Host, Baron S. Cameron, and this week’s co-host, Ryan Welguz, sit down for a chat about sailing, boats, and songs about such.
Features music by locals artists The Evaporators, The Surf Messiahs, The Smugglers, The Dreadnoughts, and The Town Pants.
Listen to or download the full audio podcast from Podbean.com below:
Listen to this episode
Watch the videotaped interview here:
Host, Baron S. Cameron, and this week’s co-host, Rachel “Red” Watson, sit down for a chat about indie music, burlesque, film production, and our lives and friends in music.
Features music by locals artists, Red, The Ginteel Sextet, The Hermit, Big Tall Garden, Sir Hedgehog, and Jane Sawyer.
Listen to or download the full audio podcast from Podbean.com below:
Listen to this episode
Watch the videotaped interview here:
This is an outtake from the interview and well worth watching: Rachel’s “Best Beer Ever” Story
*Note: This piece was written for the express purpose of finding something to complain about that had absolutely nothing to do with Barak Obama or George Bush. BSC
I’ve always loved Mozart’s music but kind of hated him. It’s a Salieri thing, I’m sure, but the fact remains. How can I hate Mozart you ask (okay, you probably didn’t but the article kind of stalls here without the rhetorical device)? Very simply, the little turd accomplished more before he turned 10 than I have in 36 years. That, and every time I turn on CBC radio, the little shit rubs my face in it.
So we can’t all be musical geniuses. I figure most of us came to that conclusion at a very early age. What of it? There are plenty of lousy musicians out there to gloat over. The problem is a good portion of them are making more money than me. Lady Gaga might be easy on the eyes but her effect on the ears certainly leaves something to be desired. If both good and bad music brings on a sense of self-loathing, where I am to turn?
I can’t turn to the movies because the musical scores always evoke the image of a blind paraplegic winning the Boston Marathon in slow-motion. If your character gets a piece of music that has horns, strings, kettle drums, a choir, and a cymbal crash (such as Hans Zimmer’s “Chevaliers de Sangreal” from The Da Vinci Code), you know you’ve just found the tomb of Mary Magdaline. Of course, I could take solace in knowing that the only person who dreams of being a blind paraplegic winning the Boston Marathon in slow-motion is a blind paraplegic and I should thank my lucky stars that I’m not, but it doesn’t help. Likewise, the existence of Mary Magdaline is a myth and any “facts” that might prove she once walked the streets of Jerusalem are tenuous at best.
I suppose I could end this little diatribe by saying that, although they aren’t Mozart, whoever wrote the score to the movie I’m watching is also more talented than I am. Lame.
However, I will end this diatribe by saying that as I write these little effusions I do have my own little score: “The Bitch is Back” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin.
So, here we are with the Year That Was. January 6th is New Year’s Day for the Aging Rockstar Reviews, the first video review having been posted on January 6th, 2008. And now we will carry through with the perennial, annual exercise of taking a look back.
The best all-round show I went to had to be on June 20th at The ANZA Club: The Pack A.D., The Cadaver Dogs, The TVees, and Val Graham. It was a great bill with the music starting low and slow off the guitar of Valerie Graham and finishing with the head pounding licks and fills of Becky and Maya. An evening to remember to be sure.
Best Gig, runner-up:
The Jolts “Haute Voltage” record release party, July 13th, at The Cobalt with The Parallels and The High School Girls (now Mexican Drug Patrol).
The Stupidest Thing I Heard:
One of The Stumblers Inn’s, [CiTR] Shindig, comment slips advised Graham Myrfield (bass) that it was unprofessional to wear a band shirt on stage. I’ll be sure to mention this to Iron Maiden and The Ramones as it readily apparent that they too need the career advice of a college radio, textbook music fan who probably couldn’t tune a guitar if he even owned one.
The Smartest Thing I Heard:
Ferdy Belland telling James Woods of The Hotel Lobbyists that, “If [bands] don’t compare notes, there’ll never be a scene” in the parking lot of The Biltmore Cabaret.
The Worst Thing I Heard:
“Mike Gurr is dead.”
Best Out-of-Town Show:
Hands down, it had to be The Green Mountain Music Festival in Nanaimo. It was a day of music, fun, sun, beer and… well… you get the idea. Any day that includes the full musical spectrum between gals like Shiloh Lindsey and Val Graham and the bone-shaking, power chords of Bison can’t be all bad. Besides, raising a little less than $4000 for Cystic Fibrosis was a nice touch as well.
Best Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of Moment:
About halfway through Edmonton’s Wet Secrets’ set (“The Secret March” as I recall) at The Biltmore (March 31st ), I leaned over to Grant Lawrence (one-time Smuggler, long-time CBC R3 DJ, and all-time friend) and said “This might just be the best band I have ever seen.” Their catchy hooks, tongue-in-cheek stoicness, and fun-loving raunch made for an enjoyable evening, and when the instant struck, left me with a real, Rock ‘n’ Roll moment.
Most Improved Band:
*Note: being designated “Most Improved Band” should in no way suggest that they sucked to begin with. BSC
Murder She Wrote: This motley crew have never failed to impress every time I have seen them play. They consistently hone their stage “show” and are an act that shouldn’t be missed.
Runner-up: The TVees
I once joked about The TVees saying that the “difference between The TVees and a slut is that The TVees get tighter the more they play.”
Best Dance Band That Isn’t a “Dance” Band:
The TVees, The Tranzmitors, The Parallels, and Thee Manipulators all share this title for me. If you are at one of their shows and your feet aren’t moving, check your pulse because you’re probably dead.
I am torn here between The Jolts and Cambridge, but they’re really two types of punk. The Jolts play the mid-70 New York punk (a la Ramones, New York Dolls) and Cambridge are experts at the Post-Maclaren/Sex Pistols political punk that got supercharged in the 80s.
The Hermit, hands down. Though it would be a blessing for the band, it would be a curse for any Top 40 pop band to take The Hermit on tour: fans would realize that pop played on instruments with analog vocals is really that much better.
Best Surf Rock:
The Surf Messiahs. Saw these guys once and it was all it took. If this is your music, they are your band.
Honourable Mention: Mexican Drug Patrol (formerly The High School Girls). Harder than the Surf Messiahs but a gas on stage (pay close attention to the drummer, he’s awesome).
Swank. I’ve said it before and I am certain that I will say it again: Swank is everything that was/is right about country music.
Best Folk [-Rock]:
Valerie Graham. I can’t do any justice to her in words that she can’t do for herself in music. Check her out.
No Horses are incredible at what they do but I’ll honest in saying that I am waiting to hear the next album because they are so good they may have plateaued, leaving themselves no more “up” to strive for (if that made sense to anyone but me, please let me know).
The Beladeans. Gut rocking music from a band that takes no prisoners. If there is in fact a “brown note”, these’ll be the guys to find it.
Bands I’m Waiting For:
The Cadaver Dogs played their last show “for a while” at The Railway Club and if it was their last show forever that’d be a true shame. Likewise, there is not one person in my circle who wouldn’t cry for joy when The Hotel Lobbyists take the stage again.
Best All Around:
Minto Chipman (formerly The Smokes). It took me a while to warm up to this band but after several meetings and a handful of gigs they really started to grow on me. Hard to peg down to an actual genre, Minto Chipman is like a revival show you can drink at. They fill a room with an energy that leads you to believe they might be the only ones in the room that don’t take their amazing sound too seriously.
Runner up: Parlour Steps. This band is awesome. That’s about all I can say: awesome.
So, that was the year as I saw it. This list could have been twice the size it is but it ends here. As stated, this is how “I” saw the scene last year and desperately hope to expand my experience within it in 2009.
We did get a lot of snow. Everytime a Vancouverite complains about how much snow we get, someone from Frozen Ass Lick, Sask, has to complain about us complaining…
“I don’t know what they’re on about! We get 40 feet of snow a day and it’s zero degrees kelvin outside!”
Okay, so that sucks. But we don’t live in Frozen Ass Lick, Saskatchewan; we live in Vancouver and shit like this unending snow isn’t supposed to happen here.
So the next time you’re out snowshoeing, or whatever it is you do during the winter, and you come home to find out that a meth addict has stolen your truck, your daughter is addicted to heroin, and your best friend just got gunned down coming home from the club, I don’t want to hear a fucking peep out of you.
This list could go on forever, and with enough time, it just might. BSC
If you want to play the ultimate game of full-contact musical chairs, listen to The Beladeans.
If you want to dream in full-colour surround sound, listen to The Hermit.
If you want to fall in love again, listen to Jane Sawyer.
If you want to dance until your feet sue for damages, listen to The TVees.
If you want to verify you’re not the only one feeling this way, listen to Murder She Wrote.
If you want to turn the world off for a while and smile, listen to Thee Manipulators.
If you want to do something about the 10 Red Bulls you just drank, listen to No Horses.
If you want to pretend you don’t know what happened to that bottle of whiskey, listen to The Stumblers Inn.
If you want to party until the wheels come off, listen to Los Furios.
If you want to take part in a loud, shameless, fun-fest, listen to Dirty and the Derelicts.
If you want to find an enjoyable reason to get your hearing checked, listen to The Pack A.D..
If you want to take a Jack Daniels bubble-bath, listen to Shiloh Lindsay.
If you want to stick it to “The Man,” twice, listen to Cambridge.
If you want to know how they sang ’em “back then,” listen to Valerie Graham.
If you want to attend a revival you can drink at, listen to The Smokes.
If you want to take a walk through a painting, listen to Parlour Steps.
If you want to guess what CBGB’s might have been like, listen to The Jolts.
If you want to rearrange your furniture without touching it, listen to Black Betty.
If you want to do battle with Captain Bligh on the high seas, listen to The Dreadnoughts.
If you want to two-step with an urban angel, listen to Swank.
If you want to check your brain for stress fractures, listen to The Surf Messiahs.
If you want to see what colour tastes like, listen to The Green Hour Band.
If you want to find out if you can successfully dance with a full highball, listen to The Easy Brothers.
If you want to simutaneously crack and beer and a smile, listen to Cadaver Dogs.
PART TWO… under construction.
For weeks now, I have wanted to write a review that would give me the opportunity to use the word “constipated” in some creative, contextual way: this, however, is not that review. Try as one might (though I am not sure why they would), it is impossible to equate that word with this artist and/or her music.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce Miss Jane Sawyer. Sawyer first arrived on the music scene in 1993 with the “pop/rock outfit,” Dick and Jane. In 1995, a win on CFOX’s “Demolisten Derby” gave the band a well-deserved career boost. But after 10 years and opening slots for acts such as Jewel and Art Bergman, the band gave up the ghost shortly after recording their third album with [4NonBlondes] producer, Mark Hensely.
After an English degree at Simon Fraser University, Sawyer re-entered the fold with a new group, tROUBLE, in 2007. Composed of Sawyer, Taylor Little (The Bughouse Five, The Payola$ – NOT the porn star), Jordie Dammet (The Hotel Lobbyists) and whoever else was free and willing when the time came, tROUBLE made a good go of it until spring of this year when Sawyer and Little parted ways. Sawyer now plays a series of solo shows and duets with, saxophonist, Max Murphy (Five Alarm Funk), and several others. Sawyer, Dammet, and Murphy will be recording together soon, with a video shoot in the works for February.
As with almost every other musician I have met in the past year, I was introduced to Sawyer by Dammet at a show a few months ago. After bumping into her at countless venues, it dawned on me that I had never heard her play. Over the past couple weeks, I’d sought to rectify that mistake.
I first catch a short set of Sawyer’s at The Coppertank, a Kitsilano mainstay for as long as this city has had mainstays it seems. The long-running, Sunday night open-mic was a fantastic venue to hear Sawyer play for the first time.
Her three song set was enough to put the hooks in you for good. If you happen to be an indie filmmaker who is looking for the perfect song for your movie about a good man, wrongly accused, who almost finds redemption while gaining almost as much as he lost, Sawyer’s your gal. Her stage presence is easygoing but not frivolous and her music is light but not shallow. She writes love songs that are about all of love’s aspects and they are delivered in such a way that you can easily tell that she is one of the few composers of love songs that actually enjoys being in love.
I catch Sawyer again the next Thursday at The Railway Club. She is playing a cozy set in the back room as part of Puddle City Arts, a series designed to “showcase some of the beautiful works that are being created behind closed doors.” After being concerned that no one would show up, Sawyer finds that it is drinking room only when she steps up to the microphone accompanied by Scott Paulley, The Awkward Stage’s most recent addition.
The set is again quite free and warmed by Sawyer’s sincere “stage charm.” When watching a show, I often look for the little, extra-personal moments on stage: moments like Maya and Becky from The Pack A.D. catching each other in a smile; Aaron Chapman of The Town Pants getting up on his toes to bring his tin whistle to the microphone; or the devilish grin on the face Graham Myrfield, bass player for The Stumblers Inn, when a hilarious one-liner is forthcoming. With Sawyer, it is a wink, always directed at someone who, if you turn to see, is already gone. The wonderful thing about the wink is that it is not the wink you get from a Hooters waitress when you order the hot wings special and 10 pitchers of beer; it is the knowing wink you give a friend when it is time to rush the hostage takers.
Female singer/songwriters often get lumped together (often by designations such as “female singer/songwriters”) but it is not entirely fair and almost always not a correct assumption. Apart from seven notes to choose from and two ovaries, Sawyer and other singer/songwriters I am personally familiar with (Val Graham, Shiloh Lindsey, Jody Glenham), can’t be considered just part of “the group.” They manage to make all the songs they play, originals and covers alike, their own creations. And though they may owe for the legacy, they can thank only themselves for their place in it, if only their modesty would allow.
You can give her a listen here: http://www.myspace.com/janesawyersongs