That doorman who liked my beard was at Sneaky Dee's where I went to see an artist who was listed as a combination of blues and electronic, which is what I've been experimenting with. I got there early because the band playing before them listed their genre as "experimental" and I wanted to see what they were all about. Little did I know that they were (are) the biggest thing in Ireland and as one (Irish) patron pointed out to me, the whole front of the room was packed with Irish - and I soon realized that they knew all the words and were singing along. I jokingly asked my new Irish friend if there had been a fight yet, and he said no they were waiting for the end of the set. And sure enough when it was over they remained at the front shouting "one more" (probably not aware of the showcase protocol). One very drunk guy almost knocked me over, but to their credit, they finally accepted that their heroes were not coming back. Anyway, The Rubberbandits, as they were called, were 2 rappers who jumped up and down and a third guy - all in masks - who was maybe manipulating synths or other controllers. I think the masks was the experimental part
There was a time when no self-respecting musician would ever play with pre-recorded backing tracks, but nowadays nobody was making a big deal of it. In fact Indie Awards headliner Rich Aucoin had recently abandoned his Ableton Live for pre-recorded tracks on an ipod. Of course, he's doing a lot in "real time" but just the thought of playing with backing tracks leaves me cold.
There was a phenomenal electronic musician from BC called Longwalk Shortdock who took it to another level - I don't think he was using Ableton but he was controlling stuff with the computer though apparently the visuals were prepared in advance (by a video artist called RIM) so once again I was hoping we would see visuals that were being triggered and filtered by the music. Maybe there was a bit of that going on, but whatever he was doing, it was spectacular:
The Blues fared pretty well at Canadian Music Week this year. It's always been a "poor cousin" in this annual crush of pretty mainstream rock and pop. The "official" blues showcase was not very well attended at the start and though I had to leave halfway through, I bet it was packed by the time Shakura hit the stage. A big congratulatory hug to Suzie Vinnick for tearing it up solo in this pretty large room which usually hosts metal music. I told her she had the energy of a full-tilt rock band - just her voice and that little guitar (with a pretty big sound). Then tonight, Suzie wins the Indie Award for best blues act (and let's not forget that she is nominated for a JUNO award - to be presented next week in Ottawa)
Now as I'm meeting Paul Rogers, I confess that I didn't know much about him especially his blues roots. What I didn't tell him was that I sort of had him confused with Roger Hodgson of Supertramp (who also had some kind of Canadian connection). Anyway, I realize I probably sounded stupid, but he was not one of those people who calls you on it when you say something stupid. He was very nice, and he has a new fan in Brian Blain - especially after seeing his performance with multi-Indie winners the Sheepdogs.