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

Posts tagged “Sound Lounge Productions

A Fond Farewell

Last Friday at The Anza Club was a fitting send off for Vancouver’s SWANK! and the second of three of the Sound Lounge Presents Concert Series.

Let me start by saying this: Jonathan Todd is why I go to shows. When SWANK! played their first show ever, this troubadour was yet to be conceived, let alone born. I wouldn’t be surprised if told his frame is as big as it is to hold the heart that beats within. If you can imagine Gary Farmer with Bob Dylan’s hands and Rufus Wainwright’s voice, you’d be getting close. He plays a mix of originals and covers, covers which include a show stopping rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” that I have no problem telling you actually brought me to tears.

Listening to Jonathan Todd progress through the opening set was like finding a $20 bill in the pocket of a pair of jeans and then realizing it’s actually a cheque from Lotto BC for a couple million dollars.

Next to take the stage that evening was The Jardines. The Jardines are a country/folk outfit made up of the mother/daughter duo of Cherelle and Ajaye. Cherelle Jardine, along with Kirk Douglas, is one of the organizers of the concert series.

This is the first time I have seen The Jardines with the full 8-piece band. I had previously seen them perform as a duo at West Vancouver’s Harmony Arts Festival this past summer. My two favourite songs that day, “Addicted to the Burn” and “Neptune’s Daughter”, transform seamlessly into ballads adapted for the full band and are easily my favourites again. There was perhaps a bit too much chatter about the songs between the songs (I always prefer to let the song act as stories in and of themselves without added preamble), but the banter between Cherelle and Ajaye is also largely due to Cherelle and her daughter being able to share moments [on stage] that very few mothers/daughters can.

Finishing the evening (literally), Swank took the stage for their last show. After 18 years they’ve decided to go out on a high note. When not every heart beats in unison, it can only throw the music off, eventually. Swank are too good of musicians, too good of friends to ever let that happen. Thankfully Swank has left us with a lot to remember them by. In fact, the song, “Donkey Cart” off Campfire Psalms is on my shortlist of Best Songs of All Time, sharing shelf space with The Who, Judy Garland, and Kermit the Frog.

Swank’s stage persona always feels relatively light; they are all accomplished and serious musicians but Swank shows are/were always an equal mix of sheer talent and sheer joy to perform. That night was no different. Except for one thing… when it’s the last song, everyone dances just that little bit harder. During Swank’s set, Douglas Liddle and Dave Badanic carved into their guitars with no mercy. On the faster, “rockier” songs, I was transported to all the indie, all ages, church basement shows of my youth, when at 17 years old, I’d watched many a beaten, second-hand guitar hammer out the West Coast Garage sound with the fury of an avalanche.

Swank are just damn good and there’s no two ways about it or super-poetic way to put it otherwise.

Spencer McKinnon (vocals/harmonica) led the band through the set like a Southern Minister possessed by fire and brimstone, his pulpit a stage, his sermon a rock and roll revival meeting that had us all speaking in tongues. You can’t have fury without the thunder, supplied in abundant surplus by Phil Addington (bass) and Kirk Douglas (drums).

After the show, I grab the couch in the Sound Lounge’s control room for a quick nap. Douglas takes a moment to sit down before heading back next door to finish packing up the gear and Swank.

“That was a hard show to play,” he says, a wistful smile creeping up on his tired face.

I bet it was at that. It’s sad to see you go but it was indeed my pleasure to watch you leave.

Advertisements

SWAN[K!] Song

When I was 15, I went to Europe with my parents. We took the “Grand Tour” and I found myself face to face with the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I also found myself in another of my bell-ringing arguments with my father. At the end of it all, stubborn and moody, I refused to climb the tower with the other tourists. A couple of years later, the tower was closed to the public for safety reasons and I had missed an opportunity that was truly once in a life time.

Twenty years later, I was at a sold out show at the Commodore. The Town Pants were having their first Boozapalooza to celebrate their 10 year anniversary as a band. I didn’t miss SWANK! that night; I kind of got so drunk that I forgot them. Unlike Pisa’s stone banana, however, it was an omission I could rectify.

Boozapalooza

The release party for Campfire Pslams remains the best album release party I have ever attended. The Railway club was filled with well wishing friends and partiers who got exactly what they came for. SWANK! played an acoustic set, followed by their friends singing karaoke versions of the songs from the new album (the karaoke disc came as an extra with the actual CD). The evening was capped off with SWANK! blowing the doors off the club in all their amplified glory.

SWANK! circa 1996

Why the nostalgia?

This Friday (Oct 1, 2010), SWANK! will play their final show. After 18 years of wearing out dancing shoes the world round, SWANK! are powering down the amps for the last time. They’ll be closing the second of the Sound Lounge Presents Concert Series with The Jardines and Jonathan Todd.

The Jardines will be playing with the full 8-person compliment on stage and Jonathan Todd, a stranger to me, who managed to wow the socks of Kirk Douglas recording at the Sound Lounge; not an easy task to be sure. It is destined to be an evening of Vancouver music legend.

In Ireland 2006

I lost my only chance to see Pisa from her leaning tower. I’ll be damned if I miss my last chance to see SWANK! perform as a band. For those of you who find this the first, last, and only chance to see SWANK!, do yourself a favour and head down to the Anza Club this Friday and write yourself into legend.

The Sound Lounge Presents

SWANK! w/

The Jardines & Jonathan Todd

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Anza Club

3 W 8th Ave
Vancouver, BC
(604) 876-7128

Tickets: $10


A Chat With The Jardines

Here’s a clip of the highlights from an interview I did with Cherelle and Ajaye Jardine, along with Michael Flunkert and Kirk Douglas at Sound Lounge Productions in Vancouver.

You can find out more about The Jardines HERE

Visit Sound Lounge Productions HERE

Come and see The Jardines play live with SWANK! (it’s their last show, their SWAN[K] Song I suppose) and Jonathan Todd at The Anza Club on October 1, 2010,


The Stumbler's Inn, Shiloh Lindsey, and Melissa Mills open the "Sound Lounge Presents" live concert series.

The first thing you notice about talking to Kirk Douglas is that Kirk Douglas talks to you. His hand gestures are no surprise. He is a musician and, therefore, speaks what he truly feels with his hands more often than not. But when you sit across the table from him, his blue-grey eyes lock on you from behind conservative glasses and you know he is telling you the truth.

We chat at Sound Lounge Productions, the recording studio he built from scratch, by hand, with his wife and father-in-law. Recording studios are like Narnian wardrobes: an unassuming facade (usually cinder block) hides a world of magic within. The Sound Lounge is no exception. Douglas is a musician who knows the value of a dollar and the absolute necessity of honesty. The albums produced in his recording studio are evidence of that. As we spoke, I glanced around at the albums hanging on the wall.

“I have that one,” I think to myself. “And that one, and that one…

A lot of amazing talent have sought out Douglas for his. He has a compilation album showcasing some of the musicians who have recorded at The Sound Lounge and tonight begins the first of “The Sound Lounge Presents” live concert series, three shows highlighting nine of the bands who have worked with Douglas.

Tonight The Stumbler’s Inn descend on the ANZA Club (3 West 8th, Vancouver) to release their new album, “Get It Right”. Recorded with Douglas at The Sound Lounge, “Get It Right” is a ten-song outing of pure Canadian music. It’s not blues, rock, or country but a well blended mix of all three. Alec Myrfield (vocals, guitar) pens tales, often sweeping or charmingly coarse. Once painstakingly arranged and orchestrated by the band, they finish as music best suited to grass underfoot than the stained hardwood of beer parlours.

Though there is no grass at the ANZA Club, it is a dance hall, and all the songs on “Get It Right” can be danced to. If they wanted to, The Stumbler’s Inn could play for over five hours and never play the same song twice. If your legs could take it, you could dance for all five hours.

Shiloh Lindsey returns to the ANZA stage having celebrated her album release for “Western Violence and Brief Sensuality” there in early June. If Lindsey is a songbird, she’s a hawk: Awesome to behold, soft to the touch, and equipped with talons that could rip your heart out without stopping for the ribs. I refer to her as music style as “Concrete Country” and to hear her play you’d know exactly what I meant.

Melissa Mills opens the evening with music from her recent release, “I Am Victorious”, recorded, of course, at Sound Lounge Productions and released June 4th, earlier this year. Her music is described as a “stunning, intricate tapestry with electronic, folk, and rock persuasions” and I for one cannot wait to see her play live.

The Sound Lounge Presents Concert Series #1

The Stumbler’s Inn with Shiloh Lindsey and Melissa Mills

Friday, August 6th at The ANZA Club, #3 West 8th, Vancouver, BC

For more music/musician related entries, please click HERE


Stumbler's Week Part 4: Alec Myrfield

Who are you? Alec Myrfield
Where are you? at home
Primary instrument? guitar
The  Stumbler’s Inn

First instrument? Sax
First public performance? Grade 6 band
Stage fright? No
Favourite show? Smokey and the Bandit
Least favourite music story? Emergenza
Favourite band/musician (at the moment)? Biggy Smalls
Favourite band/musician (all time)? Stompin’ Tom Conners
Ten years from now, where will you be (perfect answer)? Living like a hermit on my private island
Ten years from now, where will you be (probable answer)? Living like a hermit on my private island

The Stumbler’s Inn play Friday, August 6th, at The ANZA Club in Vancouver. It is the first of the “Sound Lounge Presents” concert series and the release party for their new album, “Get It Right”.  Shiloh Lindsey and Mellisa Mills open.

For more music/musician related entries, please click HERE


Stumbler's Week Part 3: Graham Myrfield

Who Are You? Graham Myrfield
Where Are You? The Milky Whey
Band? The Stumbler’s Inn

First Instrument? I started playing bass guitar and drums when I was 11 years old.

First Public Performance? I can’t remember a first show, but I know it wasn’t good, and I’m sure there were crying children.

Stage Fright? I become impatient before playing a show. I love playing music and need a lot of attention.

Favourite Show? My favorite show will always be the next one.

Least Favourite Music Story? Many moons ago when The Pic pub was still alive, the Stumblers and I had planned a CD release party. When we arrived to set up, they told us they were closed. Luckily in those years I was a drinker…hahaha

Favourite band/musician (at the moment)? Elton John, Fishbone, The Kinks, Leonard Cohen, Madness, The mamas and the Papas, Paul Simon…. my ADD loves variety. My indie artist list is too long, and I listen to the radio too.

Favourite band/musician (all time)? I do not have an all time favorite, but what I like, I love.

Ten years from now, where will you be (perfect answer)? My dreams for ten years from now are so large, words would not give them justice.

Ten years from now, where will you be (probable answer)? Falling asleep in a bowl of cereal.

The Stumbler’s Inn play Friday, August 6th, at The ANZA Club in Vancouver. It is the first of the “Sound Lounge Presents” concert series and the release party for their new album, “Get It Right”.  Shiloh Lindsey and Mellisa Mills open.

For more music/musician related entries, please click HERE


Stumbler's Week Part 2: Jeff Myrfield

Who are you? Jeff Myrfield
Where are you? Vancouver
Primary instrument? Keys
Solo or in a band (include current or recent band name)? The Stumblers Inn

First instrument? Piano
First public performance? I think I was 10? It was a Royal Conservatory Recital. The first time we all were together as The Stumbler’s Inn, then known as The Stumbler’s Band, was at Malarky’s. It was a small cafe that doesn’t exist anymore in downtown Vancouver. The stage was about the size of a picnic table. Although the first time we all played together was in Chuck’s parents basement with another great friend of mine Kevin Dwyer who I personally consider the fifth Stumbler. He was the one who got us all together as a band known as 8-Track back in highschool.
Stage fright? Not really; more anxious to actually get on stage.
Favourite Show: There’s a few to choose from. There is the Meat Bird party’s where basically 250 – 350 people from Parksville/Qualicum area get together at a secret ranch while we plary and party it up from the evening to dawn. But I would have to choose the very first Green Mountain Festival in Nanaimo. Really any of the Green mountain Festivals were great but at the first one there was a massive jam with all the bands involved, Some of the bands aren’t with us anymore due to various reasons, Hotel Lobbyists, No Horses, and so that makes it even more special. Thank you very much James Wood for making all of that possible.
Least Favourite Show: We’ve played some great shows and some bad ones, where nobody but the bar staff were there, but this one takes the cake. We played a show at Richards on Richards once as a part of an Emergenza talent find/competition. We first met up with this group already thinking that it was a scam but really what did we have to lose. When you’re starting out you want exposure from anywhere. Plus to get to that show you had to go through a couple lesser shows and try to sell off as many tickets as possible. I can understand that. I have a little bit of a harder time coming to terms with not seeing any of the money from any of the tickets that you sold to come to a show that you’re performing at but such is the business. So, anyways, at the Richards on Richards show. The way to move on to the “next round”, another show at another location, was explained to us as the band who drew the most appeal. E.I. the loudest or most appeal from the audience. So ya, there was a couple bands there, all the leading candidates from the previous preliminary rounds, and the stumble fans were in full force. The other bands had brought all their representative fans as well. All different styles of bands from heavy metal to pop punk, to even glam metal. I’m not going to slam any of the other bands because that’s not what it was about. It wasn’t a “my band is better than your band deal” because every band was different and who’s to say what style is better anyways? But I will say that when we hit the stage there wasn’t anyone sitting down. Chants of “Stumbler” were ringing from the crowd. No other band had as much reaction. When we were done the other bands were coming up to us and conceding victory. So what happened? Well of course we didn’t make it though. The “judges” picked a band, even though they said it was up to the audience, that was more to their liking shall we say. They were a band that was easily manipulative and their sound was pretty generic of course. The company kept all our money and any investment we made into them. Of course. That’s what made it the worst. Now here’s the kicker, and this reaction may have vaulted it into one of the better shows. When the final results were announced (everyone was chanting “Stumbler” by the way) they declared the other band the winners. What happened next was pure anarchy and it all started from one chair being thrown from the balcony at the stage. After that chair took flight several more followed. It was a gong show riot. No violence towards each other but directed purely at the stage. The promoters made a mad dash to leave, with all their money of course, leaving the small group of bar staff to fend off the crowd. There was maybe one bouncer and maybe two female bartenders. The bar destined to close that year was trashed. No joke!
Least favourite music story? There’s a few, The George Harrison, my sweet lord, court case is one. Agreeing with that verdict is saying that the doo wop sound is only the Chiffons to own. Also the Payola scandal, not like it doesn’t go on still, disgusts me.
Favourite band/musician (at the moment)? I’ve been listening to a lot of stuff the past little while. New bands I’m listening to: Black Keys, Aggrolites, Shiloh Lindsey. I have a multiload of various artists on my playlist but those are some of the more recent artists.
Favourite band/musician (all time)? The Beatles go without saying, think everybody has them down don’t they? My first rock album was AC/DC’s  “High Voltage”, also big influences Floyd, Doors, CCR, Stones, Rush. Tons more I could write out. I would like to mention one of the great piano players of all time though, Fats Waller; the guy was a genius and played in a time where his genius was overlooked. I don’t know if I would be the same person if I hadn’t been brought up listening to his music.
Ten years from now, where will you be (perfect answer)? Hopefully playing music and getting paid for making albums
Ten years from now, where will you be (probable answer)? Playing music, and making albums. Making a living off of it is still up in the air.

The Stumbler’s Inn play Friday, August 6th, at The ANZA Club in Vancouver. It is the first of the “Sound Lounge Presents” concert series and the release party for their new album, “Get It Right”.  Shiloh Lindsey and Mellisa Mills open.

For music/musician related entries, please click HERE