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23 Dec 04

a night of awkward leg kicks…and mike o’neill

last night was the zunior.com showcase at the horseshoe. i was a bit hesitant about the overall lineup (i mean, how good could a band called the “mountainside band” really be?), but i figured that it’d be worth it to see mike o’neill play for the first time since 2001 (especially since his album is my favourite of the year).

we arrived shortly after 9:30, and dave clark’s mountainside band took the stage shortly thereafter. their website describes them as a blend of hipswinging-boogiewoogie-sing along-everyoneĆ­s song-right or wrong-funky angst-filled spunk, which i think can be translated into boring and unmemorable music. nothing really stood out from their set at all, with the exception of dave’s spastic and ill-timed leg kicks (he’s “like a cobra”, as andrew pointed out), and the guys in the crowd who enthusiastically shouted “take it to the mountain!” which left me confused.

up next was an interesting surprise. the kelele brothers are a band made up of ron sexsmith’s touring band (including don kerr), and ron himself filled in since one of the members couldn’t make it (which was quite cool considering he was playing his own show “down the street” after the set). they are self-described ukelele enthusiasts (hence their name) and play all shapes and types of guitars. they were pretty fun, especially if you’re into strummy-type music, and played a set of mostly covers. oh, and there was an unfortunate leg-kick or two thrown in for good measure.

scribbled out man was third on the bill, and he was very entertaining. their website suggests that they’re normally a four-piece, but for last night’s set it was just paul linklater on guitar and don kerr on drums. they played some uptempo and fun guitar-rock (also including a few unfortunate leg-kicks). their set would’ve been fantastic had it not been for the inclusion of the “christmas song” at the end – paul and don with paul’s girlfriend, singing a looooong song a capella. pretty horrendous, unfortunately.

before mike o’neill came on, the dinner is ruined band played a short set. i’ve heard of them for many years, and have heard a track here or there, but last night was my first chance at hearing them play a full set. after a couple songs, i was reminded of a conversation i once had with my highschool friend chris quarrie about a review of pavement he’d read in rolling stone or something. it said something like “they have to be really talented to sound that bad”, and that’s sort of the impression i got from the dinner is ruined – they are clearly skilled at playing their instruments; however, the music they produced was quite painful. granted, they’re an experimental band by nature, but they just weren’t at all pleasant to listen to. the only positive i can offer is that they used an interesting mix of instruments, but that’s not enough to save them.

finally, mike came on with a band including paul from scribbled out man and don kerr once again. he was obviously fairly nervous (which he poked fun at when he commented that he was being overly confident and he should stop that), but considering i don’t think he’s played a solo show since 2001, i think that’s more than understandable. he opened with stay with me (a song that i’ve listened to more than any other over the past year) and played a good mix of songs from both of his albums (including wintertime, mr. carvery, we live happily, alsatian, andy, camera shy, etc.) and closed with what a wonderful world. aside from his new mustache, i had no complaints about his set…i just wish he’d play more (not to mention waiting less time between albums). oh, and it was interesting to watch matt murphy directly in front of me in a passionate embrace with his girlfriend for an hour…i probably could have done without that too.

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

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