Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Unusual Tuesday Night

Yes, it isn't very usual when I go to watch a small concert on a Tuesday night; I walked to my father's house after "work" instead of going home. I'd been invited to see the usual band that invites me to see them perform at a bar in the market.


Even more unusually, I went swimming that night as well, and almost got lost in the Bronson Centre. My half-siblings had got off school and one had had a cello recital. I had to go with my half-brother to pick her up, and she wasn't in the lobby. An hour later and we were swimming at the Plant Recreation Centre. Apparently my father takes them swimming on Tuesday nights, something I did not know.


After that it was dinner and then I finally departed for the thing. An hour after the time it starts.


I won't really be giving much of a review here since I've already talked about the music of the Birthday Girls. This is more of a "how things went in my experience" kind of thing. And they were three-quarters through their material when I arrived.
And as far as I'm concerned, they are still mostly playing their normal repertoire of songs, unless I missed the debut of a new song due to my lateness.


I got there to find most people I'd known by sight or general experience from high school there, like usual. The bassist and singer, Kyle, was screaming and picking as usual, while Kevin stabbed his fingers at a miniature keyboard. I could not see Lloyd for the most part; the band routinely uses rapid line-light effects and fake smoke when they play, so other than being obscured by toms and cymbals and stands, he was largely concealed within or behind the smoke.
"And this is Lloyd," Kyle introduced between one of their songs when he gave their names. In response, the drummer kicked his bass drum somewhere beyond the smoke. I assumed he did that just so people knew his general location on stage if he couldn't at least wave.


Eventually the band finished and took their instruments down and I was able to talk to a few people. That lasted for about fifteen minutes while the next band, "Hooray for Earth" from New York (City) set up. As there were two other bands from international places (one from the aforementioned New York, and the other from Sweden), it was obvious the local band, Birthday Girls, open for them.


I think the Americans really did a good show. After all, I am not a punk or dubstep or indie fan, so for that music to raise my interests is an effort they accomplished to an extent. There were a couple of songs they did that I almost want to listen to again because they were stimulating and engaging enough. Unfortunately, I never knew what they were called because either the band did not announce them, or when they did they did it too fast or quietly. Mostly they segued into the next song without stopping. That's why I can only identify the songs by which notes the bassist played. For example, one of them had a C-E-D procession, I think. The drummer incorporated rim-clicks into his fast playing that really accented the beat and sound. One of the keyboardists, who was also the tamborine player and sometimes secondary or rhythm guitarist, had this guitar echo-like bit for the lead guitar (the louder lead goes, then the slightly quieter secondary responds). That was good style in my opinion.
The drummer, throughout the entire time, expressed extreme happiness and content at playing. He always had a smile of delight on his face. I'd never seen such a happy or into-it drummer. It radiated out into the crowd - it has an effect. When you smile, it makes other people feel better. That's what the drummer accomplished. That - and rhythmic rim-clicks. He also had a large emphasis on the floor tom and looked like Crispin Glover (with long hair, like in Hot Tub Time Machine) to an extent.


The only thing I did not like about that band was their dependence on a switchboard to include additional instrument pieces or sound effects (I'd hear a guitar or rhythm or bass or other instrument but no one would be playing it, it would be supplied by the switchboard). I would keep those to the recording room and finished product on an album; Keep it real and original on stage.


The time between them and the next group was spent with more talking, as well as making the Earth band's drummer uncomfortable by staring at him trying to get the courage to tell him of my liking his style and rim clicks. Eventually I did it. Sometime later anyway.


The last act was a Swedish band called The Concretes. A bassist, guitarist, drummer, and keyboardist who also played guitar sometimes. They were all headed by a woman who sung and played tamborine. Their songs were interesting and different, and I liked (as I would) the bass. I was able to figure out every note he played in one song. In fact, I spent most of the time stepping to the beat, watching each note the bass player hit, and, well, that's it other than mildly enjoying the sound.


Much later, after much conversation, I ended up walking back to Chinatown (my father dropped me off originally). What was different this time though was my walking with four other people instead of alone. We even stopped at McDonald's on Elgin, where I decided to get a milkshake. Unfortunately I only had a twenty-dollar bill, so I tried to use it to its potential by getting a small fries. That worked well. The cost rose from $2.99 to $4.75.
I ended up sharing it with everyone as someone's boyfriend talked about getting ants up his pants. And I proudly now had three five dollar bills and assorted change in my wallet.


By the time we separated and I continued home, I was apparently invited to another concert on Friday, through the fact that one of the boyfriends was a frontman himself.
Networking. It works.


It was a good night. It was nice to see people and be social and hear some music. The only thing now is I now see how awful I am at bass and drums in comparison. Yeah, I have an ear, sure, but no technique.


Nice to walk partway home with other people as well. But what will I do with all my new five-dollar bills?


Justin C.

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