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Archive for September, 2004

30 Sep 04

the arcade is on fire

having lived in kingston for about 9 years now, i thought i had a pretty good understanding of the typical queen’s concert goer, and, as such, which shows will be packed and which will be completely empty. last night’s arcade fire show at clark hall pub showed that i still have a lot to learn.

on tuesday, jo suggested that there was talk of the show selling out (which i never would have considered ahead of time), and she recommended that i buy an advance ticket online. i did so just in case, and i’m glad that i did. when i arrived at clark at 9 (when the doors were to open), there was a line up down the stairs from the pub all the way to the road, something i’ve never seen before. clearly the arcade fire has benefited from the hype – i heard more than a few people refer to pitchfork’s glowing 9.7 review of their first full length while waiting in line. anyway, i waited in line patiently with a few people who weren’t lucky enough to have tickets, and did so until after 10:30 when the openers, the ride theory, finally went on (and consequently had to abandon them – there were no more tickets to be had).

clark was far from packed, which was a bit frustrating. when i went inside, i left behind a lineup that still stretched nearly to the road – enough people to easily sell out clark twice. i’m still curious as to how they’re able to get away with jamming far more people into the pub for ritual or queen’s players shows…but hey, at leat i got in.

anyway, i like what i’ve heard of the ride theory previously. i saw them at the scherzo over a year ago, and they put on a solid yardbirds/stones-influenced show. their set last night started out a bit weak (the lead singer’s vocals were shakey at best) but improved as it went on. regardless, their musicianship is hard to criticize – great guitar work throughout, wearing their influences on their sleeves, and once they settled in and stopped making me cringe with failed harmonies i quite enjoyed their set.

after the ride theory wrapped up and completely disassembled their equipment, the arcade fire began to gradually lug their mountains of equipment up to the stage. if you aren’t familiar with them, they’re a 6-piece with a few guitars, keyboards, an accordian, a violin, a cello and various percussive elements (a full drum kit obviously, as well as a xylophone, about a million tamborines, smacking the ceiling and everything in sight with drumsticks, snapping fingers, etc.) anyway, the set up time was extraordinarily long, and there were a number of sound problems encountered that would likely have been resolved with a sound check…but that was not to be.

they finally went on at around 12:30 or so (zzzzz), and had to fight through a lot of sound problems through their first few songs – painful feedback, an amp that was in and out, and monitors that were acting up (“the violin in the monitor is killing me! it’s hard to sing when i’m not sure i’ll ever get to hear my child’s voice…”) anyway, these problems were more or less straightened out after the first few songs, and what was left was pure enjoyment. i absolutely loved watching their redhaired, glasses-wearing jack-of-all-trades. jo compared him (in a favourable way) to napoleon dynamite – he was everywhere, completely emotive and lost in the song, whether he was playing guitar, accordian, keys, xylophone, his fingers, or just beating his drum sticks against anything nearby. and really, he was indicative of the band on the whole – so much energy put into such great songs, i barely noticed that it was 2 am by the time they finished. i have absolutely nothing negative to say about their performance – it was much like the salteens/sekiden show of a couple summers ago, giving their all for a performance that was clearly for an audience they (not to mention me) weren’t expecting. the lead singer at one pointed commented that “this is fucking incredible”, referring to how into it the audience was.

i can’t finish this without mentioning the crowd. overall, i was quite impressed – for the most part, the people who got in were actually fans of the band, many of whom were singing along and genuinely excited to see the next “it” band – but there were a few exceptions. examples:

-about midway through the set, a few guys started to mosh. did they think it was 1994?

-one guy showed up late wearing a brand new billy tallent hat (who had obviously just finished playing at aj’s). they should have denied his admittance.

-something about the arcade fire seemed to trigger a bizarre reaction in some of the audience members’ brains that made them dance like maniacs – and not in a good way. one woman was doing her best “elaine”, another was doing full body thrusts, and several were step dancing up a storm. it seemed almost contagious, and seemed to spread through the crowd like a virus – providing us no end of laughing.

one final note was yet another indie celeb sighting – grad club virginia brought along matt and jill barber, and she was nice enough to introduce me to jill. granted, that’s not quite as out of the blue as seeing sam roberts at the elixir, but celebs are celebs.

28 Sep 04


It’s taken 685 entries, but I’m toying with the idea of actually Capitalizing My Posts. One possibility would be to Capitalize Every Letter Of Every Post to compensate for a couple years of neglect, but I don’t think I feel quite that strongly about the issue. I am generally such a stickler for spelling and punctuation, maybe it’s the way to go? Any thoughts?

26 Sep 04

cuff the duke: disorganized but energetic

belatedly, here are a few quick words about wednesday night’s cuff the duke show:

mitch and i arrived at the grad club quite early, and virginia (the gc’s manager) rushed over to us and told me that she’d found my website (hence the matt barber comment). she also mentioned that she’d booked joel plaskett for two nights in november, and told stories about the wolf island festival, sarah harmer and jill barber. woo.

the openers were called moses mayes (no relation to matt mays, who i saw the previous saturday – although perhaps the addition of an ‘e’ might’ve given that away to astute readers), and i knew nothing about them. they’re a pretty talented instrumental 7 piece funk band – picture the new deal without the polish and with a fuller sound (complete with a small horn section, no less). lots of fun jamming to in front of a mostly unappreciative crowd seated in their chairs. truthfully, moses mayes should not have been on the same bill as cuff the duke – funk + apparently the combination can be attributed to the fact that both bands share a booking agent. regardless, i enjoyed their set and the amount of fun they seemed to be having, in spite of the crazy heat.

cuff the duke played an energetic set, as i’d expect from them. they played a good mix of old and new to a jam packed crowd who (surpisingly to me) seemed to know every lyric from life stories for minimum wage. their new stuff has, for the most part, a little bit less of a country feel than the old, but there are some clear exceptions. the only downside to the evening was the fact that ctd had been touring for a while in opening slots (for hayden – cool), so they weren’t used to playing headliner-length sets. combine this with the lack of a set list, and there was a LOT of between-song discussion about which songs they remembered how to play, totalling, by our estimation, at least 20 minutes to a half hour. regardless, i don’t think i’ll ever get tired of watching wayne petti’s guitar-neck-in-the-air stance, or his tendency to roam through the crowd with reckless abandon, tangling fans in his cables as a result.

21 Sep 04

some light reading: the perfect birthday present

my birthday is exactly one month from today, and i thought i’d do you all a favour and give you a suggestion about what to get me. i know, you probably already had this in mind, but just in case…

20 Sep 04

matt barber: good or bad? discuss

okay, so was i at the same matt barber show as karen jackson of the queen’s journal?

the only explanations i have for our diverging views on the show are:
a) she enjoyed the sum 41 show earlier that evening.
b) she was on the right side of the grad club where the morons tend to congregate. i know that i’ve had otherwise good shows soured by drunken idiots at the grad club, but i don’t think i’ve ever had that skew my opinion of a performance…

in summary, come to chumptastic before the journal for your entertainment review needs.

19 Sep 04

some advice for the radical dudez. oh, and matt mays was there too…

mitch and i went in search of fun last night, and ended up at the brew pub for a couple hours (complete with the requisite emaciated scott baio sighting, as well as having to put up with an overly starey woman seated beside us), followed by the grad club to see matt mays and el torpedo as well as the radical dudez. it should be pointed out that neither matt mays nor the radical dudez were exactly a big draw for us – the dudez have been inconsistent live (and truthfully i’m sure we’ll get another dozen chances to see them this year if we are really interested), and matt mays’ music, from what we knew, was good but certainly not great. but, we went anyway.

we arrived early enough to watch the rather odd mix of people filing in for the show, many of which could immediately be pegged as friends of the radical dudez (not exactly a leap when one of them was actually wearing a t-shirt reading “i’m here for the radical dudez”), as well as some overly done-up girls who really didn’t fit into the grad club at any time. after waiting around for a while, the dudez took the stage and played a reasonably inoffensive set that varied between pretty good and pretty awful.

advice for the dudez:
1. stop letting the 2nd guitarist/keyboardist sing. his “harmony” absolutely killed a couple of songs.
2. what’s up with the girl? she’s no joan smith, and she added next to nothing to the set…although i was amused at the tight dress she was wearing, which she’d hiked up with jeans underneath.
3. why don’t the bassist and especially the drummer sing more? the lead singer is okay, but the drummer’s songs were my favourite.

mitch really didn’t like their set at all. i certainly wasn’t wowed, but it wasn’t THAT bad. what was amazing to me, though, was how into it the crowd was. how do all of these people know every word to every song? bizarre.

matt mays and el torpedo came on eventually, and i enjoyed their stage decorations including a large eagle rug stuck to the wall, and various bowling trophies strewn about the stage. we stuck around for 4 or 5 songs, all of which were pretty good roots rock, kind of reminiscent of the skydiggers or guthries. the highlight of the set happened off stage, when an 07 con eddie arrived. at first it wasn’t clear to me whether he was just really drunk or simply mildly retarded (shouting out at the band “do you need a new bass player? pick me!” completely out of the blue was one sign). he did an awful lot of swaying, culminating with the random dropping of a pint of beer (which i thankfully missed). anyway, i was only familiar with a handful of songs ahead of time, and they didn’t really grab us enough to make us want to stay past 12:30, so we headed out early.

15 Sep 04

the remains of brian borcherdt’s fans

i think brian borcherdt may be the nicest man in rock and roll. i’ve talked to him a couple times at by divine right shows (asking him silly things like “what is that instrument you’re playing?” – answer: synchronizer; or having him discuss with me the perks of playing at the scherzo, including being able to piss in the sink after shows), so i wanted to catch one of his solo sets at the elixir’s “indie nights”.

his set was scheduled to start at 10, and i arrived at about 10:10 post-hockey game…and discovered i was the first one there. not a good sign. well, let me clarify: there were 2 bouncers, 1 ticket taker, 2 servers, 2 sound guys, 4 visible members of other bands, and me. i chatted with brian for a bit and learned that he’ll be playing all month, and the final show will be with a full band. a few more people trickled in gradually (including his “groupies” – 3 guys that know him) and he played a short but good set starting around 10:30. the set was pretty stripped down (obviously) and laid back – him and a guitar and his somewhat hypnotic, reverbed voice. highlights included his medley of backstreet’s back/baby one more time/genie in a bottle/etc., followed directly by billy jean. his own songs weren’t bad either. i picked up a cd afterwards (hopefully he was able to afford the gas back to toronto) and have been enjoying it a lot.

after his set, i overheard the statues’ singer describe their sound as being influenced by the clash. i’m not sure if he’s ever heard the clash, because they were 3 guys playing generic punkpop that didn’t hold my attention for more than a song or two. i left soon thereafter.

the sad thing about the whole evening was that, because i was one of the few people there, i got to hear the bands discussing their plight. the final band, blues underdog, was keen on waiving the cover and just inviting people in off the street (and there were dozens out there, celebrating canada’s victory) to play for ANYONE. the statues, however, came from sudbury and, as i overheard them say, “needed the money”. as i was leaving, i was intercepted by the blues underdog singer who was sad to see me leave (guiltguiltguilt). he shook my hand though and gave me a burnt copy of their cd when i explained i had to work in the morning. i refrained from telling him to change his band’s name before it was too late. it’s definitely no blueshammer.

12 Sep 04

have you noticed something different about rob? new glasses?

i got new glasses on tuesday. they’re black, sorta rectangularish (although rounded) and i like them. i’ve worn them every day since, but only 3 people have noticed (and one, mitch, knew i was getting them ahead of time). what’s disturbing to me is that more people have noticed my “new” sideburns in the last couple months. what does all this mean?

maybe i should give it another year and a half and people will start commenting on them.

11 Sep 04

matt barber: return of the grad club shows

i’ve seen both matt barber and pete elkas a number of times now, including one other date where they played together, but it’s safe to say that tonight’s show (at the grad club! yay!) was my favourite overall. pete played his standard solo set with all of his normal songs (highlights included i see fine, still a flame, party of one, and, of course, in my den) to a small and mostly disinterested audience. i enjoyed it as always, and he seems much more comfortable as a solo performer than he was when i first saw him open for the super friendz last thanksgiving. i really enjoyed how he turned his set into a story, following the path of a guy from break up to getting on with his life, woven together with some pretty endearing stage banter. at one point between songs, mitch turned to me and said “i love him!”

matt’s set was fantastic. he played with his full band (who may or may not still be known as the union dues, i’m not quite sure), which included pete elkas this time around, as well as andy stochansky’s drummer (who i think usually also plays with matt).

now, let me take a step back for a moment and focus on what’s really important: the hotness. if the dears’ bassist was also in the band tonight, mitch would’ve probably died on the spot. essentially, tonight’s band was a super group of attractiveness. forget the music. there’s a reason the crowd was predominantly female…and “woo!'”ing at every opportunity.

ok, so the music: they were extremely tight, which is impressive since i think that was their first show together as a group. they played a long and mostly up-tempo set (in spite of the fact that the right side of the grad club was mostly seated, inexplicably…) whose only misstep was the inclusion of that awful reggaeish tiltawhirl song. i didn’t recognize a surprising number of songs considering i have his 3 releases, but i guess that bodes well for his next full length. i’m still not sure what the encore cover was, but it was a tear-your-heart-out kinda song. i also think that my enjoyment of the set was helped out by the fact that the grad club wasn’t super crowded (possibly because sum 41 were playing across the road), and consequently my annoyance level was pretty low.

anyway, to summarize: two great sets, few annoying people, non-rock crew shows at the grad club again, and a lot of attractive men, if you’re into that sorta thing.

10 Sep 04

new chumptastic

welcome to the new chumptastic server. things aren’t exactly working as they should yet, so bear with me.

Pronunciation: 'ch&mp
Function: noun
Etymology: perhaps blend of chunk and lump
Date: 1883

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