Widowspeak in Toronto

October 18, 2015 at 2:39 pm (Uncategorized)

It’s odd to go to a concert on a Sunday night. Odder when that Sunday is the day before (Canadian) Thanksgiving. Still, eighty or so souls made the trek down to the Silver Dollar to see self-described country-grunge artists Widowspeak make their return to Toronto.

Opening band Beams played a mix of folk and pop numbers (including a Kate Bush cover!) and ended their set rocking out. One to see again.

Widowspeak came on stage about 10:30. The two-piece from Brooklyn were expanded into a full band for their stage set. If you’ve listened to the records, the band wears its influences on its sleeve, Mazzy Star, the Cowboy Junkies and dream pop most prominently. Lots of twang and reverb thrown into the mix allowed the band to cast a spell over the club, especially during the guitar driven final song. Hypnotizing.

I’m also going to disagree with Matt Williams’ assessment of the show in Now Magazine. While Williams gave the show a positive review, he argued that the band had to battle a “chatty and drunk” crowd. From where I was sitting, this wasn’t the case. The audience responded to the band, but didn’t seem disinterested. Granted, it was difficult to make out much Molly Hamilton said though.

Cool noise. No encore though.

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The Continuing Appeal of…Sport

October 18, 2015 at 2:23 pm (Uncategorized)

I’ll confess, I don’t quite understand the appeal of sports. Sure, I watch soccer and tennis. I’ve even worn an England World Cup t-shirt secure in the knowledge that following England in any soccer tournament is not a long-term commitment. But the screaming in the streets celebrations? I can’t quite tap into that.

Last time the Blue Jays won the World Series (more on that in a minute), I was coming home on the street car when the game ended. Suddenly, there were thousands of people in the street celebrating. It was as if peace had been declared, or the revolution had come (OK, maybe not). But utter bliss: “We” had won the World Series. Never mind that the people in the streets didn’t know anyone on the team. Never mind that the players weren’t from Toronto (and the following year when they won again, few of the players had remained). Never mind. Never mind.

The following day, I went to work. No change there. No raise. When I travelled, no one bought me a beer because I was from Toronto. Hmm.

Now, the Toronto Blue Jays are in the semi-final (oh, excuse me, the American League championship) in a competition called the World Series in which only American teams save for the sole Canadian team compete. Two down to Kansas City in a best of seven series.  It’s madness. Everywhere “Go Jays Go” and at work, it’s the topic of conversation.  Obviously, I’m missing something. The other thing of interest is that if you live in Toronto, you soon realize the rest of the country hates your city. It’s odd. Still, what’s odder is the re-branding of the Jays as “Canada’s team.” If there really is this fierce loyalty, should Toronto say, “Get your own team” ?

I know Marx said, nothing human is alien to me. But, I think I’m failing this one.

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