I headed out to the Music Room in the far reaches of nowhere last night to see Basia Bulat. It was my first time at the Music Room, which is the most beautiful little venue in Halifax. It says it fits 110 people, though it doesn’t actually look like that many, the acoustics are terrific, and every seat has a decent view. The show was unsurprisingly sold out, and you missed a great show if you weren’t among the handful who fit in.
The Western Civilization, a guy and a girl from Texas with two acoustic guitars, started off and reminded me more than a little of Bright Eyes. Apparently they actually play as a five-piece back home, and I’d like to see them with a full band. They were in Canada for the first time, so I ended up giving them an impromptu primer on Canadian money when they were selling merch later. They were particularly fascinated by loonies and toonies. Brian Borcherdt reminded me of how people used to use the term “two-dollar coin” in 1996, when we were still aware that the word “toonie” sounds stupid. Remember that? Those were strange times.
Brian Borcherdt played a short and charming set with a lot of new material, with a giant rental tag hanging off the head of his guitar.
Basia Bulat started off her set with an a cappellla song she stomped along to. She played a long set and lit up the room with her sunshiney personality. She seemed so genuinely happy to be there—I overheard someone later describing her reaction at a show in Newfoundland being “like she’d won the lottery.” Playing piano, guitar, autoharp and ukulele, she made jokes about burning barns and boyfriend-girlfriend relationships with her instruments, played a Daniel Johnston cover, and made everyone all warm and fuzzy inside. It felt like a privilege to be at this show.
I reached the Marquee in time for the last seconds of The Got To Get Got. The Marquee’s bouncers become more and more unpleasant every time I go there, and it’s really wearing on me and everyone else in the city. I can’t say anything else, because they’re probably reading this blog so they can remember my name and not let me in the next time.
Alison already commented about how there was nothing to Sebastien Grainger’s set, so I won’t echo her thoughts. Uh, they looked cool. I think that’s the general idea.
Islands were great. I loved The Unicorns back in the day, and I still keep pretending there’s a hope they’ll reunite (though I can’t really put that album on much without it screaming, “ART SCHOOL!” at me), so I like all of Islands’ music that sounds the most like Unicorns songs the best. I don’t think I’m alone here. The band had a good dynamic onstage and the set was over too quickly, leaving me wondering where the last hour had gone. I thought that Nick Thorburn was wearing bandages on both his hands just to look punk rock, but he told me later that one was for tendonitis and the other for falling into broken glass onstage.
Here’s a picture obscured by the back of somebody’s head. There’s a reason I dropped out of photography at NSCAD.
Anyway, I don’t really have anything else to say right now except that I’m going to sleep for three days.
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