Friends, Enemies, and Internet Losers: I have returned.

Shiloh Lindsey, James Wood, and The Devil Falls @ Cafe Montmarte, May 20, 2010

The tables don’t match. The chairs don’t match. Three tricycles, a pram, and an old-school banana bike hang from the ceiling. The Cafe Montmarte (4362 Main St. (@28th), Vancouver) is an anti-Starbucks. The absinthe posters covering the one wall are perhaps a tad obvious, but hell, why not eh? I don’t actually eat, not wanting to interfere with the buzz I have going, but they have a full menu starting at $5.95 and topping out at $13.95. Appies, salads, crepes, gourmet pizzas, and a couple of entrees fill the menu (along with deserts, specialty coffees, and two pages of hootch). There is one salad, “La Parisienne”, that I’ve decided I’m coming back for: grilled sweet peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh herbs and cubed mozzarella w/ balsamic vinaigrette. Sounds delish.

The Devil Falls (Chelsea Wakelyn)

Over from Victoria, James Wood introduces her as one of his “favourite song writers.” She is unassuming in her presence but her songs will work you over if you let them. She sings the songs a bird would sing if it wished it could walk like us, while we all dreamt of flying like it. They are beautiful in their search.

James Wood (w/ Murray MacDonald)

It is really good to hear James play again. It is the first time I’ve heard the Hotel Lobbyist’s songs played in their original form. Afterward, Wood asked me what I thought of the raw songs. I couldn’t help but answer, “Weird.” Wood cannot be continually defined as the “friend we almost lost”, but he left a lot back on that Manitoba highway and he’s come a long way to reclaim it. My favourite of all Wood’s songs is a bona fide heart breaker but the intro always gets a laugh. “The Letter Never Written” is, as Wood puts it, “the prettiest song written about suicide.” He quickly adds, “I had to tell my wife not to worry.” It is the prettiest song written about suicide. Wood’s songs are some of the prettiest songs about a lot of things and his accoustic set is not one to be missed.

Shiloh Lindsey

Okay, there are 1001 things I can say about Shiloh Lindsey; however, I said 1002 things about her in a feature article that I will run in ten days. Suffice it to say, her set (minus a patch cord that was acting up) was nearly as wonderful as the way I feel when she and I share a laugh. She has a new album, Western Violence and Brief Sensuality, coming out on June 10. You can catch her at the album release show that night at The Anza Club.

Wood finishes off the night by reminding everyone that this is hopefully going to be an ongoing thing, once or twice a month. I’ll be sure to keep you posted. He thanks the owners of Cafe Montmarte for the venue to play. Referencing No Fun City, Wood reminds us that too many live venues in this town are closing (an all to familiar refrain) and it is always great to find people with the courage to provide a home for the many talented performers and artists this city has to offer.

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