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the new hardship post +

so last night saw the halifax debut of the
reincarnated version of the hardship post.
they were billed as "the new hardship post."
there were quite a few people at birdland
for a thursday night -- a lot of curious
onlookers.  a few words about the opening

helpful hint for dave carmichael:  if it's 
so damn important that your bare arms are
visible while you are playing your guitar, 
*wear a muscle shirt*.  it'll save you all 
that trouble of constantly pushing up your 
t-shirt sleeves.  
(hint #2:  i knew bruce springsteen.  bruce
 springsteen was my friend.  i worked with
 bruce springsteen.  you're no bruce springsteen.)

question about kudzu:  *how* many members
have they had now?

memo to the grace babies:  stop saying
"thank you" right at the end of songs 
before people even have a chance to clap.
stop it.  stop it now.  stop it before
it's too late and it becomes an irreversible
schmaltz reflex.  also, get a sense of
humour and some new stage moves while you're
at it.  thanks....

ok, on to more interesting matters.  
the new hardship post exhibited two
configurations last night.  the stage was
set up so that all three members were
at the front of the stage in a row.
the drums were situtated on the left,
guitar in the middle, bass on the right.
there were 11 songs.  for the first 4,
it was seb on drums, mike on guitar.
for last 7, it was mike on drums, seb
on guitar.  alyson played bass.  

because there were 3 other bands on the
bill, and dave carmichael went longer
than anyone, the band didn't get on stage 
'til around 2 a.m. and by that time a
lot of people were really sleepy.  so
the crowd response was kind of lethargic.

mike sang those first four songs and
surprised many people, i'm sure, with
some high falsetto and rather slow,
moody songs.  the rockingest song of
the four was a really excellent version
of "capability".  the other three were
new ones.  on one of them mike sang
just like roland gift.  one of those
whowouldthunkit moments.  anyways,
what with four mid-tempo-to-slow songs
in a row, several people were heading
for the door.  it could have been that
they decided that this was not the
hardship post they remember, or 
that it got too late, or some combination
of both.  as for me, i would have liked to 
have been able to hear the lyrics better.
i think what mike is up to is really 
interesting but it's hard to see, so far,
how it fits with the rest of what the band
is doing.

during the other 7 songs, seb did the
majority of the singing.  once again,
the songs were midtempo and even slow.
i was surprised that alyson's songs
were so downbeat (one of them is called
"deathbed", yikes) considering that
she wrote of couple of jale's rockingest
songs.  although i guess "river" and
"brother" and "wash my hands" are hers
too, right?  the only "old" one that
they did was "your sunshine", which
seb introduced by pumping his fist
in the air and saying, "now we're
gonna do a *rocker*!"  he seemed to
think that was pretty funny.  that seb.
i really liked the song, 2nd-last,
that had all the "doo-doo-doo"s in
it, where all three sang.  you know
what, there was this song, maybe
it was the same one, where the 
drum pattern was very remniscent
of "five years" off _ziggy stardust_.

the applause at the end could not be 
described as any better than "polite", but 
that could be because people were so sleepy.

so the question is, how to react to
all this... 

this band is known for
- seb totally rocking out on guitar and vocals.
- mike's bass playing.
- alyson's drumming.

they are steadfastly refusing to do all
three of these things.  so are they
brave?  arrogant?  courageous?  misguided?
brilliant?  stupid?  out of touch?  
original?  rock and roll rebels?

if they haven't already, they are going
to alienate droves of former fans.  
on the other hand, they might win a lot
of new ones.

you gotta wonder what sub pop thinks
about all this.  do they have an option
to drop them if they're not satisfied
with what they're doing?  would they?
what happens when a band scraps just
about *everything* they're doing and
starts from ground zero?  are they
the same, um, product?

staying tuned as the world turns,

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