Vic Chesnutt

Tonight I got together with a few friends to see this Vic Chesnutt show at the Red Room. We were enticed by Guy Picciotto’s involvement in the band and I’ll jump at any chance to see that guy play live. After listening to the Vic Chesnutt songs on his myspace page I had low expectations for the evening but I was blown away by the incredible show they put on! 7 piece band with Vic as the ringleader. He’s like a cross between Ani Difranco and Patrick Watson so I was as much entertained by all his goofy between song banter as I was by the songs themselves.

I’m a little tired so I’m going to cut this short. Still super-happy I got to see a rad show unexpectedly. Will probably be the last show I see this year too.

Bee Zee

Man, it seems like ever since I got back from Seattle I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write up all the cool things that have been happening. Most days and evenings have been packed solid. Today for example, I got up at 6am, went for a jog, headed to work for a fairly intense day and on the way home got texted by Reilly asking if I could scoop him some Granville Island Winter Ale. I had to hit a grocery store anyway so I stopped by the cold beer store on Main Street and then dropped by Reilly and Miranda’s with the goods. He’s painting his place in preparation for moving on Saturday and wasn’t going to be able to get out for beer (the most important tool for any job!).

So I get back home and begin cooking up my pasta dish for the evening (and lunch for the next couple of days) when Dave calls with stories of our old friend Lance who popped into Tofino to visit. I managed to cook the entire dish while on the phone and then was about to chow down when my cell rang. We recently changed a faulty lock on one of the storage rooms in the music area downstairs (which I manage) and I’ve been giving out new keys to bands when they show up to rehearse and discover they can’t access their gear! It’s been great to meet people in the music area so I don’t mind hopping down to sort keys out.

Once I got back upstairs I wolfed down my supper and went over to Mark and Melanie’s place to give her a hand with some email hosting and website setup she was dealing with for the new company she’s starting. She used to be a project manager and is now starting up her own pottery studio which is totally exciting. I’m glad to help out in the small ways that I can, especially since I get to see someone jump into the creative world as an entrepreneur. Now I’m back home, with delicious fresh-baked muffins from Melanie, and have a few things to wrap up before I pass out. Tomorrow morning I’ll be up at 5:30 so I can be at the gym by 6am. I’m trying to get my gym mojo back so there’s no excuse in the world that can keep me from my morning gym/running routine.

Anyhow, I have lots that’s happened this week and I’m going to write about it but every day seems to have been about as busy as today so the blogging has fallen behind. I love being busy and I just need to carve out some time for more writing. Tomorrow night is less busy, but then I’m tied up solidly until Sunday again. Maybe I’ll hit this on Sunday.

Upcoming events: Vic Chesnutt (featuring Guy Picciotto of Fugazi) on Thursday night. Helping Reilly load up the UHaul for moving on Friday night. Saturday there’s a bunch of us painting the music rooms after which I’m going to help the gang finish moving Reilly and Miranda into their new condo in my building. That evening there’s a housewarming at Shanman and Vanja’s place. Sunday: rest and recovery!

You’re the Bone Machine

Just got back from the second Pixies show in Seattle tonight. Again, an amazing set. They played the album straight through with all the b-sides as they did yesterday but they changed up the encore and left us with Where Is My Mind. I’m a little sad that my Pixies adventure is at an end. I had a fantastic day in Seattle today exploring bookstores and record shops.

It was cool being on the floor tonight where I was much closer to everything. When the first encore ended with Into the White the stage had been flooded with smoke and as the song came to an end all we could see were shadowy figures onstage.

I’m wiped from walking around all day and I need some sleep so I can drive home in the morning. I’ll try and fill in todays adventures tomorrow when I get home and I’m not on the world’s slowest iMac with a sticky keyboard.

Rain Machine

I forgot to mention the opening band last night, Rain Machine, which is the solo band by the TV On the Radio guy. I didn’t realize who the band was until TVOTR guy walked onstage.

They seemed pretty excited about playing with the Pixies and their own music was pretty damn good too. I’ve been listening to Cookie Mountain lately and Rain Machine still carries the distinctive TVOTR sound. Their drummer did some cool percussive things that I might steal for our band too!

I’ve just chowed down the hostel’s free breakfast and am about to hit the streets to do some exploring. Tonnes of Pixies fans staying here. A pack of us all came back after the show and we all talked excitedly about the band and where we’d all travelled from before heading to bed.

And If the Devil is 6…

I’m back at the Green Tortoise after ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING SHOWS I’VE EVER SEEN! The Pixies rocked tonight and I’d nearly forgotten that some of my all-time favorite songs came off their Doolittle album, which they played in it’s entirety tonight.

The show opened with clips from the film Un Chien Andalou which some of Frank’s lyrics came from. It set the mood for a strange and surreal evening which matches the type of music found on the Doolittle album.

The first three songs were b-sides, my favorite being Bailey’s Walk which they slowed down and added some effects to so it sounded like the band had come from another planet.

Then the band went through the Doolittle album track-by-track. Out of all the music I’ve listened to Doolittle has always been my favorite album and I’ve always felt the best songs aren’t the popular tracks that the band always plays at their shows. Now I’ve finally been able to hear I Bleed and Number 13 played live.

For the encore they pulled out some of the earlier songs and Joey went a little crazy during the Vamos solo. He got Dave (the drummer) to toss him a drumstick, put his guitar in the guitar stand, turned on a couple of pedals and started smacking the guitar strings with the drumstick.

So now I’m trying to wind down so I can get some sleep. I intend to go hit up a bunch of record shops as well as Elliot Bay Book Company. Then it’ll be night 2 of The Pixies! Tomorrow will be even better since I’m down on the floor instead of the balcony. Actually the balcony was really nice since you get a bird’s eye view of the show.

I need to get off this old iMac in the hostel. The keys are sticky and my fingers are getting sore from slamming them!

Tofino

I never grow tired of Tofino. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorite places to visit. Sometimes I think to myself I ought to be going farther afield to explore new cultures and have new experiences but the trips that I get most excited about are the ones on our west coast. So I’ll be running around here for some time yet.

On Friday I jumped in Reilly and Miranda’s truck, hopped on the ferry, and then met up with Amanda in Nanaimo. Reilly had heaps of music gear and photography stuff so the four of us managed to pack the truck full. I ended up doing the drive from Nanaimo with my shoes off and my legs crossed on the seat. We did find this old-timey drive-in burger joint in Port Alberni called the J&L Drive In that was from the same era as Peter’s Drive In in Calgary. It was so good that we hit it on the way home as well.

Friday night was a night to have a few beers and hang out with Dave once he was done work. We had 8 people stuffed into our little cabin on the waterfront so it was cozy, but that made it so much more fun. Amanda and I were in charge of breakfast on Saturday so we picked up a kilogram of bacon and did up a bacon, eggs, toast and hashbrowns breakfast for everyone. The weather was nice so everyone piled out to Long Beach while Reilly and Miranda shot the wedding they came out for.

We spent a couple of hours wandering around Long Beach and Incinerator Rock. I could happily spend ages there reading and watching the surf. I had stopped by the Mermaid Tales Bookshop earlier in the day and scooped a copy of Walden by Henry David Thoreau. I always try and slip into Mermaid Tales when I’m in Tofino because they have a small but excellent selection of literature and I never feel like I have to wade through a heap of books like I do at Chapters. Inevitably I find a great book to read during my visit.

Darren and Josh on Incinerator Rock

Saturday night I snuck back to Dave’s for an earlier night so we could take the boat out first thing in the morning before everyone else woke up. We’d originally planned to do a short kayak trip but decided instead to go out in the boat since we had already put it in the water on Saturday evening. We managed to get a short cruise in, saw a sea lion right beside us, and by 9 we were back in time to make Sunday’s breakfast of waffles, bacon and ham. Then 4 of our party had to head back to the big city so they could work on Monday and the rest of us piled into Dave’s boat and went for a trip up north of Tofino around the west coast of Meares Island, the same island that Dave and I camped on during our December trip last year. There was a window of great weather and the sights were fantastic! There seem to be loads of houseboats parked in the inlets around the area and I always think it would be idillic to live in a small houseboat outside Tofino. I know I wouldn’t be able to handle being so far from culture though.

Sunday night we chilled out at the cabin with Dave, Amelia, and their friend Dee who I had met on my last trip in August. Dee always has crazy stories about the local goings on in town and we all had a good time chatting into the night.

Finally Monday we had to tear ourselves away from our oasis on the west coast and head home. I managed to sneak into the Common Loaf for breakfast and then over to Tuff Beans for a morning tea with Dave and Amelia before Reilly and the gang showed up in the Xterra to drag me back to Vancouver.

I’m kinda glad to be home although I could easily spend a few more weeks out in Tofino. Tomorrow I am heading to Seattle to see the Pixies perform their entire Doolittle album on both Thursday and Friday nights! I’m looking forward to seeing the show and spending a little time exploring Seattle. The Elliot Bay Book Company, the best bookstore I’ve ever visited, is going to be my first stop tomorrow after I check into the Green Tortoise hostel. I’m not planning to bring my laptop so I’m probably not going to be online until I’m back on Saturday night.

We Formed a Band!

I’ve just returned from a wild Art Brut show at the Biltmore where Eddie Argos, the singer, shouted about DC comics and failed relationships while his band muppeted around on stage behind him. They’re a great live band, especially in a small venue like the Biltmore. My favorite part: Eddie jumped into the crowd during Modern Art (which they’d changed into a song about DC Comics) and went on a twisted narrative about their visit to the DC Comics head office.

Last night we watched Regina Spektor put on an amazing performance at the Orpheum Theatre. She’s one of the most creative songwriters I’ve ever heard and I was looking forward to finally seeing her live. The crowd was too because I’ve never heard a crowd that loud in the Orpheum! I though I might have to put on my earplugs even though the music was at a reasonable volume.

There’s an emotional depth to Regina’s voice that has to be heard live to appreciate. Her albums are great, but seeing her live is a whole other thing. You know, I can’t even describe this show other than to say it was one of the best goddamn live shows I’ve been to in my life.

Back to Saturday we were part of a surprise birthday party for our friend Barry. His girlfriend had dressed up as a gangster/pimp type and when Barry rolled in the door he was whisked upstairs to be transformed into the sketchiest looking East Van hooker you’ve ever seen! The party was awesome since it got rolling with a bunch of food and beer before an outrageous amount of fireworks were lit off in the backyard. We had so much fun with the fireworks that Barry and a small posse went out at 1opm to score some more before the stores weren’t legally allowed to sell them anymore.

It’s been an action-packed week so far and I’m looking forward to taking it easy tomorrow night before I pack up and head to Tofino on Friday. Tomorrow I’m going to be at the Agile Vancouver conference where I’ll (finally!) get to see Eric Evans speak about Domain Driven Design. If you’re not a software monkey you won’t be interested in that, but it’s exciting for me.