a day in the life of ...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

03.12.2011 Kaki King / Megan Washington

Opener 'Washington' was Australian Megan Washington, a charming solo keyboardist-singer songwriter type. Not surprising, Megan Washington and Kaki King's live show have something in common... they like to talk. The standout banter for Washington was a story about her "Vibe-rater" or the thing in your head that discerns good vibes from bad vibes. Kaki King makes fun of her later in her set for that one. Song wise, she was entertaining enough. Proficient on the keys and decent melodies, Washington kept me entertained for the 30 or so minutes she was allotted.

The crowd for tonight's show was really mixed: The usual main street hipsters, weekend warriors, obvious lesbians and somewhat surprising, older guitar enthusiasts or the portion of the "Yale Hotel" crowd with internet (i kid, she's played the yale before). One thing I've always hated about the Biltmore was it's low stage. Kaki seems to be aware of this to as she suggested that everyone on the floor sit down, otherwise only the people in the front would be able to witness her awesomeness. Something that I've always loved about Kaki King's music is that she always finds a way to reinvent herself. Her first couple of albums were primarily solo acoustic driven instrumentals. Eventually she started releasing songs with vocals. Later albums feature her with a band and playing electric guitar. Her current tour is basically her and various non-standard-rock-show acoustics. I think she had somewhere between 5-7 different guitars that included a monstrous harp guitar (two 6 string necks, one regular other bass) and a dobro banjo hybrid (a "dojo"). It was nice that Kaki explained each guitar before using them.
I felt like was taking music class again. As mentioned before, her show has a lot of banter between songs. I thought this was probably the funniest:

Due to the dance party afterwards, Kaki chose to forgo the encore and play right through, still clocking in at about 90 mins worth of material which included "Adency" an Andrew York cover and "Because It's There", a Michael Hedges cover, the latter whom Kaki is often cited as being a major influence. Filling out her set were a few songs from her instrumental days and a lot of unreleased material. More to the point of reinventing herself, or at least trying new things, she also played a "Celtic" style song towards the end of her set. She really only sang on one song and that was the last one, "Sunnyside", off her new album. By this point her voice was pretty shot from having a cold and talking all night so technically I guess you could say her voice sounded terrible, but I sort of thought that it went well with the lyrics which was about heart break.


Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

03.08.2011 Noise Night: Zev Ascher / Ejaculation Death Rattle / Al Mader

I wasn't really planning on using this as a blog post but since there were live performances and I've been accused of a lack of local content (guilty as charged), I figured what the hell. Recently I found out that Mondays at the Vancity Theatre on Seymour and Davie show music docs/films every Monday. Most of them being the non mainstream, the kind you'd expect to see on IFC. I've been told most of the time they don't even make any money. In fact on this night, there were maybe 30-40 or people if that, and most seemed to know one of the bands personally in one way or another. On top of everything, it's a really nice theatre. Anyways today was "Noise Night". Basically an exploration of the "Noise" scene.

First up was "The Minimalist Jug Band". Basically a guy, named Al Mader playing a washtub bass. It had a very open mic feel to it. At times it was pretty amusing as well, lyrically. I was surprised to find out from the MC that other artists have covered his material.

The first film shown was a documentary about a local band noise band called Tunnel Canary. Aside from its arts school low budget feel, I thought that the documentary was well made. It explored TC in it's most active period during the late 70s and 80s. When I say noise I'm talking about .... (--Trying to think of the most accessible band in this genre --) .... bands like Merzbow and Oxbow. If i had to describe TC, other than calling it noise, I would say a drummer and guitarist making dissonant and discordant music (lots of feedback and ... noise) with a female front woman who screamed most lyrics as if in a horror movie. Most songs appeared to have no structure, however it was mentioned that there were lyrics and she wasn't just screaming randomly. Reminds me of most death metal or Converge. Later parts of the movie highlighted a newer Vancouver band, The Mutators. The highlight of the film was footage of Tunnel Canary playing a street busker set on the Plaza at Granville and Georgia to business people passing by.

The second live performance was Ejaculation Death Rattle. Their noise unit seemed to have a bit more structure than TC. There was violinist, 2 vocalist droners and what appeared to be a live sound mixer. They weren't too bad. As expected it was very droney. I enjoyed this set more than the first.

Before the second documentary, there was a short performance by Zev Ascher, the director of the second movie shown that night. He basically sat at the bottom of the theatre making noises on an ipod app to some visuals. Can't remember which app.

The second film was called Subcultural Revolution: Shanghai. I thought this movie was pretty great, though I thought it went off on too many tangents. This documentary highlighted various people in Shanghai with different views on society and politics. Though not a main focus, a noise band called "Tortured Nurse" was featured.

The night overall I found to be well put together. The time devoted to each portion of the night was perfect. It was informative and thought provoking without being too self indulgent, and it definitely could have been the latter. Amusing side note for me, throughout the night, there were skill testing questions put out by the MC to the audience for prizes. Due to the genre's obscurity, quite a few questions weren't answered. All of them flew over my head.


Labels: , ,