Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sappy stuff

Normally, I stick to the one act, one post rule, but I'm going to make an exception for Julie Doiron, Shotgun and Jaybird and Woolly Leaves for the simple reason that there was a lot of overlap between the three acts. This show was the third night in a row where I'd gone to a show after bicycling home from work - to my amazement I actually felt pretty chipper.
As I approached the club, I could see the curly hair of Will Kidman bobbing above the crowd through the club-length windows that run along The Rainbow's bottom level. (Local openers Poorfolk had already been and gone, to my regret.)

Kidman's regular musical occupation is as the keyboardist for leonine Canadian new wave punks The Constantines. Despite the plural name, The Woolly Leaves is a solo act, with Will exorcising his singer-songwriter jones. A nice low-key entree. That's Julie's Hagstrom he's using - he said he normally sticks to acoustic.

Will in his entirety!

Here's a very mysterious pic of Will with Dick Morello guesting on bass.

Here's a much less mysterious picture, with Shotgun Jimmy on drums.

Julie also guested, hunching over a microphone to sing a duet. It set the pattern of overlapping acts for the rest of the night (unfortunately the pictures didn't turn out so hot). When Shotgun and Jaybird came on stage for their own performance, Kidman sat in throughout, playing drums and a tiny keyboard. This meant Shotgun and Jaybird had two drummers, since they have a regular percussionist, Paul Henderson.

And here he is (along with some hanging New Orleans bric-a-brac)!

Shotgun Jimmy. Thus the band name.

Dick Morello - or is it Freddie? Morello's voice bears a marked similarity to Lou Reed's. He peppered the set with absurdist banter, revealing his brilliant plans to patent a belt-buckle-mounted beer bottle holder to make it easier for people to applaud at shows, and his conception for a morning radio show where he would play his favourite 45s at 33 rpm.

And Ms. Doiron (with Paul just visible in back).

Julie sings!

Shotgun and Jaybird action!

Backup singing action!

A popcorn smell made itself evident partway through the set, leading Morello off on another absurdist jaunt: "Did I leave a bag of popcorn in the back of the guitar amp?!?" Julie gets in the spirit of things by miming catching popping popcorn.

The cumulative effect was in the vein of Neil Young's slower electric numbers.
Finally Julie came on stage for some of her solo material. Doiron picked her way through a few tunes before throwing the door open for audience requests: Elevator Show, The One You Love, The Best Thing For Me, The Surgery is Over, Wintermitts - this being the Internet age, a request to play a new Myspace tune, Me and My Friend, was also fielded. She also played a Shotgun and Jaybird track, Lovers of the World be On Time Tonight. It was the second to last day of Doiron's tour (not counting a homecoming gig in Sackville) and her voice was starting to feel the miles, but that did little harm. A bit of cracking suits her material.

There was, of course, also some band action. The set went on into the wee small hours. As the clock crept past 1 a.m. she inviting the remainder of Shotgun and Jaybird on for a few songs.

A few more solo songs and it was 1:45 a.m. There she brought things to a timely denouement and wished everyone a good night - "It's getting very late!"

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Flip a switch

The night was getting on by the time Harshey actually hit the stage. I've seen them sharper (and earlier in the evening). They jettisoned a couple of the later songs in their set to cut straight to their cover of Devo's Mongoloid. This was their CD release show. I think their sophomore release is a leap and a jump beyond their debut. By accident or design they took their time, and it shows. Parts remind of Les Thugs. - here Jeff mans the merch booth along with a couple of Bombs and Maureen from Good2Go.

Unfortunately, Jeff got whacked with a $720 fine for allegedly violating the city's postering bylaw while promoting the show. It was a catalyst for at least some anti-bylaw chatter. I hope there will be more, because $720 for postering is completely daft. Anyway, on with the show!




Harshey action!

A good if abbreviated performance ... but what happened to the hat of shame?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Da bomb

Allright, back to our regularly schedule punk rock'n'roll with The Bella Bombs; the penultimate performance at Harshey's CD release show oh-so-many weeks ago! So long that I can't remember anything about it! I think loud guitars figured in their somewhere though ...

Honey Bomb sliced up a thumb - "Yay, I'm bleeding!" You can just see the smear of bllod on the horn of her SG. (This was a minor-injury plagued performance, with Suspect smaking his thumb to boot.)

I had some fun with overhead shots, off which this is not one.

Faceoff action!

What's so funny? I know not!

Turbo-bomb sings!

All that standing and crouching is just killing my knees, I tell ya. Onward! You can tell this picture of Suspect is from earlier in the show because he hasn't used the tape from the set list to bandage his finger yet.

More Honey!

Bella action!

Another explosive performance.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sugar and spice

Sunday was a change of pace for me: I went off to Zaphod's to see two up-and-coming singer-songwriter types. There was a good sized crowd for Jill Barber and Emm Gryner. I enjoyed Barber's set more. She seemed a bit less prone to cynicism in her songwriting, and less inclined to try to overwhelm in her performance.

Gryner is a showier performer. Perhaps the faint whiff of deliberation is to be expected from someone who has worked with David Bowie.

I took the lion's share of my photos without any flash, so you can expect further graininess in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The leaving trains

It was a fine evening of country music at Irene's just a short while ago. Lil' Andy and Karaoke Cowboy once again graced Ottawa with their presence - last time I saw them at The Dominion opening for Reverend Glasseye. They have a new album out, and they played songs off what we critics like to call their sophomore effort along with some well-selected covers. Interesting coincidence, I just bought the Mark Lanegan-Isobel Campbell album today, in which they cover Hank Williams' Rambling Man, and Andy and Co. kicked off their set with that very same tune.

Next up, The John Henrys. This was a sort-of going away show for Rey Sabatin, since though he's sticking with the band he's quitting the town. Soon he'll be taking up residence in Toronto.

They finished off their set with John Henry's Revenge. As usual, there shall be more later (probably around Christmas, at the rate I'm building a backlog ...).

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Ministry of punk

Last time I saw the G-Men was at Mavericks, a performance they undertook after a previous engagement was KOed by a missing member. And like last time, they had a new drummer in tow (peculiar gardening accident, anyone?). They sounded extra good this time. They strike me as one of the more technically accomplished punk bands around, and they aren't afraid to throw in some fancy lead work or bass riff to liven things up.

Here's Mopa and new chap Doug.

Jamie G., serious as ever. No his guitar does not have tiny legs.

Dave Only.

Mopa encourages some audience singing from Ken Vermin and Honey Bomb.

Mopa looks like he's ready for a quick jog.

More Doug!

Government action!

The G-men are all about the snuggling.

I should mention again that Jerk Appeal was on the bill, but had wrapped up before I arrived.

Friday, November 24, 2006

What happens in Vegas

The Last Vegas are kind of fun, but there was something oddly stagey about their show. Perhaps because dour Canadians dislike flamboyance in their music performers ... perhaps we're allergic to smoke machine clouds (Lord knows I hate the bloody things, both for their photo-hindering qualities and the baby powder smell). Musically, these guys should probably call themselves the Last Angeles, because in between Chad Cherry and Co.'s jumping there's a lot of Joneses, Gargoyles, Humpers etc. style rock - some of it fairly average. Let's put it this way - my camera liked them more than my ears. They attracted a pretty decent crowd, considering what profile they have in Ottawa is mostly due to Nathan Arling also drumming for The Cynics.

Chad Cherry and upside-down microphone action!

Guitarist John Wator and a bit of monitor standing action!

Nathan's brother Adam.

Bending action with Cherry and bassist Anthony Rubino at left.

And of course, Nate himself.

Vegas action!

Jumping action!

Faceoff action!

The Babylon monitors garner another dent.

No lying down on the job from this crew!

Falling down, yes, but no lying down!

Singalong action!

I'd certainly go see them again (particularly if I heard they ditched the smoke machine); I'm not so sure I'll rush to buy their next record. I did pick up their sophomore effort at this show. It's okay.