by carl wilson

Scratch, Blur, Burn

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This weekend left me weakened: It was like some kind of travelling salesmen's convention - no sleep, hotel rooms, endless cocktails, a lot of American strangers and yelling. So I come to the internerd today creeping on wobbly knees. All for good reasons though - a wedding that ranks as pretty much the most joyful nuptials I've ever had the pleasure to witness. Congrats to Bez and Hannah. And they had a great klezmer band, too, with lead vox by Dave Wall (of the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir & much more) - as well as a Russian Vegas-meets-turbo-folk band that was, well, something to remember. The musical highlight was the bride and groom's own duet on a Russian song they wrote together (not that the bride speaks Russian, but she sure can sing) that was kinda thrash-polka, and whose chorus sounds like "Put it in your boots! Put it in your boots!" I suppose you had to be there. Drunken groupsinging in the shuttle bus at 1:30 in the morning, ranging from Till There Was You to hammy Marlene Dietrich parodies to Guns'N'Roses and Meatloaf was - well, I adore drunken groupsinging, and yes, it was a very white crowd.

While I'm being chummy, I should also shout out a hurrah to my pals Doug and Liz on being divebombed by the stork this weekend: And then there's Maud!

Beyond the bonhommie, I had a couple of fine musical experiences: On Saturday night, as part of the Soundplay festival, I saw the French group Cellule d’Intervention Metamkine at the Latvian House on College: It's an ensemble (or, as they so frenchly say, "variable geometric structure gathering different musicians and cineastes") that, at least in this performance, improvised with two projectionists using multiple 8- and 16-mm projectors bounced off mirrors onto a feature-film-sized screen, various supplementary light sources and piles of film stock that they scratch, blur and burn, along with Jérôme Noetinger making electroacoustic music on tape recorders, synthesizers and effects pedals. So far, so 20th-century-avant-garde, I know, but the experience was so immersive and hypnotic, so unpredictable and (to use an overabused term, but it truly applies here) synaesthesic, I felt like my brain was pumping out the myelin, forming new neural connections every second of the 40 mins. or so they "played." (For one thing considering the aura of film as opposed to video, its materiality, the volatility of its chemistry, and how the wonder of its capturing image and light is totally forgotten when you're watching a narrative movie.) As well, as many people have noticed (and pardon my rockism), even though two work with image and one with sound, they're so interlocked that it's a lot like a band. Albeit a band you can't really find because they're all scattered around the room sitting on the floor in heaps of equipment. See them if ever you can.

The same night we hit Maggie MacDonald's benefit show for her upcoming Brechtian-indie-rock-theatre opus The Rat King (website not yet live) (see what Sally McKay had to say when the project made its rough-draft debut in my Tin Tin Tin series last year). Metamkine made me late for Mrs. Zoilus's reading, but I arrived in time to hear the faboolus Phonemes lay down the most rawked-out, bite-yer-ear-off rendition of their sweet quiet bilingual music ever, despite having James from the Singing Saw Shadow Show filling in for Mathias on drums with darting lights of panic in his eyes and bassist Liz's microphone being turned down too low for her harmonies to be heard. When I asked singer Magali after the show why the sudden fierceness, she gave the credit to her stomach infection. Intestinal fiyah! (During the set, she said, "I have just one message for you here tonight: Wash your hands. Often.") Magali is, by the way, the lead actress in The Rat King. They were followed by a stripped down version of the playwright's own band, Republic of Safety - sans their two bassists, with just guitar drums and voice. The trio was in peak form (especially drummer Evan, who at one point made a joke about fruit roll-ups and Maggie's vagina to which I cannot possibly do justice). RoS sounded about twice as punk as usual in this trebly configuration, and they noticed it, too - somewhere late in the set there was a spontaneous Minor Threat Wire cover. Watch for The Rat King at Toronto theatres in January.

News | Posted by zoilus on Monday, October 17 at 3:16 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (3)

 

COMMENTS

Oh the shame. I couldn't really hear the words on the cover song and there had just been a ref. to Minor Threat, so ... but how could I not recognize a Wire cover? It's been too long since I heard those albums I guess. Oh the shame the shame.

Posted by cwilson@globeandmail.ca on October 18, 2005 3:13 PM

 

 

Flying Bulgers with Dave always a wedding treat...I got to witness the same some years ago at Dave's own nuptuals to the lovely Kyo...and then there's Yoshi. A Russian song sounds like a nice touch. I can relate on the wobblies.

On other notes, last night the Nihilist Spasm Band performed at Open Space in Victoria...Hugh is sadly missing, but the racket was fine, if not somewhat restrained without the umpire role of Sir McIntyre to push an pull where apropos. The boys are touring Western Canada and will be in Calgary next week, if anyone's paying attention...It was nice to see the missuses in the house...Mrs. Exley and Mrs. Pratton were there cheering on their lesser noise-miester halves. Four decades of lopsided Monday nights is nothing to sneer at, speaking of nuptuals...

Posted by Phil on October 18, 2005 11:20 AM

 

 

Hey.... that was a Wire cover, PUNK!

Posted by Dovercourt on October 18, 2005 8:40 AM

 

 

 

Zoilus by Carl Wilson