Sunday, November 9th, 2003
There's Too Much Love
For all the crowing I’ve done about scoring front-row centre tickets for last night’s Belle & Sebastian show at Massey Hall, it would have all been for naught if they put on anything less than a stellar show.
Whew. Dodged a bullet there.
Rasputina started things off with their unique blend of classical goth-punk. I really don’t know what you’d call it. Two girls in medieval garb absolutely rocking out on cellos with a drummer backing them up. Cellos can sound an awful lot like distorted electric guitars, and can get damned heavy. Along with their original material, they closed with covers of Heart’s “Barracuda” and CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising”, which sounded particularly sinister. Different and impressive.
I find it near impossible to reconcile the notoriously reclusive and mysterious band that produced Tigermilk and If You’re Feelin Sinister with the finely-honed pop orchestra that performed last night. Charming and engaging, frontman Stuart Murdoch was bouncing all around the stage throughout the whole show, dancing and shimmying like a dervish. To all the fans who’ve sworn off the band for their new ‘upbeat’ sound, sorry but I don’t this band is capable of doing many mopey bedsit anthems anymore… they’re just too happy and having too much fun. Example – an audience member calls out for the Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back” and Bob Kildea starts goofing on the bassline, Stevie Jackson on the guitar riff and Murdoch sings a quick lyric. The audience roars, the band sort of shrugs (figuratively speaking) and off they go. Massey Hall security be damned, there was no way the crowd wasn’t getting up and dancing for this one. Now maybe the audience member was in the know and the band had already had this one rehearsed from other shows, but from my vantage point it was totally off-the-cuff. Definitely A Moment (note capitalization there).
That sort of interaction was a prime example of the whole night – the band having a great time onstage, feeding off the sheer adoration of the crowd. It didn’t hurt, of course, that it was maybe the best sound I’ve ever heard at a concert, and I had a totally unobstructed view of the stage. Handy for getting photos, as well. All these shots were taken flash-less. I love it when bands have great light shows, the colours are so pretty… I seem to get developing a steadier hand on the camera, though maybe that was just a perk of sitting. And while I hate to be the guy who walks out of a show going, “But they didn’t play this, or that, or that”, they didn’t play “I’m A Cuckoo”. Some mild disappointment there. Oh well, I’ll get over it. The just-under two hours of great music compensated somewhat.
But of course, there has to be one moment of non-love noted, for me at least. ‹non-love› To the girl who got invited onstage to sing a tune and insisted on doing one of her own songs – I’m sure that was a real thrill for you, but in the future, please jerk off on your own time. I didn’t pay $60 to attend a coffee house open mic night, thanks. ‹/non-love›
Postscript – Chart talks to Chris Geddes about the new B&S record.
Non-B&S related – Ryan Adams is touring Rock N Roll and Love Is Hell next month. Chances that he’ll have Elton John in tow again this time? Pretty slim – unlike Ryan himself. Hey DRA – better lay off those wagon wheels! Torontonians get their chance to call Ryan a fatty and request “Summer Of 69” at risk of being beaten to death December 10 at the Opera House.
Liz Phair is doing an acoustic in-store at the Sunrise at Yonge and Dundas next Saturday at 1pm, in advance of the show that evening at the Guvernment.
np – The Sleepy Jackson / Lovers