Sunday, May 31, 2009

You can say anything that you dare

photo credit to will hopkins

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: my first concert review in a dog's age! I'm sorry I've been neglecting this blog so much, but I'm still trying to get used to life in Saint John. It's not very appealing, as you might guess. If you know anything about my relationship with my hometown, anyway.

Usually shows at a khord, in my experience--even Saturday night shows!--have a pretty sparse turnout. Not necessarily a bad turnout (though when I saw Hospital Grade and some others play there a few weeks ago, you would have been hard pressed to find more than a dozen people around, but then that was a Thursday) but just a lower turnout than what I'm used to at Sackville and Halifax shows. The mindset of the people, too, is different. But that's not what I'm on about. Maybe it will be another day, but not today!

I think it was the opening act that drew out a lot of the crowd, from things I overheard and such. It was a group that I think is called Three Sheet but I don't know much about them. At least one of them originally comes from Saint John, though, and maybe more... Anyway, they bill themselves as Halifax's only Live Hip-Hop band, that is to say that every sound they make is produced by a guitar, a bass, a beatboxer, and two MCs live on stage. For what it was, it was pretty decent stuff. They put on a good set, and if I'd had a better vantage point I might have been able to enjoy it more, but it wasn't a waste. I enjoyed them as much as I could, given the circumstances -- that is to say, the crowd noise made it impossible to make out what the bloke there was saying. They were a little unsuited as an opener to the headliner, though.

So, enter Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees. Now, they had done a soundcheck a few hours earlier at about 11pm (by now it was nearly 1) but it took the gang a while to get things under control. This seems pretty standard for the venue. And I didn't really mind; I'd found a couple people to chat with by this point. The show started, though, and out poured the electro goodness from Colin's synth setup. I had been worried that once they heard what the headliner sounded like, a good deal of the crowd would bail. And, of course, a few did, from the back end of the crowd. But, up where I was, everybody just danced like mad. Now, it's here that Saint John bothers me a little. People are a lot more selfish and pushy and just plain angry 'round these parts when it comes to dancing. I think it comes from a generation that grew up on hardcore shows. Oh well.

Rebekah et al put on one hell of a show. She was a little trashed, but that didn't hurt the performance even a little bit. The quality was gold. Gold, like Jason Vautour's gold lamé pants. The last time I saw these guys, it had been in the CHMA offices back in Sackville--a completely different sort of scene. Here, in a proper venue, with an actual stage, the whole thing behaved differently. Rebekah was so into and connected with the crowd, between the crowd-surfing, the feeding us with whiskey, and everything else that went on, it's clear she knows how to interact with the crowd to give everyone what they want.

Personally, I can't really decide which show I liked better for their performance. On the whole, of course, I preferred the Sackville show, just for the sheer quality of both acts. This one, though, RJATTB put on an absolutely balls-out performance, so much more intense than I've seen them before. For just the RJATTB set, I'd call this one the better one. The sound quality may not have been as good, and it was a full 8 hours later in the day, but, well, holy shit. They made all the detriments seem like nothing. The lousy crowd mentality vanished almost instantly, everybody, I think, fell in love a little bit with the band. It was certainly the best show I've seen at a khord since the Tom Fun Orchestra in December.

In short: Ruby Jean killed. Awesome show. Abso-fucking-lutely awesome, and not one I'll forget any time soon. It was Rebekah's stage (and off-stage) presence that was the real kicker for me; she's everything a band's frontwoman should be. Right down to the wardrobe changes mid-show and a bottle of something always in her hand. By the end of the show she was barely upright most of the time, crouching or lying on the stage, else out in the crowd, but her performance didn't suffer one bit. The opposite, really: it made everything that much greater.

I only wish I could put into words the sheer awesome fantabulosity of last night's show. But, I think, it was one of those that you'd have to be there to appreciate it fully.

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