a day in the life of ...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

07.14-15.2010 The New Pornographers

I'm pretty lazy these days so the thought of writing two reviews as oppose to a combined one would probably push this review further into procrastination. Now being the poor student and soon to be unemployed graduate, I wouldn't normally go to both shows of a two night stand. I've been burned too many times by bands who've played similar and sometimes exactly the same sets on all nights. I'm happy to report that The New Pornographers are not one of these bands. Both nights were different enough that I felt my money, although no longer in my pocket, went to a good cause.

The first night was a bit of a bittersweet affair. As the band walked out to this really well known 70s epic prog rock song, I'm sure almost everyone noticed that Neko wasn't there. Now I've said it before, Kathryn Calder can hold her own, (I like her voice more than Neko's) but being used to the albums, shows without Neko just aren't the same. The crowd respectfully stayed in the seats for the first couple of songs until Carl, before starting "Use It", stated that "You can stand up if you want." This started a mass exodus of people to the front of the stage, officially starting the rock show. Carl explained a couple songs in that Neko was stuck in Vermont due to a cancelled flight and that he "blamed God." I guess to make up for it, they played a rarely played "To Wild Homes."

Night two had people at the stage lip as soon as the Do do's left the stage. The crowd at this show was much much more involved and actually quite raucous. This led to a lot of banter from the band. Neko commented on a shirtless guy in the balcony who apparently was a bit distracting. Both nights had Carl pointing out how much weed was in the air, like all Vancouver shows. It was nice to the Bejar sung, "Jackie" back in their setlist. I had never heard that one before in the many times I've seen NP.

Both nights ended with Bejar's "Testament to Youth and Verse". During the "No no no no no" chorus the band stopped playing, inviting the crowd to repeat it. Awkwardly, both nights the crowd had to be coaxed into participating, nevertheless everyone had fun I'm sure.

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

07.01.2010 Stanley Clarke Band / Andy Milne's Dapp Theory

The Vancouver Jazz festival is usually pretty good about bringing in pretty decent jazz acts. This year their crowning grab was Return to Forever bassist and bass innovator Stanley Clarke. Extra special was the addition of the phenomenal Hiromi Uehara in the piano chair.

Unfortunately, I was unable to catch the majority of Andy Milne's set. The beat poetry spliced into the music was a little new to me and at times the drummer seemed to overplay his parts, but overall from what I heard they were quite good.

I should actually mention that this was the first time that I attended a show at the Centre for Performing Arts (former the Ford Centre I think). The acoustics are nice and the decor in the atrium was quite classy. Stanley's band consisted of him, Hiromi on piano, Ruslan Sirota on synth, and Ronald Bruner Jr. on drums. The remarkable thing was despite the age of Stanley, the rest of the band were in their late 20s / earyl 30s. Much like someone else alluded to, it was very much like a great jazz legend passing the torch to a new generation of musicians.

Stanley started his set with on the electric bass playing a solo piece. This was actually the only time he played his electric. The rest of the set he played his upright acoustic. The set was comprised of half songs from the 2 albums Stanley did with Hiromi and the other from his previous projects. And true to jazz form, some wonderful solos and improvisations. From my experience last year, I was already well aware of how great of a pianist Hiromi was. What really blew my mind was how good Ronald Bruner Jr. was. Seeing mostly rock and indie shows, it was pretty eye opening how much he depth he added to the band. Realistically, anyone of the members in the band could've carried the show.


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