Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Vive Quebexico libre

Darn, I was hoping for a combination of French chansons and mariachi music. Quebexico blitzkrieg a few screaming hardcore numbers in about 15 minutes. In matching outfits, too!

You may recognize Len Gibbons III from Robot Kill City. The Funisher rocks the mic, while the monosyllablically named Jaw handles the bass.

Stagecoach - also of Roll Gypsy Roll - keeps a rhythm as sturdy as the Pony Express. How steady was the Pony Express? I'm not saying.

Len bends for feedback.

It can wear a guy out, being The Funisher.

Jaw minds his own bass-ness. He's credited with bassnass on their website, so I think I'm entitled to the lame pun.

Now I'm not sure who the tambourine player is, but there's something vaguely biblical about him.

Here's one in your eye, or thereabouts.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Fits right in

Seems like Sick Fits shows are few and far between these days - no matter, what they lose in quantity they make up for in quality. Or maybe it's that X-Ray X needs to recuperate from hurling himself and his guitar about.

Michael A. Hurts feels it.

Kenny, still looking Keefy.

Rocky Nagashocky in motion.

The only decent pic I got of Chase - checking the set list.

1977 action!

X-Ray X goes surfing.

And finds another use for beer bottles.

Assorted contortions ...

Another fine evening of rock destruction. They'll be playing Sept. 21 with The Bloody Hollies at Babylon.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Lock up your daughters!

Last time I saw The Sweet Janes, if memory serves, was at Bumpers - so you can see we're talking about a couple of years back. I can't recall what I thought of them then, but I liked them a whole lot last Thursday. Yes, they love the 1970s punk rock and want you to know what love is, Dead Boys style. Good frontman, good musicians, good songs - and a really energetic show.

Grady Finch howls like a man possessed! Likely by John Lydon or Stiv Bators.

Toddy Fokks on guitar.

Captain Carl has uncanny powers of string breakage prediction.

JackOv Jeff on bass. None more black!

Chris Smith on drums ... come on, what kind of made-up name is Chris Smith?!?

Toddy's down because a) rock! and b) he had strap problems. Lot of that going around.

Carl needs water!

Fun with microphone stands.

Some backup singing action!

Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Them Janes!

Punk rock action!

Good stuff! The band's next show is with the Botched Suicides and Bella Bombs Sept. 9 at Babylon as they give Million Dollar Marxists a tour sendoff.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Everybody must get stoned

I just returned from the Rolling Stones' show at Frank Clair stadium, and I can only say one thing: That is one amazing stage! I give rock's foremost geezers full credit for pulling off a great show, although even with all the bells and whistles I don't think I'll be venturing out of Ottawa's dingy and not-so-dingy clubs and bars for another taste of arena rock in the near future.
I had a delicious salmon dinner in the company of my aunt; her housemates Jo and Barb; family friends Wendy and Ed; Preston, Jo's nephew; and Robby, a friend of Preston's drafted at the last minute to take an unwanted ticket. They live just a few blocks away from Lansdowne Park, so we could hear Les Troix Accords take the stage as we munched away.
"I don't feel moved to rush over," Wendy observed.
By the time we had finished eating and made our way through the maze of the Ex to the southside stands, we could hear Our Lady Peace begin their set.
I'm not a big fan of the band, though I can remember buying their first record when it came out (on cassette, no less) . The sound was really muddy.
About 8:45 the Stones came on to a rock'em sock'em light show. The stage had a series of wings to the side, the lower two accommodated boxes for concert goers, the upper ones held lights and pyrotechnic stuff, including huge flame projectors that generated enough heat to be felt in the stands hundreds of feet away.
There was a huge screen, so you could see Mick Jagger's four-storey simulacrum jump about as he strutted the stage below.
Fortunately the sound for the Stones was better than that for OLP, though I think Ron Wood should seriously consider having a word with the soundman - his guitars sounded quite screechy from where I was sitting.
Once again - that is one amazing stage. Apart from the lights, rockets, flames, huge CGI lips (and an inflatable multicoloured version of same), the stage's centre portion rolled out to the centre of the crowd so the band could play Honky Tonk Woman and (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.
In addition to the lousy sound, I had the bad luck to be sitting directly in front of a hooting idiot - he was having a good time, and wanted everyone in the surrounding five rows to now. Frankly, I can live without people bellowing for an encore - particularly when said encore has already been under way for several minutes.
Well, it was a spectacle, and worth the price - once.

Below the belt

Quebexico organized a show at Mavericks on Thursday, Aug. 25, of a bunch of their favourite bands. Bible Belt was up first. The three-person duo claims to hail from North Carolina - this may actually be true. Their drummer joined five minutes before the show ... they had an ironing board, and as far as I can recall most of their songs went "da-da-da-da-da, duh-duh-duh-duh-duh." They had masks and wigs. Just call them Lightning Bolt's "special" cousin.

A fire alarm and iron I can understand, but a hair dryer? Crazy, man! (The really beat-up suitcase was used as a kick drum.)

They hired the drummer for his hair.

Many Carolinians are Expos fans. That's a true fact!

Strange noises made here.

Some things can't really be explained ...
  • Show reminder: The Long Timers and Mad Parrish play at Babylon. It's free, a birthday celebration for 'Timer Justin.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Pop goes the experiment

With nothing to do Monday, I decided to go to Zaphod's to check out four acts I hadn't seen before. Winston Brigby Pop Experiment, who got a nice write up from Allan Wigney in the Sun, Permanent Daylight, Jacquie in the Kitchen and Lukas Grant.

Lukas Grant started things off. Being a moody singer-songwriter, he was something of the odd man out. I was having painful flashbacks to all the horrid teenage poetry I wrote in high school, so he may be a bit too moody for my taste (or maybe I'm just getting older and grumpier). His performance was something of a family affair, with an assist from his brother on bass and sister on backup vocals - both quite capable, no nepotism here - a drummer named Ludlow and a fiddler named Alexis. He threw in covers of songs by The Decemberists and Damien Rice's Volcano, so at least he's got good taste going for him.

The ladies: Caitlin (or is it Kaitlin?) and Alexis.

Grant and his rhythm section.

Permanent Daylight performed next. They've actually been around a while, and made an amusing reference to being the grand-dads of the scene. I thought their sound was somewhere in the same space as The Wedding Present. They have sound files on their website so you can hear for yourself. A very together sounding outfit, if not exactly my bag.

Pat Collins. For some reason, I kept hearing and seeing about Fat Albert all day ... and there he is again!

Landon Bailey does his best heron impression.

Greg Hanson.

Alex Leger was having some fun bouncing about.

Jacquie in the Kitchen are alt rockers with a few twists. I wasn't feeling it -there's some genre mixing that isn't quite coming together - but they've definitely got an adventurous streak, and a good stage act. They plan to release their second long-player in the fall.

Jacquie also plays guitar; just not here. A wireless microphone allowed for some extra getting about.

Bassist Steve was also pretty active.

Guitarist Tyler, Jacquie and vaguely visible at right, drummer Rob.

Rob with greater visibility.

Jacquie on guitar and matching pants.

The Winston Brigby Pop Experiment was the main reason I went, but by the time they hit the stage I was beginning to remember I had to go to work tomorrow, so after a few songs of rough'n'ready powerpop, I split for home. They started things off with a Beatles cover, moved onto a song about peeping toms, did another number or two ... then I left.

The experimental trio.

Guitarist Alex Vance.

Bassist Erik Marsh.

Drummer Joe Cousineau rocks the Abe Lincoln look.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Last night

Bible Belt, The Sweet Janes, Sick Fits and Quebexico put on a fine show full of punk rock destruction, amplifier abuse, matching outfits and general misbehaviour last night at Mavericks; pictures from that show will be posted shortly. In the mean time, here's a picture of Jacquie in the Kitchen (Jacquie singing, Tyler playing guitar) from Monday's free show at Zaphod's.

Pictures of the other acts - Winston Brigby Pop Experiment, Permanent Daylight and Lukas Grant - will be posted shortly. Thrill.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


And now for the second part of the experimental-avant-garde show at the Avant-Garde Bar: Fursaxa, Zaimph and Carlos Giffoni.

Tara Burke is Fursaxa, and she makes her music by looping dulcimer, rattle, guitar and her own chanting into an effective tapestry of sound. Definitely my favourite performance of the night; also the longest - everyone else confined themselves to one or two creations (as far as I could tell ...).

A little singing ...

A little guitar playing ...

Add some flute ...

She also had a music box, slide-whistle and some other odds'n'ends.

Zaimph, alias Marcia Bassett, made most of her music with a guitar, using e-bows and laying things across the string while she picked and sawed at it. She also held the microphone in her mouth for some vocals.

Using the e-bows.

Never a mic-stand around when you need one ...

Breathing blue fire!

Finally Carlos Giffoni, from Venezuela via New York. He seems to curate a lot of noise shows there, works with a bunch of avant-garde big wigs and generally gets around. I couldn't get into the sound he was produced, though the technique - moving a cursor around a field on his laptop to manipulate the sound from various noise-emitting doo-dads - was interesting enough.

Laptop action!

In sum, an interesting evening. With six diverse performers working their way around the fringe of what we'd call music there was guaranteed to be a few slack spots, but it was well worth it for the Fursaxa set and a few other highlights in the other artists' brief pieces.