Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Time out, plus some photos from the East Van Opry last night

So if I have my way I'm going to do only a few more bits of writing before Christmas, barring offers of paying work or events or concert announcements I cannot ignore: something on Pere Ubu, if the band makes time for it, and part twos for my Art Bergmann and bev davies interviews (for Big Takeover and BC Musician, respectively; part ones of both either are or should be out soon).

There is also, of course, the Flesh Eaters in January. I won't be ignoring them, and neither should you! Epochal gig, their first Vancouver show, with members of X, the Blasters, and Los Lobos, and some of the most pulpily literate, B-movie-steeped lyrics ever written (by Chris D., Yakuza movie expert, filmmaker, actor, programmer, novelist, and one of the most unique vocalists in punk). As far as I know, Mo has not yet picked an opening act (or hasn't announced one). It should be someone super cooooool, who understands the honour they have of playing in front of this band for their first show in Canada... I am excited to see who it will be.

Of course, concertwise, we're all fretting about whether we're going to get to see Slow (or griping that the first show announced now ends up the second show, which is, in fact, a bad form thing to gripe about if you're talking to people who didn't get a ticket at all). But there's lots else of note coming up. My favourite local reunion act, Red Herring, has a gig at the Princeton coming up (Nov. 11th I think), and a new album in the can, to my understanding (!). And there's Coach StrobCam, and then David M is going to be doing something (I think at the Heritage Grill) next Monday (I think it is) to replace the gig that got cancelled. You can find all that on Facebook though. (David usually posts gigs in the NO FUN: the Beatles of Surrey group. Join it).

I am open to offers of paying work, for the record - the more steady and lucrative the better, of course. Scraping by has become a stone drag. Writer, ESL teacher, tutor, proofreader, whatever (but I don't drive, am scared of tools, and hate heights, so no roofing or cab drivin' for me). Feel free to get in touch (maybe leave me a comment on this post). Al needs work.

Meantime, he doesn't need the distraction of writing.

But as a partin' shot for now, I caught most of the East Van Opry last night, then realized after we'd ducked out (to run an errand at the SBC pertaining to the Vicious Cycles gig - I delivered a Stiff Little Fingers DVD for JJ) that we'd missed the Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer, assuming they played. The surprise was CR Avery, who was much, much more dynamic as a performer than I ever realized, doing "white James Brown" kinda interpretations of Dolly's "9 to 5," "Be My Baby," and - demanding people get up and dance - "Walkin' on Sunshine," interspersed with spoken word poetry (which was pretty good, too, though I hope the line about playing someone's "tulip [two-lip] harmonica" was intended to get laughs). There was lots else to like, though. My favourite song of the night was a guy who called himself "Johnny 99" - John Sponarski? - who I can find no trace of online, but who sang a very potent song called "Bad Habits." Dawn Pemberton gave the vocal performance of the night on a very moving rendition of "Oh Susanna" (yep). Squirrel Butter was the most authentically Appalachian act and made the best use of their feet. And through almost every act, Paul Rigby sat at his guitar, hearing acts he'd never heard before play songs he'd never heard before, and - concentration briefly flickering on his expressive, earnest face - would find a way to add steel guitar licks (pedal steel? lap steel? I actually don't really know the difference) to their music, almost always right on the money, smiling more often than he grimaced at his own playing (though he did that a couple of times, too! He obviously knew Geoff Berner's stuff the best, but he produced the album! And thanks, Paul, for getting Geoff to do "Phony Drawl;" I hadn't seen that one live yet). Rigby deserves some sort of award for his contributions to local music in recent years, also including his work on Art Bergmann's superb The Apostate).

So - some photos. All by me, use them if you can. Here's Annie Lou, putting the death back into country:

Eli West...

Host Kyle Bottom, joking about his (pretty great) facial hair:

Bassist from the Airstreams, with better facial hair still:

John Sponarski:

Dawn Pemberton...

Squirrel Butter (second photo with added Carolyn Mark cheering section!).

C.R. Avery (with some Kathleen Nisbet backup vocals):

C.R.'s accompaniment for the "Walkin' on Sunshine" finale:

"Professor Banjo" leading square dances:

Square Dance:

The Alimony Brothers (Erika didn't like the singer's pants but I do!).

People dancing to the Alimony Brothers:

Kim Beggs:

Paul Rigby cheering Geoff Berner:

Geoff Berner:

Carolyn Mark, Paul Rigby, Geoff Berner, and a guy in a hat:

What I thought was the finale:

Where I went next:

That's all I got, folks! Good luck getting into Slow, maybe see y'all at Red Herring or David M.


David M. said...

I'm not going to any of those, ESPECIALLY my own.

David M. said...

Actually, good luck getting into the Heritage Grill Backroom Theatre if the tattoo parlour wants it.