about an hour after the announced show time things got started with sonny bones & steve believe trading off poems, in between quiet claps & finger snapping, hardly missing a beat between one poem to the next.
alex goyetche picked up his guitar immediately after & bellowed out some emotional folk, though I'm only judging that based on the way his voice shakes a bit, I don't remember any lyrics, or maybe I wasn't listening for them. his voice carries the songs along in a way that reminds me of early paul baribeau at times, & matthew shelton.
with a dog now in the audience, one of my cats immediately booked it into a bedroom to hide. as I was hanging out in my friend's bedroom, petting my cat ronny boy & rubbing noses with him, I heard clapping hands two rooms over. cud eastbound had started playing after a short smoke break, but I decide to hang out alone with my cat for a bit longer. eventually I picked him up & carried him across the hall & let him down in my bedroom, so he could hide with his food & had access to an open window if he wanted to go outside exploring.
coming back down the hallway toward the kitchen, cud's voice could be faintly heard singing, "trying to hide the pictures of him fucking you in my mind".
my heart sunk a little bit. this lyric & the tone in his broken voice brought me back to an awful time five years ago, before I moved to halifax. change the pronoun & it reminded me of something much more recent.
I hated that I knew what he was singing about & to be honest I started to dwell on that one specific line, my mind going over a thousand memories, so long that I didn't tune back into the song until the very last lyric was sung, "fall asleep with someone else's hand holding mine".
with my hand instinctively heading for the fridge handle I figured I'd have another beer.
"we're kind of loud. you can stand up, err, if you want to sit... that's okay".
with that, frett, the doggy guest popped up off the couch & stood in the middle of the room taking up all the attention that of course, any animal deserves.
bramble are a three piece made up of some super talented, dirty, smelly gender benders. it took me awhile to catch on, but after what felt like seven minutes of screaming fast, frantic, dynamic & dark folk, I realized they were just blacken the skies with acoustic instruments. my mood changed for the better & I was excited.
paying tribute the now defunct new england band, mallory, they played a cover of one of their songs, "god's work". during the song I pulled my cellphone out & left niko (one of the members of mallory) a voice mail of bramble covering his song. at this moment I really missed my friends down in the states. I sang along.
unfortunately their set has to be put on an hour long pause in order for the folks upstairs to deal with the building's landlord who had showed up uninvited at 9:00 pm on a friday night.
the quiet, polite & intimate energy of the night never really returned after that. instead, paranoia, worrying & the rifts between certain friends of mine felt very apparent & made things, to those who noticed, awkward. bramble were good sports though & killed two more songs before the rumble strips, the stars of the show who we were all sending off into the world the next day, pulled our their instruments, plugging into tiny amps on the window sill.
I understand the desire to be louder & to be able to play mic'd, but for me, when you amplify a ukulele or any other acoustic instrument there is a certain quirkiness & aesthetic that is lost. mind you I doubt the rumble strips are really counting on that anyway. regardless of the mood at the end of the night, or what we were all thinking, they alternated between songs about ducks, sad friends, cigarettes, more ducks & anything you'd be comfortable placing in a cute but slyly angry set of songs. with them leaving, three of my best buddies, plus the two that left last week, this small city, & especially this street, our stoop, our coffee maker & our home is going to feel a bit different.
when everyone cleared out, I stayed up awhile longer chatting in the kitchen with those who stuck around, finished off another beer & eventually, quiet & buzzy, called it a night.
photos by rosie toes.
writing by ryley.