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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
If your life is a leaf / that that the seasons tear off and condemn They will bind you with love / that is graceful and green as a stem
— Leonard Cohen, Sisters of Mercy
December 20, 2009
2009 in Concerts

I’ve seen a lot of live shows this year. Certainly more than any other year in my life, and enough to confidently say that anybody who’s seen more than I have is either in the business or doesn’t have to get out of bed to get into work at 7 a.m. five days a week.

Either way…whatever. This isn’t a contest. Some notes on particular standouts.

The Gist with Dan Mangan, Ivan E. Coyote, Brendan McLeod, and Damonde Tschritter

Coming hot on the heels of the release of Dan’s astonishing album, this collaborative show with Ivan (one of my favourite storytellers) and two people I’d never heard of seemed like a unique event. The funny thing is, I almost didn’t go…but I did, and it’s one of the most interesting live shows I’ve seen in a while.

Not strictly a concert the artists joined each other on stage, fading to stage left and stage right as the moment demanded. Watching these four together made for memorable night of entertainment.

I’d like to see something similar again, though I suspect we won’t see Dan in that small a room in Vancouver anytime again. If you missed this, you missed a great night.

Wilco, June 30th, Jacksonville, Oregon

When the summer concert schedule for Wilco didn’t include a trip to Vancouver, I decided not to take it personally. A show was scheduled in Jacksonville, Oregon—only 9 hours straight driving on I-5! Jacksonville was close to Crater Lake National Park so I decided to spend a few days there before heading to Jacksonville for the show.

Wilco rarely disappoints, and coming on the night of the Wilco’s release the show was no exception. At an absolutely beautiful venue on an absolutely beautiful warm summer evening, songs like Remember the Mountain Bed, Spiders, Bull Black Nova and Poor Places soared into the air. The band played right through to the cutoff time for the venue, and the crowd loved every minute of it.

Neko Case, Vogue Theatre, June 3rd

If there’s one thing better than Neko in the studio, it’s Neko live. Vogue is a beautiful venue, and sitting second row centre didn’t hurt.

With a great selection of animations on the backdrop, and plenty of witty stage banter between Neko and Kelly Hogan (including a shout out to Captain Caveman) the audience laughed and cried and asked for more. Lady Pilot was a great moment, and the home made music box used in Middle Cyclone sounded absolutely gorgeous.

Young Galaxy, October 28th, Biltmore Cabaret and November 13th, Legendary Horseshoe Tavern

Don’t make me choose which was the better show. The Vancouver show was a Tuesday night, and with the U2 concert in town…well, you could have picked a better night. I was lucky to be in Toronto the night they played there.

Great show with Catherine McCandless’s beautiful voice on display. I chatted with her at both shows.

I had more fun at the Horseshoe: it was a great crowd, and I met a few nice folks. Yes, they do exist in Toronto.

Patrick Watson, December 10th, Vogue Theatre

Patrick Watson won the 2007 Polaris Prize and then proceeded to follow a first album with an amazing second one. Seeing the band play live was like watching a kid in a playground. Saying Patrick has stage presence doesn’t even being to do it justice.

With a backing band that included one cellist and three viola players, the music was stunning. Highlight of the show? Patrick sitting at a piano, alone on stage and killing every light in the house. Total darkness with just one piano and voice to cut through it. Simply amazing.

Amy Millan, October 24th, Biltmore Cabaret

The Biltmore is like my home away from home these days, and the Amy Millan show there was one of the highlights of my year for reasons that go well beyond a fun performance that included an audience member getting up on stage to sing backing vocals (and doing a very fine job.)

The opening act was Bahamas, and he ended his set with a fine cover of Purple Rain during which the entire audience sang the chorus. Two weeks earlier I heard Immaculate Machine cover The Boys are Back in Town on the same stage. I’m still not sure which I enjoyed more. Do I have to choose?

There’s other reasons this was a great show for me, but they’ve got nothing to do with the show. It was a magic night though.

Posted by skooter at 2:39 AM This entry is filed under Entertainment, Music.
This entry is tagged: Amy Millan, Anza Club, Biltmore Cabaret, Dan Mangan, Immaculate Machine, Ivan E. Coyote, Neko Case, Patrick Watson, Vogue Theatre, Wilco

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