Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Say a little prayer

First, the bad news: The Parenthetical Girls' van flamed out about a week ago, so they didn't make it to last night's show at Zaphod's or, for that matter, across the border. The turnout wasn't that great either, considering the headliner has a fair amount of critical buzz to its credit - about two-dozen people, mostly local musical types.

The show itself was rally good, starting with Glenn Nuotio. His band seems to have left for university (or something like that), so he nicked The Murder Plans' rhythm section: You can see Nick Descarie and Michael Simon adding oomph in the background.

Glenn Nuotio, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Sept. 28, 2008

The Evangelicals are from Oklahoma and get a lot of Flaming Lips comparisons (mostly to the latter band's early years). I think they also sound a bit like Dead Meadow. They put on a super show. Lots of reverbed backing vocals, one of the guitarists wore a cape, and they brought their own murky green stage lighting.

Evangelicals, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Sept. 28, 2008

I hope people don't make the same mistake tonight and take a pass on The Evangelicals' pals in Dark Meat.
  • Show reminder: Dark Meat (yes, I'm repeating myself ... really, missing this show is probably not a good thing), Fucked Corpse and Holy Cobras rock Zaphod Beeblebrox.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Storm und twang

August 16 I went off to Barrymore's to see The Brothers CD release show. I missed openers Ship-Shapes, but arrived in time to see The Flaps - there first show in a few months since guitarist Pat Lawlor was off in Thailand.

Jon Higney in green.

Looking one way.

Looking the other way.

Bending action!

The whole shadowy lot!

Later on, with better lighting.

Capable as always. Not much shows news on the horizon, except a notice that they're playing a private show at a Halloween party.
  • Show reminder: Evangelicals, The Parenthetical Girls and Glenn Nuotio play Zaphod Beeblebrox ... and unlike most Monday Zaphod's shows, there's a cover charge, so don't leave your wallet at home.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Raise a little hell

And now for the real reason I was at Bluesfest on Monday, July 7: Miss Bettye Lavette. Since she had a band, she didn't suffer the same sound-bleed problems as Richard Thompson on the previous Saturday, but the bugs were still out in force. Nonetheless, a majestic performance. Unlike some performers in the genre who are forced to rely on hits from their glory days in the 1960s and 1970s, Lavette has turned out three albums since her return to performing – indeed, she’s had better luck during her second wind than during her first. Her attentive audience ranged from contemporaries to a pair of young girls who arrived with a "We Love Betty!" sign – and was treated to songs from 1962's My Man – He’s A Loving Man to The Battle of Bettye Lavette from her latest album with the Drive-By Truckers, Scene of the Crime. She joked that one number from 1982's Tell Me a Lie came fom "my latest release!" since it's just been reissued. Also on the setlist, Lucinda Williams Joy, from her "comeback" covers album I've Got My Own Hell to Raise, Willie Nelson's Piece of My Heart, 1963's Don't Leave Me Alone ("Which didn't sell a copy!") and my favourite, The Stealer.

Here comes Bettye! She was much amused by the sign.

Rhythm section action! With drummer Darryl Pierce and bassist Chuck Bartels.

Keyboardist and musical director Alan Hill sings some.

More Bartels, with guitarist-for-many Brett Lucas.

Bettye kicks up her heels!

More amusement.

Soul action!

Guitar action!

Up and down (or rather, down and up).

Mighty swell.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hark ye Harold angels sing

Here we are with The headliners at The Rainbow August 11: The Harold Wartooth. Yes, not just any Harold Wartooth, The Harold Wartooth. They like classic rock, played through a 1990s grunge/hard rock filter.

Omri Horwitz on vocals and microphone-stand grabbing.

Brent Fagan on Gibson Explorer, plus occasional vocals.

Spencer Linton on drums.

Bassist Emon don't need no last name.

Mike Mikocic on Gibson SG.

The view from up top.

Rock action!

They're still sharpening their sound, but a pretty good night out for hard-rock lovers.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Panamerican tango

Back at Bluesfest, I'm still biding my time waiting for Bettye Lavette. Federico Aubele sounded like an intriguing prospect, with his writeup suggesting a wide range of influences: Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Smith, Vinicius, Tom Jobim and his countryman Astor Piazzolla, as well as electronic artists Thievery Corporation. I thought his performance was long on the dreamy pop sound.

He probably should have had a shared billing with Natalia Clavier, he dueted with him and performed a couple of her own songs.

Rhythm section action! With Ashish Vyas and Jerry Busher!

Jerry! Who I last saw playing with French Toast at Zaphod's in March 2006.

A whole lotta singing.

And so on!

Melodica action!

Dig those shoes.

Quite pleasant, really.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Honesty is the best policy

For some reason I was feeling a little short of my recommended weekly dose of classic 1970s style rock roundabout August 11, so I went off to The Rainbow to see Harald Wartooth. I thought the teethy ones were pretty good, but enjoyed openers The Honest I's a bit more. Of course I like a lot of tremelo and reverb on my guitar, which the Honest I's have in heaping abundance, plus quality singing and drumming to boot.

Steve Cornwell keys and sings.

Josh Arsenio on guitar.

Owen Lewis drums.

Honest action!

Feedback action!

And the view from up above.

Subsequent communication with Stephan has revealed that "We're going to take a month or two to record a legitimate EP and then hit Ottawa again by the end of this year."
  • Show reminder: The Grass Mountain Hobos hop the train to the Elmdale Tavern. The Jetplanes of Abraham perform at the National Gallery of Canada.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Frank Vignola was one of the pleasant surprises of The Bluesfest. He's not a musician I'd really go out of my way to see, not being much of a jazz fan, but once I was there I was pretty well hooked. He's played with such famous names as Ringo Starr, Madonna and Les Paul, albeit not at the same time.

Frank himself.

Hot mandolin action from Matt Flinner! -Guitar

Rich Zukor-Percussion

At right, birthday boy, Vinny Raniolo.

The rhythm section of the rhythm machine. Michael Papillo on bass and Rich Zukor on diverse percussion.

Rhythmic action!

The whole lot!

Frank does have an upcoming date in Ottawa ... Ottawa, Illinois that is, as he tours through September and October.