Friday, June 05, 2009

On the Summer Concert Plate: New bands, Old Bands, Anniversaries, and a Last Show Ever

My summer of concerts officially got underway in the last few weeks with gigs from Ellen McIlwaine and Danny Michel, but those were just the appetizers. I figured my concert-going in general might be on the decline as my concert bucket list is down to just one hand, though I guess I'm in trouble if Jack White keeps starting new bands. There are some major gigs coming down the pipeline, which makes me glad to be just a quick hop away from Seattle. Expect more on these shows later... but for now, a tasty preview of my summer lineup.

June 26 - The Lost Fingers
June 27 - Alice Russell
June 28 - Ndidi Onukwulu & José González

It'll be a busy concert weekend as I hit back to back to back shows during the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. First up, the Lost Fingers, the Juno nominated gypsy-jazz cover band from Québec I mentioned a few months ago. i (heart) music is still hosting mp3s of a live show recorded for CBC, which includes a cover of Belleville Rendez-Vous from The Triplets of Belleville and much more!

I caught British soul singer Alice Russell at Schuba's in Chicago when I visited in March. Since then, she was invited by David Byrne to sing on his and Fatboy Slim's forthcoming concept album (other singers on the album include Sharon Jones, Tori Amos, Santigold, and Martha Wainwright). She was so good I couldn't pass up seeing her gig here in Vancity!

Lastly I'm going to see local blues singer Ndidi Onukwulu who impressed me during her few songs at the Juno Songwriter's Circle a few months back. She's playing with Swedish indie folk artist José González, who I'm honestly rather indifferent towards even though he's certainly friendly on the cover front.

The Lost Fingers - Straight Up [originally by Paula Abdul]

Alice Russell - Crazy [originally by Gnarls Barkley]

The CBC Radio Orchestra with Ndidi Onukwulu - American Woman [originally by The Guess Who]
Full CBC Radio 2 concert streaming here.

José González - Love Will Tear Us Apart [originally by Joy Division]
Speaking of which, a local exhibition recently opened in Vancouver with a cover version of a different variety: Love Will Tear Us Apart being "sung" in sign language.

July 3 - Jason Webley & Friends

I'm heading down to Seattle for what's sure to be a fun-filled weekend, Jason Webley's 11-Year Elevanniversary Celebration and Camp Tomato 2009. Jason Webley's relationship to the number 11 is not unlike Jack White's obsession with the number 3, hence the unconventional anniversary. The cost? $11. Seriously, when was the last time you went to an $11 show? That's less than the fees from Ticketmaster! Tickets still available here.

Originally I was planning a trip to catch Jim Henson's Fantastic World, a traveling exhibition of Muppet mayhem created by the Smithsonian. As usual, I tried to coincide my visit with a show when I found an e-mail from Jason Webley lingering in my inbox with details on his big show. In Jason's words: "Come celebrate eleven years of screaming, stomping and squeezing across the planet. A one-night extravaganza featuring most all of the musicians and artists that I have worked with over these past eleven years." Then I got a nice surprise earlier this week when he revealed one-time collaborator Amanda Palmer would be joining the festivities. Another surprise yesterday when I read Ms. Palmer and Neil Gaiman are officially an item! And if I'm not mistaken, they were introduced to each other by Mr. Webley.... but that's enough geek gossip for this blog. Now that I think about it, I first heard Jason Webley when Neil linked to his music video for Eleven Saints about three years ago.

Jason Webley - Eleven Saints

Amanda Palmer - I Google You [lyrics by Neil Gaiman]

Neil Gaiman - Who Killed Amanda Palmer? [Neil's spoken word intro for her WKAP tour]

August 6 - 9 Edmonton Folk Music Festival

I figured it was time for a trip back home (my first since Christmas) and as a bonus, I pulled some work strings to head back for the Edmonton Folk Fest which is celebrating its 30th year. I also easily convinced my whole family to come for some or all of the festival. I was sold when I found out Danny Michel would be playing the 4-day fest. Of course I've seen him several times, but it'll be a thrill to see him mix it up at the daily sessions where anything goes. They just announced the full line-up last week and the E-Town folk fest organizers scored a major coup by booking Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings to headline Saturday night. WOO! Festival goers unfamiliar with them will be in for a huge treat when they takeover the Main Stage. Other performers include:
  • Neko Case
  • Kathleen Edwards
  • Chumbawamba (a revelation when they played in '06)
  • Béla Fleck & Toumani Diabate
  • The Wailers
  • Steve Earle (just realized that's him in The Wire! I'm into Season 5 now.)
  • Iron and Wine
  • Pavlo
  • Loudon Wainwright III (heh heh, "Dead Skunk" for my dad! My mum hates that song.)
  • Joel Plaskett
  • Tift Merritt
  • Boz Scaggs (Lido Shuffle!)
...and of course plenty, plenty more, many of whom I'm unfamiliar with. Another headliner is the no-longer-Barenaked Lady, Steven Page who's currently in the middle of mixing an album of his collaboration with the Art of Time Ensemble from last year, an all-covers affair (streaming here) that included one of my favourite incarnations of Paranoid Android. Curious if he'll play any of that stuff at the Folk Fest. Can't wait 'til August!

Chumbawamba - Her Majesty (live at Edmonton Folk Fest 2006) [riff on The Beatles]

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - This Land is Your Land (live from Radio City Music Hall [originally by Woody Guthrie]
From last month's Dark Was the Night benefit concert.   The end of the show featured most the night's artists including Feist, Dirty Projectors, Bon Iver, My Brightest Diamond, and others gathering to pay tribute to Pete Seeger with a goofily earnest rendition of This Land is Your Land.  That is, until Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings cut in and proceed to bring down the house. Google the youtube video... it's pretty priceless.  This crisp audio is from the NPR broadcast (whole show on iTunes).

August 21 & 22 - The Dead Weather

Vancouver was spoiled last year when the Raconteurs came through town twice last year, ostensibly on the same tour. And now we're being treated to back-to-back shows from The Dead Weather come August. Gee, Jack must love it here or something. The first White Stripes shows I ever saw were back-to-back Vancouver shows in 2005.

What I'm really pumped for is the film chronicling the White Stripes 2007 cross-Canada tour, titled Under Great White Northern Lights, which is expected by year's end on DVD and possibly even in theatres. Logic dictates that the main feature will be the epic Glace Bay show, for which yours truly was in attendance (gloat!), hopefully with footage from the secret shows performed in almost every city on the tour.

The Dead Weather - Treat Me Like Your Mother
[File deleted, but get it free from the official site for the cost of a dummy e-mail]

August 28 & 29 - Harvey Danger

Though it was announced last week, I just found out the bombshell news last night that Harvey Danger are officially calling it quits with a handful of farewell shows. They've got shows planned for Schuba's in Chicago, the Largo in L.A., and two shows in their hometown Seattle. This just coming a year and a bit after their big 10th Anniversary brouhaha, which I was lucky enough to attend. While previously the band was on an indefinite hiatus for 4 years, the finality of this recent announcement is a bit of a gut punch. Their sophomore album King James Version, front-to-back is one of my favourite all-time albums. Though mostly known to the average joe for their one-hit wonder Flagpole Sitta in the 90s, they've got a small but intensely devoted fanbase that are already booking trips from across the US (and abroad!) to see what is 99% likely their final shows as Harvey Danger. Fortunately it's not much of a hassle for me to drag myself down to Seattle for the last two shows, an all-ages gig at the Vera Project (tickets here) and back where it all started at the Crocodile Club (tickets here). I've booked my tix, now to get off work...

Harvey Danger - Save it For Later [originally by The English Beat]
Harvey Danger - Oh! You Pretty Things [originally by David Bowie]

If you can handle Flac files, check out their New Year's gig from a few years back where they performed side 2 of Abbey Road straight through.

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