Thursday, September 27, 2007

close to paradise

Uber late on this whole Polaris thing. Read excellent re-caps here, here and most lovingly, my witty and affable date, the Helenic beauty / willing futon provider Meghan Harrison's take here.


  • Patrick Watson's win seemed to be a bit of a coup, and certainly the reaction of the audience (largely made up of jury members) was uncomfortable shock for about 3.2 seconds, but in the minutes, hours and days since, there seems to be a general consensus that it was a safe bet, which could be agreed upon by Grand Jury in the allotted 2 hours. Which leads to a discussion of whether the best album of the year based on "artistic merit alone" should be a "safe bet." My thoughts: Watson's album is a bit of a sleeper, but he was one of the more interesting live performers.

  • Last year's prize winner and generous boyfriend Owen Pallett's sleeveless, orange shirt was the second biggest shock of the evening. He accepted the nomination on behalf of the Arcade Fire, and also announced the winner.

  • Julie Doiron with Eric's Trip. For a music-loving cub like myself, this was a pretty big deal. While there's been some conversation about this performance, including how it will translate to television, I was fairly awed. It was raw, and rough, and fun. Doiron was visibly excited to be there, backed by her former band. It made me almost wish I could trade in my Weeping Tile lifestyle for a little bit of Moncton. (There was some breakfast discussion comparing the Doiron/Trip esthetic with Sarah Harmer backed by the Hip. Attention Rick White and Rob Baker: your hair is gross.)

  • Each shortlist nominee was introduced by a presenter from the Jury, providing an argument for their album. There were serious mic issues all night long, which sort of hampered things, but this quote from Carl Wilson's Junior Boys speech made it to the peon gallery (aka the balcony): "This is the land of the silver birch, but also Marshall McLuhan." Double-you teee eff, C-Dubs?

  • A sweating, shining Jian Ghomeshi did a longwinded presentation for my favourites, the Besnard Lakes. A "casual back and forth" between the Q-list celeb and Jace Lasek took place. Something about Jace swearing on The Hour at SXSW a few years ago, and being reprimanded by his grandmother. Ghomeshi's argument for the album: "They play some eclectic fucked-up shit."

  • Mid after-party, I went to the convenience store down the block from the Drake. Looked at Basia Bulat on the cover of Now magazine, returned to the rooftop of the Drake and there was Basia. There are some things that would rarely happen in the States, or really anywhere else in the world to a wide-eyed wannabe like myself. Ohhh Canada. You're tiny and you give jobs to pompous, talentless jerks, but we love you.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

making waves

Photo property of the Queen's Journal. By Heather Mosher

This weekend was Tidal Mass, a 24-hour arts event, featuring sculpture, silent film and live music. Don Maynard's sculpture, from which the event took its name, was a visual stunner-2300 fluorescent light bulbs arranged into waves, and lit from below, making "pools and puddles" of light.
Almost 15 musicians (Greg Tilson, Nich Worby, Jason Erb, Jeff Barbeau, Jenni O'Neil, Benjamin Nelson, etc) had been practicing in the space for 6 weeks and had arranged five hours of music which cycled through seasonal themes, from winter to fall.

Photo property of the Queen's Journal. By Harrison Smith

The show drew a bigger crowd than I've seen at any kind of arts event in a long time (this town gets a bit lonely in the summer). I'm so happy something like this is happening in little ol' Kingston.

The lights and the sounds, they made me believe.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

spinning and also spiraling

I'm still coming down from a weekend in the hills. The Shelter Valley Folk Festival was this end-of-summer weekend, and it was great. I probably saw less music this year than ever before, between volunteering and a mid-festival break for a friend's wedding, but anything that includes good food, tie-dyed everything, tent mornings, moonsongs, campfires and small children has got to be good. And on top of all that, sunshine!

Also, something that commands this kind of commitment is obviously made of love:

I'm a believer.

P.S. Find of the weekend? James Hill. He plays the ukulele! (And was the most gracious vegetarian in the face of a near-meat experience.)