Music

[Docudrama] Soaked in Bleach (2015)

I have been on a Kurt Cobain film kick lately, but this is my last post for now. In case you missed my other three posts on Kurt films, check them out:

Kurt and Courtney

Last Days

Montage of Heck

download

Soaked in Bleach is a film I had never heard of until one day I was reading a thread on Reddit that talked about conspiracy flicks (that site is always a fun source…). I checked out the trailer and it sucked me in right away.

In the Spring of 1994, Tom Grant, a Private Investigator, was hired by Courtney Love to locate her husband, Kurt Cobain, who had gone missing shortly following his escape from a rehab centre he was in for heroin addiction. This film documents, in Grant’s own words, the play-by-play of his dealings with Courtney during this period, as well as Kurt’s best friend Dylan who helped Grant gain access to Kurt’s home to search for clues of Kurt’s whereabouts. The whole film seeks to prove that Kurt’s suicide was a murder, and tries mightily to implicate Courtney in the murder.

Soaked in Bleach is a docu-drama; real-life interviews are juxtaposed with lookalike actors used to reinact Grant’s experiences. Because Grant tape-recorded all his conversations with Courtney, the film was able to fashion a somewhat hokey, yet drama-filled story that reminded me of a TV movie. Let me tell you, this film is engrossing…For all the films I have watched on Kurt Cobain recently, and some addressing the possibility that Kurt’s suicide could have been a murder, Soaked in Bleach presents the strongest argument to that claim by picking apart the evidence at hand, including Kurt’s drug levels at death, the suicide note and even more morbid, looking into how Kurt was found holding the rifle he used to kill himself, complete with mockup and animation (not an easy watch). Grant has his own ideas of how things went down, and also a lot of questions that make him want someone in the Seattle Police Department to re-open the case. His questions are further supported by major strongholds in law enforcement and forensics, including the former SPD Police Chief, Norm Stamper, and high-profile Forensic Pathologist, Cyril Wecht.

Grant himself was once a very respected Los Angeles Police Officer, and later became a P.I., considered by many he worked with to have staunch integrity and a real nose for the truth. Grant comes off as egotistical, yet several character witnesses are interviewed in the film that corroborate his history and integrity. Of course, all this is used to bolster his case in an attempt to provide an impression that he is no flake.

But, I have to be honest here: although he brings up some interesting questions supporting his cause, I am not convinced Kurt was murdered, let alone by his wife. I only had to watch the way Grant told the story and how every actor on screen who was NOT Tom Grant acted guilty. No one person was above suspicion here – one might even think watching this film that Grant’s business partner murdered Cobain. At the same time, I have to remember, this story is being presented through the lens of a former police officer- an eye that naturally looks at everyone as suspicious from the start. If one were to listen to Courtney on those tapes, she sounds desperate, affected and coming down from a huge high. Was she able to plot a murder in that state? It’s possible, but in my opinion, doubtful. I have never been Courtney’s biggest fan, but being a drama queen does not a murderer make, and the evidence that attempts to implicate her just isn’t that strong, in my opinion.

The facts as we know them is that one of the most influencial musicians of the 20th Century is dead and the official word is suicide. Should Kurt Cobain’s case be re-opened? If there is any creedence to Grant’s suspicions, I think the truth has a way of worming out without Grant’s obvious witchhunt. Until then, I personally think we need to let Kurt rest in peace.

3.8 / 5

Soaked in Bleach
Dir. Benjamin Statler
2015

That Night in Markham: My Tragically Hip Story (1993)

Group post! 

Today our community of bloggers has come together to write about the Tragically Hip. In the wake of Gord Downie’s news last week, we wanted to come together and share our experience with this household name in Canadian music. Each story is unique, but with a common theme. Hope you enjoy it!

This is the story of how I got to see the Tragically Hip live in concert.

Summer 1993 was a time of new beginnings. I had just graduated from High School, and had accepted an offer to attend the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario for Visual Arts. Going to Western was something I had worked hard to achieve, and made it. I was looking forward to the change of scene by moving away from my Northeastern Ontario town of Sudbury, and was also looking forward to moving in with my sister, who at the time was also attending Western. Some big changes were afoot – new geography, new faces…a new life! And I embraced it all.

I remember the day my sis called and asked if I would be interested in attending an all-day concert of mostly Canadian bands. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as it was two days after my 19th birthday, and I was planning a visit with my sister before I made the big move down south. My musical tastes during this time were pretty eclectic – marry Led Zeppelin and Clapton with the Smiths and Canadian radio, and you pretty much have it. Canadian rock was in my repertoire. So it should come as no surprise that I was salivating at this concert’s line-up. Called Another Roadside Attraction, it was chock full of bands I was very much familiar with: Andrew Cash, Midnight Oil, Crash Vegas, Hot House Flowers, 13 Engines, Thomas Trio and the Red Albino, Richard Seguin, Daniel Lanois and the Pursuit of Happiness. Even more exciting that it was headlined by the Tragically Hip. At this point, my exposure to the Hip was radio and MuchMusic. Having had a few albums under their belt, Fully Completely had been released in the Fall of 1992, and Locked in the Trunk of a Car, as well as Fifty Mission Cap were common songs heard on the radio. I recollect, their song, Courage (for Hugh McLennon), was scorching up the Canadian charts, and I loved it. I wouldn’t consider myself a die-hard fan at this point, but I very much enjoyed their music. This was gonna be one fine concert!

The concert was to be held in a remote part of Markham, Ontario, located 20 minutes north of Toronto. The venue was the Markham Fairgrounds; basically a dirt field amid farmland.  The date was two days after my 19th birthday – July 24, and my Step-Dad offered to drive us to the event, and even pay for a hotel. A shuttle bus would drive us back to civilization to the Markville Mall’s parking lot where my Step-Dad would pick us up afterwards.

The day of the concert, my Step-Dad dropped us off early enough to catch the first act, Andrew Cash, on stage. The day was hot and humid, and not a cloud in sight. Hats and sunscreen were in order. At this point, it was easy to get into the venue; It wasn’t yet packed full of people, and my sis and I were able to get right up to the stage to see many of the bands play. The fairgrounds were dusty with a hard dirt floor. To be honest, everything was pretty non-descript and bare-bones. I don’t remember much about it other than there being food stands with a 200% mark-up (because we had to buy water), and a bank of smelly johnny-on-the-spots (because…well…y’know…). I have no take-away from the day – no pamphlet, or poster…I don’t remember there being CDs for sale there, but maybe there was…? And back then, they didn’t like people taking pictures during concerts – so, no pics!

The acts before the Hip were amazing, and because the venue was small, it felt intimate. It was a long day being in that heat. At one point, bouncers got out the water hoses to cool down the crowd. There wasn’t much shade, either but we persevered. The Hip were the last act of the night and we weren’t about to miss it for anything. As the time came to them coming out on-stage, the place really started to fill up, as though the Hip were all they paid money to see, and just showed up in time to see them; the Oils be damned.

And when the Hip took to the stage, it was complete pandemonium.

My sis and I stood somewhere in the back of the mostly male crowd when the Hip started, and moved a bit closer to the middle to get a better view. A mosh pit had developed almost immediately close to the stage. Meanwhile, the crowd at the back were moving their way closer to the front. Without even trying, thanks to force from the crowd my sis and I were being led forward. We weren’t noticing initially, as we paid more attention to the Hip. It wasn’t until they started in on their fourth song of the night, the Hundredth Meridian, that the crowd lost their minds, and became one large mosh pit, pushing and shoving each other. Next thing I know, I am there in the middle of this giant mosh pit! In an instant, a big guy shoved me, I lost my balance, and I hit the dirt. The scary part was when others involved in the mosh pit used me as a rug and stepped on me. I tried to pull myself up by grabbing people around me, but then I’d get stepped on and I would fall back down. Out of nowhere, this hand reached down and grabbed me by the t-shirt and pulled me to safety. It was my sis who said, ” That’s it, we are out of here!”

The incident was mere seconds, but felt a lifetime! I got away with little damage – only some cuts and bruises. I wanted to stay longer, but there was little crowd control. As it was, the crowd were almost preventing my sis and I from leaving the concert, as the whole area was now a mosh pit. I agreed – it was time to go.

Today, I live 15 minutes away from Markham Fairgrounds, and pass it by weekly. Amazing how this seemingly nondescript swath of land had a venue that hosted the Hip and a number of other bands I liked at the time. Another Roadside Attraction was one concert I won’t soon forget.

Now go read from others in the community who have shared their stories on the Tragically Hip:

Boppin from Boppin’s Blog
Aaron from Keeps Me Alive
Scott G (Guest post) from Mike Ladano
Geoff from 1001 Albums in 10 Years
Deke from Stick It In Your Ear
James from Keeps Me Alive

Thanks for reading!!

[Film] Last Days (2005)

Being someone who creates and who is supportive of those who create, I sometimes find myself conflicted when I encounter a piece that rubs me the wrong way, or that downright turns me out. At the same time, my stint in Art School taught me that it’s okay not to like every painting, every installation, every work of cinema. But, it’s also important to look at art with a critical eye, good or bad. You don’t have to like every piece of art you see. Gus Van Sant’s films seem to conflict me in this way.

Case in point, Last Days; a Van Sant film from 2005 that was inspired by the last days of Kurt Cobain (this was even said in the credits), but this was very much a work of fiction (Van Sant’s words). Being a minimalist filmmaker, Van Sant chooses for the imagery to speak for itself. If the camera pans on a driveway for five minutes, that is supposed to say something. If it stares at an actor sitting on a log for five minutes, that also says something, or so I am made to think, as Gus Van Sant’s take on Cobain’s final days is full of scenes like this, where not much really happens. That said, not too many character-building details are revealed in Last Days, but enough clues are provided that your mind can fill in the gaps.

Cobain’s fictional doppelganger goes by the name of Blake, a guy with shaggy blonde hair who just escaped from rehab and returns home to his delapidated rock mansion where his loafing freeloading strung-out “friends” are sleeping off last night’s orgy. Through bits and bobs of near incoherent dialogue we learn that Blake is a musician who is trying to dodge everyone in his life, including someone named Blackie (which I assume represents Courtney Love here), and record execs who are pressuring him to get back out there and tour. His friend Donovan (who represents Dylan Carlson, Cobain’s best friend) arrives with a Private Investigator to the house looking for him too…and Blake somehow manages to hide out from them all while slamming doors and dashing out the back until they leave. Sooner or later he hangs out with the interloping friends staying at his house who shamelessly ask him for money. This is all interspersed with scenes of Blake eating Cocoa Rice Krispies and Kraft Dinner, beating up on a drum set, or sitting on the floor in a drug-induced high, grunting nonsense. The plot does not evolve much until the last eight minutes when (spoiler alert) he is found dead in the greenhouse by the gardener.

Van Sant used relatively unknown actors to play in Last Days. About the only substantial actor of recognition is Lukas Haas who played one of Blake’s interloping friends. Interestingly enough, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth fame was also pulled in to play one of the record execs, begging Blake to return to rehab.

One thing I hand to Van Sant is that he manages to give the viewer a sense of suspense without trying too hard, but where I find fault is there was no climax, reveal, or “ah-ha” moment. The viewer can tell something “ain’t quite right” with Blake, yet Van Sant’s “…wait for it…” method of suspense made me impatient with this film. Showing a person for 5 minutes doing nothing more than sitting there didn’t move the plot along, and definitely frustrated me. Some might perceive this as a work of genius, and that’s fine. I prefer more meat on them bones. Not providing a full picture on the character development and focusing plainly on sweeping scenes alone made the film feel empty and pointless. But, maybe that was the point…

2/5

Last Days
Dir. Gus Van Sant
2005

**Full movie is on YouTube for those interested

[Documentary] Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015)

maxresdefaultWhere were you when you heard the news that Kurt Cobain died?

In April, 1994, my sister and I were sharing a one-bedroom loft in the home of a beautiful Victorian House in London, Ontario. The guy who owned it, Bulloch, was a close friend of our Mom’s long-term Boyfriend (who later became my Step-father), who spent many weeks away in Kingston where his girlfriend lived. Good for us, the house was always quiet, and at one point, when our TV’s picture tube blew (a common occurance for us), we’d sneak downstairs to his study, sit on his Freudian leather sofa and utilize his cable TV. It was there around 5 PM April 5, 1994 when Global News broke halfway through the Young and the Restless to let viewers know of Kurt Cobain’s death.

At this point in history, I hadn’t owned any Nirvana albums, and only followed their career via radio, TV, the local pub and my friend, Jenn (that’s the same Jenn who goes to see the Watchmen with me), a big Nirvana fan. Living in a University town like London, Ontario, news of Kurt’s passing funkified the entire city, making it sullen, moody, and distracting. It was particularly awful timing too, as April is commonly known as exam month at Western U. Kurt had a fanbase, and even those who weren’t fans felt the sadness of the news of this musician who shot to stardom, took drugs and then ultimately made the choice to end his life.

Being in a constant spotlight from 1991 to 1994, it was hard to ignore what was going on with Kurt – his drug problems, his hatred for interviews, his relationship with his wife, Courtney Love…it was all juicy fodder for the tabloids. It was difficult separating fact from fiction when the public is fed the same tales over and over. And since his death, there have been theories, and conspiracies about Kurt, his private life and ultimate demise.

As the years pass, documentaries pop up with Kurt Cobain at the centre. Most recently, I watched the gritty Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, a seemingly honest, candid and well-balanced doc that explores Cobain’s early life in Aberdeen, Washington, his troubled family life, his beginnings as a musician, all the way to his rise on the charts. Interviews from those closest to him, including his parents, sister, ex-girlfriend, and former Nirvana bandmates charge a compelling look at this guy who was reluctant to be part of the spotlight. I was surprised to see Courtney Love being interviewed here too. and she winds up being a large component to this doc as several clips from their personal home movies are shown, which, I have to say, are very raw and personal… and not meant for young audiences.  Trippy animated adaptations of Cobain’s writings and personal interviews round out the film in compelling and disturbing artistry.

No doubt, I couldn’t help but feel sadness watching Montage of Heck, thinking about how damn talented Cobain was, feeling a lump in my throat as I sang along to Come As You Are (my favourite Nirvana song), Drain You, Smells Like Teen Spirit, among other fantastic songs. This dude had the attention of my generation, and continues to draw in the younger listeners. His legacy lives on in the bands that try to emulate his raw sound… and in decent films like this.

3.5/5

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck
Dir: Brett Morgen
2015

“…And you call yourself a fan??”

What constitutes “a fan”?

Is there room for levels of fandom, or does someone have to know the minutiae of a subject to be considered a fan?

I had a conversation with a friend at work this week about the Who. The Who are on tour right now, and will be performing in Toronto on April 26th; my friend was working on getting tickets (I won’t be going). I said, “Ooh, I love the Who! They’re great live! I saw them in 2002!” Later that day as I was leaving, she quizzed me about what album “The Real Me” was on. I thought about it for a minute, and then said quietly, “Umm…I don’t know…” Surprised, she said the Quadrophenia album, and then proceeded to jokingly denounce my supposed fandom of the Who.

Oops! I guess I didn’t know that! I am an embarrassment to my music blogging community on WordPress.

This made me think about it more critically: I know the Who’s repertoire for the most part. But, the truth is, aside from some obvious titles, I don’t know what songs are on what albums. Until I met my husband, I didn’t have any of the Who albums to listen to, I only had some of their hits on mixed tape. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t love their music. I even paid to see them live (Sept 28, 2002)!

who you

Rush is my favourite band. Do I own all their albums, and know what songs are on all those albums? The answer to that is no. I can hear it now: any self-respecting Rush fan worth their weight in Neil Pearts should know these things, right? They should own these things, right?? Forget the fact I have seen them three times in concert…

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Then there is my love for Led Zeppelin. When I was a teen, I knew all their albums, remembered all the songs on those albums, OWNED all their albums…bought the t-shirt, bought the box set, bought the poster…you get the point. So does that qualify me as a fan?

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Really, you can look back into my music history, and very often you will find my spotty knowledge of music catalogues shining through. The prohibition of buying albums in my house growing up has something to do with it. However, I listened to the radio and watched music videos, so that’s how I developed my love for certain bands and music in general. And now, I am an adult making my own scratch, and can now buy music of my own freewill, if I so desire. But, after acquiring these albums and raising the bar on my knowledge base, would that finally make me a fan of a band, or is knowing the songs enough?

What I feel makes me a fan is the fact that the bands and music I like make me feel good inside. The music flourishes a desire to listen to more. That said, I don’t necessarily feel I need to know every single thing about a discography or collect everything that has ever been released to consider myself a fan of a band.

All this said, I have come to realize, what I think makes me a fan in my mind, may not be what others think makes me a fan…

What do you think? What does being “a fan” mean to you? Do you think you have to collect or know everything about a subject to be a fan of something? Let me know in the comments!

[Music] Crowded House: Temple of Low Men (1988)

In 1988, Crowded House released their second album, Temple of Low Men. I was very familiar with this band, loving their hits Don’t Dream It’s Over and Something So Strong, from their eponymous first album, which both got a ton of radio play. I, of course, didn’t have the first album on cassette, and no prospect on the horizon (you can read my previous music posts on the reasons). But, Temple of Low Men on cassette entered my life as a Christmas present in December 1988. It didn’t connect with me until March 1989 when I listened to it on repeat on the road from Sudbury, Ontario to Altamonte Springs, Florida on the ol’ walkman while on a Spring Break vacation with the family. Temple of Low Men has a certain misty and mysterious air to it that connects the listener to the Australian outback, but really connected with me in terms of the imagery I was witnessing on the road – the palm trees, arid highways, and advertisements for alligator farms.

The cassette left my life long ago, and I never did replace it with another copy until a road trip almost three summers ago took me to a Beat Goes On in Cambridge, Ontario, where I swiped a copy on CD in the remainder bin for $6.99. I was like a kid on Christmas all over again! I immediately cracked ‘er open and had it play in the car stereo. Its dreamy sounds over the speakers, and the air conditioning on my legs brought me right back to the warm humid air of Florida. It also reminded me of how much in love with this album I was at 14.

Amazing how I remember every lyric and every song to Temple of Low Men, and it had been years since I took this one for a spin! Each track is completely singable! Of course, it helps to have songs that you want to sing along to, and pretty much all of them fall into that category. Also helpful is the harmonies developed by Neil Finn, Nick Seymour and Paul Hester that aid to create such full-bodied songs. It’s exciting to think that three dudes produced such fulsome material.

The track from this album that most people are familiar with is Better Be Home Soon, which was the first single released, and funny enough, appears last on the album. This sweet melody got a lot of air time in Canada, peaking at number 8 on the charts. But, none of the tracks on Temple of Low Men should be ignored, all are strong in their own right.

I Feel Possessed and Kill Eye, the first and second song on the album respectively, set the tone for a dreamy bayou feel. Back in high-school, I loved Kill Eye so much it would appear on some of my mixed tapes, just for the hell of it.

Moving down the track list, things slow right down to Crowded House’s somber Into Temptation, the album’s third track. I have to admit to really loving this song in high school and is about the only song on the album that isn’t upbeat. Listening to it today, I have to say it’s my least favourite. I remember this song playing on MuchMusic back in the day. Today, I often skip the track, moving on to the more upbeat songs on the album.

When You Come, the fifth song on the album is, hands-down my favourite song on Temple of Low Men. It never used to be (Kill Eye was), but I suppose my tastes have changed. A steel guitar strums at the start that leads the listener into an up-tempo melody. It’s a beautiful song musically and lyrically:

I’ll know you by the thunderclap
pouring like a rain of blood to my emotions
and that is why I stumble to my knees
and why underneath the heavens
with its stars burning and exploding
I know I could never let you down

It reminds me of climbing a mountain, reaching the apex to a view that is out of this world…you hear a crash and Neil Finn screaming. The best use of a ride cymbal I’ve ever heard!

Depending on whether you were listening to this on cassette or CD, Never Be the Same, the next song on the album, was the first song on the second side of the cassette version. Here, listening to it on CD, it appears immediately following When You Come. To me, the songs sound very similar, even in tempo, but I don’t hold that against it – it is still quite a good listen.

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Things mellow out with the calming Love This Life, which if you listen to the lyrics reminds us that through all of life’s problems, it’s still be good. The sweet harmonies in this one will compel you to sing along.

Sister Madly follows with its Hawaiian flare. You get a real treat in a distinct guitar solo that was fashioned by non other than guitarist Richard Thompson of Fairport Convention fame.

It amazed me back then that none of my peers listened to this Crowded House album, let alone own the album. It’s almost like they wrote the band off after the popularity of their first album. Temple of Low Men really holds some strong musical memories for me. Every song is wonderful, and I obviously still love it to this day. Take it for a spin, and you’ll see how awesome it is for yourself!

[Live Music] The Watchmen – Danforth Music Hall, Toronto, ON, 01/30/16

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The last time I saw the Watchmen was in September 2008 at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern. At that point, I guesstimate I had seen them live about 4 times – all with my friend, Jenn. Jenn and I were frequent concert-goers during our university days. Our preferred bands – the Odds, Headstones and the Watchmen. Any time any of these bands came to town, we’d splurge for a ticket to see them. So it goes with life, you graduate and lose track. But, Jenn, one of my oldest friends, would always somehow continue to be there in my life in some way. Letters, emailing, an invite to a wedding…and later, Facebook would offer a new avenue of communication. Every time we would get together after a long hiatus, it was like old times.

Back in September 2015, Jenn messaged me to let me know the Watchmen were coming to Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall in November – did I want to go? It was an emphatic YES for me. The band had subsequently cancelled a bunch of dates, including Toronto’s, and rescheduled the gig for January 30th. Can I still go? I told Jenn yes! Plans were made, and I marked off my calendar and anxiously awaited for the day to arrive.

The plan was to meet Jenn at her house in the East York neighbourhood. I would park my car at her place and we’d either walk to the Danforth where the venue was and grab a bite, or hop onto the subway. The evening promised mild temperatures, so with my walking shoes on, and my GPS pointed towards Jenn’s house, I headed off with an hour’s lead time.

Holy crap, I hate my GPS, but for once it worked in my favour! Traffic on the Don Valley Parkway was gonna make me late – it was going to be a 20 minute stop-and-go delay. Bloddy ell. For once however, my GPS did not shit the bed as it detoured me around that mess and got me to Jenn’s on time. I arrived at Jenn’s, parked the car, and after hugs and hellos, we were off to the Danforth to find somewhere to eat.

Danforth Avenue (or “the Danforth” as it is known in both the Barenaked Ladies song and in Toronto) is a part of Toronto that is known for its Greektown neighbourhood. I am very much not familiar with this part of Toronto, but I liked what I was smelling – garlic and marinated meat wafted along the neighbourhood. Restaurants and little shops peppered the scene as we headed over to a little hole-in-the-wall Jenn had been dying to try called the Detroit Eatery Diner. After a delicious meal of burgers and a side of “catch-up”, we walked down the Danforth and wait for the venue to open.

We headed into the Danforth Music Hall around 8 PM where the opening act had just taken the stage. Never having been at the Music Hall before, Jenn said there was seating up in the balcony where we could have a beer and flake out until the opening act got the hook. Sure!

I had no idea who the opening act was. But, about halfway through the set I recognized a song about “freight trains and paper planes are just like you and me”. I was a bit confused at first why I was listening to Walmart Canada’s Christmas commercial jingle, but then realized they must have written the song! Still not sure who this band was…The lead singer would front each song by giving awkward cliches like, “here’s a little ditty that goes something like this…” or “our next song is…well, listen for yourself…” or “here it is, check it out…” I couldn’t help but laugh at each tag line. Unfortunately, whoever was at the soundboard did a piss poor job: The sound was wayyy too loud, and the mics kept producing ear-piercing feedback. I honestly felt bad for those guys! Nothing can ruin a decent performance more than bad sound. Overall, they weren’t bad. It wasn’t until later that I found out the band was called East of Avenue (I goggled it). Anyway…

Before the Watchmen took to the stage, we moved down to the main floor which was basically a slanted concrete floor with a stage at the end. (I am being simplistic – it is a nice venue for a concert.) We were pretty far back initially, but had plenty of space between us and others around us. While we waited, the Hall played some Alice Cooper, Ozzy and David Bowie. We made some predictions about songs the Watchmen would play – All Uncovered, Lusitana, Laughing, Run and Hide, Stereo, Incarnate…?

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The Watchmen took to the stage at 9 PM sharp, starting the set strong with Say Something. At that exact moment, it was like every 6ft 5 in dude in the venue decided that tonight they were all friends and they were going to huddle together in groups directly in front of us. It wasn’t like you could look in between the fat heads at Danny screaming into the mic either, no, it was all wall of heads. For the first few songs, we didn’t care so much, we were just so happy to be in the presence of greatness that is the Watchmen again.

About four songs in, the giants were starting to get on my nerves. I asked Jenn if she could see from her angle, and we both agreed to move on down closer to the stage. We found a half decent spot where we could actually see the whole band. But, we were about to pass out from the odour; it was like they were passing out Axe body spray at the bar and every dude in the area bathed in it. After a huge coughing fit, we moved further down, towards the stage, and further down still…until we wound up in this pocket on the right side of the stage by the emergency exit, where there was NOBODY! And our view of the band was effin deadly! Wow, no smell, no tall dudes…Just plenty of room to rock on and watch the Watchmen.

And, I have to say, no kidding – the guys in the band look the same as they did when we went to see them 20 years ago! They even dress the same! They certainly sound the same…Danny’s voice was like butter, and the band’s performances were tight. These guys are professionals! Meanwhile, you look out at the crowd and most of it was predominantly a sausagefest of 40-something balding dudes. I couldn’t help but think how a lot of these guys are now career men with jobs, houses, kids…a far departure from what was happening in university – as their skinny, head full of hair selves attempted “school” while chasing the next kegger…

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The set-list recognized all of the Watchmen’s albums. No Lusitana, but Run and Hide, Stereo, and All Uncovered were part of the rotation this night. There was also a surprise performance of Tom Petty’s The Waiting which was pretty good. I sang myself hoarse by the end of the evening.

The Setlist:

  1. Say Something
  2. Boneyard Tree
  3. I’m Still Gone
  4. Slomotion
  5. Anything But That
  6. Holiday
  7. I’m Waiting
  8. Rooster
  9. Brighter Hell
  10. Middle East
  11. Run and Hide
  12. Incarnate
  13. Must To Be Free
  14. All Uncovered
  15. Absolutely Anytime

Encore

16. Trampoline
17. Any Day Now
18. The Waiting (Tom Petty cover)
19. Stereo

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Another excellent evening by the Watchmen. Here’s hoping they return to Toronto again soon. You can bet I’ll be going!