This is a rambly review and I could edit it but will for now leave it as it was originally posted to the fumbling-towards-ecstasy mailing list. (Actually it is as it was the second time it was posted to that list since, as I note in the text, the first time a large chunk of text was somehow snipped out by the listserv or the satellite or something.)
Well, I wouldn't call this a review, just an attempt at transcribing my own handwriting in the dark the other night, with some added stuff from memory (I of course put away my notebook during the last set). I will probably tidy it up a lot before sending it to ecto and alt.music.s-mclachlan, if ever. On the way to the concert, I was feeling quite good, with some nice chi waves in the back of the bus as we moved over the bridge. But once I entered the Vogue concert hall this faded quickly, the air in the balcony was quite warm, stuffy and dead, plus perhaps the hall acoustics were not giving me the right harmonics. Still, I did enjoy the concert and had some mild effects, which I won't describe (or will I?) during the later sets. But I don't think I will get a balcony seat there again, the air must have been better down below. Over the course of the night there was a video retrospective, with video clips from various artists, during the set breaks, plus some semi-acoustic sets from special guests. I could have done without the videos, although they did give me a chance to hear other nettwerk artists, but not rest my eyes and reorient to directions other than straight ahead during the breaks. Plus the one strange artist I liked the most I managed to miss their/her name both times (two videos). Single Gun Theory videos didn't impress me too much, they were not projecting. Sarah's Hold On video came on when I was on my way to the washroom, I paused but the usher shoo-ed me off the stairs, saying "you don't want to see this" (not really, she said to sit down but I decided to wait for the real thing, not coke but she sure cooks (me). I've lost my program or it is on my fridge, but here goes. The first special guest was Ralph the beat poet, who you can check out on the nettwerk www site, I think. I forget his last name. Naturally there were backing musicians. It was entertaining but lacked a hit, or smelled of an era of too many hits. The poetry was more framed by the beats than born of the beats. Cute, but no tears. Still I think I would check it out again, in a more intimate venue, perhaps Reading Railroad or Tongue of the Slip, and also later at night. The first act always is the hardest spot, although I bet following Sarah would be harder. So may the beat go on. The first feature act was Brainbox. They sounded mildly interesting at first but I got bored after a little while, however those of you who like spacy instrumental dance music should check them out. It sounded like background music for some space cop show, mildly interesting, with the twisted edge that would be bad for me if I was in a mixed state (when I have enough edge, and need safe curves). I couldn't hear the drums very well, and the keys were piercing, but I think that was intentional. But by doing that the coupling between rhythm section and keys is lost. Of course, a drum machine could be programmed to spawn off the keys somehow, or the other way around, or even a back and forth interplay, with control slipping. It was OK for a while but wore quickly. All instrumental and without much direction or building of momentum. And there were no twinges, or maybe one, in the late stage they did some pseudo-whale noises and I felt a cool breeze effect. Anyway, they would be OK dance music for those of you who like one-purpose music, but this wasn't a dance. And I can get spaced out quite nicely by myself. The second special guest act was Taste of Joy and I liked them, although again the bass wasn't coming through to me. I liked them enough that I may check them out opening for Art Bergmann if it hasn't sold out by the time I get around to getting ticket(s), probably at the door. They looked a bit tired though so I tried to send them some energy (yeah, sure). Maybe there was a good party Friday. The second feature act was Mystery Machine (who's Miss Terry?). I was quite impressed with the rhythm section this time, especially the drummer, maybe his kit sounded crisp too but I forgot to check the kit name. The first song was garagish, but they are a cooking, tight band. I couldn't make out the lyrics until I shaped my ear to receive them, and the singer could use some more singing lessons for proper flow, less reading effect, and the other guys should learn harmony. But they are young and I think they have a lot of potential if they play their cards right. I think they must have missed that party. Oh, despite the good rhythm section, in my seat I wasn't getting any sub-bass. Also they still have too much wank-off-ishness [or is that wank-of-fish-ness] and not enough use of space/intensity-building/transition but again they are young and may grow out of it. The song title "Horn of Plenty" made me laugh, next to it I wrote down "horn of plain tea" but don't think that is the only reason. The song endings need work, they sort of peter out instead of coming to a strong climax (next to this I had something written down "lyrics/?????" but can't read it). Then there was a speech, patting everyone on the back for a job well started. The third feature act was Rose Chronicles. They had a much cleaner sound than when I heard them at UBC, but again, where I was sitting the lyrics were very hard to make out; perhaps this could be helped by doing separate and complementary EQs and effect parameter setting for voice and r.o.b. (rest of band), the voice content zone and instruments EQ overlap too much, so that there is tension, unlike with Sarah, when the band is really there to back her up, plus her voice has a wider content zone (what the hel do I mean by that?). So anyway, I hate straining to hear lyrics, I'm not always able to make my own up. Also I found that Kristy sometimes did not project quite enough, was in a little bit of a shell, and perhaps could use more work on singing without a mic, i.e., opera style lessons. But probably that; that the voice was not in ear and brain at the same time, was due to the EQ overlap and the fact that I was not familiar with the music and so could not anticipate and sing along internally as I can do with Ms. McLachlan's magic music. So anyway, I think a band should back up and complement a singer and not overpower her, and that good lyrics can transform a mediocre band into a good one, for me. Still, I liked them, and may get the recording, but don't plan to strain live again soon (oh, but my CD player just died). They were seething but had no higher dimensional projection, or were seething but contained, not moving.??? Oh, another reason I was getting down, as well as the bad air, was the sit down venue, I guess I hate getting squished into a little space, depending on who is squishing me. I was on the aisle but people were continually going by, and the guy to my right seemed to need more than his share of space, so I was twisted to the left, and oddly enough my usual tendency is to twist to the right, and put my heart side forward, a little too often, in kitchen or computer chair. So I wish I had gotten the seat on the other side of the aisle as planned. (Now, that is crazy, right?) Plus the hot, stuffy, dark balcony was putting me to sleep. The next special guest was singer/songwriter Tara McClean, who is featured on a compilation CD to benefit Rape Crisis Centres in Canada, maybe that will get promoted around International Women's Day. Anyway, she was good, sounded almost as good as some of the acts I book, and I hope to hear her in a more intimate venue someday. She was backed by Ash Sood and Stephen Nikleva, and got a very warm response from | the audience. I didn't write down any details though. [In the garbled version, it was clipped from "response from" to the line in the Sarah section "think she was barefoot", i.e., everything from the vertical bar above to the next one was deleted. What's this about feet and carpet? And no, I didn't do that, the listserv did, or the satellite.] Then Kristy Thirsk did an acoustic version of Fleetwood Mac's Songbird and I heard her clearly, she is a good singer but still, for me, somehow she sounds as though she is behind a wall, needs to open up and project. Probably it is just something in the inflection, an upturn or downturn. Or maybe it was just that it is supposed to be a sad song. The next feature act, Ginger, had some minor technical difficulties in the first song and seemed a bit uptight at first, I thought Ginger could use a little ale :-). Also during the first song I was not super impressed with the rhythm section, but that was because the song was an intense fast one, difficult to sing and play bass at the same time. But they rock, I like them better than I did the Grapes of Wrath. Then, later, I said that the above was actually not true, the bass/drum work in the later songs was very good, and also some exemplary distinctive slide guitar work, it might be nice to overlap the slides somehow. But the keyboard wasn't cutting through to me, it may have been a location thing. I thought at first that singer Tom Hooper was just laying the lyrics there, not projecting, just saying admire these and not making you admire them. But he/they had good stage presence, and then later in the set he seemed to loosen up and really project. I guess that is the problem of 20 minute sets with short sound checks early in the night. Oh, and one note I made was that he could sing slow songs with more emotion, but that is often the case. This ginger would start the rocking horse. The song Ocean Dream impressed me --- gentle waves, followed by a pacific storm, then a fading, then, just as we thought it was over, an atlantic storm. I forget if there were gentle waves at the end, or if there is an end. The video for this could be good, waves of love, waves of sea, the sun rises in her eyes, the tide rises in her thighs, my heart rises with her smiles... Earlier on Sat I had walked at Kits at high tide, later I would walk there near low tide looking for markings in the sand, and soothing the heart. During the song, and maybe during the next set, I linked with the beach (I had said to the sea "come with me to the concert") and also with a furious Atlantic outflow wind of last Jan.6. Anyway, on Sunday we got a good wind storm, of course not as strong as the one on Avalon but for here OK, it perked me up and held my sleep to 3--4 hours (back to 7--8 last night, no worry). Oh, back to Ginger, at one point I also visualized the 5-some as at points of a 5-star (apple sliced sideways) or pentagram (cabal of 5 grandmothers, I wonder if Ginger all have grandmothers with the same first name), this was in the pounding storm at the tail end of O.D. OK, now, on to what you've been waiting for. Sarah's set was great, rocking from the start since the 20 minute sets give no time for the usual acoustic foreplay, it was like a relaxed jam-ish set in front of the hometown crowd, replete with the usual cries, flowers, proposals. Sarah was glowing, dressed casually but looking very much the confident woman, the embodiment of natural health, well rested and smiling at almost every chance. I most definitely take back the papal c remark, not that I ever really meant it. I also take back the "only her hairdresser knows" comment, she obviously hasn't had that beautiful mane of hair cut in a goodly enough while. It would be scarilege to cut that down to waif length again, although probably would take a while for one to wash. Anyway, she moist definitely has changed for the better since I first saw her at the Town Pump, the shy talented waif with the pale face and mournful eyes; now she glows in audiovisual+ . Also she had a beautiful rug spread out under her feet (I don't | think she was barefoot though), and thus converted the whole room, by magic carpet ride, into her living room. [so the garbled version snip ended at the vertical bar above] Anyway, that was just for those of you who like to talk about her appearance. Now, during her set I put away the notebook, and didn't write down the set list, so much of this is from memory. She did Possession first, a rocking version, I didn't sing along inside but just listened. At the very beginning her voice sounded a little strange, and I thought, oh, no, she has a cold.... no, she's hung... but that disappeared after the first couple of words/notes, really it was just a hook to get the audience to pay attention, something different to make them listen, and then she hit us with the waves of voice. Then she did Elsewhere, Good Enough (dedicated to Earth Day, and I also dedicated it inside as well to International Women's Day March 8), and it sure was good enough, but I suddenly felt not good enough (to finish my thesis?). Then she did Hold On, I made sure to stay put for this one, never move for those thorns of acupuncture (but dance to the piper, and wake up and smell the roses)??????? At one point I was mildly cooked (by bass waves) in the seat, but not as much in the hands as I have been when I'm up close doing sound, e.g., Wingnuts' or other bass players with good amps or something. Again my location was such that I mustn't have been getting much sub-bass or perhaps it was coming from above instead of below. And for Sarah, sometimes her voice and the guitar (at one point I said to myself "I'd like to be that guitar right now") also fry me. So it isn't just the bass, it must be something else, tuning or chords or whatever (chords with a hook?). They suffered from none of the problems I mentioned with the earlier bands. I noticed the guitar solos a little more than last time, and the keyboards a bit less, though. At the end, Sarah did an impromptu encore duet with Tom Hooper of Ginger, of the musical virus Girl From Ipanini (I forget how to spell it). It is one of those tunes that can run through your head for hours if you let it take hold, but you can't remember the lyrics. "The girl from ipanini goes walking, and when she's walking, she's ????, and then she goes to the sea" or something. It was silly but they did a great job together, the audience ate it up, and then the videos ushered us out.
After I left, maybe because of the bad air and ardent crowd, I felt down, so I took (oh yeah) my Nettwerk free grab bag containing posters, postcards and a RC CD single, and went on home, stuck some LPs and tapes on (my CD player is at least temporarily dead, although I will hook up my portable shortly and attempt the rub or something on the big one) and then, not after midnight, but after 12:30 (Newfoundlander) I went on down to the beach and on impulse off to the Railway for last call. That was a mistake because the band was rude and ended early, before I got there. Still, I had a ginger ale and an odd owl's (O'Doul's), showed a loon to the owl before tipping it to the beartender, and rushed home perked up by the people (whereas sometimes they would have irritated me). Oh, and to prevent the virus from taking hold, on the beach I invoked an anti-virus --- I went "Val ree Val ra, ...." for a second and it worked. So maybe valerian and sunshine is a cure for brAIDS or is that bra-ids. Anyway, she didn't have breads Sat, just sweet breaths tuned to soul D, not mould. I was rapt as she rapped and wrapped me up, but it was con-sensual, no can oil, eh (besides Ferron says don't use oil). Some random notes from later: tea and oranges ---- tea = hot matrix, oranges=crystal, all the way from china=tunnel through the earth, related to flowers and granite, also due to the piezoelectric effect seismic or acoustic waves can cause localized temperature and other variations in the crystal matrix, which could act like a computer chip in a way. So, that still doesn't solve the transportation problem.??? [the garbled post had everything from the vertical bar below on snipped out, by the listserv or the long distance connection] the meaning of five --- is there perhaps | an unstable isotope of lithium containing three protons and two neutrons? From a quick glance in geochemistry books there seems to be no mass five isotope but a mass 6 and 7. Perhaps the mass 5 is a transition unstable catalyst for an important nu-clear reaction (ha). Also perhaps the lower percentage isotope (I think 6) may be more important for mood disorder control than the other one, so by separating out the small factor isotope people could be treated without having the adverse side effects. Does the small factor isotope come from the sun only whereas the other is a secondary daughter product in the earth? Or is it the other way around? And what does that have to do with the price of tea in Murchie's. (I don't know why, but that last word is important, I had to break the china, probably I'm being had again given the time of the month. No bull here, though, just the usual d d.) David, now hugry, so bye.
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