Monday, October 4th, 2004
It's A Hit
To quote Danny Glover, “I’m getting to old for this shit”. The last of three shows in three nights was queued up for last night, and it was probably my most anticipated of the three. Rilo Kiley can lay claim to having released one of my favourite records of the year in More Adventurous so I was obviously hoping the live show could enhance the musical experience.
Interestingly, the bill for the tour read like a snapshot of Saddle Creek through the ages – you had Rilo Kiley, who left the label, Tilly & The Wall, currently on the ‘farm team’ imprint, Team Love. Not that that means anything, I just found it interesting.
Tilly & The Wall are a 10-legged tap-dancing diabetic coma waiting to happen – they are so cute it borders on sickening. Taking the stage with a “T! I! L! L! Y!” chant, the combo immediately got their game on tapping, stomping and singing. As was pointed out to me, only Jamie Williams actually taps – Neely Jenkins and Kianna Alarid just stomp along while singing. But whatever you want to call it, whenever you get three cute girls in short skirts dancing and singing, a good time is going to be had. Their music is buoyant and happy and infectious like ebola, and while it is gimmicky (they tap dance for pete’s sake), it’s never jokey. They played a short 40-minute set, and while the crowd wanted more (they took a little while to comprehend what they were seeing), it might be for the best that they kept it brief. I’m not sure how much a body could take without needing an insulin shot.
The middle slot belonged to Athens, Georgia’s Now It’s Overhead. If you want to know what they sound like, just imagine what you’d think college rock in the mid 1990s would sound like. You’re pretty much there. NIE are a jangly, riffy, electronic-tinged, earnest and no doubt sensitive amalgam of everything you’d think a US college radio station would have played during the Clinton years. Live, their material was stronger than the samples I got off the website had hinted at and any act that brings uber-cutie Orenda Fink to town has my gratitude (leave me alone, I’ve had a crush on her since her Little Red Rocket days). Curiously, her Azure Ray cohort and NIE keyboardist Maria Taylor wasn’t along for the trip. Overall, I didn’t mind their set at all though follwing the nuttiness of Tilly & The Wall and leading into the hotly anticipated headliner, they came off as a little bit bland. They could be going onto bigger and better things, though – after they wrap up this tour, they will be supporting fellow Athenians REM on a leg of their North American tour.
If nothing else, Rilo Kiley can say they drew an exponentially larger audience this time around last time around – instead of the seven people or so who caught them at their Toronto debut in 2002, there were at least 49 in the audience last night, probably more. The band wasn’t to be outdone, though, doubling their on-stage contingent to eight – in addition to the core band there was a 2-piece string section, Orenda from Now It’s Overhead on trumpet and a third guitarist. The setlist drew mainly from More Adventrous and The Execution Of All Things, though they reached back to Take-Offs And Landings for “Small Figures In A Vast Expanse”. A nice treat was having the introduction to “The Execution Of All Things” rearranged for plucked strings, to great effect, and the charming-if-not-entirely-successful false ending of “I Never”. For the encore, Blake performed “Ripchord” solo, stopping between verses to gently chide a couple audience members for talking while he played (“This isn’t like TV, I can hear you!”) and then bringing the band back on to close things out.
All in all, a great and energetic performance that was sadly marred by the atrocious sound – everything was excessively loud, the mix was bad and the show suffered for it. This isn’t just my old man ears complaining, I know loud but my ears were almost in physical pain from the sonic assault. The vocals were barely audible at the start of the show and only improved incrementally as the night went on. The biggest culprit was the third guitarist who apparently felt that being number three meant having to be louder than one and two put together. I tried putting the earplugs in for the louder numbers and taking them out for the quieter ones with limited success. Note to self – get some proper fitted earplugs. NOW.
As always, lighting at the show started out great and got progressively darker. Sigh. Stupid Horseshoe. Pics here.
News from Pernice Brothers-land. They are prepping a DVD for release next month and have a new CD ready to drop in late January/early February of next year which will feature the recording debut of the current touring lineup.
Sad sad day for Canadian baseball yesterday. The Expos played their final game in Montreal and the Jays capped their worst season in over two decades with another loss which was likely the final game of longtime franchise player Carlos Delgado. All that seemed inconsequential, however, with news that former Jay pitcher John Cerutti was found dead at the age of 44 in his hotel room before the game. Cerutti was a mainstay of the pitching staff in the late 80s when the Jays captured the AL East pennant in 85 and 89, when I started watching baseball, and had been Jays commentator for CBC and SportsNet since the 97 season. Rest in peace, John. Dave Perkins of The Toronto Star has a eulogy.
np – Tilly & The Wall / Wild Like Children