Suzanne Vega

Last night I saw Suzanne Vega at Richard’s on Richards. I was terribly excited to go – I had meant to see her in Seattle in December, but could not due to finances. Then, here, I thought the show was on Saturday, when I was enjoying a most wonderful dinner prepared by Brian. So when Ben ICQ’d me to ask if I wanted to go I said ‘yes!’. And so go we did.
The show was really perfect. The crowd, a mixture of older straight couple and young lesbian couples (it really was a couples crowd), was enthusiastic and as excited as I to see her. The opening act, a New Yorker by the name of Bob Hillman did a great job. He reminded be alot of a slightly more wacky Dan Bern, with his imagery even more out there. He quickly gained the respect of the audience by playing an off-the-cuff track called ‘opening act’, which served to both introduce him and set us at ease (‘some of you aren’t even listing!’). Later, when singing a song about how communists aren’t dangerous anymore, he adlibbed in some bits about socialised medicare in Vancouver and the fascists at the Elbow Room café
Suzanne Vega was pleasingly intimate, sharing stories on the origins of the songs (‘Hold me like a baby’ is one of her earliest songs, written at age 17 for a boy from a Liverpool, a counsellor at camp near to the one she was working at – her first love, and written near the end of the summer as a ‘goodbye gft’. She added that in exchange, he gave her his bandanna). She also sang a nice mixture of songs old and new. I knew every old song, but, unfamiliar with the new album, those songs were not known to me. They were, however, still quite good. She seems to be doing an interesting thing playing with breakbeats and jazz timing, which worked quite well.
Ben added as we left that she was the last one on his list of must-see acts, so as added bonus, this last must-see show was truly spectacular.

No Doubt Review Comments

In response to Rolling Stone’s review of No Doubt‘s new album, Rock Steady, the following comments amused me:

Author: limprocks14

Subject: no doubt’s rock steady

Rating: 2 | Somewhat Disagreed with the RS Review Date: 1/3/2002 8:15:27 PM

i think no doubt only cd that was good is tragic kingdom and the only one bec thats when she broke up woth gavin but everything after suxed and the new cd suxed a major amount of cock the only reason i bought it bec i use to be a no doubt fan and this was there last chance they totally sold out

Author: AmyPace

Subject: Limprocks514 or something like that

Rating: 3 | Date: 1/3/2002 8:49:58 PM

umm…you said tragic kingdom was your favorite because it was written right after Gwen and Gavin broke up. NEWS FLASH, Tragic Kingdom was written after Gwen and Tony broke up Gwen and Gavin are still together. REturn to Saturn was written about Gavin. If you were a fan as you say you were you’d know that! Pathetic!

Say everything in a Comic-Book-Guy voice for extra hilarity.

Dan Bern

I went with Ben to go see Dan Bern on Friday night up at Cap College. I’d seen Dan Bern once before, out east, I think about 4 years ago now, where it was him and a guitar playing C’est What, if I recalll correctly. This time, it was him and a band – the band is called ‘The International Jewish Banking Conspiracy’, which is kinda fun. Seeing him with a band made me feel a little like I was watching Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band – Dan Bern has that sorta blue-collar look and sneering/snarling voice like Bruce, and with the band, he rocks out in a folksy kind of way. And of course, with the Band, he played ‘the hits’. Of course, I wouldn’t know a Dan Bern hit from Adam, but the crowd sure did. And I found even I knew a couple of the songs, and was able to sing along when requested, which was fairly often. One thing I’ll say for Dan Bern – he can work an audience like no one else I’ve ever seen. Though come to think of it, Rob Wilson, who mines a similar artistic vein, is also excellent with crowds. I suppose that if you’re singing pointed, humorous songs, you need the engagement of the audience for it both to go over – hearing lyrics like:

Yes, I think you heard me right

I am the Messiah

I was gonna wait till next year

Build up the suspense a little

Make it a really big surprise

But I could not resist

It’s like when you got a really big secret

You’re just bursting to tell someone

It was kinda like that with this

And now that I’ve told you

I feel this great weight lifted

Dr. Nusbaum was right

He’s my therapist

He said get it out in the open

means that you and the audience have to be on the same page, or you’d end up offending some and leaving others simply going ‘uh, what?’.

David Gray

So my Aunt & Uncle from Cambridge sent me a David Gray CD (White Ladder) for my birthday. I’d never heard anything from him, but had heard of him and about him before.

Turns out, it’s the perfect sleepy/rainy day CD. It’s all mellow, and little whiny (à la The Verve), and really suits my mood today. Also makes me think of Travis, who are definitely a rainy day band. Up with mellow British Pop.

Basement Jaxx

So this weekend I went to go see the Basement Jaxx at the Commodore. Now, if you don’t know, I really, really like the Basement Jaxx. Their music is so diverse, they mix in interesting beats and flavours of music and generally seem to not take themselves seriously, all the while being serious musicians. The show was excellent. Super high-energy, and marks the first time I’ve ever seen DJs step from behind their decks/keyboards/mixers/computers and play guitar. Both electric and acoustic on different songs. The collective was neat, with 3 female vocalists, a dancer and a percussionist. One of the women, who was rather large, was still one of the sexiest women I’ve seen in a while. It reconfirms my opinion that it’s attitude & image, not body-shape that makes someone sexy. If you think you’re sexy, chances are other will as well, i think. Anyhoo. So that was all good. And they did a nice thing where they segued into the show with this tribal-beat mix thing, and ended the show with a reprise of the same beat. Sortofa full circle thing. What sucked was that the show was maybe an hour long. Doors were at 8. Leah and I got there at 9. The openers, old-school Beastie Boys/Fresh Prince-style hip hoppers were entertaining, and were off by 9:45. My guess is that the Basement Jaxx came on shortly after 10. By 11:40, I was sitting on my couch at home. (Apparently, Luke Mckeehan was spinning later. Had I know that, I may have stuck around).

So here’s my thing. If you’re going to charge 30-odd bucks for a concert, don’t you almost have an obligation to play for longer? And if the show was shorter because Luke McKeehan was coming in to sping, shouldn’t HOB gets its act together and avoid such scheduling conflicts? I bet either one of those acts would fill the Commodore on their own nights….

SHiNDiG (week 4)

So last night was another edition of SHiNDiG at the Railway club.

It was not very good last night, which is a shame, as I was a judge, so I had a hard decision : which of these three bands that I didn’t like should win?

Anyhoo, the first band. ‘Disco Incognito’ was a mess of a band – mixing ska with generic metal. And just plain too loud. They’d already been asked to turn it down, and my ears were still hurting afterwards. Blegh. The second band was a one-man thing named ‘Mr. Plow’. If he wasn’t so clearly a joke, I probably would have voted him first, as he was hilarious. Really dark, bitter humor that I quite enjoy. Included songs such as ‘I hate the Tragically Hip’ and ‘Incest’, an ode to the joys thereof.

The last band, ‘0 as is’ was what you’d find if you looked up ‘no-talent pretentious prog-rock’ in the dictionary. There were definitely the most interesting, however, putting forth a bad mixture of punk and new wave. They got bonus points because their drummer played an iBook, rather than a drumset…

In the end, I voted in reverse order of appearance.

Hopefully next week will be better..

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