Saturday, April 30, 2005

Soul Sister No. 1

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings brought a huge crowd into Babylon on a Tuesday, and played a super-hot show for them.
They're a large crew themselves: They had almost as many people on stage as White Cowbell Oklahoma did at Barrymore's (possibly more, if you count the audience members they invited up to shake it) and the stage at Babylon is quite a bit smaller.
This was one sweaty show - between the large crowd, the lights and a muggy evening the air by the side of the stage was starting to feel more like soup after the first few songs.

Sharon Jones - Soul Sister No. 1!!! Likes a fish in her dish, she says.

The horn section: Dave Guy on Trumpet ... Neal Sugarman on sax, "Spliffy" on bigger sax. They blow, they move, then blow again.

Homer "Funky Foot" Jenkins on drums and fixed stare and Bosco Mann on bass (also the group's musical director). Remember how in the Batman movie the villains always were filmed at an angle?

Bosco and Tommy "TNT" Brenneck on guitar. I believe Bosco is thinking "Damn, you tall."

Binky Griptite, MC, vocals, and a heavily reverbed Fender (plays with a thumb pick ... haven't seen that before ... I don't go to enough country music shows, I guess).

More Sharon? Why not! She really had the audience in the palm of her hand for the whole show, with both her performance and her between-song repartee.

Some behind the neck guitar action from Mr. Griptite.

"I'm going to walk right up to the White House door ..." Sharon Jones explains politics in the U.S. and how to get that Mr. Bush's attention.

Jones, is 4-foot-11; Tommy is 6-foot-4 ... you do the math.

The Dap-Kings had a relentless soul and funk attack - it was a killer show from start to finish. Certainly in the Top 3 so far this year.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Good for the soul

Ottawa R&B act Maya and Alanna were performing as I walked into Babylon Tuesday night at a little past 10. Ben Mullin (last seen testing my powers of identification with The Caution Press) and Tristan Boucher were providing a tasteful, minimalist backing on guitar and drums.

Maya and Alanna (right to left, that is).

Alanna takes it to the river.

Don't mess with Maya.

Here's the whole crowd, with Tristan on drums and Ben on guitar.

Dap-King Bosco Mann jumped aboard for Chain of Fools ... I think he may sleep in those sunglasses.

I had much better pictures of Alanna and Maya that I managed to make a mess of by turning up my flash way too high. Oops. So you'd better go see them live - they perform at Fresco Cielo every Saturday at 10:30 until June 15.

Thursday, April 28, 2005


April 22 is a day that shall live in infamy. It was a night with five eminently go-toable shows on. Top of the list: Howe Gelb and Kate Maki at Babylon vs. White Cowbell Oklahoma, Steven Dall and The Longtimers at Barrymore’s.
I plumped for the cowbell. One, I’d caught Gelb at Bluesfest and had been amused by his mellow, folksy solo act – almost more raconteur than musician – but not overwhelmed. Two, I heard people got nekkid on stage at WCO’s show. Barrymore’s it is!
This first post I'm just going to introduce people ... 11 in all!

Jesse Lactater opened things up with some keyboard moves. I do like that lighting ...

On double-neck guitar, T’Boo Hollis Wayne Gentry IV. You'll see more of him later (and when I say more, I mean more ...).

On another guitar, Clem (just Clem) ... yes, this picture does kinda' stink, I was down to 100 ISO, and old 100 ISO at that ...

On another guitar, the Cousin Who Cannot Be Named, in his natural circumstances - gettin' down.

On another guitar (last one, I promise!) Jessup H. Christ.

On drums, Mudflap Williamson - darn tootin' there's stick-twirling here, podner.

Bubba Lee Phett handles the bass.

Sgt. Rock sings - a good soul voice, I might add.

And Sheriff R.R. Horton? He keeps all them boys in line … almost. Round these parts, cowbell is the law, mister.

Chainsaw Charlie McGee also helps out on chainsaw, stuffed animal destruction, purchasing clothes from pretty women in the audience – and of course, the mightiest variety of cowbell around … the white cowbell! Also he tried to set folks on fire. This picture isn't so good either. I promise better things in future.

So was there trouble? In a word: Yes. Keep scrolling down for a good 50% of the depravity on display ... I warn you though, it is not for the faint of heart or short of grits.

More Cowbell!

... And you just new that post title was coming, didn't you?
First, I said I'd serve up a better Clem picture (or did I .. to hell with it!), so here he is, along with the Sergeant and a spark-shootin' Chainsaw Charlie.

White Cowbell are big on audience participation, whether it's asking them to sing "Put The South In Your Mouth" in Dutch (a tour of The Netherlands is imminent ... can Amsterdam survive?), or, as you are about to see, playing slide guitar with the Pyrex on ... well, let's just say Hollis gets a little help from both four nubile young audience members and "Hollis Jr."

First Chainsaw Charlie selects some assistants from the audience. It used to be two, but now that Hollis uses an Ibanez doubleneck, four are required. The more the merrier, I always say.

Preparation is very important when you're going to play guitar with your johnson (and I don't mean the Big Sugar guy either ...). In this photo Hollis Jr. has been sanitized for your protection and replaced via the latest censoring technology in case you're viewing this blog at work.

But this picture hasn't! Not that you can see much (just because of the angle ... no offence Hollis!) but click that link at work and you're a goner.

Isn't it nice that Hollis made some new friends?

Ahem. Does the debauchery stop there? Of course not ... apart from requesting "Nine shots of tequila to the stage!" the act features ... animal sacrifice!!! Well, stuffed animal sacrifice. Here Tigger goes to meet his maker ... ripped to shreds by the fans. Does this qualify as a catfight?

I saw one of the ladies wear the tiger's head as a hat later on. I never knew there were so many foam pellets in one of those things.
Of course, it's not a rock show without jumping, is it? Here's Cousin, airborne.

It gets crowded on that stage; here's another Sgt. Rock picture, with people and guitar headstocks coming in from all over, and just about everywhere.

Big finish! Sparks, guitar hoisting, stage-diving, cousin-kissing, etc.

"Wait a minute!"
"You took pictures at a White Cowbell Oklahoma show and didn't photograph any naked chicks?!?!"
"Well ... I thought I had three more rolls of 800 ISO film ... then I realized I was out, so I zipped home to pick up a pair of old rolls, which is why some of these pictures are so crappy, and then I ran out of film ..."
"You .. ran out of film ... before Chainsaw Charlie bribed those two hotties into going topless?!?!?!"
"In a word: Yes."
(A well-deserved beating ensues.)
I promise that next time White Cowbell Oklahoma comes to town there will be naked girly pictures. I'm not promising I won't charge, mind you .... Add White Cowbell Oklahoma to your must-see file. Great music and a great time.
  • Show reminder: Motorhead. Capital Music Hall. 'Nuff said.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Blue thoughts

Without the Birdman Stage the Ottawa Bluesfest doesn't hold the same interest for me as it did in 2003 and 2004. However, there are a few bright spots:
  • Tinariwen: Much loved by Britain's Mojo magazine, these guys should attract world music cognoscenti for miles around. Where else are you going to see the world's premier Libyan-trained Kel Tamashek guerrillas turned musicians? I'm looking forward to the genuine Saharan nomad blues.
  • Mofro: Another favourite record from last year. Swampy blues from Florida, where as you know they have a lot of swamp. They're on at 1:45 on a Sunday ... what a fine band to beat the crowd for ...
  • Pernice Brothers: I'm not sure how well the groups country-pop will translate to a big outdoor stage, but their records are so uniformly excellent, it's be foolish not to go and find out.
  • Neko Case: I saw her at a bitterly cold and windy Ottawa Tulip Fest performance. Unfortunately as things are currently scheduled she's on at the same time as Tinariwen.
  • Calexico: I missed them when they played Babylon ... never again!
  • Martha Wainright: I don't care what the critics say (except for Allan Wigney, of course!) - this is the most talented Wainwright; best new record of 2005, too.
  • Holly Golightly: Well, duh.
  • Lhasa: Another killer lady singer, in three languages. I expect a vast rush from the MBNA Grassroots stage to the Black Sheep stage where she's performing after Tinariwen wraps things up.
  • The Sadies: There isn't that much else on the first Saturday that interests me ... but if you fancy the Broken Social Scene scene, you'll be in heaven.
  • Dr. John: For the second time Bluesfest books him off the main stage ... what the? Just after Joe Bonamassa, so I think I'll catch both.
  • Dutch Mason. Gotta see the prime minister of the blues while you can (the other option is The String Cheese Incident - eek!). And he's followed by John Mayall - perfect! I do expect the average age of the crowd to be over 55, though ....
There seem to be a lot of TBAs in the late slots. I'll be interested to see what they have to top up their announced lineup ... I hope to catch Keren Ann, The Dears, Gentleman Reg, Danielia Cotton .... any other must sees? That comment section is there for a reason you know ....

Valley of the Dall

Steven Dall seems like a bit of a strange opener for White Cowbell Oklahoma, but he was a nice middle act between The Longtimers and WCO - and he does have a cowboy hat ... His set was a bit of a breather, if you will, between the two heavier acts. He opened with a low-key acoustic song, aided by Fred Guignion on lap steel (actually, it was on a stand, but you know ...).

Steven Dall is not going to let go of that microphone stand. Is it just me, or is he wearing PJ bottoms?

Fred, a little later in the show.

The Department of Foreign Affairs backed him for all but that first tune. I told myself this picture of Brennan Pilkington wouldn't work out ... glad to see I was wrong.

Rob Skitmore was really getting down on guitar later on the show, but by then I was headed for the door to grab some extra film, since I'd stupidly forgotten to buy any extra rolls after the C'mon/Double Pumpers/Iron Giant show. Not that there's anything wrong with this picture.

Kosta McKay has a healthy infernal glow thanks to Barrymore's stage lighting.

Joe Skuce looks like he's enjoying himself.

Steven Dall dubbed Chris Teasdale "The Beard" during roll call. Er, okay.

G'night folks.

Dall reminded me a bit of Paul Kelly; moody music with an ecstatic edge and a hefty dose of rock'n'roll.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Not so long

... Since I saw The Long Timers rock Babylon in conjunction with Mighty Eagle Band, Turbo ACs and the prodigal punks in The Million Dollar Marxists. I don't know if it's because of the addition of Johhny Nash, a slight change in musical taste, or Barrymore's sound system, but the Longtimers sounded Stoogier than ever as I ascended the stairs to the ballroom.
Plenty of nice pictures from this gig too - an opening set for White Cowbell Oklahoma; Steven Dall and Department of Foreign Affairs were also up on stage this night.

Johnny rocks the wristband. Danzig watch out.

Justin pushes things into the red.

Rene's a blur on bass.

Greg Kerr concentrates on his work ... sorry, that should read "concentrates on his rock."

Some people like J.P. Sadek blue. Others like J.P. red.

Justin rocks while Johnny works the feedback.

More Johnny with Greg in back. This picture almost composed itself.

Even more Justin, Johhny and Greg. Plus some wacky lights. I love wacky lights!

Gee, I didn't think I fuddled the shutter speed that much ...
  • Funk reminder: Soul Sister No. 1 - that's Sharon Jones, people - and the Dap-Kings play Babylon tonight.
  • Pollstar says Holly Golightly is playing the Ottawa Bluesfest July 17. The official announcement of the fest's lineup is supposed to be tomorrow ... is someone naughty jumping the gun, or are they just playing with our tender hearts?

Monday, April 25, 2005

C'mon feel the noise

This was the third C'mon show I've seen; the others were a smashing gig with The Illuminati and The Longtimers and a somewhat underattended shindig (also dynamite) with BBQ. By comparison a pretty good crowd showed up at Mavericks April 22. Both of those were at The Dominion. Ian Blurton: "Ottawa! On a Wednesday! Kicking Montreal's ass on a Tuesday!"
Another excellent show from the trio.

I just could not get a good solo picture of Canadian rock champ Blurton, but it doesn't hurt to have some of his missus, Katie Lynn Campbell, in. Extra points for the Dead Moon T-shirt.

Ms. Campbell not only plays the bass well, she can work that hair like nobody's business. Lots of room on the Mavericks stage for her to stomp around, as is her wont.

Only the latest stop-motion technology can catch Randy Curnew in motion.

Clap along with C'mon!

I'm not sure what happened here, but if I were that cowbell, I'd be worried.

A killer show. No encore, but who needs one?