When you go to Canada for two consecutive weekends, Internets, you tend to get behind on posting stuff to your blog. Which means for you that I got delayed posting my writeup of the MOST excellent concert by De Temps Antan at the Rogue. But I’m home again, and posting again, so here you go!
Previously in our adventures with Festival du Bois 2014, yours truly got to chat with both Éric Beaudry AND André Brunet after the close of official festival events on Saturday night! And y’all may recall that SOMEBODY got a little creative with how he did his signature on the inside of my copy of Ce monde ici-bas!
So what happened? Full concert blow-by-blow behind the fold!
In which our heroine and supervillain hike around the lake, in which the mammoth makes a break for it (but is thankfully recovered!), in which the festival suffers an accident (which we do not see), and in which perfectly ridiculous amounts of fun are had seeing De Temps Antan–and then getting pics with them afterwards! With Jean-Claude!
In which our heroine and her supervillain spend their first full day in Harrison on beach exploration, music played and music watched, and lake wading! And in which De Temps Antan rocks the afternoon with sunglasses and a bouzouki that can goddamn roar!
I made absolutely no secret of how crushed I was, Internets, when I missed Le Vent du Nord’s Oregon show this past November. And I was quite disappointed as well when the symphony show in Vancouver was cancelled.
But tonight, I am thrilled to report that the show at Hermann’s Jazz Club in Victoria, BC, completely and utterly made up for both of these things. It was short but tight, and a truly intimate little show. And OMG YOU GUYS, Dara and I managed to snag a table right smack in front of the stage!
Those Francophone boys I’ve fallen in love with these past many months may have been heavily distracting me, but I’m tellin’ ya, people, when it comes to downright ability to take me right out at the knees, The Doyle Himself is still unparalleled. I still prefer him in the company of Great Big Sea, just because the classic style of GBS music–i.e., the irrepressible, roar-at-the-top-of-your-lungs trad–is more my thing than his solo style.
But that said, Alan Doyle by himself is still pretty damned swoonable, and we did have great fun at the Tractor last night. Dara and I got up by the stage, right in front of Alan’s mike, along with fellow fangirls Jaime and Sara. I’d never been to a show at the Tractor Tavern before, and it was an amazing switch from what I’m used to these days, with Great Big Sea playing the Moore.
Alan’s opening act was this young man named Dustin Bentall, and he was good, but I was more actively impressed by Kendall Carson, the fiddle player who first played with him and then with Alan’s full band. She was GREAT.
Then of course Alan came out and we all went nuts. I’m still getting to know the material on his new album, so except when he jumped over to do a few Great Big Sea songs, I was mostly singing along on what choruses I could pick up. Until he got to the part of the show when he was taking Twitter requests. Of which there were three.
I, being, well, me, asked him for “Trois Navires de Ble” (because yeah, spot the girl in this audience who’s been passionately absorbing French Canadian music the last many months, wut?) or “alternately, anything by Elvis” (because I’ve been dying for years to hear Alan sing something by him). Dara, being Dara, promptly decided to ALSO ask for “anything by Elvis”, and got Jaime and Sara to do so too, just so we could twitterbomb Alan in the hopes of getting him to make a joke about it.
We didn’t expect him to actually take us up on it. He made a wry crack about how “there was some collusion” in the audience, at which point the four of us all shrieked happily.
And then this happened. And I died DED OF SWOON. This is Lynda Elstad’s video of the full song.
And THIS is Dara’s version, which is much grainier and isn’t the full song, but DOES have cuts to me for reaction shots of OMG OMG OMG OMG. Note how I keep biting my hand. This is because I’m trying desperately not to squeal at the top of my lungs, or maybe trying to keep from dropping dead RIGHT THERE ON THE SPOT, because O. M. G., Internets, Alan Doyle sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love” because we asked him to.
Sara and Jaime shoved me right up in front of them–I’d been standing behind them up until this point–and kept holding my arms to make sure I wasn’t about to keel over. They and Dara told me after that my eyes were HUGE.
The rest of the show, it was great and all (and I DID quite like Alan’s cover of Russell Crowe’s song “Testify”, which was rockin’), but none of it topped this: being right in front of Alan’s mike as he crooned an Elvis song. And not just any Elvis song–the seminal, most swoonable, most iconic Elvis song ever. And I sang harmony back at him, because good gods how could I not? And my eyes were full of stars.
ETA: And I had to add in a couple other comments about the show as I remembered them, just because for reasons I can’t get into yet aside from this show, THIS WEEK HAS BEEN AWESOME and my brain is quite scattered!
Awesome thing #1: Alan kept having trouble tuning his mandolin, and made a joke about how ‘I LOVE WATCHING PEOPLE TUNE THEIR INSTRUMENTS!’ Dara yelled back at him, “We tune because we care!” And he heard her and agreed, “We tune because we care!”
Awesome thing #2: Alan also kept making charmingly self-deprecating jokes about how as we were the very first show of the very first tour of the Alan Doyle Band, we got to see all the screwups and “the terror in our eyes”, and how in four or five more shows they’d get everything right, but we were getting all the good stuff. Also he kept repeating how “there’s only one first night!” When he joked about wondering “oh God what have I done?”, a guy in the audience yelled back, “Something awesome!” And Alan was all “I feel the love in the room!”
Awesome thing #3: Being that close to Alan meant I got a good look at the guitar strap he was using, a leather one, with his name embroidered on it in green down near where it connected with the neck of his guitar! And it was pretty cool seeing him play mandolin, even if I lamented the lack of his usual bouzouki.
Awesome thing #4: At the end of the show, Alan looked out at us all and said he saw several familiar faces, all of us who’ve loyally come to Great Big Sea shows. (heart) (heart)
As you know, O Internets, I was extremely eager for my first Le Vent Du Nord show. I’ve been getting ridiculous amounts of glee out of listening to their albums and watching their YouTube videos, and of course, I had the challenge laid down by fellow Le Vent fan Susan that in her considered opinion, Le Vent gives much better concerts than Great Big Sea! Which, of course, is a mighty challenge indeed to issue to this passionate Great Big Sea fangirl. And so, the question of the hour is: how did Le Vent do?
Let’s put it this way. I ain’t saying I’m throwing over The Doyle for Simon Beaudry, when it comes down to Most Favored Bouzouki Player Who Isn’t Dara–but I will say it’s a damn fine thing that I have room in my heart for all manner of joyous music. And love my B’ys as I do, they better be bringing their A game when they go back on tour next year, because the show Le Vent put on for us in Vancouver shot straight up to stratospheric levels of awesome, and it will be extremely hard to top.
I hadn’t been to a GBS show that tiny since they stopped playing the Showbox in Seattle, and the level of energy they let loose was every bit the rival of those earlier GBS shows. Le Vent might not have the same sheer physicality that the B’ys do; they don’t bounce around the stage the same way at all. But that’s every bit of quite all right, because all the energy they didn’t spend bouncing came right out their instruments. They were charming and funny, especially Réjean Brunet. Simon’s singing is a direct threat to the structural integrity of my knees. Olivier Demers does amazing things with his fiddle, especially given the amazing things he does at the same time with his feet. And Nicolas Boulerice? That man commands a room with his voice, and when he unleashed a solo that caused Dara to use the phrase “bitchin’ metal hurdy-gurdy solo”, he was channelling lightning.
But that’s just the picoreview! This being a patented Anna the Piper In-Depth Concert Squeefest, let me get into the details!