Thursday, September 16, 2010

Camas 3rd Folkin Anniversary - Victoria's Five Dollar Cover?

Sunday night, after moviing into my new place, I decided to go to the 3rd Folkin Anniversary at Camas books. I decided to go partially because it was affiliated with the Victoria Anarchist bookfair, and I hadn't been able to go to it. Plus, who says no to a $5 concert? if its bad, its bad, who cares, it only cost $5, if its good, its a bargain (especially around here). When I got to the bookstore, there were a few people milling around outside, with their dogs, smoking, talking, hanging out, and some people inside. I went inside and found a seat, and slowly people began to wander in, and the store was full of dirty, grungy anarchist kids. they had to keep the doors closed because they had been busted for having shows before - the smell, and the temperature in the store were sort of...uncomfortable.
I can't tell you what the bands were called, partially because I have a feeling most of the bands that played were loosely organized groups of friends, but also because I can't remember. (each really only played for 10-15 minutes) What I do remember was this
- there was a woman who sang and played guitar, she hard blue hair and the most amazing voice. I asked the grungy looking kid next to me what she was called, I think he said Starla. I could be wrong though
- An older couple, the woman who played clarinet while the guy played guitar, both would sing. their songs were political folk, poking fun at government, pharmaceutical companies, and a host of other issues.
- Buffalo Buffalo - a four piece band, there was a fiddle, a guitar, and some other instruments I cant remember. they were pretty good.
I left after that, even though there was an hour or so left before it was finished. The cops were starting to drive around the block, and some (very) drunk people were starting trouble, spilling outside of the building, and making a racket.
I left then, because getting arrested was not high on my list of priorities, and I had class to go to in the morning.
I learnt something that night - Victoria does have a music scene, albiet a small one, and not even close to the size of the music scenes in Vancouver or Seattle. The scene here is also closed, for lack of a better word - its difficult to find out abotu things, to find what is worth seeing, unless you know artists, or people who are involved in the music scene.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hole. Not what I expected

On the festival guide for the Sunday night at the Mainstage, the listed bands were Rise against, (which I didn't see) Hole (which was amazing) and Weezer (which was good, despite stoping half an hour before their set was finished, taking a break, where it was unclear whether they were finished or not, and then starting again). Having Hole listed as playing Bumbershoot may have been a little bit misleading - Courtney Love is the only remaining member of the band, so it might have been more appropriately listed under Courtney-Love-and-a-backup-band-playing- Hole - songs.
I wasn't sure what to expect, since an article in The Stranger had said there were three possible Courtneys - Robo Courtney, Crazy Courtney, and Amazing Courtney.
I was pretty sure it was going to be a complete disaster, but surprisingly, it wasnt. It was really, really good. They nailed all the songs, and she put on a show.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I saw Bob Dylan, But I'm not sorry

Bob Dylan was an icon of a generation, his songs spoke to the political turmoil of the 1960s, the war in Vietnam, racism, and the civil rights movement. He falls into the category of musicians you have to see, even if its only to say that you have seen them in concert. I’d heard that Bob Dylan hadn’t played a great show last time he was in Seattle, but I bought the ticket for Bumbershoot anyway, because well…it was Bob Dylan, and who wouldn’t like to be able to see they’d seen Bob Dylan in concert? Besides, it was a festival, even if Dylan was awful, at least there would be other bands, and I wouldn’t feel like I’d been ripped off..
The mainstage had sold out in advance, although people trickled in slowly during The Decemberists, and during Neko Case, the majority of people didn’t show up until Dylan was about to play.
He opened with “Everybody Must Get Stoned”, although it wasn’t recognizable until halfway through the song. Although Bob Dylan has never had a strong voice, and his songs have often seemed more like spoken word set to music than actual songs, his performance at Bumbershoot was worse than I expected. His voice was gruff and gravelly, like a smokers’ voice, and was nearly impossible to understand – the only way my mother could identify‘Just Like A Woman’ was by the one guitar riff in the chorus.
He was supposed to play for an hour and a half, but we (my mom and I) didn’t stay until the end, we couldn’t. He’d already destroyed two of his better known songs, and after 45 minutes, I turned to my mom and said “If he attempts to play Mr tambourine man, I’m never going to be able to listen to that song again. He’s going to ruin it.”
Maybe It’s unfair of me to expect an elderly man to perform at the same level as he did 30 years ago – but if he can’t perform anymore, then why is he still touring?
Although the songs were nearly unrecognizeable, and the show was so bad, there was a steady stream of people leaving even though the set was barely halfway through, I'm not sorry I went. After all, now I can say I've seen Bob Dylan in concert, and even if he isn't good anymore, his music was the voice of a generation.