Posts Tagged ‘Running Diary’

O Canada!

December 27, 2008

This post bears an appropriate title from the first song of Part II of this running diary. Thanks Kathleen Edwards. In case you are confused I’m listening to Kathleen Edwards on demand from CBC Radio 2. It’s her concert at the Ottawa Bluesfest back in July.

O Canada seems like another bitter song from Kathleen Edwards.  She is definitely mad about the world, guns, global warming etc. And honestly of all the countries in the world Canada is probably at or near the bottom of the list for many of the major global problems. Low murder rate, improving pollution record, a boat load of untouched natural resources, and generally healthy happy people.

Scared at Night. And underneath my sheets I could barely breath. This is an interesting little song featuring Kathleen and her acoustic guitar.  I think most people have been afraid of the dark, even just a little bit. The unknown is scary.  But this song is so much darker.  People and cats die in this song.  Songs about death are always hard to listen to. But this one is beautiful, and having Kathleen do it alone was a solid performance choice.

The piano returns early in Summer Long. You couldn’t keep me around if you tried…don’t look back and don’t call. Very nice harmony in the second verse and chorus. Ooooo a little feedback there. That’s the first noticeable audio mistake of the entire concert.

Here is a well known song that is also a favourite of mine, In State. I am curious to know if Kathleen really dated an ex con. Or if she just used her imagination. She writes songs about the most random and interesting things.  This version is being played up tempo. A bit faster than usual. I don’t usually like it when bands do that, it removes the familiarity of the song I think.  My face couldn’t make you leave it behind, maybe 20 years in state’ll change your mind. You know it’s true, when someone has a problem, love will not overcome it. I don’t think romantic passion has ever outdone the drive to use drugs, abuse alcohol, or steal.

Oil Man’s War. The title kind of gives this one away.  Back to the music.  This has been a good concert in terms of performance. The singing is mostly spot on and the band is rocking. I would like to hear a nice big organ solo but I’ll take what I can get from his work behind the guitar.

Is Hockey Skates her quintessential Canadian song? Anything to do with hockey likely ought to be.  I was so tired of playing defence I don’t even have hockey skates. This is a sweet little song.  The guitar work is classic alt country.

Our final song 12 Bellevue.  The concert has been highly enjoyable. It’s unfortunate that they cut out all the in between song talk. I think I might have learnt something from it.  The recording is good, and the performance is solid all the way through.  This one is definitely worth checking out.

There are only about 300 or more concerts on the CBC Radio 2 site. This is going to take awhile.

Cheapest Key

December 26, 2008

Maybe 20 years in state’ll change your mind.

Kathleen Edwards

In State

As a new feature here at The Alder Fork Blog I am going to be dipping into the deep collection of concerts on demand available on the CBC Radio 2 website.  People seem to like it when I review/talk about music. Maybe more than my philosophical meanderings.  I’m kicking this off with the ever-pleasant Kathleen Edwards.  She was captured at the Ottawa Bluesfest this past summer.  Kathleen is one of my favourite Canadian artists these days so this should be a fun ride.

She starts things off with Asking for Flowers, title track of her latest album. I think this song sums up what we should expect the rest of the way.  Gord Tough provides some solid lead guitar work in this song. The music is secure in it’s alt-country style.

Run. There have been a lot of songs with the name Run over the years.  This one has a bouncy bass line, one that invokes older country songs by the likes of Johnny Cash or Conway Twitty. Kathleen has a voie that would work for a number of genres, but like Neko Case she has found a home in this style. At one point she yodels her way through an emotional bit. There are keys in this song, but I’m waiting for a big organ solo. The song just begs for it.  There is just a hint of it towards the end, and we get a guitar solo instead. That is a little disappointing.

I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory starts out like a Paul Brandt song. Not one in particular, just any.  She caters to the crowd by letting them know she’s in her home town.  I’m Elvis Presley in the 70’s. This song is filled with popular references from Masarati to Marty Mcsorley (does he count as popular?).  Your the buffet I’m just the table. Now that’s a compliment!

Goodnight, California begins with a lovely instrumental jam. Big organ chords sit on top of an eccentric bass line.  I like this song because it is more or less an excuse to jam on top of a cool bass line.  Once again Gord Tough gives us some nice guitar work.

After a very Doors-esque jam, we get back to the alt country pop. Cheapest Key is a well known track.  It’s one of those naming songs, “A is for this etc.” You always play me in the cheapest key. I think Kathleen’s been burned a few too many times, someone needs to buy her some ice cream. Hey! Chris Martin offered some back in the Coldplay Live 2003 running diary. We should set them up.  As this is the 6th song I will shut it down for today and come back tomorrow with the usual part two.  If you aren’t familiar with this song, then you probably aren’t that familiar with Kathleen Edwards, shame on you!

Confusion That Never Stops

December 16, 2008

Questions of science, science and progress

Coldplay

The Scientist

This is Part III of my review of Coldplay Live 2003. If you missed Parts I and II just scroll down the main page a bit and you will find them.  As I pointed out earlier the first 4 songs of the concert were new material, then the next set was all old or unreleased. Now we are back to the new album until the final song.

The Scientist is definitely an all time favourite song of mine. It’s just so simple and sweet. Behind the stage there are 4 big video screens. Right now it’s Chris Martin x4 as he sits alone at his piano.  Nobody said it was easy, it’s such a shame for us to part, nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard, take me back to the start. I can sympathize with that sentiment.

Most of the songs in this concert seem to use some kind of taped background, usually the string parts. I never liked the idea of doing that, probably because it’s so limiting. But I guess sometimes you have to. Like the Who when they play Baba O’Riley with it’ s staccato synth part.

Oh they just faked leaving the stage and came back for an encore. I’m a fan of any band who doesn’t bother with that and just plays another song. Don’t make me cheer for you, I just paid $80 to get in here, you know I love you.

Clocks is a great song.  You can use it to wake up, or get ready for a big game, or to just dance around your place.  The laser lights have returned in this one. Unfortunately it reminds me of the old Hamilton Bulldogs introduction. They used lasers to great effect. I say it’s unfortunate because they don’t do that anymore. Boo. We also get more of the hand held audience camera. There are actually multiple angles. I think if I poked around the DVD I might get to do something with them.

I was never a huge fan of In My Place and I’m not sure why. It has elements of being a great song but I just never felt that way.  Martin is doing some kind of weird backwards hop dance. Is he drunk? Doubt it, I think he’s just a white guy.  He’s not even bothering to sing in parts because the crowd is so into it. He’s also stopped singing sideways and is instead singing into the roof. He is also punching the air. I feel like a judge on SYTYCD. The drummer has this crazy smile on his face, I think he really likes this song. Maybe he wrote it.

As Amsterdam gets started I should point out that I’ve never been to a live Coldplay concert. They always sell out too fast and I’m not paying a scalper or broker for tickets. It’s a matter of principle I guess.  I had time to write that because Martin is encouraging people to listen to them, eat chocolate and to support make trade fair. This is another of my favourite Coldplay songs.  Time is on your side it’s on your side now. What a pretty song.  A lot of singers sing with their eyes closed. I do it sometimes as well. It looks ridiculous. I try to never do it. Chris Martin doesn’t care, neither does the drummer. They are doing a closed eyes duet right now.  When they zoom in on the video screens the pixelation is very obvious. Maybe they shouldn’t do that.  E-bow!!! That is the coolest thing that could’ve happened. And there it is.

After fake exit number 2 we’ve reached the last song, Life is For Living.  It’s been a lot of fun going through this again and recording random thoughts. I never meant to do you wrong that’s what I came here to say. But if I was wrong then I’m sorry don’t let it stand in our way. My head just aches when I think of the things that I shouldn’t have done. Life is for living we all know and I don’t want to live it alone. I know what he means.

See You Soon

December 13, 2008

I’ll be counting up my demons

Coldplay

Everything’s Not Lost

Welcome to Part II of my impressions of Coldplay Live 2003. Yesterday we got through 5/17 songs.  The set list is noteworthy because the band opens with 4 songs from the “new” album then ignores it for the next 8 songs.  They then give us 4 more.  We are in the midst of the middle part, so this post should be all old stuff. Well this whole DVD is old stuff now, but let’s stay in the moment with this.

Don’t Panic is a song Dave and I used to play at coffee houses in our res. That would’ve been before this DVD in the Parachutes era of things.  The crowd is quite happy right now, then when the song starts they quiet down to clap along.  The pace of the song is faster than the album version. It’s like they want it over even though its a great song. They just showed a great shot of Chris Martin with spinning lights behind him. I won’t hide the fact that I love stage lighting, I always have.  There are few things in the world that I consider cooler than a well lit performance. I’m easy to please.

In general the band members are pretty straightforward on stage.  They don’t move a whole lot and just kind of play without effort. I’m reminded of Radiohead because outside of Ed O’brien no one moves around that much on stage.

Shiver is another solid song from Parachutes. Close up and spotlight on the guitar during the intro. I like the effect.  Chris martin likes to sing into his microphone from a 45 degree angle. Pretty much all the time. It’s probably so he can see what his hands are doing, either that or he has a nervous habit.

This next song was apparently on an EP before showing up in this concert. See You Soon is a pretty little acoustic song. At the moment Martin is alone on stage with his guitar. Most of the crowd is probably bewildered by this song they’ve never heard before.  That’s how audiences react when you play something you don’t know. They just stand quietly while the odd loudmouth screams out “woooooo” or whistles for no real reason.  Probably the alcohol talking.  Kudos to the camera person who used the focus to get those cool hexagon shapes on the screen from the lights.  More slide guitar half way through and some yoddling. I heard that Martin has decided not to sing in falsetto on new songs.  It’s an endearing habit that sometimes works , at least I think so (probably because I do it too sometimes).

Everything’s not lost.  I wonder how many demons Chris Martin really has? He seems like a pretty straight-laced guy over all. He’s certainly no Keith Moon. He plays a lot of piano on the albums and in this concert. Is he our generations Billy Joel? Maybe once the solo projects start in a couple of years. Remember how I said I liked the hexagon shapes? I still do in concpet but the producer is making extreme use of them now. It’s like they just discovered they could do that. What’s next? Star wipes? Here comes the crowd again with a nice sing along of ah ah ah yeah. Despite this Martin begs the crowd to sing along more. Wouldn’t want them to be quiet during the big piano sing along of course. I won’t lie, I’ve sung along too.

Now it’s time for the song about Gwyneth Palrtow. Oddly enough it’s called Moses. I don’t associate loved ones with biblical figures but maybe I should. The ricky is back out and I couldn’t be happier. I really like this song.  More clever black and white to colour changes.  I’m not 100% sure what the intention of this was, but I guess it works as a gimmick.  I think the big challenge with making a concert film is deciding how much you want it to reflect your artistic vision as a filmmaker and how much you want to satiate the fans with good shots of the band. After all they are the stars. Frame them up and rock & roll.

As we reach the end of Part II Martin offers the crowd ice cream if they stand up. I don’t think he came through on that promise. You should never lie about ice cream, it’s way too important.  Yellow is the song that first brought Coldplay to the attention of most of the world.  I have to give them credit for the visuals on this one. The song builds up with a quiet sythn part. The band is in the dark as blue lights scan the crowd. Then all of a sudden the guitar kicks in and the stage explodes in yellow light as Chris Martin jumps for the rafters. Bravo.  He’s also put down the guitar and left the piano to just sing and dance around.

Join me on Tuesday for the final part of this extravaganza. Tomorrow I will be posting information and links for the 6 bands featured on Monday’s episode of the podcast. I highly recommend checking all of those bands out. Enjoy your Sunday!