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chris have murphy upon us.

and now i want to do something i should have
done days ago and review the solo-boy-angst
show from last week.  actually a fine job was
done of that already but i enjoyed the evening
so much that i wanted to add my own reflections
to what's been said so far...

BOB & LORI'S FOOD EMPORIUM, halifax, sat feb 3/96
preppy relatives + matt grimson + joel plaskett + chris murphy

about 50 people or so crowded into the small gottingen st
cafe/grocery/whatever.  i think many of them were there to
see joel and chris and didn't know much about matt or gordon.
understandably.  gordon is the one who set it up though.
i think he cajoled chris for months on end to get him to play.
i don't think chris has played a solo show before.

the PREPPY RELATIVES set was another gordon isnor solo set.
i think he took a lot of newbies by surprise with his amazing
guitar prowess.  he makes that thing sing.  he did a bunch
of songs from the new cassette _yoga community_, including
crowd favorites like "you make apples" and "c.d. snider"
("CD Snider, you have twisted my sister's arm again, arm
 again, we're not going to take it...") and an utterly
sublime rendition of the title track.  he also did an older
one (from the previous cassette) by request:  "cultivating
female sexual energy."  on that song he does this vibrato
thingy on one string while playing the others differently
(don't ask me exactly what he's doing, i'm not a guitarist).
it's a really rich, rhythmic, intoxicating sound.  and yes,
there was also the sequel to the story that gordon told
at his last gig about the "rainbow guy" who was prophesying
the end of the world.  this time, it turns out that the
person who made front page news in halifax with his harbour
bridge bomb threat turned out to be, yes, gordon's friend
the rainbow guy.  stay tuned for further developments.

MATT GRIMSON also plays some lyrically clever stuff, but
rather than looking to elvis costello, n.p.b., et al for
his influences as does gordon, he gives obvious nods to 
country, folk, and blues.  he seems to deliberately use 
folk-ish expressions, like pronouncing "disney" as 
"dis-a-nee."  but there's no one genre here, i think; his 
music seems to be that of a person who composes a lot of 
personal songs in the bedroom and reads a lot of books and 
listens to old records.  i haven't heard anything more about 
this record that he has supposedly made with chris murphy.

JOEL PLASKETT's set was another change of pace.  he sang
all but one of his songs in an octave-lower register than
what you'd normally hear him doing with thrush hermit.
two of his originals were arranged essentially as
country-blues songs, which was interesting.  he did a
couple of thrush hermit songs, but not ones that have
been put out yet.  one of them is based on a short story
idea that he never finished.  he told us the whole plot
though:  a pearl jam sound man falls in love with this
woman and leaves the touring live to be with her.  she
stays with him even after he gets all paranoid and crazy
and has his whole house miked, each room with a different
mic (he can tell the differences in sound quality).  he
sleeps with headphones on so he always knows where she
is, and one night a burglar breaks in.  the sound guy
knows where he is by the sounds and surprises the burglar
by shooting him.  but the gun discharges next to a mic
and immediately the guy realizes he is now deaf and the
sounds that he lived for are gone.  wild, huh?  what a
campfire story.  joel finished off with a *beautiful*
song called "when i have my vision" that everyone should
yell for at thrush hermit shows from now on until we
get him to do it.

CHRIS MURPHY was last, and here's what was really 
surprising.  he was honestly, genuinely, completely
*nervous*.  that was an interesting side of chris to
see and not one that you really see at sloan shows.
chris' playful (and by "playful" i'm talking about
being intelligent about what's fun, not just being
trivial) approach to music came out in the set list
choices.  he refused to make it a sloan-unplugged-
nostalgia event.  he had fun with the whole idea of
nostalgia by playing old songs that never made it
as sloan songs (like "guidance counselor").  only
the fans from hell really know the words, and they
had to mouth them for him at moments where he forget
them.  he also did some catholic worship songs,
including "holy holy" and "christ have mercy upon us".
when he started doing "holy holy" people were laughing
through most of it.  i think they thought that it
was supposed to be more of a joke than it was.  what
was *really* funny was watching chris laughing at
all the people laughing.  if that makes any sense.
and yes, there were a couple of "completely 
inappropriate hardcore covers":  songs by 7 seconds
and the angry samoans ("gas chamber").  chris 
managed to make the evening worthwhile without
treating it as, um, "important", if you know what i

as you can probably tell, i thoroughly enjoyed all
four performers.  i think it was an evening i won't
soon forget.  ironically enough.  :-)


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