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reviews, reviews, reviews.



hey folks.  it's taken me a while to get around to
reviewing some recent halifax shows.  you may have
noticed that i put quite a bit of time in to
review Halifax on Music, which meant that i didn't
give attention to some other recent Halifax shows
that deserve a mention.

REVIEWS OF:  al tuck, preppy relatives (final?
halifax show), matt grimson, the chinstraps
(final? show), purple knight, state champs (sort
of), rebecca west, thrush hermit (but barely)


FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 6 \!/ bob & lori's food emporium
al tuck, preppy relatives, matt grimson

the format was simple -- three male
singer/songwriters, each doing a solo acoustic
guitar set.  the cover was a little steep at $5
and, thanks to the low visibility of bob & lori's
shows, attendance was poor.  but the few who
turned up were treated to something special.

MATT GRIMSON had been up since 4 a.m., and it
looked like the long day was taking its toll.  i
think he's working at delivering baked goods to
cafes and restaurants, and so he's got to be up
really early in the morning to get to his job.
despite his weariness he put in a good, if not
outstanding, set of music.  unfortunately, the low
mic level made his matter-of-fact vocal delivery
seem like muttering and i don't think that those
unfamiliar with his songs (most people) got much
out of it.

PREPPY RELATIVES is the project of Gordon Isnor,
who puts out _Left Hip_ zine.  Gordon hasn't had
any other band members for a while, and was down
in Massachusetts this summer so he hasn't
recruited anyone new.  This was a "last chance to
see" gig because Gordon moved to Vancouver the
next day, where he thinks he will try to form a
new version of the band.  Gordon usually plays
electric at his solo shows and so it was
interesting to see him play an acoustic.  I was
amazed by how many great new songs he's written
during his summer in Northampton.  There were a
few old favorites in there too, like "You Make
Apples" from the _yoga community_ cassette, and
"They're Illegal Now" from the _i'm going crazy in
this town_ compilation.  There are quite a few of
us in Halifax that will miss Gordon *a lot*.

AL TUCK's laid-back style is well-suited to the
low-key acoustic show atmosphere.  There's really
nothing like sitting in a little room with Al and
about 20 other people and getting him to play your
favourite tunes.  I managed to get him to play
"Good and Ready" but i couldn't get him to play
"Can I Count On You" (although i noticed that mary
dickie successfully got him to do that one at the
music festival!).  Al's been doing a few of these
intimate acoustic gigs lately, and i hope he keeps
it up.


SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 7 \!/ birdland
purple knight, the chinstraps

THE CHINSTRAPS may be history.  Their drummer,
Mike Lewis, has gone away for eight months, and
there are no definite plans for them to re-form
when he returns.  So the band did their best to go
out with a bang.  Their set was prefaced by a
couple of songs by "The Kwongs", which featured
Mike out front on guitar instead of the drums --
one of Thee Suddens (Chad?) filled in on the
skins.  They were joined by Ron "OG" Bates on
bass, for the original (and i mean original)
composition "We Are The Kwongs!"  Later, Mike and
Kevin came back out as the Chinstraps and rocked
out for half an hour.  That's a perfect set length
for them, and it was definitely one of the best
'straps gigs I've seen.  I'm really going to miss
their unique stage decoration style.  :-)

PURPLE KNIGHT are not, um, the most nuanced
musical experience you will ever have.  In fact,
they are quite possibly the *least* nuanced
musical experience you will ever have.  This
despite Mark Gaudet's encyclopedic knowledge of
rock and roll.  But, you know, no one ever accused
him of being able to sing!  Anyway, if you've ever
heard any Purple Knight, i'm sure you realize
that's hardly the point.  True confession:  i
*love* seeing this duo live.  I'm glad they don't
play too often, though, because that would spoil
the experience for me.  There's a PK 7" single on
Sub Pop now, and they played songs from that as
well as old favorites like "Thunder and
Lightning."  I'm trying to remember if they did
any cool covers this time but it's over two weeks
since and memory fails.


SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 21 \!/ the sanctuary
thrush hermit, rebecca west, state champs

I arrived too late to see Mitch Montana so i don't
know what they were like.

STATE CHAMPS had only 2 of their 4 members
available to play, but still (!) went on with the
show, which Mark announced was not a state champs
show but a "fork fork" show.  the lineup on this
evening featured actual champs: mark on guitar and
mike on drums, with j from the motes on guitar and
matt kelly, who you can see soon on tour as an
auxiliary inbred, on bass (actually, he and mark
switched up for the last number).  they basically
did a couple of long jams and made use of my
roland juno 6 (i was wondering where that thing
had got to!) for some extra atmosphere --
unfortunately the line for it seemed to be cutting
out.  even though they hadn't practiced together
before, their jamming was actually pretty good,
with a few lame moments but a few brilliant ones
too.

REBECCA WEST rocked out flawlessly but allison
failed (as usual) to persuade people to get up on
their feet.  a highlight for me was when she
talked about all-ages gigs in temporary spaces and
how she was playing these kinds of shows "back
when most of you were in diapers." what a charmer.
:-)  there was this one fast instrumental jam they
did that totally blew my mind.  overall the best
band of the night.

THRUSH HERMIT put on a show that was a hell of a
lot of fun, but that was despite joel's flu that
kept him from singing most of the night.  he did
"glum boy" because the vocals are mostly low, but
for the most part they had to rely on ian and rob
songs.  as a result there was a lot of indecision
in the course of their set, and they didn't have
much luck taking requests from the audience.  they
did do a pretty decent version of "radio blaster."
twice during the set, ian launched into ac/dc
"dirty deeds done dirt cheap" to wild enthusiasm
from the audience; the second time was during the
intro to "patriot" which stretched into a
ten-minute finale featuring rob taking the mic,
jumping down off the stage and doing an audience
survey: "what i want to know is, are *you* crazy
for 'patriot'?"  like i said, a hell of a lot of
fun.



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