by carl wilson


I shouldn't let the week end without letting you know how Tin Tin Tin went on Wednesday.

It had a rough start but ended up soaring. [...]

As expected the Constantines show (and to a lesser degree, but in unfortunate cases, the Rodney Graham opening) sapped away attendees. It started out sparse, and with a chaotically delayed sound check, and with a strange, huge stage extension that had been built for a dance show that was opening at the Drake the next day, which (due to some sound system restrictions) baffled us until we hit on the solution of putting seating for the audience up on the stage, when it actually turned into an enjoyable novelty.

Stage seating was especially perfect for the banjo-tabla duet of Sean Dixon and Gurpreet Chana, who had the hushed attention of the whole room for their renditions of folk classics such as The Cuckoo and Darlin' Cory as well as a couple of originals like Sean's Chrome Orpheus. I'd seen them do their southern-eastern-western-northern thing before, but those who hadn't greeted it with excited surprise that reverberated to the end of the night.

The second set was the most thrilling for me. Nick and Rose of LAL together with poet Christian Bok and violinist Julie Penner (who's worked with Fembots, Broken Social Scene, Ron Hawkins and many more, as well as her own singer-songwriter stuff). None of the three elements were familiar with each other until they got on stage, and as a shared creative project began to emerge - with Christian making his phonetic sound poems as much rhythm section as lead, and Rose finding places to echo and then overtake him, and Julie adding beautiful accents in the first pure improvisation she's ever done in public, and Nick (aka Murr) fueling the whole thing with beats and textures - their own wide-eyed glee in what was transpiring was a joy to witness. That was what Tin Tin Tin is all about. This was the set that had me resolve to record the shows from now on.

And by the end of that set, I looked around, and lo, the room was filling up, with curiosity-seekers from upstairs mostly. Reader, I exhaled.

Finally, we had soul-jazz band The Quartertones (including the excellent DJ Serious) collaborating with vocalist Christine Duncan, trombonist Doug Tielli, Rob Mosher on soprano sax and Colin Fischer on tenor. This was the Difficult Third Set (just as the whole night was the Difficult Second Show). The Q-tones sound was so big and full - and so dance-party oriented - that it was a real challenge for the improvisors to find their place in it. The results were sometimes more jam band than Blue Series, sometimes almost comically stalemated... other times they were transcendent.

Much of the credit for those moments went to Christine, who with her vocalese was able to weave in, grab some unnoticed element that was going on in the piece and transmute it into gold. In fact, the night sort of belonged to the female singers - she and Rose each had people saying, "Who was that woman? She's amazing!" But each of the other improvisors hit the right vein at other times, as when Rob Mosher was able to turn some sort of disco cover into a free-klezmer-raga-disco testament, and Fisher and Tielli each were able to fragment straightahead grooves into spiralling streams of algebra.

So by the end of the night? No regrets, only ideas for improving on the series in the future and a reassurance that this concept has a place in the city's musical spectrum that's more than worth continuing to build on.

Anyone who took pictures please get in touch. I'll throw them up here. (see the "contact" button up top? push that!)

Thanks to Duncan and Jeff at the Drake, to Tyler Clark Burke for more superb set decor, to all the musicians, to Sean K Robb and Sheila Heti for manning the door (and Sheila for postermaking and, well, everything), Misha Glouberman and Julia Rosenberg for aid and comfort, and everyone else who helped. See you April 28.

Read More | News | Posted by zoilus on Sunday, April 04 at 12:32 AM | Linking Posts | Comments (0)


Zoilus by Carl Wilson