Zoilus by Carl Wilson

Wavelength 500 - because believing
in the good of life is mandatory

February 16th, 2010

So, yes, Wavelength 500 ended Sunday night with a set of tributes to the Torontopian Age that left many of us misty-eyed (and/or hungover, as it actually went on until well past the legally appointed closing time, thanks to the Garrison’s generosity). Steve Kado flew in from California bringing with him a poster he’d made for the occasion - the full calendar for 2003.

“Dinosaurs of Rock” Barcelona Pavilion reunited, saying, “We will have to tell you the truth because we are old now and our faces aren’t capable of deception. When we were young we deceived people constantly and now we’re being punished.” They revised the words in How Are You People Going To Have Fun If None Of You People Ever Participate? (a rare actual living specimen of a Song That Changed The World, of Poetry That Made Something Happen) from “How’s your hangover? How are your bedsores?” to “How’s your mortgage? How are your children?” They conceded their long-running beef with Rockets Red Glare - quoth Steve Kado, “Those guys are doing philosophy in grad school now. I’m a visual artist. Obviously they win.”

The BP played almost all its songs, with almost-but-not-quite the fluidity of their peak, including a song I thought only 12 people who saw their first show in a living room had ever heard, based on a dream bassist Kat Gligorijevic had in which she was participating in some sort of race in which the aim was to stay in constant view of semiotician Raymond Monelle. It includes a kind of whispered-shout chant that I have seldom heard in song. There was a mosh pit in which people got playfully violent to songs about cleaning up your room. And then for an encore the band played a song I’d never heard before, which was not one of their songs, and by played I mean they played it on their iPod and sang along with the chorus, “Capital in ruins/Thousands dead, thousands dead” (when BP sings this you assume they mean financial and/or cultural capital in ruins) until there were no words to sing along to, and during that instrumental section Steve wrapped cables, Maggie danced exuberantly, Kat drank a beer and Ben did absolutely nothing, and I thought, “Ladies and gentlemen, that was the Barcelona Pavilion.”

After that happened, Kids on TV played, and Thomas played, and then Owen Pallett played (as was announced just hours before the show) and God looked upon it and said that it was good. And then the 2003 lineup of The Hidden Cameras - Steve Kado, Owen Pallett, Maggie MacDonald, Mathias Rozenberg, Magali Meagher, Gentleman Reg, Dave Meslin and Joel Gibb - reunited and played I Believe in the Good of Life, which certainly describes the collective sentiment in the room. Apparently this took place at Owen’s instigation, when he realized everyone would be in town. Amazingly, everyone agreed, though I have it on confidential authority that a few of them felt they were violating sacred oaths. But they did it for us. And for Wavelength. Sentimental and nostalgic? Only if honoring your parents is also mere sentimental nostalgia. No, this was just being put in mind of the things that matter.

In his lecture at Trampoline Hall - also at the Garrison - last night, my friend Michael McManus expressed the view that in Canada, especially in Ontario, and in Toronto particularly, we are ashamed of the things that we should be proud of and proud of the things that we should be ashamed of. It’s a general human problem - ever met someone with hangups about sex but proud of his offshore bank account? - but it does also seem a particular local one. Wavelength, and the people who were there Sunday night, stood up to point that out and lead by example in how to see what really deserves celebration - and how overwhelmingly much of it there really is. You’re soaking in it. Don’t worry, drink up, drink up, drink up.

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  2. barclay says:

    Well put, as always sir.
    Minor point: if it were all of the 2003 Cameras it would have also included keyboardists Justin Stayshyn and Bob Wiseman and cellist Mike Olsen. No matter: as Dick Van Patten would say, eight is enough!
    And I’m curious about more details of that pride/shame index for Toronto.

  3. ryan says:

    As a side note perhaps from the article, I am also very interested in more conversations regarding pride/shame. Cause, you know: “I think you also have to be cautious of your own self-regard. You can’t pretend that you’re some kind of frontiersman. … It’s kind of embarrassing.” - Dan Vila, from http://www.zoilus.com/documents/via-toronto/2010/003125.php

    As a direct note, that one song set by HC was one of the most magical moments I’d seen at a show, and I thank those folks for doing it.

  4. Jeremy says:

    I must comment to say only that “long-running” isn’t really an accurate way to describe our (RRG’s) beef with BP. More like brief, stupid, and ultimately baseless. It’s not like there has been some seven-year grudge any of us have been holding. Also, just a minor note: Ev and Gus are the philosophy grad students. I am headed down the treacherous path of musicology.

  5. Dylan says:

    Turns out that unknown song was “Thousands Dead” by Mag & The Suspects.

    You can listen to it here: http://beemp3.com/download.php?file=2978243&song=Thousands+Dead

  6. Steve Kado says:

    That poster is actually viewable here:

    But seriously: Kat isn’t even in grad school and Ben is still somewhere in his undergrad so - I mean, if we’re splitting hairs we’re splitting hairs. My predicition is: you will take the world of musicology by storm. It’s really just Mags and me that are post-grad, but we ARE the band that sings about German philosophy and don’t have anyone nearly like Gus in the band. Which, to qualify my on-stage banter, only underlines the point I was making on stage: we are not qualified, academically or otherwise to really be performing our songs. It’s Gus’ job now.

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    [...] doubt that I could describe this event any better than Carl already did - or Michael Barclay, for that matter. The 10th anniversary of Toronto’s integral PWYC [...]

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