Submitted by megan on Sat, 05/16/2009 - 19:40
Our new hair was the best thing about last night's show.
But first, before I write the meanest post I've probably ever written:
Matthew just got dinged with a huge bill from SOCAN. Misunderstanding and mistakes, but still, that bill.
He does great work over there. His writing is clear and entertaining, he works hard to bring music to Ottawa. It would be a damn crying shame if doing so bankrupted him. If you're a fan of indie music shows in Ottawa, even if you rarely go to see one of the shows Matthew puts on, or, say, go to one and hate both the bands you managed to see, think about wandering over to his site and shooting him a few dollars.
I just did, and I hope you do too.
Okay. Now I'll get my crank on.
J. and I lasted about 45 minutes at the show last night. Partially, this is because we're hitting our mid-thirties. Not only do we lack the stamina we once had to listen to loud music and get jostled by people and stand around on very hard surfaces for extended periods of time, we work all week. We're tired by Friday.
More important than those things, I think, is the fact that between us, we have probably seen hundreds of bands play, ranging from the sublime to the wretched. We're well practiced at sussing out the difference, and we can do it lightning quick.
We'd missed the first band, got there part way through Ketch Harbour Wolves' set. We were underwhelmed. They weren't terrible or anything. They could all play their instruments decently well, and the music didn't make me...
Well, it didn't make me anything.
It was nondescript, it was boring, it went on just a little too long, each song and the set itself. The lead singer's emoting was picking my ass something fierce. "You," I thought, "are someone's terrible boyfriend. You think you're very sensitive and you spend all your time telling your lover how sensitive you are and you never ask them how their damn day was."
That, I recognize, is super-harsh and very personal and quite likely I'm projecting. I've just known too many guys like that to have any patience at all with singers who cup the microphone in their hands and look purposefully soulful.
And then... "Oh jesus, it's a wind instrument," Jennifer poked me in the ribs. God save me from wind instruments in pop music. You cannot play one without making everything sounding like Sting. It's no good people, it's no good.
But the crowd liked them, Matthew loves them, so I will put my KHW crank down to being tired and old. Maybe I'm totally off base, and they're truly brilliant and moving instead of deadly boring. Listen for yourselves, please, don't take my word for it.
But Sun Jet? I'm not even going to link them. That was the worst song and a half I've seen live in longer than I can remember.
It started even before they got on the stage. We got catty about their instruments, their backwards baseball caps, their ill-fitting pants, the affected world weariness of the lead singer lolling about the stage with nothing to do but look like he was waiting to be so very important.
"But who knows," I said, "Maybe we're being too judgmental. Maybe they'll start and they'll blow us away."
"Yeah," Jennifer said, "yeah. Maybe so."
Not too long into the first song, after the lead singer had put on his sunglasses, fucks sake, the oh-so-tough-looking unlit cigarette dangling from his fingers, and I was in the middle of thinking are they all playing the same song? did they all start at different times? nobody should be allowed to wear headbands! is he *trying* to sound like jim morrison or is that just an unfortunate coincidence? this other guitar sound came out of fucking nowhere.
I don't really have music writing chops, so I will use my mild synaesthesia to describe it to you.
The mush of the rest of the instruments was small, fast, almost pointy-peaked waves way way up here, where you stretch your arm up and flap your hand from side to side. This other guitar sound, which they must have thought was a cleverly timed juxtaposition, you know, to highlight the god-knows-what of the other instruments, this other guitar sound was big fat round waves on your right side, hovering around waist height.
It was jarring enough that I stopped and looked around to see where in the hell it was coming from. The stage, I sadly concluded.
The song ended.
"That was not better than I thought it was going to be," I said.
"We don't have to stay," she said.
"Let's see how the next song-"
It started. We gave it about a minute, and then, "We're too old to be standing around listening to terrible bands. Too bad for you, Rah Rah." And poof, we were gone.
Though I guess it's not all bad. Without terrible shows like that, we probably wouldn't appreciate surprises like Winter Gloves as much.
Oh, and our hair. Our hair* was fabulous.
*I'll post a picture of mine when I don't have a honking cold sore.