Tuesday May 17, 2011
So, the Rogue now enters its 25th year. Who would have believed that that was possible all those years ago?
We had a couple of wonderful concerts last weekend to mark our anniversary. Qristina & Quinn Bachand were joined by uilleann piper Zac Leger (of Eileen Ivers' band) and the ubiquitous Adrian Dolan to present a superb concert of Canadian Celtic music. I hadn't seen Qristina before. She is a fine singer as well as an excellent fiddler (and is also in her 3rd year of medical school! I think a lot of our performers are amazingly versatile, with many different skills. Makes me feel inadequate sometimes...) I hadn't seen Zac before, either. He's a very impressive piper and flautist. The only niggle I had - apart from the Friday 13th "gremlins" which seemed to possess the sound system from time to time - was that the local devotees - and players - of Celtic music stayed away. It wasn't a bad turnout, by any means, but where were the rest of you? It was a Friday night, and we haven't brought in much Celtic music this year. Maybe you've all given up on us. Or maybe these performers are too young to be any good. Or not traditional enough. Would it have hurt so much to give them a chance?
On Saturday, Reid Jamieson treated us to his versatility and amazing voice, with an excellent backing band featuring Melissa Bandura on guitar and fiddle. A slightly larger crowd this time - we were all a bit larger after sharing the birthday cake, too! Not many members turned out for the AGM, though. Hello. Are you still out there? One interesting comment passed on to me by Reid's wife, Carolyn, was that her girlfriend remarked on how amazingly dedicated our volunteers are.
And they're all older than us. They put us to shame! she added. Hmmm. Not quite sure what to make of that, but I definitely concur that our volunteers are incredible, and they do make the whole experience possible - and worthwhile.
On a related topic, Christine Tassan was here the other week to perform at our April In Paris festival of gypsy jazz. The Quebec quartet were stunning, and they were unanimous in their praise of the volunteers - and the sound. Apparently a lot of their gigs in Canada are not so well organized as ours, and the sound tends to be lousy. What is the point of presenting a concert if the sound isn't good? To me it is the whole point of the exercise. Make the live music experience as comfortable as possible, for sure, but make it sound great as well. Otherwise why bother to have a show at all? I know I'm biased, but I rarely enjoy the sound at other venues around town. CPAT is fine, but that room was custom-designed for good acoustics. Most venues in this town are not custom-designed, and a lot of them have terrible sight-lines and dodgy sound - at best. Even the big downtown theatres - and The Commodore - tend to have very muddy sound. Bias Mode again: if you want a good concert experience and excellent sound, there's only one place to go for live roots music in Vancouver: The Rogue.
Which brings us to the first concert in our 25th year ...
Steve Dawson CD launch Concert, Friday May 20th, 8pm, St. James Hall, 3214 West 10th Avenue
I don't need to say much more about Steve Dawson. He's been called
Canada's T-Bone Burnett by No Depression magazine, and there's a lovely quote from the Globe & Mail on one of his recent posters, to the effect that if he were to drop a resophonic guitar on your big toe you'd thank him for making it sound so musical! Steve produced two Juno-winning albums this year - for Old Man Luedecke and for Jim Byrnes - and was nominated for a Blues Award (formerly a W.C. Handy Award) for the DVD of the Mississippi Sheiks Tribute Concerts. Nightshade is his latest recording, and it explores the darker side of Steve's imagination and songwriting skills. It's sometimes hard to believe that the "baby-faced assassin" of the slide guitar could have a dark side, but it's always been there in some of the eerier tunes on the old Zubot & Dawson CDs, for example, and on his more recent recordings, especially Telescope. That's not to say that the new CD is too dark and heavy for general enjoyment. Not at all. It's a stunning collection of original songs, and the musicianship is stellar throughout. Steve will be joined by Chris Gestrin on keyboards, Keith Lowe on bass and Geoff Hicks on drums. These are the guys who play on the new album, and are his regular accompanists. There might be a guest or two dropping in as well. Tickets are going fast, so get there early! It's going to be a fabulous night of roots music at The Rogue. A must-see for guitar fans, blues fans, and all fans of Canadian musical excellence. www.stevedawson.ca
We have a fabulous concert of French / Quebecois music next Saturday, May 28th: Genticorum with opening act Pastiche. More details here.
Photos and Videos Online
I've added photos from our last few shows to the Rogue's Gallery, and you can also find videos of April In Paris and Reid Jamieson's shows - shot by Rod Matheson - in Rogue's Gallery too.
Catherine Shields has done a fabulous job of bringing our books up to date. Thank you!!!!! She will continue to oversee the process, but we still need help entering the data, and we really don't have the budget to pay the going rate. So if you're a bookkeeper and have some time on your hands - and would like to come to as many Rogue shows as you like - for free - please get in touch! (This might also be a suitable practicum for a business student, or pro bono work for an accountant with overseas qualifications who needs some Canadian experience.) Call 604-732-1305 on Tuesdays, Thursdays or Fridays if you can help.
Rogue sound engineer Jay O'Keeffe is getting married this weekend. Hearty congrats to Jay and Anna! We're looking forward to the party. Van Django are playing.
Apparently there may - or may not - be something else of significance happening this Saturday, so, on The Edge On Folk on Saturday I might play a few songs for the Rapture. Or not. Apparently it's the Second Coming. Or not. And if it is we've got 5 months of pestilence and disaster before the whole shebang goes up in smoke. It befalls us, then, as Radio DJs, to assemble a soundtrack for The End Of The World. Tune in on Saturday - if your radio still works with all that static out there - and find out what's hot and what makes the cut. Oh, by the way, Shaw Cable switched CiTR's Cable frequency the other day. Without telling us. We're now on Cable 88.5fm. Cable 101.9 is the new home of QM FM. (Perhaps they didn't think it was worth telling us, cos they were all too busy registering their pets for Post-Rapture Care, or something. And that's another thing: don't these Rapturists realise that animals have souls, too? Which also got me thinking about reincarnation. Do souls / we start at the top and get relegated to lesser species when we screw up? Or do we start at the bottom and earn the right to become dogs instead of wasps, for example? Nurse! The screens!!)
So, The Edge On Folk (or Teetering On The Edge Of Rapture) will air this Saturday from 8am to noon on CiTR fm 101.9 (Cable 88.5) and - if the Friday 13th gremlins which also killed the CiTR computers last weekend stay away - we'll be streamed live on www.citr.ca as well. Or not.