Monday, January 26, 2009

The "Last" Downstairs Mix-up

I've already been criticized on Blue Kaffee for not having enough videos of different venues and having too many videos of CBTG's and the Ship. I promise I will try to rectify this in the future but already I have to continue the trend and show a couple more videos of CBTG's. I'm playing there twice in a row this week, on Thursday I'm playing the "last" Thursday night Downstairs Mix-up and on Friday I'm opening for "Surgeon" (I'll try to take some vid's of that one). I'm not holding my breath about this being the last, since there has already been about 7 or 8 "Last" Downstairs Mix-ups. Steve Abbott can be a bit of a drama queen sometimes. But when he's not being a drama queen he's a pretty goddamn excellent guitarist. Here is a video I took from the Mix-up a few weeks ago of Abbott, Steve Ailward (on Drums), Christian Gagnon (on bass) and David Caines (usually a drummer, here on especially drunk vocals) all having a vicious psychedelic jam.

Here we got Cyril Sneer playing their new classic "No Balls" at the same mix-up I think.. I gotta take some more videos of the Sneer, it's one of my most popular videos on youtube, which is strange considering Cyril Sneer have basically no web presence at all. Derm has got secret fans all over the place..

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mopey Mumble Mouse

I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with local crazy art-rockers Mopey Mumble Mouse yesterday at the now sketchiest bar in town Roxxy's, after "The Musician's Bar" closed down they proudly reclaimed their throne. Mopey Mumble Mouse has been around for what seems a dogs age, I remember them starting out back in 2005 at that very same bar (four normal years is at least the equivalent of 25 rock band years in St John's noise rock) and they are just as crazy as ever.
The nicest bunch of dudes, they've had a rotating roster of members with the core group of Curtis Kilfoy, Bart Pierson, and Tom Davis remaining constant. They certainly bring the intensity to their unique messages. Be sure to download some of their tunes from their website (their new christmas song "Hungry for Bricks" is particularly awesome). Here is a mega mega grainy video I I took of them last night (be sure to watch to the end for a special reward)

Bluegrass at CBTG's (Darren Browne, Alison Corbett, John Dawe)

Fine local pickers Darren Browne and John Dawe host a bluegrass jam session down at CBTG's every wednesday. Me and my main accompanist Miss Alison Corbett were playing all the local open mics last wednesday as a way of rehearsing for our "Out Of The Fog" taping the next day (long story short, It was one of the most awkward and uncomfortable experiences I've ever had, I don't care if you have it taped off I never want to see it..) anyway, me and Al stopped into CBTG's to go over the songs once more. After we finished that Alison started showing off her new found Bluegrass skills in a few impromptu jams at the bar. It was good times I must say, I shall return there at the next opportunity. I caught a video of the event, enjoy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Victor Lewis

Victor Lewis is my Hero. Victor with the help of his trusty 8 track recorder makes an album for every change of the season, and they are lush and beautiful. Really, you should go out and track them down, his gift for arrangements is quite astounding considering the limitations he works under. I've played bass for two of Victors bands "The Jim Jims" and "The Outfit" (basically the same band with a few different songs a one different member) and he's played bass (and guitar)in two of my bands "The Bookburners" and "Whatever-the-hell-I-end-up-naming-my-new-band" But I am not alone in my Victor Lewis experience Victor has been in many many bands in town, Trailercamp, Mudlarks, Hanging Horses, Cherie Pyne band, Mother Christie, The Corduroys, Jill Porter etc.. Victor's current main band KUJO is getting a good bit a attention and positive word of mouth in town, and it tickles me to death to see him out there actually rockin' out to his own material culled from his 17 or so albums. anyway, here are some videos of Victor I either took myself or shepherded from the internet. enjoy.

Here is the new one I took last weekend of KUJO at the ship. The video quality was pretty unwatchable so I got a little experimental with effects, I think it looks pretty neat.

Here is one of my favorite KUJO songs "Slumber Party" I snagged this video of them at CBTG's awhile back. check out Craig's backing vocals.

Here's Kujo at "The Rock house" playing "Silver Capsules" (I didn't take this one)

Here they are getting silly with a cover of Matt Spence's classic song (more on Matt Spence Later)"Eight Ball"

Here is The Outfit covering "Teenage Kicks". That's Victor's brother Pete on lead vocals (now in the army strangely enough). This was good times.

and I just found this one of Victor playing "I dreamt of Amy Winehouse". Thank you internet.

Monday, January 19, 2009

AE Bridger

There is not a lot of prog rock in the St. John's scene... There's a lot of trad-ish bands, there are a good few indie singer/songwriter types, some shitty emo/screamo bands, a few punk bands, a few metal bands, a bunch of generic rock rock bands, a few lonely "other" band types, but not many good ol' prog rock bands.
There is one very notable exception though in the AE Bridger band. Although I'm certain he'll spit on me for referring to him as prog rock, in my mind he embodies many of the better qualities of tradition 70's prog rock. Complicated song structures with heavy dynamics, strong virtuosity in playing, and a strong inclination to experiment in the studio and on the stage. If I had to relate AE Bridgers music to other artists I'd say they're like if Robert Fripp and Fred Frith had joined the band Television back in the 70's (if that makes sense). I could list a pile of different artists I can here in his music but AE Bridger definitely does his own thing. Anyway, you can find out more about them at their Myspace page and here is a video I took of him at The Ship a couple of weeks ago.

And here's their official video for "Stretch-A-Sketch" off their new album "I am a Ghostly Leech"

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My embarrassingly gushy tribute to Danny Keating and Planet Chaos

When I first moved into town back in 2003 (2004? I can't remember) I was spending a lot of time wandering around downtown late at night, most nights of the week. I was staying at my sister and her husband's tiny one bedroom apartment, rent free, sleeping on her futon in her living room. Staying out of the apartment as much as possible was the least I could do to not be a burden. Anyway, being an open mic whore I was looking for a proper good open mic figuring St. John's should be able to fill this need, and after a couple of weeks of trying out horrible places like O'Reilly's or the Breezeway I chanced upon a loud ruckus coming out of a seedy bar on Water Street. Inside the dark but strangely comfortable bar hidden above "The Spur" was a small, skinny, long haired man about my age playing an acoustic guitar so viciously warn down that a hole had been scratched through the front of it near the pick guard, all the mahogany varnish had been scrapped off by brutal, brutal strumming techniques over the years. It was the most awesome acoustic I had ever seen (it played like crap, as you would imagine) and the man playing it was even more striking.
I didn't know what to think of Danny Keating at first. He played in front of painting of a psychedelic gecko and had two microphones in front of him, one was normal and the other was loaded with delay effects and he'd switch from one to the other as the mood struck him. Danny was certainly the most intense open mic performer I had seen up to that point in time. He would hammer that guitar into oblivion and would alternate between a sweet tenor croon to the loudest primal howl I'd heard from a solo performer. He would turn away completely from the microphone and it would be twice as loud as the amplifiers. I swear, back in the day when Danny would be busking out on the laneway in front of The Ship I could here him all the way down to George street. The man was loud..
But it wasn't really until the fifth or so time going to "Planet Chaos" (that's the name of Danny's Open mic for those not in the know) that Danny's songs started to really hit me. When playing solo Danny streams all his songs together so that a collection of two minute power pop songs turn into epic suites that go on to a million different places and seem to never end. Danny doesn't make it easy for newcomers. At this point in time Danny has around 30 privately made albums of original material, and a lot of his best songs and live staples have never been recorded. Danny has forgotten more songs of his then most hardworking professional songwriters will write in the whole lives. It was at least five performance before I started recognizing songs, and it was at this point when I realized that I had Danny songs running through my head all day long. While not every one of Dannys hundreds of songs is a classic for the ages, almost everyone of them has a hook catchier then 95% of all pop songs written in the last 10 years. For my money Danny Keating writes the best pop songs out of anyone in Atlantic Canada, if pushed I'll go rest of Canada. Just listen to "full moon" posted down bellow and tell me that's not the best pop song you've heard all year.
The biggest tragedy is that Danny, for all his boundless inspiration when it comes to writing tunes, he has absolutely no patience for the recording process, none at all. Danny's recordings (I'm talking about his early stuff here, his most recent recordings with Catmanduah have actually been fairly Hi-Fi and well performed) are perfect pop songs immersed in the crustiest impenetrable lo-fi fog of tape hiss and half muttered readings with random noises throughout. I love his albums, but I love all sorts of freaky shit that most no one else would possibly want to listen to. I've always maintained that Danny is one Tony Visconti production away from superstardom, but Danny is cursed like some of us to be just too fundamentally weird at a base level to take any attempt at mainstream appeal seriously.
I went to Planet Chaos every week for about 4 years until it ended, it was the only open mic I've been to that valued originality and songwriting over anything else and the usual drunken requests for shitty covers of Dave Matthews or whatever were universally shunned. Many excellent talents came out of that weekly event, I know I never would have gotten as into songwriting if it weren't for The Planet Chaos venue giving me the weekly opportunity to try out new material (even if the audience can be brutally cynical sometimes). I've seen Danny play at least 200 times at least, and even when he's too drunk hold a guitar or remember any of the words to his songs he's still never boring. He was always the nicest guy in the bar, and (even if he did hog the stage a lot during the open mics) he was always a great host.
Anyway, Let's get to the videos. I was at The Ship last night where Catmanduah played a damn tight set of mostly new material (it had the standard four new songs for every show, that I've come to expect from Danny) I filmed a couple of songs. This "Steaming" of his last Ep he put out called "Steaming"

This is a new favorite of mine "Wayward Bird"

This is a Catmanduah show from the "Rock Can Roll" festival back in November at The Rose and Thistle Pub.

This is a nice video Rachel Jean Harding took of Danny Playing "Full Moon / Tough as Nails, Cute as Buttons" at the Spur

This is one of Danny's crazy videos from back in "The Origin of The Sound band" days. I miss the origin of the sound, that was a great band.

And here's another Danny Band I miss "The Peepholes" doin' a pretty sloppy version of "coatsleeve". This is back when Danny used to write looooong songs.

Danny seems to have abandoned all his myspace pages, so the best place to find out more about him is either his facebook profile or at his reverbnation profile which also might be abandoned.
Danny don't give a shit about the internet.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Geinus, Local Tough, Be Alright

Good Times were had last night at The Downstairs Mix-up. Steve Abbott knows how to host a party. I've set up a little tribute to Steve here with a video for each of the three bands in town that he fronts. Starting with a video I took last night of Geinus at CBTG's. I think it turned out pretty good. I embrace the crustiness of my girlfriend's primative digital camera and purposefully punch up the graininess when I'm editing the videos. Here is Geinus (Steve Abbott, Andrew Fisher, Alex Pierson) playing "Youth Obsession"

Here is my favorite brutal arseholes in town "Local Tough" (Steve Abbott, Andrew Fisher, Matt Wall, Anthony Brenton) rockin' out at the ship from a week or two ago. "Fecundate" is my favorite song of theirs, the violent jerky motion of this video is from my dancing/filming simultaneous techniques.

and here is the currently defunct "Be Alright" (Steve Abbott, Luke Power, Devon Milley) who were my favorite band in town for a long while. Here they are playing "There she was gone" at CBTG's again.

Night Music

Man was it cold last night! holy crap!. anyway, I had to play a show last night at CBTG's, which was fun and it went over pretty well, but it upset my usual routine which involves heading over to "Night Music" at the Ship (it's the third Thursday of every month). Night Music, for those of you who don't know, is the main venue for experimental and improvisational music in this city. There is a different host band every month (I'm hosting in March, Hoorah!) and in between set's there is an open stage where people in the audience can ask to go up and jam. It's always a blast and a half and over the course of this blog I'll probably end up sharing some of the Night Music recordings I have (I've got a decent collection). Anyway, I missed this month's band "King Andrews Bridge" which I was really curious about since it has Grant King (crazy jazzcat guitarist) and Curtis Andrews (who is the funnest drummer to jam with in this city) and I don't know the bassist Dave Bridger but if he's playing with those two he's probably really good. I missed that one, but I was at last months show with Brad Power, Matt Hender and Elliot Dicks hosting, which was pretty stellar. I think it was the first time they all played together so the night was nothing but tasty improv. Anyway, I took this video of the show, enjoy..

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Colonel Craze and The Hunch

Colonel Craze and The Hunch are easily one of the most exciting bands to watch in this city right now. Front man Andrew Waterman is one of the purest forms of Lunatic, just dripping adrenaline and James Brown Voodoo charisma. The band is tight but drunk and fierce as all hell. They got some rough mixes of their upcoming album posted on their myspace that has got me excited. Here are a couple crusty videos I've taken of them. and one video that somebody else put up that I'll share with you as well.

"Hard Hat Opportunity" someone else made this one..

"Pregnancy's a joke" This one I took and did some experimental hand stabilizing photoshop stuff to.

"One Eyed Horse" This is a particularily intoxicated performance I captured at a rare show at Junctions. Starts out strong, then ends up someplace else.

Black Molly

I guess I'll start the real posting with one of my closest friends and music cohorts Black Molly (aka Alison Corbett). The woman gets around, she just recently came back from touring cross country with Al Tuck and no Action and Old Man Luedecke and probably doesn't need me to help promote her but I will anyway. Here are a couple of videos I've taken of Black Molly both of them from a show she did at CBTG's back in November in this she's doing her Bontempi/Tiny Drums thing opening for "The Burning Hell" (friggin' awesome live band, I highly recommend them) playing one of my favorite songs of hers "1995"

In this one The Burning Hell are backing her up on one of her song's "Molly Lee"

Oh yeah I should mention, that she is touring all April as a part of The Burning Hell, which should be exciting times.
In the meantime she's playing with me and some other people in the Angelshakes (more on them later) also hopefully in my own band (if I can ever get this band together properly) and in a dozen or so other ensembles and groups scattered through the city. oh yeah also she is finishing her masters degree in ethnomusicology. She shames me with multi-tasking.

Hello! this my new blog and this is it's first rant!

Greetings and Salutations immediate audience!
Welcome at my attempt at Music Journalism and "Blogging". I'm a musician and lapsed visual artist situated here in the far east isolation of St. John's Newfoundland. We sorta have a reputation of having a large number of musicians per capita and being generally pretty awesome. There are a lot of musicians and bands in this city that I really enjoy and for the most part I don't regret moving here back in 2003 (or was it 2004? I can't remember..). I've made a lot of friends and I enjoy taking part in the music scene out here, but there are several ugly truths a creative person has to face up to while living and doing things here.
For one; St John's is a small city with a very limited audience that can only support a handfull of artists at a given time. If you are lucky enough to find yourself with a decent sized audience at start after a few months (even if you are totally amazing live) that audience will get smaller and smaller because those people have seen you allready and there is literally no one left in town who would be interested. You'll find that even with the most popular bands in town the total number of their active audience tops out at around a couple hundred people who will follow what the band does and take an extra effort to make it out to your shows every once in awhile. It takes a cross country tour with some actual mainstream media coverage to drag some fresh blood to your gigs at that point.

Which takes you to the next problem with the St. John's scene; It costs a lot of money in travel costs to leave this province and there is very little opportunity to actually make cold hard cash at music in this town. Most musicians around here start off hopeful and excited and gradually over time with gradually receding audience attendance, lack of recognition, lack of money and the growing realization that they have to save up their money and leave this shithole city if they want to chase after their rock and roll dreams; they become disillusioned, despondent and depressive. Also in this city there are none more lazy and brutally nihilistic then the music journalist. The music journalist who long ago gave up going to the bars where they actually play original music, and instead will write some lazy paragraph about whatever band emailed them their myspace page that week or whatever dipshit band from out of town happens to happen through this month. The only local bands that get any type of regular press coverage, any type of regular radio airplay, or any funding from grant giving organizations are the ones that focus all their energy at unrelenting self-promotion. So the equation for musician quality in this town is thus: the awesomeness of the music is inversely proportional to the amount of press it's received (if someone knows how type that as a mathematic equation please tell me). With this here blog I mean to help promote all the bands in town I enjoy that are either inexplicably ignored for some reason or who long ago gave up on the pantomime of show promotion and just put on shows for shits and giggles or the appreciation of their small group of followers.
Anyway, for hypocracy's sake I will make my first posting of my new blog my own music video I produced for my own song "Crutches" off my latest album "Sex Lives of the Paralyzed"
This video is an approximation of my average work week (with added Special Effects!)

"Crutches" - Song by Patrick Canning from Patrick Canning on Vimeo.

I have nothing against self-promotion and you will see me doing a lot of it on this blog. I just feel that in a town as small as St. John's, for a band to spend 90% of it's energy promoting the shit out of themselves instead of, you know, writing good material, and then get celebrated for it, is kinda sickening.
Hopefully my future posts won't be so long winded and whiny. But it's my blog and I do what I want to!