silver Snail (why can’t Vancouver have such a great comic/games shop??), a some DJ store, Penguin Music (everything Zulu should be, only much, much smaller?), 3rd Quadrant (the geekiest comic store I can think of – totally disorganised inside, there was a guy in there (imaging comic-guy from the Simpsons) getting measured for a new Bobba Fett costume by te guy behind the counter – it’s wonderful!), Pages Books (again!) and then finally to the Rivoli to meet Ben, where we learned that he had neglected to record the interview, having only pressed play on the recorder, rather than record, so he’s to re-interview the band tonight sometime. We then stopped for Sushi at the place right next to Pages Books, which was awesome! Huge pieces, and cheap too. I had ‘rainbow maki’, which was California rolls with Sashimi on the outside. Yumm!

The night itself started out back at Rancho Relaxo to see FULL WHITE DRAG (caps an apparently integral part of the band’s name). They started off great – an instrumental, with precise, deft melody, good guitar licks and fun use of organ and theromin. However, with the next song, they started to sing. Which was a huge mistake. Really juvenile lyrics and a bad singing voice turned us right off. Judging by the looks on the other attendee’s face, we weren’t alone. The music changed too, becoming rather uninteresting, second in importance to the lyrics. We suspect the lead singer might be a little controlling, and divo-like. Recommendation to the band: If you want words, get a better lyricist and singer – the melodies were excellent!

We left then, partway through the set, to make it down to the Bovine Sex Club to see Tammy Faye Starlite & the Angels of Mercy, who were billed as tongue-in-cheek country, but turned out to be more a comedy act with a soundtrack. Tammy Faye is this wonderfully offensive character, whose act consists of trying to shock people, mostly through biblical/sexual lines. I could imagine that in the US, particularly down south, this would indeed be very shocking. Sample lyrics include ‘Well if you’re coming down Jesus, won’t you come all over me’. It was fantastic, really. Reminiscent of the outrageous Hedgwig, if you would.

We scurried our butts over to the Horseshoe Tavern again, as we were all pretty excited to see Oh Susanna, incidentally, one of the very few acts I knew of before arriving here. She was great, rocking out quite hard for an act I knew primarily as acoustic and fairly reserved. Of note was Jim Bryson on guitar, who would follow next. Oh Susanna was definitely the highlight of the festival to that point, although she was to be upstaged immediatedly by the rambling ferocity of Jim Bryson, who was just plain unbelievabe. Varied melodies, mature lyrics, great backing band, and wonderful banter interspersed throughout his set, which actually seemed a little short at just over 40 minutes (everyone in theory gets 30).
The bill had ‘special guests’ listed as the final act of the night, but it was a poorly kept secret that Lowest of the Low were making an appearance at 1 am. Brishen and I stuck around (Ben had taken off earlier to see Eyes for telescopes at the Tranzac club) for them, but after both Oh Susanna and Jim Bryson, their fairly average, somewhat generic rock (admittedly made moreso by the copycat bands that have followed in their wake) was somewhat of a disapointment. We left before the end of the show and made our way up to Bloor & Spadina to meet Ben to round out the night.

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