Archive for March, 2016

​SLCR #236: Amelia Curran (March 8, 2016)

March 11, 2016

Tuesday, March 8, 6:47 p.m.
Back in Regina. Got in late last night. The plan was to have a nice restful day off before I go to the show tonight and back to work tomorrow. That was booked before my car developed a nasty shake a week or so ago. So instead, I got up early to drive the car to the shop. In between dropping it off and picking it back up (and dropping nearly $1,200 in the process HECK YEAH CARS ARE GREAT), I spent the day on foot, eventually racking up 27,767 steps and 21.33 kilometres. Now I’m sleepy and my feet are sore. And I have conflicting information about whether the doors open at 7:00 or 7:30, with the show starting at either 7:30 or 8:00. I’m aiming for 7:45 or so. If I miss some or all of “local opener” Scott Richmond, let’s all assume he was fantastic.

I am trying to find the source of that “local opener” description but not finding it. I remember thinking it was funny in the way it was completely accurate yet went out of its way to say nothing at all.

I had some cookies an hour or so ago. Should I eat some real food y/n

7:34 p.m.
Decided on a not-very-spicy southwest beans n’ rice frozen dinner. It made my nose run. Blew my nose and now I gave myself a nosebleed hahahahahaha friggin’ tremendous

7:56 p.m.
Made it. Hemorrhaging abated. At a table in the back of the Exchange with a Diet Pepsi and pockets full of emergency Kleenex.

Lights dimmed!

7:59 p.m.
They don’t seem in a hurry to start, though. No standing area. Most tables have candles. Kind of nice atmosphere, really.

Okay NOW we’re starting.

9:03 p.m.
My nose has had better evenings. No more bleeding but it feels unpleasant. It is unsettling. I’m unsettled.

Tangientially and facially related: if you ever wondered how many days I can go without shaving before the itching becomes unbearable, it is 5.5. I might try to keep this going though.

It turns out that Local Opener Scott Richmond was real good! I just bought his first CD. He’s here tonight, taking a break from recording his second. Guitar and harmonica with occasional stomping tonight, though he normally has a full band (who were here manning the stuff table). He’s battling tonsillitis (with apple cider vinegar, which he discussed in detail) but his voice sounded fine to me. Good sense of humour when talking, largely (but not exclusively) sad songs when singing. Dude writes good songs and likes to talk and likes to tell us what the lyrics of his songs are.

I said “good” too much. He probably doesn’t mind. I also used too many parentheses. Dunno if he’d have an opinion about that.

He tried to get us to sing at one point and it didn’t work so well so he got an extensive case of the giggles. Aside from that, the crowd was surprisingly attentive. Bodes well for the main attraction.

Our host, Eric Anderson, is a radio host from the CBC who’d driven down from Saskatoon for the opportunity to see Amelia Curran. His enthusiasm is more authentic than we get from the usual CBC “climate specialists” that normally host these things.

And as if on cue, he’s back! I didn’t win the 50/50. Unsurprising as I didn’t buy a ticket.

For the record, I was at 28,380 steps before significant clapping began. Will report back later.

Wednesday, March 9, 12:47 p.m.
I don’t have exact numbers but I clapped somewhere around 700 steps. Exercise is easy.

Anderson’s story about how he discovered Amelia Curran’s music was cute and had a solid punchline. He was upstaged by the wee lass who helped him with the 50/50 draw, though. She won everyone over, including Curran.

I haven’t gone back to look at my review from last year but I think it would be much the same as this one. Very similar setlist with a big portion drawn from They Promised You Mercy (not too surprising as she hasn’t had a newer album since then) and she told the same story about The Mistress and… hm. Okay, let me go look at the old one.

::looks at old one::

Dang, I had nothing to say that time either. Huh. Okay, well, she was real good again. Seemed a little nervous again. Made some jokes about how sad most of her songs are (and how happy they can sound and how it can be hard to tell). It took three guys to get her guitar working at the start of the show (“Happy International Women’s Day,” she quipped, before telling an abbreviated version of her life story to fill time). She messed up the start of one of her songs and made the band restart (“Hold on, I know this, I wrote it”) – just one of those moments like that make the live experience unique and fun. Though I guess it’s really only somewhat unique since I’ve seen some version of a do-over on three shows so far this year.

11:31 p.m.
I had to put this away for work (booooo) and had high hopes of coming back this evening to wrap things up with a thrilling conclusion. That doesn’t look to be happening. Both folks were good. Would go see both again. I think that was already covered.

In lieu of a proper conclusion, I will share an anecdote. Our scheduled I Mother Earth show got cancelled because they brought their old lead singer back (much to Jeff’s chagrin) and need more time to get ready, or at least that’s how the nice man from the casino explained it to me. They’ll be coming through in the fall but it was refund-only, no option to save my tickets for then. With said refund, I thought about buying tickets to see David Francey next week, believing him to be one of the New Pornographers, but it turns out that David Francey and Todd Fancey are very different people so I didn’t do it.

That story was much better inside my head than outside of it.

Alternate closing anecdote: I was on the plane to Regina the other day, waiting for takeoff, when it seemed that two folks had been assigned the same seat.

“You are going to Regina, right?” said one.

The other one tore-assed it off that plane as fast as he could. The look on his face was the most perfect combination of WTF and OMG I have ever seen. It was kind of like

}:-[

…but you’d have to make the colon extra-bold for maximum accuracy.

Aaron later suggested that the dude just didn’t want to go to Regina. Fair enough – who does? – except his planned destination was Brandon, which I’d have to think is worse?

Two more Brandon-bound folks later found their way onto our plane. Maybe if you’re loading two planes from the same gate at once, you should check tickets at the plane door?

I learned the phrase “tore-assed it” from a Calgary newscast. Some guy claimed he tore-assed it to the window when he heard gunfire. If it was “I tore ass to the window,” at least the usage would be familiar to me. But either way, I don’t know if I want to be interviewed on the news for tearing ass regardless of context.

I don’t ever watch the news at home, but I see enough news when in Calgary to be irrationally upset that their weatherman shaved off his mustache.

Somehow this review devolved into some kind of throwback LiveJournal update. Not even one of the good ones with barely-concealed passive-aggressive drama, or at least some kind of desert island discs meme or “Which Hogwarts House Do You Belong To?” quiz. Just one of those obligatory “haven’t updated in a few days and have nothing to talk about except how little I have to talk about” posts.

I spent an hour on that closing bit. I think it might be bedtime.

UPCOMING CONCERTS
• The Watchmen (March 25)
• Metric & Death Cab For Cutie w/Leisure Cruise (March 28)
• Spirit of the West (March 31)
• Sloan (April 9)
• Jason Collett & Zeus w/Kalle Mattson (April 19)
• Ben Folds & yMusic w/Dotan (May 11)
• Hawksley Workman & The Art of Time Ensemble (May 13)
• City and Colour w/Shakey Graves (June 12)
• Regina Folk Festival (August 5-7)
• “Weird Al” Yankovic (August 14)

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​SLCR #235: Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls (March 5, 2016)

March 10, 2016

It’s 1:00 a.m. and I really need to sleep. I did a lot of walking today and a lot of standing this evening. But I thought about making some notes about this show so I could write my review tomorrow (or, let’s be honest, two weeks from now), and I realized I didn’t have a ton to say, so I may as well just get this over with or pass out trying.

I was thinking on the way there that I didn’t have any kind of story about this show. The Art of Time nearly snuck past me, and Black Sabbath was a last-minute decision, but this was just a show. One I booked my trip around, to be sure, with two artists I already really like, but that’s not very interesting to read about. Luckily, I’m an idiot.

Frank Turner’s Twitter said doors at 7:00, first opener at 7:30, “done by 11:30.” I appreciate the announced times so much. Old-man jokes aside, it’s not like I can’t stay out late, I just don’t want to spend hours standing around playing Puzzle Craft 2 on my phone waiting for things to get underway. I can happily do that from home, thanks. So I caught the C-Train and got to the university with plenty of time. Or so I thought. Once inside, I found the line to get through security. I walked to the end of the line… and walked… and walked some more… and yet more. This was the longest line I had ever been a part of. Comically long. Impossibly long. It was moving at a decent pace, but I still had grave concerns about my ability to make it inside for the opening acts. Finally, after about a half-hour, a security guard said “Everybody here for Nightwish?”

Gwuh?

There’s MacEwan Hall and MacEwan Ballroom, and one is upstairs and one had Nightwish, apparently. I did think that there were an awful lot of stupid outfits for a Frank Turner show.

The line upstairs was far more manageable and I only missed half of the first Mo Kenney song. I think I have now seen Kenney four times and every time I think she is great and that her stage presence has improved from the time before. This was quite a short set – only a half-hour – but still delightful. I did not think she was as delightful as this other girl did, though. She decided that we weren’t making enough noise for Kenney and decided to remedy this by her lonesome, which made Mo (and me) crack up a few times.

Mo: “I’m from Dartmouth originally, but my first apartment was in Halifax-”
Girl: “YYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH”
Mo: “…are you from Halifax, by chance?”

She was.

The hell of it was, this girl actually seemed to get the crowd more into things. The crowd started off pretty subdued, but by the end of Mo’s set, they were reacting really well to her. There were no surprises in the setlist, apart from some personal favourites of mine presumably cut for time, but her closing cover of Bowie’s Five Years carried, of course, a little extra weight now.

There was maybe a 10-minute break before Northcote played. The lead singer introduced himself as Matt Goud and I don’t know why he didn’t name the band after himself. I knew nothing about these guys but they were really fun. Tons of energy and Goud was very charismatic. I can see these dudes on a CMJ CD with “recommended if you like: Frank Turner” under the little blurb about the band. Goud handled a few songs by himself on acoustic guitar and brought Kenney out to sing one with him as well. He also admirably defended Saskatchewan from an attempted besmirching – apparently he went to university in Regina. Anyway, these guys were good and I’d see them again and will check out whatever Apple Music has of theirs. Right now, in fact.

There was a longer break before Frank Turner and his band, the Sleeping Souls, finally took the stage for two hours of high-energy rock. His newest album is Positive Songs for Negative People and I don’t know about the negative people part, but the positive messages are always there. This is good music for the gym or to inspire you to take on the world in whatever manner you choose.

Like with Kenney, I’ve seen Turner a few times now, though I’m less familiar with all of Turner’s records (there’s a lot!). Maybe if you know all his songs, there’d be some setlist surprises you’d be really pumped for but I am not so knowledgeable in that regard. I got some old favourites and some newer stuff and lots I didn’t know and also half of Ace of Spades because why not? There was no Barbara Allen, disappointing a friend from work who wasn’t at this show anyway, but we got The Next Storm, Mittens, Josephine, The Way I Tend To Be, Eulogy, Peggy Sang The Blues, I Still Believe (with Matt Goud on harmonica), Get Better, Try This At Home… like I said, someone else could probably list 20 more songs.

Turner and the band had signed a drumhead and were going to give it to whichever side of the room was the most participatory. Our side was good at yelling and the other was good at jumping, so he decided on a tie-breaker. He called a friend out of the audience and had him crowdsurf around the entire room, touching the walls on both sides and high-fiving the sound engineer at the back – he could then return to the front and throw the drumhead to the winning side. I am proud to say I did my part and held that dude in the air for SEVERAL seconds. With lots of help. I think our side won but the drumhead arced in the air and wound up in Switzerland, the neutral zone down the middle of the room. I later saw the dude who caught the drumhead waiting for the train.

Turner is the kind of guy who has two rules for his shows – sing along if you know the words, and (more importantly) don’t be a dickhead. At one point he had us all sit on the floor (I did!) and make friends with a stranger near us (I did not!). But I sang (after a fashion) when he said to sing and jumped (sort of) when he said to jump and put my hands in the air when told to do so and I’m somewhat okay at following orders is I guess my point? Also I had fun. And I’m sleepy now.

In the interest of not being a dickhead (and because it was boring to read), I removed a lengthy complaint I’d written about a fellow fan. I’m glad you had fun. Just maybe leave your toys at home next time.

I caught the train back and walked towards my grandma’s place. The train stop is by a Humpty’s, which I noticed was still open. After a long day, the idea of midnight bacon and eggs by myself sounded both appealing and monumentally stupid. As I crossed MacLeod Trail and pondered this situation, looking at the Humpty’s, some girl crossing the other way sharply told me “If you look straight ahead, nobody’s gonna be messing with you.” I can add nothing to that except to point out that this paragraph is the most representative thing about my life that’s ever been written. When I’m dead, read this at my wake and make it the last post on my Facebook wall. It’s all that future generations will need to understand me.


For more Frank Turner goodness, check out Boppin’s interview! I even make a run-in at the end.

SLCR #234: Black Sabbath (March 4, 2016)

March 8, 2016

If you want to read a review from someone who actually knows a thing about things, go read Boppin’s review of the Hamilton show. We synced up our posts and everything!


 

I don’t really know how this happened. The Calgary trip was booked, timed to coincide with the Frank Turner show, and I happened to check Pollstar to see what else was going on while I was there, and somehow I wound up going to Black Sabbath? I am confused.

I know the show wasn’t originally scheduled for tonight. I was in my favourite Regina record store (Regina’s only record store) and overheard a customer telling the owner that he’d driven to Edmonton to see Sabbath – that’s about 8 hours one way, for those of you unfamiliar with western Canadian geography – only to get there and have Sabbath cancel two hours before showtime because Ozzy Osbourne was sick. He wasn’t able to go to the rescheduled concert since it was in the middle of the week. The guy was out gas and hotel, and because he’d bought his ticket from a reseller, he wasn’t eligible for a refund. He was talking about trying to come to this Calgary show instead. I wonder if he made it.

Black Sabbath is pretty far outside my wheelhouse. When I said I was thinking of going, I mentioned that I know Iron Man, and, well, Iron Man. Mike said that I’d surely know War Pigs and Paranoid, so I gave them a listen, and yeah, I sure did. That brings me up to three whole songs, one of which was wrecked for me by its inclusion on All Day by Girl Talk – I can’t hear War Pigs without wanting to add MOVE BITCH, GET OUT THE WAY, GET OUT THE WAY BITCH, GET OUT THE WAY. I should be prohibited from listening to mashups as they can corrupt (enhance?) perfectly good songs.

Despite being a classic pro wrestling song (the original entrance music for the Road Warriors), my familiarity with Iron Man actually began in high school when after thoroughly and justly tearing apart my taste in music, a classmate made me a mix tape which had Iron Man and other metal of that vintage on it. To be fair, Iron Man has held up a lot better than whatever shit I was listening to at the time.

Notice how I was humourously self-deprecating and yet somewhat vague, so that I don’t have to admit that I specifically remember that I bought an MC Hammer CD which was what set off his (again, 100% justifiable) teardown of my tastes – I mean, it was the one with 2 Legit 2 Quit on it, not even the one with U Can’t Touch This which I could at least defend somewhat as being popular and catchy. But I digress.

Anyway, I thought about going to Black Sabbath and asked Mike and Aaron if they thought it would be worth it for someone like me who ultimately gives no shits as it pertains to Black Sabbath. I knew full well what the answer would be so maybe I just wanted someone to convince me to go?

Honestly, if the show was in Regina, I would never have considered it. Driving? Parking? Leaving my house? Sounds awful. And if I had to take the C-Train or god forbid a bus or cab in Calgary? Forget it. But the Saddledome is walking distance. It was there. I was there. This is probably not a good enough reason. Maybe reading through all those old reviews, listening to Mika say “I can’t believe you saw (whichever band) and didn’t even appreciate it” made me want to give Mike and Aaron the same opportunity.

But I thought about it, and what the hell, right? I know three songs. That’s three more than a lot of bands I go see. And I like walking. And this is supposed to be their farewell tour (I’m sure by that they mean this is the setup for their reunion tour next year, but still). And it might be fun to write a review of something different. Consider this an anthropological expedition.

Walking around 17th Ave this afternoon, I saw a dude who reminded me of the typical metal guy from high school. Hair down to his ass, jean jacket covered in patches with logos of bands I’ve never heard of and that sound vaguely comical in their attempts to be scary. I wanted to ask if he was going to the show tonight. I later saw him there. There was quite a varied mix of folks at this thing – your stereotypical metalheads, for sure, but older folks and young kids and parents and some people who dressed the part and others who were just folks who were out for an evening. Basically the same as any other big arena rock show I’ve ever been to.

I got about 100 metres from the Saddledome when the first wave of pot stink hit me. Dave had predicted I’d wind up stoned by the end of the evening. I don’t know that he was right, but by god, the Calgarians tried their best. It was intermittent until Sabbath actually took the stage, at which point it never let up.

I walked up the stairs to the Saddledome and saw a notice posted on the doors – tonight’s show would feature strobe lights and pyrotechnics. Ah jeez, pyrotechnics, my least favourite of all the technics. I’m jumpy as heck and every time I go to the Saddledome, some shit has to explode and startle me. Either the Flames score a goal or Kane shows up or now this.

Whatever. Too late to back out now. I picked up my ticket at will call and wandered in through the metal detector. I set out in search of a stuff table – they were selling a tour-exclusive CD and Aaron and Mike had asked me to look for it. There were several merch stands, all of which were lined up 12 people deep and 8 across. It was insanity. As I stood in the line (it was more of a throng than a line, really), it occurred to me that if this was a band I was actually a fan of, no way would I bother with this. But being here and only being vaguely interested in Black Sabbath put me in an oddly calm headspace. It’s like how I feel wandering the mall at Christmastime after I’ve done all my shopping. Stress-free and relaxed in the midst of chaos.

I think I was in line for about 45 minutes. Right as I got to the front, they shut off the lights as the opener, Rival Sons, was taking the stage. This did not prevent me from buying three CDs – one each for me, Aaron, and Mike. Not sure why I got one for myself, as I’ll likely never listen to it.

(“You got one for yourself because they called it ‘Limited Edition’ and made it artificially scarce and you are a sucker and an idiot. Look at your amiibo collection.”)

Fair point.

When I was out and about in the afternoon, I bought a six-pack of bottles of Coke Zero. Continuing on the theme of me being a sucker and an idiot, I left the merchandise stand and bought myself a glass of Coke Zero that cost more than the six-pack did. To be fair, I think I’d have likely died of thirst otherwise. I think it’s justifiable.

I climbed more stairs and found my seat – I was on the second level, stage right, pretty far back. Good view. Not too bad for the cheapest available ticket on the day of the show. I caught most of Rival Sons and am struggling to have an opinion about them. They looked very small on that big stage with no help from lighting or a fancy set or anything. Musically, they were the quintessential opening band, perfectly acceptable but not memorable and not anything I’d go out of my way to see again. In fairness, I think I might have liked them a lot better in a smaller setting in front of a more interested audience.

At one point, the lead singer told us that there was a very powerful medicine and I predicted it was going to be “love” but it was “forgiveness” and either way, what about, like, the good Tylenols you need a doctor to prescribe? Or chemotherapy or something? I’ve never once forgiven a headache away.

The break was surprisingly short and soon we were watching some video about the hatching of some monster-type creature. The curtain fell and there was Black Sabbath and we were underway.

And honestly, it was all pretty fun. There’s something about a great big rock spectacle that you just don’t get at most of the shows I go to. Flashy lights, big screens, bright (but delightfully whisper-quiet) pyro – these guys got to use all the toys. There was even a confetti cannon for the final number, which struck me as being somewhat out of place (if still fun). Though there were times they’d superimpose fire or explosion effects on the big screen and that looked really cheesy. If you can’t make it look like a guitar is really on fire, it might be best to not bother.

For someone that seemed so dark and scary when I was a kid, it was weird to see Osbourne using all the standard frontman tricks. I mean, this guy once bit the head off a live bat on stage – or maybe he didn’t but people believed he did, which is just as good (better if you’re the bat) – so it was funny to see him doing all the “Let me see your hands!” stuff. “Make some noise! I can’t hear you! I’m gonna count to three and I want to hear you all scream! Come on, Edmonton did better than that last night, you can’t let them show you up!”

I’m paraphrasing, of course. There were more swears.

Musically, it was apparent that these guys know what they’re doing. I often say I can’t tell when a musician is just messing around or when they’re actually good, but “actually good” was on display here. Everyone got plenty of chances to show off, especially the drummer who played 10-15 minutes of solos in place of an intermission. As for Ozzy’s voice, he sounded like Ozzy. Fine by me. Ask someone with more of a frame of reference if you want details.

You will not be surprised to hear that they played the three songs I know. War Pigs came fairly early on, and Iron Man was first up after the drum solo break. And, um… Into The Void? Is that a song? What about Snowblind? Those are things I think Ozzy said, but I was also pretty sure at one point he said “this next tune is called ‘Where Are My Boobs'” so there’s a chance I wasn’t hearing him correctly. I mean, that’s not a good topic for a song. They’re right where you left them, Ozzy.

After leaving the stage, Ozzy could be heard saying “if you want us to come back, you better chant “one more song, one more song.” Not only was it obvious – even to me who knows nothing – that it was going to be Paranoid, but it was brilliant positioning on his part. You can’t disappoint people with a one-song-only encore if you made them ask you for it beforehand.

The band took their final bow and I took off. I headed towards Shoppers Drug Mart to grab some padded envelopes so I could mail out these CDs, but alas, you can only buy them from the post office and the post office wasn’t open. But it wasn’t a wasted trip – I got a giant bag of Chicago mix popcorn, which I completely annihilated as soon as I got back to my grandma’s place. I was absolutely ravenous for some reason.

SLCR #233: The Art of Time Ensemble (March 3, 2016)

March 4, 2016

This was a pleasant surprise. There was no big announcement for this show – at least not one that I saw. Instead, I heard about it on Twitter – really, just offhandedly retweeted – a unique one-off concert with a favourite singer joining forces with the Art of Time Ensemble to perform an evening of covers of one of their biggest inspirations. I didn’t seriously think I could go – I mean, I’d have to hop on a plane for it – but I checked the ticket availability just to satisfy my own curiosity and dang if there wasn’t one seat still available in the very front row. It was a sign from a god that I don’t believe in except for when I need justification for doing something extravagant.

I look forward to copying and pasting that paragraph in a few months’ time when I have to write about Hawksley Workman and the Art of Time playing Bruce Cockburn songs in Toronto. But I am in Calgary, where Steven Page (once of Barenaked Ladies), Craig Northey of Odds, Andy Maize of Skydiggers, and Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket played all of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. And a few other Beatles songs.

This is not as much of a one-off as the Hawksley show (which itself is actually on for two nights) – these guys are on a short Canadian tour. Four cities, I think, with a studio album version released a few years ago. Plus, finding out about the Hawksley show led to me planning that trip, whereas for this one, I had already booked my Calgary visit and just happened to be arriving a few hours before showtime.

After visiting with my grandma, watching the news and promising to bake bread and sharpen knives during my stay, I caught a C-Train to go two whole stops to the Jack Singer Concert Hall, the same place where I saw Bahamas last fall. It’s still nice and conveniently located and still a good idea for a city to have and I still like the light rail too. I need a default Calgary paragraph that I can just paste into these things.

Today is still Thursday, if we assume it’s not after midnight (depends which time zone I feel like recognizing), and I only found out about this show on Monday or Tuesday when Steven Page retweeted something about the gig. I’m not sure how I managed to luck into a front-row seat. And when I say front row, I mean I was right up there. I could – and did – rest my feet against the base of the stage. It was almost too close, like watching a movie from the front row. I couldn’t really see too much of the orchestra. If I looked straight ahead, I had a great view of the singers’ footwear. Looking up, their faces were obscured by the music stands they were using for their sheet music and bottled water and iPads. This situation thankfully didn’t last – Phillips lowered his stand and it honestly seemed like he was doing it just so I could see better. Page then followed suit and actually leaned down and said, off-mic, “there, is that better?” to the people sitting to my right.

From left to right were Phillips, Page, Northey, and Maize, with me being positioned slightly closer to Phillips than Page. Behind them was the Calgary Philharmonic. Now, as I understand it, the Art of Time Ensemble is eight or so musicians, and that’s who I expect to see performing with Hawksley in Toronto. If those folks were here tonight, I couldn’t tell you. They either weren’t there or were dressed to blend in with the Calgarians – and not with the usual cowboy hats and belt buckles, so if they were there, they clearly did their research. But I got the impression that for tonight, the four singers and artistic director (and tonight’s pianist) Andrew Burashko WERE the Art of Time Ensemble. I suspect that kind of appellation is flexible. Fine by me. You get the point – four singers, orchestral versions of Beatles songs.

The show opened with Northey singing Strawberry Fields Forever, which Page pointed out is not, technically, ON Sgt. Pepper. He attributed this to confusion between the Sgt. Pepper album and a mixtape which happened to have the title track on it (and also Corey Hart’s Sunglasses at Night). Northey does a fine imitation of the booooooooooweeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEP noise that tells you that your tape is starting.

I used to have an Odds mixtape I’d made myself that was just the right length to listen to when mowing the lawn. I think it cut off the tail end of “Yes (Means It’s Hard to Say No).” The other side of the tape had all of Wide Mouth Mason’s major label debut.

I digress. After Strawberry Fields, they played all of Sgt. Pepper (with an intermission around the halfway point), with the different singers taking turns singing lead. Do you need me to tell you about Sgt. Pepper? I feel like it is somewhat of a known commodity at this point, and while I like the Beatles, I am far from a scholar. Suffice it to say that it is commonly regarded as the Beatles’ masterpiece. Recorded in response to the Altimont riots and the Kent State shootings, Sgt. Pepper is widely credited with kicking off the grunge revolution and introducing hip-hop to mainstream America. John Lennon, or as he was often called, Mr. Mojo Risin’, rode the success of Sgt. Pepper to great fame in Pepsi commercials until he tragically died in a plane crash with Richie Valens and the Big Bopper, a day that will forever be remembered by music fans as The Day The Airplane Crashed. But you know all that if you’ve ever heard Hotel California.

Anyway. This was a really fun evening! The arrangements were interesting and the vocals were done well. It was all still recognizable as Sgt. Pepper but had some neat twists – the jazzy version of Lovely Rita being a particular standout for me. Being so close, I kept getting distracted because it was easy to discern the different parts in the vocal harmonies, which is not something I really ever think about or even entirely understand – I can’t sing, I can only imitate. Anyway, it was interesting to really see who was singing what harmonies and think about how the vocal parts were related. This probably sounds dumb as hell to anyone who actually understands music on any level. Don’t care. Write your own reviews.

During the intermission, I just stayed in my seat and played iPhone games, and I’m so glad I did because the folks behind me had the most fascinating conversation. Between not knowing what building they were in or who they were watching and then the guy professing his love for “Raspberry Fields Forever,” it was hard to stifle the giggles. In his defence, he came back with a solid “Dr. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” joke once he realized his mistake. Unfortunately, he didn’t let it go and subsequent attempts (“Banana Submarine!”) fell flat, but it was still a decent recovery.

Once the ensemble had played through all of Sgt. Pepper, they had one of those encores where you don’t bother leaving the stage. There were three closing numbers – Page sang Penny Lane, Maize did Here Comes The Sun, and all four led a singalong of All You Need Is Love, during which I’m pretty sure I heard Northey or maybe Page singing a bit of Sunglasses at Night. I don’t think there’s a “so I can so I can” in the original, but I’m far from a scholar.