Tuesday, September 02, 2008

My Linear Non-Pornographer Weekend (At Malkin Bowl)


Recently a neighbour described his visit to Las Vegas. It sounds like fun, I said, except for the gambling. Well what would you do there? he asked me and I told him I'd go to a prize fight or maybe watch somebody get his head caved in in the octagonal poultry mesh cage of surprising economic return. His reply: why would you want to watch people getting hurt? I had no ready reply, but thankfully another friend, to whom I later related that episode, did: Have you met people?

Speaking of meeting people, I just met Nonlinear Girl and family. A few impressions: they are tall. Their daughter, who is three, towers over me. She helped me get my long lost ELO album off of a really high closet shelf. Thanks. Mr. Nonlinear Girl, who is not a girl, plays a mean guitar. Mo observes it is quite fortunate for us to have met such fine people on the internet of all places. I agree, I think, I wasn't listening to her, but to the omnipresent Mason Williams! Yess!

Speaking of classical tunes. While we were hanging around together, we did many things. We took our kids to the Vancouver Fish Jail. That was fun. We went to the park. There were no fatalities and that was fun too. We asked each other questions about our respective nations, such as, "Are all Americans tall like you?" and "Do you have any spray cheese?" and, "You missed a spot there. See it?" That was fun (for me, anyway). Plus too as well we went to the Stanley Park Singing Exhibition and we saw and listened to Neko Case. I love Neko Case. NLG et homme love her too. She is lovable and hence the love. Love her, that's right, Mo, love!

We also saw and listened to a set by Destroyer. Wow. That wasn't fun, for us, or for Destroyer apparently. There is no amount of grain alcohol that would help me make sense of their act.

I could go on and on about a: how much I enjoyed meeting Nonlinear and family in the flesh after reading her blog for the past two years or so; b: what delightful company they make (if Neko Case is coming soon to your town let NLG know!); c: how I cannot wait until Neko Case plays in Portland (I am sleeping in your yard with my kids, my cats, and all the aerosol cheese I can find and Thrifty Foods); and d: the lovely and funny Neko Case. I really could but I won't*. Suffice to say I feel great fortune to have made their actual acquaintance. Thank you for visiting.^

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I could end there but my rock fest weekend had just begun. On Monday I went to day two of the exhibition where I caught the sets by Black Mountain and the New Pornographers. A word about the former: stoned. I am certain that I was a quarter ounce of cubensis and a Camberwell carrot short of being able to fully appreciate their set. I could tell the players are totally disciplined and can really play (and do so without irony [incredibly]) but in listening I conclude my Gong days are long left behind me. Also, the sound engineer must have been impaired, or deaf, because things got louder and louder, so loud I could even type louder in caps so as to convey the louder-ness of the loudness, but let me just tell you, it was loud, and the force of the crescendo of the set, the last three tunes or so, they sounded like, I don't know, a microphone in a blender. Loud.

Not to mention the New Pornographers which is a band for whom I hold great affection which band, of course, I just mentioned here in this sentence and maybe a paragraph ago. (Don't go back to check, stay here!) If you have followed this band even a little, as have I, then you know the stories about the sex changes, the ferret addictions, the marriage to Norman Fell with its highly public and terrible end. I need not repeat these stories here, or even fabricate them. I'm not doing this for profit (obviously).**

In any event, there were as few as 7 and as many as 10 musicians on stage at any time. Anywhere from 2 to 5 of them singing. I imagine this would be a very difficult mix to master. It is not the sort of situation that is helped by making everyone louder, then louder still. Pretend you are in a taxi, listening to a favourite song: you know where you are and what you are hearing does not invoke thoughts of the Valkyries coming to split your puny skull and spirit its contents to Valhalla or Black Mountain or wherever it is that scary fictional characters of yore reside. Whereas with the previous band, where I thought someone should stun the guitarist and fix his volume knob at 0.5, here it was the vocals that caused me to suffer great pain and to complain about the obviously gin-sodden sound guy anonymously on the internet. (Admittedly, a low threshold on both counts.) Things were too loud and there was no reason for it. And I had to pee.

In conclusion, I attended portions of a modern outdoor musical festival last weekend and can report as follows: I am old.

p-man going.

* But I am waiting to see what NLG has to say about us first.

^ I should note that I am generally a bit freaked out about meeting people and especially internet people. Still, I have read NLG for a while and while I believe the posts there have a verite which I will never muster, meeting NLG in person was way better than reading. More... lifelike, for one thing. Also, plus, too, with wings, that Mr. N informed Canadian Customs that he and his family were coming to Canada to stay with some people, people they met on the internet. That's so true and so funny. He's tall and funny! I can't stand him.

** By which I mean to say this is a terrific band. Strong material, good musicianship, excellent harmonies. The real thing. Unlike the last time I saw them this time Kurt Dahle was behind the kit, drinking, singing, strumming, all with calculated and reckless aplomb. A monster performer. The band was good too. I didn't want to suggest I enjoyed myself in the main text. That would be awkward.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Mad said...

I love Neko and The New Pornographers, particularly Neko with The New Pronographers, plus she is an American who is sometimes a Canadian and ergo the perfect soundscape for your cross-border, non-linear meeting.

For the record, MadDad lives in just a wee bit of a pop culture vacuum. Plus, I am certain her would never go near aerosol cheese. He can be endearing nonetheless.

Next time, however, he is staying home and I am visiting.

7:55 AM  
Blogger nonlineargirl said...

In the U.S.A. everyone has spray cheese. We keep it in our gun racks, which we put up high to keep Canadians from messing with our stuff.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous cheesefairy said...

I lived in a house once and the guy who rented the basement was learning to play guitar. Classical Gas every goddamn night.

Uh. Am so jealous you saw Neko Case.

See, and we went to the PNE on the Saturday so ended up seeing Chilliwack. they were TIGHT, man.

9:11 PM  
Anonymous Geoff G. said...

I'm a non-gambler (other than a few bucks dropped in slot machines) and I always enjoy visits to Las Vegas. Why? One can lounge by the pool for hours, drinking beer and reading cheesy novels. "Walking the strip" allows one to pass everything from sirens on pie-rat ships to the Tour Eifel. Visiting "old Las Vegas" in "downtown" allows one to pretend they're Sinatra at the Golden Nugget. And of course, the ice-cold Michelob at a dollar a bottle and more Cirque du Fromage shows than you can shake a stick at.

The only caveat is this: Only visit Sin City between mid-March and mid-October. People seem to forget that outside of these dates it can actually get chilly down there. It's not Hawaii, people.

4:30 PM  

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