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Archive for January, 2005

30 Jan 05

stars and gentleman reg: “the way all shows should be”

and so my crazy week of shows has come to an end…and i don’t even feel excessively sleep deprived. not bad.

the week couldn’t have ended with a better show than stars and gentleman reg at the grad club. it’s rare that i look forward to seeing both bands on a bill as much as i did on friday (although the same could be said for joel plaskett and cuff the duke on tuesday i suppose), and i didn’t leave disappointed.

the grad club was sold out, and things were filling up nicely by the time the gentleman reges took the stage. they played a good set made up of songs from both darby and joan and make me pretty (including a lovely rendition of give me the chance to fall, during which robin, jo, anne and i all performed the hand claps). the crowd didn’t seem to be completely engaged, but hopefully he won some people over.

i headed up the stairs between sets to go to the washroom before stars hit the stage, and i met the band on their way down. evan cranley gave me a look like he knew me, and as i was looking back at him, someone grabbed my hand. it was amy millan who repeated 3 times: “give me love!” ah, so it was going to be that kind of show.

they took the stage in a somewhat high state (ok, that might be a huge understatement) and launched into a high energy, fantastically fun set, opening with set yourself on fire, and playing a number of songs from each of their 3 lps (including 3 tracks from nightsongs – a pleasant surprise). a highlight was when torq was describing the scene surrounding the stage, beginning with the fact that chris seligman’s massive keyboards were set up on the floor beside the stage, essentially in the middle of the crowd. also in the front row was someone who was reviewing the show. “let’s see what she has to say,” torq said, as he took the pages from her hand. she leapt up on stage to retrieve her work but it was too late, torq was already reading it aloud: “energetic; the way all shows should be”. he liked that and told her she could stay, and set out to prove that it really was the way all shows should be. the encore was interesting – amy didn’t return to the stage, and torq explained that the band had been having philosophical differences about encores. add to that the fact that the keyboard had lost power, and they had to improvise. cranley played the guitar part on the first five times, a song they’ve apparently never played live before, and closed with tonight from nightsongs. fantastic.

the downside: although this didn’t affect me so much, this tall guy elected to stand directly in front of maggie and tayisa. anne actually asked if he’d mind moving over a bit, but apparently he did. in order to punish all of those behind him, he decided it would be a good idea to fart through the entire set. thankfully i was out of range, but i got to watch the results. good lord.

oh, and there was no crowd surfing. i was hoping to see someone launch themselves off the stage during reg’s set, but no such luck. regardless, i know it’s pretty early to make this statement, but i would be very surprised if stars didn’t end up on my best of 2005 list.

30 Jan 05

i’ve been hax0red!

yes, i know chumptastic’s been down all weekend. i’ve been hacked for the first time! i haven’t yet figured out how, but it seems to be acting normalish again (no more sending a million packets to some poor unsuspecting computer). if it goes down again soon, you’ll know why.

update: 20+ runaway perl scripts were the culprit. they’ve been kill -9’ed, and i’ve done a few overdue security fixes. looking at my logs, i can see a million brute force ssh attempts, but thankfully none of those appear to have been the cause. i guess a change of password is in order though….

28 Jan 05

metric – vocals + crowd surfing = entertaining nonetheless

poor emily haines. she (and consequently her band, metric) had a run of bad luck in the last week. first, last saturday at the mod club, her keyboard decided to conk out at the beginning of their mod club set, leaving her with nothing to do but sing and dance (although really, i can think of worse things…) then came last night.

metric were set to play in front of a sold out crowd at the elixir, but when they launched into their first song old world underground mitch commented that she could barely hear the vocals. i figured it was just a sound glitch that would be straightened out and, sure enough, i could hear her a bit better by the end of that song. after the song was finished though, emily pointed out that the band was sick – she was starting to lose her voice, the bassist had a runny nose, and their tour manager was essentially passed out on a couch in the back. that didn’t bode well. after a couple more songs, i wanted to run up and give emily some tea…her voice sounded awful, and i could only imagine how much it hurt to sing. during combat baby her voice essentially quit on her so she enlisted the crowd to help with the singing, which was met with great enthusiasm, and actually turned out quite awesome. they soldiered through a few more (i think they played 7 songs in total) and could play no more – at one point emily asked if there was a doctor in attendance to check whether she was doing permanent damage to her voice: “i don’t know, you don’t really LOOK like a doctor…” anyway, the band was tight, and the extended “dance party” version of dead disco kicked some serious ass (and included emily crowd surfing, complete with short skirt, which i’m sure the boys at the front weren’t complaining about) and i’m sure had she been well it would’ve been an amazing show.

i can’t forget to mention the openers, uncut, who powered through another great set. mitch commented early on that they looked really good on the elixir stage (sans cheesy lights) and i had to agree: very rock. the majority of their set was made up of songs from their full length, those who were hung hang here, and they capped things off with one of my favourites, understanding the new violence. while watching them, i was struck by how low the drummer’s kit is, including cymbals. maggie did some drunken investigation into this after the show and, according to the drummer, having everything low makes things easier for him – drumming’s just a flick of the wrist. i don’t know about that though – i think i preferred joel mcconvey’s full body drumming the other night.

27 Jan 05

this errors lead to destruction!

26 Jan 05

joel plaskett + cuff the duke = gooooood

if you include thrush hermit shows, i’ve now seen joel plaskett perform more than 15 times, and i’ve yet to get tired of his show. i saw him last night at the elixir (less than two months after seeing his solo set at the grad club) and have come to the conclusion that boy really needs to take lessons from joel on how to put on a good show.

i’ll state up front that i’m rarely superkeen on shows at the elixir (especially given that last k-os fiasco), so i suppose there’s room for improvement, but i don’t really have many complaints. cuff the duke opened, which made up for any disappointment stemming from missing their headlining show a couple weeks ago, and gave their normal solid performance. wayne was wearing a lovely black suit, and was sadly somewhat limited in his normal audience participation (aka wandering through the crowd) by the venue, although he did find himself in among the front row during their last song. the guitarist, however, drew most of my attention, since it was the first time i was able to get a good look at him while he was performing. his ability to play the guitar with a bow is definitely impressive, but even more so is how he was able to play both guitar and keys at the same time in a song. so awesome. i think they played for around 45 minutes, and although the crowd wasn’t as appreciative as they should have been, i was satisfied.

the emergency played their normal fun set with ian mcgettigan on bass yet again (is he officially a fulltime member yet?) it was the first time i’d seen joel at the elixir since around 1997 when thrush hermit played there (when it was still called the trasheteria). my most vivid memory of that show was, during claim to lame near the end of the set, joel suddenly looking around and asking where ian had disappeared to. he’d wandered behind the giant “trasheteria” curtain at the back of the stage and continued to play back there. that of course doesn’t match the time that ian grabbed a bunch of toilet paper from the cafe diem washroom (conveniently located right behind their drum kit) and started tossing it around while they played…but i digress.

anyway, their set last night lasted around 2 hours (including encores), and included all of the normal favourites: work out fine, extraordinary, come on teacher, down at the khyber, maybe we should just go home, waiting to be discovered, clueless wonder (for mitch of course), written all over me, mystery and crimes, radio fly, the red light, an acoustic version of true patriot love, and others i’ve forgotten. he also threw in two songs from his forthcoming solo album, natural disaster and reasons i love this town. what was especially cool was that they didn’t just play an encore, but they played a 4 song encore. and then they came back and played 2 more songs after that. everyone went home satisfied. boy? take note.

one final note: what was up with all of the drunk older guys at the back of the elixir? for some reason, every one of them really enjoyed showing off their air guitar prowess, and one of them decided it would be a good idea to lift two barstools above his head and wave them around. on the plus side, sarah harmer was also there. woo. i don’t think i have to say anything more about that.

25 Jan 05

at john orr, we want you to freeze to death

when i got home from work today, i noticed a new sign in my lobby:

it’s essentially a rehash this month’s newsletter’s suggestions about how to keep warm (complete with the same title, with the same misplaced comma), with one addition that made me take notice: no heaters! if i didn’t have my heater, i would’ve frozen to death last week when my room was, without exaggeration, approaching zero celsius. it’s a good sign when my curtains are blowing with my windows closed, right?

anyway, the point of all this is that i HAVE reported coldness in the past. i’ve lived here for a few winters now, and last year i decided to be proactive about the whole situation and asked to have my windows resealed before it got cold, on account of that whole blowing curtains thing. here was the note left for me by my superintendant:

translated (thanks to fadey ink):
Robert: Your patio door was open, we don’t heat the outside; I pulled your bedroom window shut; you have all your heat rads blocked none of your heat can circulate. Thankyou. Temp 11:45AM F73 21.9C Superintendant Heather Oct 3/03.

right. i was clearly concerned about the temperature of my apartment on october 3rd. somehow i doubt complaints about being cold are going to be overly productive. in summary, i’m gonna use a heater and they’re gonna like it.

23 Jan 05

death from above wants you to crowd surf in your living room

friday night saw scotto attend his first ever grad club show…and what a show he picked. death from above 1979 made their return to kingston, after playing a fun and loud show back in august. having attended that show, i thought i knew what to expect, but wow, i was wrong.

let’s start at the beginning. the lost cause went on first, and i liked them better than when i saw them in november. to refresh your memory: they’re made up of stephanie earp and joel mcconvey (guitar and drums respectively), both former queen’s students, and they played an okay but unmemorable set when they opened for andy stochansky. friday’s set felt like death from above’s energy rubbed off on the lost cause, and i thought joel was going to put holes in his snare. they were solid and held my attention for much longer. good upbeat poppiness.

second on the bill was supposed to be from fiction, who also opened for dfa last time, but unfortunately we arrived too late to see them. i’m not sure what happened this time, but they were replaced on the bill at the last second by nassau, another toronto band i’d read a lot about in now and eye but whom i’d never seen. they’re fronted by the ex-drummer for guided by voices, blurtonia, john critchley and the tangiers (which is a pretty impressive resume on its own), but in nassau he’s on guitar+vocals, and i felt as though his voice really dictated the band’s sound. he doesn’t have much of a vocal range (not that you need one – see michael stipe), and there are long instrumental stretches in several songs, but i found it all to be quite droney but enjoyable. scott pointed out that their first four tracks or so were heavily effects-laden, while the remainder of the songs weren’t at all…it was an interesting mix.

finally, death from above came on around midnight, and by that time the grad club was packed (unlike their august show). also unlike their august show, we’d thought ahead and brought earplugs, otherwise i think my head might’ve exploded. their set up took a LONG time (especially considering there are just two of them), and most of this time involved stacking up enormous amps and hooking up a variety of cables and pedals. when they finally launched into their first song, i could smell something burning (and had short-lived visions of that rhode island night club), but the smell eventually went away – perhaps i was having a stroke? or is it possible for a wall of noise to start fires?

anyway, the crowd was unbelievably intense, making the controller.controller show’s crowd look sedate by comparison. the main difference, however, is that the majority weren’t dancing, but instead surging or moshing. thankfully, we were on the left side, and the crazies were mostly, as usual, on the right, so we were saved from being crushed. the people in the front row spent much of their time doubled over with their hands on the stage to support themselves from the surge. even better: who the fuck crowd surfs at the grad club? answer: two morons, including “flannel overbite guy” who’s been going to shows in kingston for years. he always kinda makes me laugh because he generally goes by himself, and is always dressed like it’s 1994 – flannel shirt over top of a random t-shirt. i guess moshing and crowd surfing were right up his alley. anyway, the whole scene reminded me of what woodstock 96 might have been like if it was in someone’s livingroom. minus the few mllion people. and the firestarting. and fred durst. and ed the sock.

our side was slightly more sedate (or, perhaps, safe), but i found it fun to watch some of the people attempt to dance to music they clearly weren’t familiar with. the girls directly in front of us (who, incidentally, have quite sharp elbows) appeared to be attempting to directly translate how they might usually dance to britney and JT to dfa’s noiserock…with interesting results.

oh yeah! the music: they motored through a 45 minute long set, plus a 5 minute or so encore. they played much of you’re a woman, i’m a machine, as well as some tracks that i couldn’t identify (but i think are from their self-titled ep). they were intense and loud and great, and i’m kind of glad they didn’t play any longer, if only for the safety of the crowd. their last track (i think it was too much love) featured some random guy from the crowd who leapt up on stage and shared screaming vocals with the drummer. this same guy also video taped the show, but i’m sure the video is the most nausea-inducing thing i can imagine, with all of the lurching and surging of the crowd.

so, while i’m still a bit disappointed that i didn’t get to see death from above play with controller.controller over the christmas break in toronto, i’m glad i didn’t miss friday night’s spectacle. i repeat: who the fuck CROWD SURFS at the GRAD CLUB?

21 Jan 05

boy oh boy, boy was drunk

last night was the official beginning of what i will refer to as “good show week”, also known as “no sleep week”. i was pleased that the week coincided with the onset of my cold, of course.

anyway, the week began with boy and shaker at the grad club. i knew nothing of shaker going in, except that they’d played a show at new music night not long ago. before they began their set (as they were setting up), mitch leaned over to me and asked for my prediction – would they be good? ear-bleedingly bad? somewhere in the middle? here’s how jaded i am: i pointed to the table of young groupies right in front of the stage and said something like “judging from them, they will be shit”. my initial opinions were clearly a bit harsh (although i was dead on about the groupies), but shaker were not good. their first song, an instrumental rock number, was pretty good, as was their closer. i got the sense that they weren’t entirely sure what kind of band they wanted to be, although it seemed to me that they were trying very hard to squeeze into the trews’ cultural space: inoffensive canadian guitar rock that jocks love (and indie kids don’t hate either). sadly, they’re no trews, and their 45 minute plus set seemed far too long. it did, however, have a lot of really lame and unintentionally funny choreographed rock star poses and kicks…

during their set, we found outselves staring at the groupies, one of whom was at the boy shows i saw last year too, playing the role of insane stalker. this time she and her friends (all apparently in the 18-19 year old range) also had their targets set on shaker – singing along to the songs, primping themselves constantly, etc. if there was any doubt, however, that their love for boy had diminished, it vanished when she and a large group of young girls (plus one asian guy – but a different asian guy than last year) stood close to the stage, enraptured.

ok, enough about the groupies. boy’s set was…interesting. they played mostly new songs (in fact, i think they only played one track from their first album), and the songs i hadn’t heard were pretty good – very sloan mixed with sam roberts. in fact, if i’d closed my eyes during various songs, i’m confident i would’ve thought it was either band on stage at any given point, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing i guess… what was most noteworthy about the set was the transformation of stephen (aka boy himself) since last year – he was very shy, quiet and humble when i last saw him, which was quite endearing. last night, however, he was a drunken and obnoxious rock star. i really hope that it was the alcohol talking (because he was HAMMERED) and that he’s not listening to his own press, ’cause that would be a real shame. the band wasn’t very tight during their feedback-filled set, but i think that can be blamed on the alcohol, and they ended after 45 minutes – the same as the opener. they played another 2 songs as an encore, then stephen went into the other room at the grad club and invited everyone to come play piano with him – which he did. anyway, in summary, it certainly wasn’t the best show i’ve seen lately, but at least the songs boy played were pretty good.

20 Jan 05

colds and singing kids

two points of “interest”:
1. i’ve eaten approximately 900 clementines in the past month, and i now have a cold. i’m thinking my body decided to relax ’cause of all the vitamin c that it’s not used to, and wham. a faucety nose IS hot though.

2. finally, k-tel has resurrected the minipops franchise! i’m unclear as to why they changed their name slightly (perhaps so as not to create confusing with that short-lived quebec band i saw open for thrush hermit once? right.) regardless, i’m very excited about this. i suspect that i may be one of the few who can sing the original minipops theme. i’m also VERY happy that they included let’s get it started.

18 Jan 05

at john orr, we recognize you need instructions on how to walk

when i got home from work last week on the day of the ice storm, i essentially had to skate up the front walkway of bobby orr tower – oddly, they never bothered to put down any sand or salt throughout the entire day. what’s funny, though, was this eastern european girl who was standing in the middle of the walkway, frantically waving her arms around like a tightrope walker with an inner ear disorder. i don’t speak to many people in my building, but i definitely HAVE had conversations with her. she strikes me as someone without any life skills whatsoever and who strikes up conversations with anyone in her frame of vision (like the time she pointed out that we both got cogeco bills on the same day, and then asked how much mine was for).

anyway, back on track: as she was floundering on the ice, she first asked me if it was as slippery elsewhere. i replied that it wasn’t quite THAT bad everywhere, but the sidewalks were mostly impassable. then came my favourite question: “do you think it’d be better if i were wearing boots?” i paused, looked down at her running shoes, and somehow managed to say “yes, definitely” without laughing at her.

for completeness, i’ll also illustrate that i’m not a very nice person by explaining that, upon answering this question, i just headed towards the doorway. the girl walking in behind me WAS nice, and proved this by offering to help running shoe girl back up the walkway.

anyway, the point of all this is that the bobby orr tower monthly newsletter arrived today (and i’ve come to anxiously expect it, given past issues’ unintentional comedy), and i don’t think it’s a coincidence that this was one of the points of interest:

someone MAY need some semi-colon skills, but that’s not the point. this time.

one final note: i was pretty irked about the lack of salting, so i left a comment card for the super. perhaps this is queen’s new way of shirking responsibility for such things? i foresee mass qlink emails to all students in lieu of salting the sidewalks on campus in the near future….

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

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