by carl wilson

Nothing is Bulletproof

Last night, I felt lucky indeed to be present at the second night of the Toronto debut of the reconstituted Simply Saucer at Ciao Edie's, to witness Edgar Breau coyly quoting himself from the Cyborgs Revisited recording of Illegal Bodies: "This is a song about the future, when, unless you have a metal body, they're not gonna allow you to walk the streets." The small room was quite packed (considerably more than the previous night, I'm told) and there were plenty of high points to the set, including Dance the Mutation and Low Profile, but at least on this occasion, it didn't seem to me that this reborn group (which besides Breau includes original bassist Kevin Christoff and three new members) quite has the electricity it would need to sustain itself and do the 1970s material justice. Breau's still a guitar hero, but his singing has domesticated itself over the decades in ways that deprive it of the discarded-aluminum timbre it once had (an evolution that may or may not be associated with his embrace of family values and western civ in the intervening years), and the rhythms similarly never hit the funk-in-a-shambles (or shambles-in-a-funk) motorik spot that I associate with Saucer. Some of the new arrangements are attractive, but the reworking of Bulletproof Nothing (another in the Saucer top-five) stripped out the abjection of the original without quite arriving anywhere (I think they were going for a "pretty" version, but pretty really isn't the Saucer's forte). I'd happily go see them again, and look forward to the upcoming Half Human Half Live disc, which will bring us some unheard diamonds from the Saucer vaults, but it doesn't quite bring the legend to life. Of course, one might wonder whether the legend ever came across live or whether part of the sonic aura of the Saucer was actually constructed in the studio. I imagine their gigs were always kind of uneven, which would partially explain why they made such slow headway the first time around, beyond the standard account (also true, no doubt) of music-biz misprision. But of course it's also no surprise that there'd be a different chemistry between the gang of teens who united to become Saucer in mid-70s Hamilton and the mixed-age "project" that's been assembled 30 years later. Goes to show, you can't go home again, no matter how toxic and depressing home was to begin with. Witnessing the two-thirds-successful reunion of the Saucer also gives me new awe at the way the reunited Mission of Burma and Rocket from the Tombs managed to leave no gaps in their inhabitations of their past selves, to call forth those spirits as if it were as simple as swinging open a door. Watching Breau and co., you're more aware of the complexity of that manoeuvre, which is reason enough in itself to witness them. I hope they'll be back, albeit in a more hospitable venue (Sneaky Dee's? perhaps in a Wavelength show?).

(Later: A clip of Saucer playing Here Come the Cyborgs on Sat. night. There are several videos from Friday on that site too.)

Also, at the risk of continued accusations of local boosterism - wow, if you folks thought Sasha Frere Jones's New Yorker profile of Feist was adoring, brace yourself for the lovefeistfest that is today's Jon Pareles piece on Ms. Leslie, the lead of the NY Times' Sunday Arts section. I've yet to hear the album that's causing all the fuss, The Reminder, but if you haven't seen the video, whose shooting frames Pareles' article, do yourself a favour. Mushaboom and the Bee Gees cover aside, I wasn't a fan of Let It Die, but if 1 2 3 4's any indication, I am about to be dunked in the waters and born again.

| Posted by zoilus on Sunday, April 15 at 6:04 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (3)

 

COMMENTS

Hmmm... I've never thought of myself as having particularly Zoilusian taste in music, but you had the exact same reaction to Let It Die that I did. Aside from those two tracks, I was left non-plussed by the album (using the colloquial, but incorrect sense of non-plussed, that is). Going to see her tomorrow night in London though, partly out of Canadian solidarity, partly because of the buzz-buzz, partly because of that awesome Busby Berkeley-esque video.

Posted by JKelly on April 16, 2007 11:24 AM

 

 

My 4-year-old and I loved the video -- one of the charmingest I've ever seen. Nat said, "I want to watch it two times every night." Nice song too, very Beatlesy, the trumpets making the homage explicit, not in a bad way.

Posted by john on April 16, 2007 11:07 AM

 

 

Even better, I think, is the video for "My Moon, My Man", which was shot back-to-back with "1-2-3-4" by the same director, Patrick Daughters. More dancing still!

http://www.thedirectorsbureau.com/media/archive/Feist-MyMoonMyMan.mov

Posted by Mark P. on April 16, 2007 4:07 AM

 

 

 

Zoilus by Carl Wilson