I have a goal. In one hour, I must write two concert reviews and eat two pieces of garlic cheese toast. I can score bonus points by also making tomorrow's lunch in that time. A wise man would save the garlic cheese toast for tomorrow. Or at least quit dinking around on Facebook. I am not that man.
So yeah. I saw some shows! On this evening, this Buck-65-headlined evening, Mika and I were joined by two of our friends. First, we stopped and picked up Heather. I met her dad. He may have called me "Dave." Then we went to Louis' and met up with an actual Dave named Dave. No idea what Heather's dad would have called him. "James," presumably.
The big news at Louis' is that I got carded. For real. I am three months shy of turning 32, and I got carded. Sure, they were probably just carding everyone, but still. I felt slightly less decrepit than usual. A few days later, at Queens of the Stone Age, I spent a lot of time looking at the few people there who were older than I am and wondered when I'd hit that point when I'd be old enough that my mere presence at a show like that would be unusual, bordering on creepy. But on this night, I got carded and all was right with the world.
Sadly, my newly rediscovered youthful vibrance didn't last long. When I'm at these shows, I often think about what I can put in my concert reviews. While thinking about getting carded, I actually made the observation that "every time I get carded, I'm older than the time before." For a few brief seconds, I really thought I had come up with something neat to include in the review. Then I realized that I was just stating the obvious, it wasn't even the particularly interesting obvious, it would make me look like an idiot to say it out loud, and I had best keep my mouth shut and not mention this to anyone. So I didn't. Until now. Lucky you. Lucky US.
We sat at a table in the back and drank drinks. Mine were Diet Cokes that I loaded with stolen orange slices. Not sure why Louis' has orange slices at the bar. I know that people often want slices of lemon or lime in their drinks, but orange? Seems uncommon. So I had to try it. It turns out that if you soak an orange slice in Diet Coke for 10 minutes, and then you eat the orange slice, it's AWESOME. It helps if you ate a pack of beef jerky instead of an actual supper, probably.
The first performer was Skratch Bastid, a DJ. I have never seen an actual DJ do his thing before, and if I attempt to use the proper terminology, it will result in an epic failure. It was pretty interesting - made moreso because they had a camera set up over the turntables and piped to all the TVs in the bar, so you can actually see spinning and scratching and whatever the hell that means, I don't know. But you could watch the guy do stuff. I thought this was cool to see, but I didn't really need a whole lot of it. This seemed to be the consensus opinion of our table. "It's just noise," said one of the three other people at our table, before shaking a fist at the neighbourhood kids and going inside to watch stories on the telly. "How can people listen to this for a whole weekend?" asked the second person. "Drugs help," offered the third. Pretty soon, we were only paying marginal attention. Dave and I talked wrestling while Heather and Mika discussed Heather's ongoing home renovations. I now know where to go if I ever need to rent a professional-grade stump grinder.
Next up was Cadence Weapon. When I was selling Dave on the idea of going to this show, I described Buck 65 as being "a rapper, but not what you'd think of when you think of a rapper." And I sent him a link to Buck's new video (for the song Dang) on YouTube. It features Mexican wrestlers; I think this helped convince Dave to come with us. I didn't mention that Cadence Weapon would also be there. Cadence Weapon has a more traditional style (as opposed to Buck 65's near-spoken-word delivery) (and awesome dancing) and I wasn't sure what Dave would think of that. So I didn't lie, I just left some parts out.
Mika and Heather moved up to the front as soon as Cadence Weapon started. Dave and I followed halfway through the first song. We arrived as Cadence Weapon (what do you call him for short? Cadence? Cade? Mr. Weapon?) was leading the crowd in singing "I made a deal today! I'm selling real estate!" over and over. Dave immediately declared this the greatest song of all time. I knew at this moment that Dave would have a fine time. At one point, he even whipped out his cameraphone and took some video of the show.
I don't know a whole lot about Cadence Weapon. Before the show, I'd only ever heard one song - "Black Hand," the song from the Polaris compilation CD. I was surprised by his dry sense of humour; as the crowd down at the front pumped their fists in the air, he encouraged them. "Punch the air! Like this! I'm angry! Grrrr! Now I'm punching!" You had to be there.
We were standing by the merchandise table and at one point, I noticed that Cadence Weapon had a SHARKS shirt for sale, presumably because he does a song called "Sharks." I was eyeing this shirt, bopping up and down to the music while trying to decide if a) I wanted it, and b) what the hell the drawing on the shirt meant. I looked up to see Dave pointing the cameraphone at me. Now, a video of me dancing at a rap show would be pretty funny. But I think the really funny part would be my confused stare, as it took me a good ten seconds to realize that he was actually filming me, and not just trying to show me his phone. Also, I'm guessing that the look on my face when I figured it out must have been funny, because the look on Dave's face... it was one of extreme amusement mixed with more than a little bit of pride.
I hate to dash all your dreams, but the video didn't turn out. One more opportunity to make me famous on the internet, wasted.
Also, I didn't buy the shirt.
Buck 65 (with Skratch Bastid back as DJ) was up next, after a very brief intermission. The show had actually been very well-paced. We lucked into showing up about 15 minutes before Skratch Bastid started, and the breaks between sets were short. I gather this is uncommon at rap shows. It's certainly uncommon at... well, all shows, really.
Anyway, I've seen Buck three times now, and this was far and away the best. There was much more of a stage show, with big screens behind him and the DJ'ing on the TVs around the bar. There was a strong focus on Situation, his newest album, which I expected and was perfectly fine with, since it's a top contender for my favourite new album of 2007. I had high hopes of hearing Indestructible Sam, and I was not let down. Cadence Weapon came back out to duet with Buck on the song Benz during the encore. And there were new and neat versions of older favourites, including an a cappella version of Wicked & Weird, and Rough House Blues was performed overtop a song by The Cure. I should probably know which song. If you saw him, you'd probably know which song - plus, you'd have seen Buck's awesome dancing. Everyone loves his dancing.
Buck 65 did start with the song Dang, which was amusing, since it was the only Buck song Dave knew. This tends to happen when you bring Dave to see new bands (by which I mean "it's happened once before").
Ultimately, I thought Cadence Weapon was pretty great, and Buck 65 was even greater. I'd happily go see either of those guys again and you should go see either of those guys too.
But wait, there's more! As we were leaving, we passed a drunken angry individual outside the (inner) doors to Louis'. He'd been thrown out of the show - no idea why - and he was MAD. He'd paid $25 to get in, you see, and was not about to have his rights trodden upon in such a manner! He promised to report this atrocity to campus security. The bouncers calmly called campus security for him and handed him the phone. I really REALLY wanted to stay and see how this one turned out, but we opted against it. I can only assume that whatever he told campus security would not have helped his cause.
Well. That took over an hour. 1:28 a.m. Is it bedtime yet? Or do I have one more of these in me? I bet I can carry on.
Sweet review. For the record, Skratch Bastid co-produced Buck's latest album and was pretty much the biggest name in DJs in Halifax (and much of Canada) for the last few years. Mind, we in Hal-town all got sick of, "Skratch Bastid: FINAL SHOW!!@$!@#$" because it literally took him 4 or 5 years to finally move his ass to Toronto or Montreal or wherever he went. He's the only DJ other than SixToo who can keep up with Buck 65.
I'm still kicking myself for missing Buck 65 with the Nova Scotia Symphony a couple of weeks ago. It was apparently every kind of awesome.
So special thanks to Bullitt for the inspiration behind this edition of NonDescript, as it was this conversation that put the idea in my head to do an all Canadian indie-rock show - which, in turn, introduced me to a bunch of new artists that are pretty ...