Sunday, November 13, 2011

show photos/videos/review - november 10th @ the burrow

I walked down into the burrow's basement expecting to be very late but as with most punk shows in our city, things tend to never start exactly on time.
the basement was still active though with people sitting around tables hidden in the nooks & corners of the space, smoking & starting on their first beer of the night.
I made sure all my drum equipment had arrived with the band & spent awhile at the merch table while it was slowly coming together & looking presentable in a diy sort of way.
murderous bastards, a two piece folk punk band formed by two alberta boys named tao & adam opened up with a few covers. the songs being played, along with the lighting & overall aesthetic of the basement made me really nostalgic for pac flav, a dead punk house from years passed. singing along to against me! songs & johnny hobo covers felt like old times again. strange déjà vu was experienced but entirely welcomed.
they played a few originals that while simple were lyrically honest & beautiful. the songs helped me understand where they were coming from in relation to their past lives left behind in calgary.
issues of drug use, heartbreak & loneliness & bitterness came up frequently in the lyrics which I'm sure most folks there could relate to in some capacity.


in between sets I ran upstairs & started painting my face with a combination of white makeup & india ink & through the floor I could hear more & more rumbling conversations from the basement below.
the house started to fill up around 8:30 so I ran further upstairs to the second washroom to allow people use of the toilet & also finish my face paint in private.
back half underground again I bought a copy of murderous bastards' split cd with bitterfucked & hung out with a very pretty & short red australian cattle dog & her owner while waiting for the next band to come on.


there is undeniable talent among willie straton & his band. they play music that has already been done a hundred times over & somehow make it engaging & interesting to watch. especially unique was their set up, while switching instruments occasionally between the trio, they mostly maintained the two floor toms set up on either side of the guitarist & the band's namesake which worked really well. I am always interested in seeing minimal percussion used creatively & effectively.
toward the end of their set I veered off & walked among the crowd, blending in & becoming smothered by the smoke of a thousand cigarettes lit at the same time. my eyes itched & I had a headache coming on so I was glad to take a walk outside up & down chebucto lane with my friend's dog for a few minutes.
outside I examined all the tags up & down the lane, some recent, some years old it seemed. I remembered when the lane used to be nothing but potholes & I'd bail hard every time I tried to skateboard between my friend's houses at night.
the evening was passing by quickly & it was only around nine when sockfoot started setting up in the corner. a shift in mood was apparent as people gathered closer, sitting on the concrete floor with their drinks & smokes in hand in a rough semi circle around the trio.
dogs were mingling freely, walking in & out of conversations with each other & cuddling next to their humans.

sockfoot is a three piece band that has been around in one form or another for the past few years,  quietly playing shows & slowly writing new songs mixing personal with political. they evoke abstract images of wildlife revolting, speaking a dead language in the wilderness of the city's heart. does that make sense? their presence & sounds put me somewhere else & it is most often cold & dark there.
that isn't to say their music is uninviting, it is just extremely emotive at times.
while using the washroom upstairs I found a friend pacing around trying to avoid the memories & pain that come out in the band's howling, terrifying lyrics that speak of the police brutality witnessed specifically against queers at toronto's g20 protest last summer.
a new full length record entitled "heart & choke" was debuted at this show & is their first with their now established banjo, guitar, cello line up.
definitely look into getting a copy of "heart & choke" if any of this has even slightly sparked your interest. it will be the perfect soundtrack to your winter.

by the time my band snail party started setting up I felt a little unprepared & increasingly drunk. taking swigs of your friends whisky & talking about black metal instead of setting up your drums early will do that to a person though.
within the first few songs we encouraged people to crowd in around as much as possible & they did. I stopped looking to my left because the amount of people became a bit overwhelming. usually feather & his accordion block my view & hide me in the back which I don't really mind. kaitlyn, with her cello named river sitting on the suitcase made bass drum & I talked between songs & encouraged each other as we stared at our nine song long set list on the floor hoping it would continue going well.
the entirety of the previous two days were spent working on burning albums, painting a banner & practicing non stop. we also ordered kit kat which is a band ritual.

somehow our new song came off flawlessly despite us only learning it the afternoon a day before the show, our tour kickoff. a tour that I decided not to go on for various personal reasons. regardless if it was my choice or not, I will still depressed knowing I wouldn't be leaving in the morning & someone else would be taking my place behind the drum set.
during our last few songs my double kick peddle which I tend to only use about three times in our half hour set kept locking up & giving me grief. while the long instrumental passage in our final song was going on I ran up the stairs to the washroom again, splashing water on my face, while not managing to fuck up my creepy face paint too bad.
carefully listening through the floorboards & anticipating the progress of the song I made it back downstairs & tried to politely push myself through the crowd. kaitlyn ready with her cello bow quietly said, "you have the best timing ever" as I sat back down at my snare & floor time & picked up my brushes. I drunkenly thought to myself, "I hope so..." as the song's climax came & I played only my left footed peddle & snare trying to hard not to fuck up.
& that was it. the last show with my band as half of them head off to the other coast for the foreseeable future. I won't miss the music as much as I'll miss the relationships & dynamics between members of the band.
finishing another dryce & stealing more shots of whisky, I reluctantly packed up my shit, had a few conversations, some of which were heavy, some simply small talk, gave kaitlyn the biggest hug I could at the time & disappeared from the beautiful, smoky, drunk chaos that was this night.

words: ryley
photos : devon

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