The Rebel Spell, Lillooet, 2014, by Gabrielle Kingston
I like to put clips of bands I like on Youtube. I don't mean to be a pain in the ass by shooting at shows, and I don't shoot at every show I see. Plus I'll happily take something down if asked (hence the absence of my Slow clips!). But it means something to me (I think you know) to share about music, and I do mean this as a gesture of support for performers I think are excellent and sometimes under-appreciated (or under-represented online - because, for instance, the Minimalist Jug Band isn't on Facebook or Gmail or Twitter or Instagram, but he sure as hell is on Youtube!). Plus it's always interesting to me to see how many views something gets. Such things don't necessarily correlate to quality, of course, and it is not all about popularity, but I am often surprised when a local band ends up with 500 or more views over the course of a few years, while a relatively well-known touring artist gets 56, say. Even relatively well known acts have surprising numbers, sometimes. Compare 882 views for Midnight Oil, versus 2,185 for Pere Ubu at the Cobalt. There's no question Midnight Oil has the larger fan base, so does this mean that Pere Ubu just has more fans likely to access them via computer?
Anyhow, I'm going to share my top dozen clips here. Before we start, why not take a guess... Who do you think, of the local bands I've shot, got the most views? The top 12 local artists that I've shot, IN THE WRONG ORDER, are:
Kitty and the Rooster
David M. of NO FUN
The Rebel Spell
the Pointed Sticks
Rich Hope and his Evil Doers
Paul Pigat with Cousin Harley
A Japanese busker named Yoji Kurosawa
There is one tie among them. Also note that I've included Yoji here because I don't actually know whether he counts as a Vancouverite or not. I believe he says in the clip he's just travelling, but who knows, I shot that awhile ago, and sometimes travellers settle down; plus it feels strange to describe him as a "touring musician," since he's a street performer. Still, he scores a very respectable number of views, relative to my Youtube channel, and beats out a few people above (he's NOT in twelfth place). In any event, I've included him here, as well.
Take a minute to sort out your top twelve Note that for the purposes of this blogpost, I've only put people on the list if a clip of them that I shot has gotten over 300 views (the perfect cutoff, it turns out; it's a number I've somewhat arbitrarily pulled out of my arse, in fact, but only eleven definitively local musicians have gotten more than 300 views with any one clip I've shot, with Yoji, as I mention, being ambiguous as to whether he should be included.
Ready? Got your list? Here is a picture of Jeff Andrew and Francesca Mirai, last night at the Heatley to make sure you don't peek ahead while you make your choices. Great set, and Jeff will have another show later this month at Lanalou's, so check those links out if you like!
Here we go: by view count alone, here are my 12 most popular clips by local bands:
1. The Rebel Spell at Adstock, 2014, playing "I Am a Rifle": 2245 views. I am very proud that this is my most watched clip, for a ton of reasons: a) it's a great song; b) it was a great show - with Todd's quip, "Last chance to hurt yourself," saying all you need to know about the fuckin' concrete moshpit at Adstock; c) it involved one of my favourite ever "circle pits," where people (including Jonny Bones of the Still Spirits, Bonedaddies, etc) sprinted around the pagoda; and because d) it was a great day in my old hometown, maybe the most fun/ exciting show I ever saw there. It says great things about the Rebel Spell that they played there at least twice in the time I was following them; not many other bands not actually from Maple Ridge did that. And there's more to it, because, to celebrate that show, Erika and I cooked a big, Indian-themed vegan feast for the Rebel Spell and invited Gerry Hannah and his partner Michelle to join us, so, like, an hour before they took the stage, the whole band was in my apartment, just down the street. The meal was kinda dominated by Todd and Gerry talking to each other, but fuck, let's face it, that's a more interesting conversation than you usually get to see happening in your apartment. Erin was a bit shy, sitting on my futon. Elliott arrived late, and ate the most (and coldest) food. Michelle and I talked ESL a bit - we used to work at the same school, which is actually the reason I got to know Gerry in person, back before New Dark Age Parade came out. And Todd revealed that he had seen my favourite ant-consciousness SF film, Phase IV, of which I had a cool poster on my wall, back when he was 11. I gave him a Phil Ochs CD that day, too - we had corresponded a bit about Ochs - and recommended he watch William Friedkin's Sorcerer (which I also had a poster of; I don't know if he ever saw it). It was a pretty great day, all in all, and I'm proud people come to this clip (wish I'd shot more!). The Propagandhi cover of "I am a Rifle" must have really helped, because other clips of theirs that I've shot ("Last Run," 445 views; "Pride and Prejudice," 189 views) don't do nearly as well.
Note: the Adstock pagoda is also the locale for this fun Jolts clip, which has what someone wrote on Facebook was the "best. moshpit. ever." It takes awhile to get started, so bear with it. This vid is not really in the top ten, though - a mere 147 views on this one; I'm just including it because of the Adstock connection. I miss the Jolts.
2. David M has a few high scores on the board, but would you have guessed that he was in the top two space? Overall, he does best when there's a "Paul Leahy" in the description, like his Rickshaw appearance at a tribute to Paul (908 views), or 593 views for this one, doing "Ream Me Like You Mean It" and a couple others at a Paul Leahy-themed show. But this clip, with Pete Campbell, doing the Stones' "Dead Flowers," has over 1500 views, and this one, filmed outside the first Rickshaw David Bowie salute, where M. was busking, has 1400+ views (and is pretty fun as a little mini-movie, actually, featuring guest appearances from both my wife Erika Lax and photographer/ local legend bev davies). Meanwhile, part two of his Small Salute to David Bowie got 903 views, as well (with Part One getting slightly less). Ozzy, his beloved late dog, steals the show. Many of his other shows are in the 300+ mark, including ones that make no mention of Paul Leahy or David Bowie or the Rolling Stones or other possible extraneous draws.
This, of course, is a slightly odd thing, because often at these shows, there are two or three people in the audience who are not in the regular "cast" or else so well known to M. that he invites them up on stage (I've been there a few times myself, and not just to hold the Gorgo). The Princeton tends to have bigger audiences because there are drinkers and pool players there, as well as the tried-and-true fans and friends of M., but I have heard him tell of a Heritage Grill show where no one came, not even me, and some of these very clips might have only two or three non-me/ non-cast people watching with me. So how do we explain this disjunct? Either a) people would rather stay home and watch David M. on Youtube than see him live, perhaps because chances that he will sit on their lap are fewer - which suggests I should stop putting these up, really, if I'm competing with the real thing; b) he has hundreds of fans who do not live in proximity to the Heritage Grill or Princeton, his two main venues of late; c) that many old NO FUN fans are curmudgeonly, stubborn, cantankerous shut ins, unlike all the joiners who flock to see the Pointed Sticks; or that d) he promotes the hell out of my clips online, which I don't think is true, since I am (of course) his Facebook friend. Anyhow, he's real popular on the 'nets. In any event, it's interesting to note. I guess e) he might just stay home and watch them again and again himself, but I doubt that, too.
3. Paul Pigat with Cousin Harley at the Rickshaw, 1,457 views. It pleases me that Paul has this many fans! New Boxcar Campfire CD out, I gather. (I almost wrote "Boxfire Campcar.") This was a great show and it's a fun clip, so I'm really glad people seem to like it.
4. Kitty and the Rooster score 782 views for this live clip from the East van Opry, even though it isn't very well-shot. They play a house party tomorrow night in Surrey (see a couple posts back for more), along with Jonny Bones. Weirdly, this album release clip of them covering the Minimalist Jug Band's "Lousy Lover" doesn't do nearly as well (under 200 views at present), despite being a bit better as a video (or is it? Faces seem a bit blown out... anyhow...).
5. Yoji Kurosawa busking in Vancouver, 620 views.Like I say, I have no idea how local Yoji is. Maybe he's itinerant, on some sort of Japanese neo-hippie drift across Canada? I kinda hope he is. But I was really compelled by his street performance outside Granville Station a couple years ago, and someone somewhere is watching this clip, obviously (does he have fans in Japan who are looking at this?). He has a CD for sale, if you see him!
6 and 7. Did someone mention the Pointed Sticks? 428 views, live in New Westminster, and presently tied with Art Bergmann at the Rickshaw! (For some reason, Part Two of that, from the same show, got far fewer views). This is our tie, and a fitting one indeed, though again, isn't it strange, given how much bigger a draw both the Pointed Sticks and Art Bergmann's live shows are, that David M. outcompetes them online? I mean, seriously, folks, what's with that?
8. Ford Pier at the Rickshaw, 420 views. I like Ford Pier a lot, but I think of him as Vancouver's most oddly rarified performer - like, if almost by design, he eschews the popular taste, strives to remain outside (tho' I saw the Vengeance Trio cover "Teenage Kicks" at a Car Free Day, once, which is nothing if not crowd-pleasing, and some of Meconium is pretty fuckin' catchy!). So it was fascinating to see a) how attentively Bob Mould's audience listened to him back in 2017 - the time of my giant interview with him - and how this clip I shot has ended up doing pretty damn well.
9. Red Herring are doing pretty well with this "If You Work for Me" clip, which has 377 views. Other vids of theirs get fewer watches, so either they shared this one, or else people are looking for songs of theirs that they remember from the EP. Newer songs of theirs (like my favourite, "The Monkey Song") do far less well (62 views as of this writing). Meanwhile, the one I like best as "film," of a sort, is this clip of "Check Your Posture," but it only has 38 views.
10. Gerry Hannah, "Living with the Lies," 364 views, at the WISE with the New Questioning Coyote Band. I hope Gerry comes back to town someday soonish; I want to hear his rendition of Steppenwolf's "The Ostrich!"
11. Sore Points at the Astoria, 357 views. This one kind of surprises me, because it happened relatively recently, so that's a hefty count. Maybe they've been touring a lot, or maybe they plugged the video themselves? (That probably makes a big difference).
12. Rich Hope and his Evil Doers, live at the Rickshaw, 323 views. Which was actually partially the source of footage for their "Golden Clouds" video (a Flamin' Groovies cover), Mack tells me. Did everyone buy Rich Hope's recent album, I'm All Yours? I haven't heard all Rich Hope's work, but of the albums I've heard, this one is the best as a RECORD (whereas some others are like... hmm, it's kinda almost like seeing him live, but actually seeing him live is better!). In fact, this is a pretty fuckin' great album.
Note: if you don't feel like counting Yoji Kurosawa as a Vancouverite - he may have been just passing through - and assuming we've already accounted for David M. (who has other high-performing clips, but has already gotten his mention), I believe the next place goes to Sex Beat, a local Gun Club cover band, at the time boasting Tim Chan on guitar. It was really fun to see Tim in Jeffrey Lee Pierce mode, tho' somewhat unfortunate that it's a cover band, and not China Syndrome (whom I've also shot, more than once) who get the prize, so to speak.
(And don't despair if you are in the bottom few, folks - remember, I have shot footage of a fair number of bands, and there's another fifty or so bands below you on the list, who have less than 300 views).
Anyhow, those are my top 12 videos I shot by local bands. Thanks for playin'.