As we reach yet another SLCR milestone, I want to make sure that we all take this time to remember one very important thing - two months away from turning 34, I still got carded. Moreover, another member of our party who is younger than I am did not.
Shameful secret time - I rarely drink anymore because I can't hold my liquor; the only reason I get the you're-old-enough-to-drink wristband is because sometimes they want to check my ID and that makes me feel slightly less geriatric.
(Not, as I initially wrote, "less generic.")
I did, of course, take every opportunity to gloat over the fact that I got ID'd and someone else did not, but I also said "I'm sure he's thinking 'Don't take it as a compliment, old man, I have to check everyone.'"
"Pretty much," confirmed the security guard.
I did actually have a beer at this show. That might be my first since a very unfortunate (if also very amusing) evening last fall where I killed a lot of flies, temporarily lost my watch, stole someone else's sweet potato fries, and woke up on the floor of my own bathroom. I've heard "at least you made it home" on multiple occasions when telling this story, and yes, I'll take whatever accomplishments I can, thanks.
I made the call to attend this show at the last minute, so I only picked up a ticket two days before. Mika and Heather, responsible planners, had bought their tickets well in advance. Unfortunately, as my ticket was being bought, theirs were going missing. Mika and I had plans to meet Heather for sushi, but she was delayed by a futile search for the missing tickets. I don't know if the mystery was ever resolved, but I'm thinking they got stolen. Which sucks. I tried placing a last-minute, last-ditch request to a friend who sometimes has access to freebies, but they had all been spoken for. Luckily, there were about 40 tickets left at the venue by the time we got there. "Luckily" in the sense that we all got in; the "paying twice" part wasn't so grand, though as Heather put it, "it's only money - I can make more." Which is a pretty good attitude to have, all things considered.
Anyway, after all that nonsense, I figured everyone needed a beer.
I also needed a CD copy of Mass Romantic, which had been on my to-get list forever. The prices were reasonable!
Now, let's get this out of the way - I hate the Odeon. I haven't been to Amigo's in forever, so I guess the Odeon has taken over as my edifice nemesis. The show sold out not long after we got there, so it was packed and hot. It's always packed and hot, but this seemed extra packed and hot. The beer did help, but I only had the one. The bar was too far away and I didn't feel like wading through the masses to get another. It was too packed for me to get anything that would help with the hot. Plus, beers were $6 each, and c'mon. Those prices were not so reasonable.
The opening act was the Mountain Goats. I knew nothing about them. They were good! They wore suits. I remember thinking that they reminded me of a cross between some band and some other band, but I guess that particular bit of wit and insight sweated right out of me. It was really clever, I'm sure.
Between sets, I ran into my neighbour from down the hall, who, like me, was also two-and-a-half hours from home. I seem to run into him in two places - the hallway and the Odeon. He also enjoyed the Mountain Goats, citing their great lyrics. This gives me a wonderful opportunity to segue into the other thing I hate about the Odeon - the sound. I don't know if they've got people who can't run the sound, or if it's just that the room is that acoustically poor, or what, but if The Mountain Goats had great lyrics, I missed most of them.
I almost skipped out on this show because I had seen the New Pornographers twice before, and I'd seen Neko Case once before as well. But I'd never seen the New Pornographers actually perform with Neko Case - she's usually off doing her own thing - so at the last minute, I made myself available. I figured this wasn't a show I'm going to get to see again anytime soon. Dan Bejar was there too, though he seemed to wander on stage, do his thing, and bugger off again until the next time he was needed.
As they were touring in support of Together, their new album, you could expect to hear a lot of it. Which we did, and that was fine, though I have to admit it hasn't really grabbed me. I usually listen to a band's music while I'm writing up the review, and right now, I'm enjoying me some Electric Version, having just finished off Twin Cinema. The new stuff is patiently waiting for a turn that won't come tonight.
To be fair, The New Pornographers' albums generally make me go "meh" for a long time, until I've heard the songs separately or in small bunches and I eventually decide that they're all great. I'm still kind of working on their last album, so I think I'm good for a while.
The live show, though, was pretty entertaining. We did get lots of songs from the older albums, and the newer stuff was a lot more fun live. There will always be songs you hope for but don't get, but overall, I had no complaints with the setlist. I understand that Bones of an Idol is not a fun-time party anthem.
The sold-out crowd created an atmosphere that enhanced the show, and I don't just mean temperature-wise. Younger, more heat-resistant people spent the whole set jumping around, and the atmosphere always helps a show. One dude even crowd surfed until he got sternly glared at. But not everyone there made the world a better place. A few songs in, some dickbag hipster in a stupid hat decided he was going to shove in front of me and completely block my view of the stage. I glared a hole through the back of his head, and though he looked to his left and to his right, he sure avoided looking at me. Then he started a conversation with people who were standing behind me, so I elbowed past him and reclaimed my spot. VICTORY. I would have preferred to put a couple of 12-to-6 elbows right through his head - since the glaring did nothing - but this was good enough for me.
Having Neko Case there was a treat, though I didn't think that this set was that much better than the other times I've seen them. Kathryn Calder does a fine job singing Neko's part when Neko's not around. One member of our party who shall remain nameless - I'm the only one who gets to get in trouble for saying mean things about celebrities around here - said that Neko's voice was flat and they should have turned Calder's mic up higher. I didn't notice this, but then, I wouldn't. I still haven't figured out what an octave is.
UPCOMING SHOWS THAT MAKE ME FEEL OLD (BUT AT LEAST ARE NOT AT THE ODEON) - June 18: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - June 26: Odds - July 9: Simon & Garfunkel - October 8/9: Crash Test Dummies
Anyone who watched MuchMusic in Canada through the 80s remembers the constant appearances of Neil, Nick and Paul in the live environment. I've seen Neil Finn in concert numerous times, and I always held out hope for one reunion tour.