Sunday, July 25th, 2004
See Emily Play
This should have been great. An acoustic show featuring two of the brighter talents to come out of the local scene in recent years – Emily Haines of Metric and Amy Millan of Stars – should have been something special. Something you’d be able to say down the line that you’d been one of the lucky few in attendance. Instead…
First up was Amy Millan, who has been writing and performing as a solo artist outside Stars for some time now. While she didn’t offer any information about her solo record that was supposedly supposed to come out sometime this year, she did perform a few numbers on acoustic guitar along a theme of “love and loss”, as she put it throughout her set. The material was by turns folksy and country-ish, pleasant enough but not overly remarkable. Amy’s voice is like comfort food, though, so when her 40 minutes or so were up, I wasn’t incredibly stoked but still in a good mood and looking forward to the headliner. And I’m still eagerly anticipating Honey From The Tombs, whenever it comes out.
I should have known something was up when a fellow started handing out programs for the show entitled, “Emily Haines Plays The Piano Alone” and the song listing featured a grand total of two songs from Old World Underground out of 13, and the “available for funerals” note on the front turned out to be more promise than joke. Emily came onstage wearing a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers (a big change from her usual Metric pseudo-military miniskirt ensemble), blindfolded and stumbling around, relying on the audience to give her directions to the piano. Why? I have no idea, but she made it without much incident and without a word, began playing a new song. It was slow, sparse and dirge-like. She finished, everyone applauded, she started the next song. It was slow, sparse and dirge-like. She finished, everyone applauded, she started the next song. It was slow, sparse and– do I need to continue? The entire set was slow, sparse and dirge-like.
I don’t think I’d have minded as much if she’d taken the time to explain to the audience that she was going to be doing something different that night, that this was new material that was going to be on the next record or given any sort of context to the show, but instead she plugged through nearly three-quarters of the set before even acknowledging the audience and was seated such that her back was facing half the room and the piano blocked the view for a good portion of the other half. The whole thing came off as incredibly arrogant and off-putting – Haines would do well to realize she’s not nearly a big enough star to take her audience for granted like that. Maybe it’s a good thing she had her back to the audience, so she couldn’t see the number of people walking out mid-show… and it wasn’t just because it was suffocatingly hot in the club. I guess I’ve just used a lot of words to say one simple thing – big disappointment.
No pics besides the one of Emily stumbling for the piano – just some shots of Amy too dark to salvage and a couple pictures of Emily’s back while she plays. Not worth posting. The lighting at the ElMo is really pretty awful and the bizarre seating setup (a few rows of chairs up front, some tables in the middle and sides and everyone else standing in-between everything) made for awful sightlines. And really, there was nothing to see.
The Sadies will celebrate the release of their latest album Favourite Colours on August 24 with two shows at the Horseshoe, September 17 and 18.
The Fiery Furnaces show in September has been pared down from a plural to a singular, the 12th of September, and will be at the Mod Club, not the Drake. Hey, don’t blame me, blame their booking company’s website. White Magic support. I listened to a little of Blueberry Boat at Soundscapes the other day (listening station!) and was more intrigued than I was by the random mp3s I had. I won’t be at that show, however, as that’s the same night as the Old 97s show at Lee’s, and I ain’t missing that one.
Six By Seven’s new album has a new title, :04, and a release date – September 13. I am not holding my breath for a North American release… hello Amazon.co.uk!
Watched David Fincher’s Panic Room yesterday. It was suspenseful, stylish and had a wickedly nasty performance from Dwight Yoakam, but the ending was really abrupt and unsatisfying. Oh well, it was neat technically-speaking, at least.
The official title of the new Star Wars film is Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith, and not Star Wars: Sucks Even Harder Than The Last One as expected. The George Lucas – always keeps us guessing.
np – Doug Martsch / Now You Know