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non-gender-specific cock rock

hi folks.  it's been a week and no one's said a word
about last week's halifax tragically hip concert, as
well as last saturday's coyote/spine/guests birdland
grand opening/ckdu fundraiser thing.  which i think
i will talk about first here.

i went early to the grand opening party and did a
bit of schmoozing, then mike graham and i took off
to get some pizza and then some coffee.  i was 
fueling up 'cause i knew the gig was going to go
late.  in the process we missed sommerdale and
julia's rain.  we got back in time to see the 
grace babies, who played better than at the green
room gig, and had the benefit of an appreciative
crowd and a better sound system.

SPINE were f***ing incredible!  i know i rave 
about this band all the time, i always have.  and
you should know that my involvement with the band
has moved to the point where i am working on 
putting out their single.  this is something i've
wanted to do for a long time.  and they just keep
getting better.  jason changed his guitar sound
so it's more punk and less metal somehow.  that
and the addition of some great new songs to their
repertoire and an amazing show of energy on stage
made last saturday's gig their best ever.  i knew
this band would impress people if they ever got
the chance to play in front of a large crowd,
and this was finally that chance.  the kids went
nuts and bumrushed the dance floor.  

sloan net curmudgeon and lead singer/bassist
david ledden introduced their new song, called
what else, "curmudgeon," (yes, inspired by my
comments on sloan net about him) as "non-gender-
specific cock rock."  i knew that would be my
quote of the week so i gave him one back -- i
told david that the song sounds like "the jesus
lizard being molested by black sabbath."  
i don't know how to explain it any other way.
what a heavy heavy stomper of a song.  
you should hear the blues solo that david 
does on his bass at the end of the song.

one of the highlights of the show was a completely
over-the-top cover of "going out west" by, yes,
*tom waits*.  you should hear david's waits-like
growl -- he out-toms tom.  i'm not kidding.

besides those two songs the band did all five
songs that they recorded recently for the 
upcoming single (three of which will be released)
and a somewhat rearranged version of "rape seed".

i was so buzzed after that incredible set
that when coyote came out on stage and played
better than i've heard *them* what could i 
do but get out there and shake my cute little
tush.  i danced/stomped/shook all the way 
through their set.  they finally did a 
bubaiskull song:  "i remember drinking", one
of my faves.  i think they should record it
since bubaiskull never released it.  chris
is really playing his guitar well these days.
but he still broke the requisite string.  :-)

the tragically hip concert at the metro centre
a week ago was interesting.  it was the first
time that i've seen an arena rock show since
metallica in 1992.  what can i say, big name
shows are pretty few and far between out here
in halifax on the edge of the world.  my friend
danny spotted members of jale, colin mackenzie,
and other indie rock scene types in attendance.

boy, did the sound ever suck.  it was *so*
muddy.  i *think* that, based on the approximation
of an amplified rock sound that i was hearing,
change of heart did the best set i've seen them
do, better than when i saw them at the double
deuce and at the pop explosion.  boy, did they
have fun copping an attitude.  they were totally
sending up stadium rock mentality ("all right,
everyone grab their butts right now"  ok, i'm
taking that out of context...).  my favorite
quote:  "what's that?  fuck you?  oh, you'd 
like that, wouldn't you."

watching the odds was truly embarrassing.  
never have i seen such an unapologetic 
display of pointless guitar "heroics".  they
have really gone downhill since their first
album.  the final insult was that they did
one song from that first album, "love is
the subject," a perfectly fine stripped-down
pop song, and turned it into this funked-out
wah-wah-wanker shit.  jon dacey would have
puked his guts out.  :-)

the tragically hip, on the other hand, are
more into noodling and doodling on their
guitars than spanking and wanking (ok,
enough assonance already).  their extended
guitar solos contribute to the overall
structure of their moody songs, instead
of being shallow and decorative a la the
odds.  gord downie is so bizarre, he just
can't help constantly deconstructing
everything (the crowd roars for no apparent
reason; gord: "yeah, you like to fuck each
other at the sink when you're washing dishes,
don't you?").  this _day for night_ thing
is a really melancholy album they've put out,
and they play a lot of material from it.
it makes the older hi-octane rock-out material
seem oddly out of place.  definitely a more
mellow version of the hip than what we've
seen before.  and people just keep eating
it up.  you have to think they're subscribing
more to a myth than to the music.  either
that or clinical depression is far more 
rampant than we could suspect.  here's
an interesting thing:  the crowd was totally
dominated by suburban youth.  i thought
there'd be a big turnout from the older
classic-rock set but it didn't happen.  
the alternakids were a small minority too.
$25 is a lot for a rock show, even for
three bands, so i guess you get the ones
with the disposable incomes...  anyways,
until r.e.m. play halifax i guess the hip
will have to do for arena rock.


     _James R. Covey <jrcovey\!/ac.dal.ca>_    sloan net is a discussion of the
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