Tuesday, April 27th, 2004
You Were Here
I worked out that I’ve been going to see Sarah Harmer either solo or with Weeping Tile for almost seven years now, and though it’s been about two and a half years since I last saw Sarah live – too long by far – she’s/they’ve always put on a great show, last night being no exception.
Local tunesmith Hayden was tapped for the opening slot and he filled it with 45 minutes of his understated, gravelly folk music. I’ve seen Hayden a couple times and he’s usually been pretty engaging but last night he had it dialed down just a little too low for my liking – not two or three songs in and I was already nodding off. Not entirely his fault – warm dark theatres will do that to a fellow who has been having recent bouts of narcolepsy – but he certainly didn’t do much to keep me up.
Sarah was on the first leg of her tour to promote All Of Our Names and this was the first of a sold-out two-night stand at the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto. I’d never been to this theatre before, being more a creature of the dingy club, but this was certainly a beautiful venue. Watercolour murals on the walls, artificial foliage all around the stage and ceiling and low-slung mezzanines creating a cozy but not cramped feel. I was in the sixth row, orchestra level, so I had a pretty good view of everything though the sound was unnecessarily bass-heavy, a consequence of sitting in direct line of the PA, I guess. Sarah had assembled a fine band for this tour, including Mike O’Neill on guitar and Julie MacDonald of Flux AD on keys, flute and backing vocals. MacDonald was a fine choice for the band as her voice blends exceptionally well with Sarah’s pure, crisp, emotive voice. Sarah Harmer’s voice is a happy place for me.
The show itself was terrific, I was especially pleased to see her strap on the old Telecaster for a few of the more rocking songs – let’s not get TOO acoustically adult contemporary, thanks. Highlights were her graciously fulfilling requests for old Weeping Tile numbers (which sounded so good and sat quite nicely alongside the newer stuff) and her being taken by surprise by her neice and nephew onstage with a bouquet of flowers during the encore.
The pic above comes from the Sarah Harmer website, and was taken from a show at the start of this month in the Netherlands. I didn’t take any pictures last night, I wouldn’t have gotten anything usable from the sixth row anyway.
Some interview links from GPC: Splendid talks to The Wrens, who will be back at the Horseshoe June 5, and The Advocate talks to Stephin Merritt about the new Magnetic Fields album i, out next Tuesday.
Dilbert looks at the silent victims of music downloading.
The mailman brought me much postal happiness yesterday. In no particular order:
- The New Year / The End Is Near – New album not out until May 18, and I have a copy. The Kadanes are branching out their sound – the first instrument you hear is… piano?!? Whoa.
- Sea Ray / Stars At Noon – Haven’t listened to it yet.
- Franz Ferdinand / Franz Ferdinand – Had this album in mp3 for ages, never really listened to it. The album should get more proper rotation. I hadn’t noticed how much some of this sounded like old XTC. You heard it here first – XTC are the new Velvet Underground. Or not, I just wanted to be the first to call something.
- Iron & Wine / Our Endless Numbered Days – limited edition double disc, haven’t listened to it yet.
- A full-size theatrical poster for I Am Trying To Break Your Heart. What is the best/most cost-effective way to mount/frame/preserve a movie poster?
np – The New Year / The End Is Near