Monday, October 29, 2007

Emma Pollock Live In Calgary

Almost forgot, as promised here are some songs from Emma Pollock's set when I saw her on October 12 in MacEwan Hall at the University of Calgary. She is opening for the New Pornographers on their present tour of North America, she is mainly playing songs from her recently released album, Watching The Fireworks. If you haven't heard this disc, I urge you to check out her myspace page and sample the 4 songs posted, and buy her album (or download it?), it's pretty good.

Emma was formerly in the Glasgow band, The Delgados who strung together 5 studio albums (as well as a live and BBC session CD) over a 10 year period. I've started to seek out their releases and so far I really enjoy what I've heard. Again check out their myspace song samples.

"MacEwan Hall
" Calgary, AB
October 12, 2007

Paper and Glue
Here Comes The Heartbreak
You'll Come Around
Acid Test

If you want the complete show, I've posted it at OR let me know and I'll get you a copy.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

R.I.P. Lance Hahn (1967-2007)

I came upon this sad story Monday morning:

Founding member of J Church and all around well-loved punk icon Lance Hahn has passed away. Hahn had been comatose since Friday, October 12th following a collapse during dialysis. According to a post attributed to Hahn's girlfriend:
as far as the doctors can tell, this collapse was due to a sudden, drastic drop in blood pressure, which in turn was probably caused by a recurrence of the infection he had had in September combined with the stress of dialysis. he received immediate CPR from medical professionals at the dialysis center, but as it took fifteen or twenty minutes to resuscitate him, he suffered neurological damage from lack of oxygen to the brain, leaving him in a coma from which he never returned.
Lance Hahn was the lead singer, guitarist, and founding member of J Church. He also wrote extensive "punk rock history" articles for Maximumrocknroll. In addition of all of this, he found time to run Honey Bear Records. Hahn was working on a compilation book of writings on anarcho-punk bands, called "Let the Tribe Increase," to be released on AK Press.

To me this story has special significance since I was a big fan of J Church and had the pleasure of seeing them live in Winnipeg 1996 and 1997. After both shows, I had the opportunity to talk to Lance about life on the road and upcoming projects and of course to sign a couple of CD's. He seemed to be a genuinely nice guy and very knowledgeable about music and the punk scene in the U.S. If you don't know J Church, seek them out and listen to their music, they were greatly under-rated and very prolific releasing at least a dozen albums and countless 7'' ers during their 15 year career.

I noticed in the last day or so, a memorial blog has been created for fans and friends to share their remembrances about Lance and the band.

If you have never listened to J Church, I've posted a small sample of the band's highlights. I also recorded both Winnipeg shows when they were in town and I posted the complete 1996 show on Dimeadozen, sort of as a tribute to Lance. I've included 4 songs here from that show.

Bomb (from: Camels, Spilled Corona And The Song Of Mariachi Bands)
Rockville (REM cover: Camels, Spilled Corona...)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Procession Of Simulacra)
Simple Gesture (The Drama Of Alienation)

Pyramid Cabaret Winnipeg, MB June 12, 1996My Favourite Place
No Surprise
Hope (Descendants cover)
Yellow, Red And Green

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

There's Nothing Like Great Porn!

When the New Pornographers announced their North American tour a few months back, I was kind of hesitant to buy tickets. They have come through Winnipeg twice in the past two years and both those shows almost mirrored each other both in song selection and band lineup. I said to myself I'll go see them again when Neko Case tours with them or they release a new album. Well guess what, they released Challengers in September and then it became known that Neko Case and Dan Bejar would accompany the core band for their whole NA tour. Just when I decided I would go, they cancelled the show! They realized they under-estimated the distance and time it would take to travel from Montana to Winnipeg in one day.

As faith would have it (or pure luck), I had to attend a meeting in Calgary the same weekend the New Pornographers tour would hit the city. I waited too long to purchase tickets through TM as the Friday October 12 show soon was sold out. The Saturday show was less likely as I had to attend a dinner that night and it was unpredictable when it would end. I decided to just show up at the U of C campus in hopes of buying a ticket from someone outside the venue, fortunately they still had tickets at the door and I got in.

The opener Emma Pollock was a pleasant surprise, her spirited personality and sense of humour won over the crowd with a solid 9 song set. She played many songs from her new album, Watching The Fireworks (which I highly recommend!) and I would go see her again if she tours through Winnipeg. I recorded her set and I'll post some songs from the concert in an upcoming post.

I have seen the New Pornographers 3 times, twice without Neko and once with (Aug 2002), but I never seen them with Dan Bejar. Like Neko, he sings on at least a song per album and rarely tours with the band, he has appeared during local shows in Vancouver. Bejar drifted on and off the stage with drink in hand throughout the show, only appearing when he sang. When Neko performs it takes the band to a higher level, her powerful voice is so dynamic and hypnotic, she commands the spotlight. Her physical presence on stage tends to draw your attention as well, I was thrilled to watch Neko smack a tambourine for an hour and a half.

A cute moment in the show was between songs when a fan yelled "I love you Kathryn", Carl turns to Kathryn and says,"you hear that?". She smiles and turns to the audience and says, "thank you", then her face blushes a bright red. This was funny because when you listen to live recordings of their shows, fans continually scream, "I love you Neko", as Kathryn seems to stay more out of the limelight and not attract the attention of Neko Case.

Though the new album isn't the best they've produced, seeing and hearing it live gives the songs a higher intense energy and appreciation. The eight-member band is a must-see on this tour, it might be the only opportunity to hear the songs the way they were meant to be heard with the complete line-up.

I brought my recording equipment to Calgary, so I have a decent sounding recording of the show. I was in the middle of the huge scrum on the floor in front of the stage, squished and squeezed probably about 15 people back, dead centre surrounded by screaming girls. I've posted some highlights from the concert, 9 of the 20 songs (4 new) they performed in loss-quality mp3's, if you want the complete show in uncompressed flac or wav files, check out EZTorrent (you'll have to register) or contact me and I'll get you a copy.

MacEwan Hall (Ballroom)
Calgary, Alberta
October 12, 2007

All The Things That Go To Heaven And Earth
Use It
My Rights Versus Yours
Mass Romantic
Sing Me Spanish Techno
Mutiny, I Promise You
The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism

(the NP's photos are actually from a previous show in Seattle 9-15-07 and EM's photo from Mpls 10-16-07)
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