My third visit to St. James Hall, a.k.a. the Rogue, proved every bit as delightful as expected and as they always do, De Temps Antan put on a lively and spirited show.
A satisfyingly large posse of my local AND online Quebecois trad fandom friends were on hand: in addition to myself and Dara, Dejah and Michelle from the Seattle crowd came up for the show. Ginny and Gary from Coquitlam were on hand, as well as Carol all the way from Iowa! And this time I brought Geri along so that she could see De Temps Antan in action, since she had not before. We all claimed a table close to the front of the room, since Ginny and Gary had ever so helpfully reserved it. There was singing! There was podorythmie! And there may possibly have been mammoth jigs on Dara’s head while the band was playing “Valse St-Sévère”.
Full deets behind the fold!
Dara and I still prefer the train over the car when it comes to visiting Canada, but there is one advantage to driving up: we don’t have to rush out of the house at stupid-o’clock in the morning. And when we’re in the car, it often means we can bring extra luggage. And either way, every time the luggage shows up, George knows this means SOMEBODY is about to not be around. So he came to investigate the luggage. Which resulted in this!
There was a long wait at the border, which was no surprise. But it was all good, as it gave Dara and me a chance to finally listen to the Thrilling Adventure Hour/Welcome to Night Vale crossover episode. And we had time to stop at the RBC once we crossed the border, so that we could get me a debit card set up for the account we have with them. For important “letting me have access to money when visiting Canada” purposes, and making sure I don’t have to use either of our credit cards!
We made it over to Geri’s just fine, at which point we hung out for a bit and then got ready to head over for the show. Tasty sushi was nommed beforehand, at the same place we visited last time we were here, and then we still had acres of time to go get in the queue for the doors opening up. To my amusement, we were NOT the first people in the queue. A couple of older ladies were ahead of us, and then a small group of older folks showed up behind us. Some conversation ensued, with amused commentary about my being a groupie.
(I did not bother to explain to them that I prefer the term “fangirl”. 😉 )
No matter what term I use, though, it’s quite awesome to meet up with my fandom posse! Inside the venue, Gary and Ginny had already grabbed a table–and I discovered to my pleasure that Carol, fellow fan from Iowa, had also shown up for this show. YAY. Geri and Dara and I happily joined them at their table, and made sure to grab a couple of chairs for Dejah and Michelle when they finally arrived as well.
In pretty short order we saw André too! He hugged both me AND Dara when he came out to come around and say hi to folks, and asked me if we’d be around after. To wit: YES. Because I’d brought with me my copy of the Les frères Brunet album Trésors du Québec en musique, which I wanted to ask him to sign, and which I’ll also be bringing to Réjean in February!
(Speaking of the other Brunet brother, it was very heartwarming to see Le Vent du Nord posters all over the place too, advertising the February show. <3)
And eventually we got our MC to come up and do the obligatory intro. Including much encouragement for people to get up and dance, although to NOT try to dance on chairs. “We think you’ll fall apart if you don’t get up and dance,” he informed us, in fact. He was not wrong. This is, after all, De Temps Antan we’re talking about here. Dancing is irresistible!
We had two sets, pretty much in what’s become a familiar lineup to me at this point–particularly now that I’ve seen them so many times in this year alone. But, well, it ain’t like seeing them again isn’t always fun! Because is this a handsome set of rogues or what?
The first set
“L’america” and “Intrinifor” were the openers, and yep, good strong openers they are. I do not have all the words down to “Intrinifor” yet, but the turlutte parts? THOSE I can do. And it was highly gratifying to see all three of the boys in visible high spirits, particularly Éric!
But with those two high-energy numbers back to back, the boys looked like they’d wiped THEMSELVES out a bit. After the second song they made jokes about having gone out for sushi, and André proclaimed, “Thank you to the Rice Company of Vancouver!” He also added wryly that “You can take a breath!”
“Pu d’argent” was next, this time with a bit of a changeup on the jokes leading into it–about how it’s a song about a man who loses all his money. Except since they’d worn themselves out a bit with the previous songs, it took a bit to get into the rhythm of the intro, so they kept lobbing suggestions at each other about what it was the subject of the song had lost. “Your sushi?” “Your pig?” (“Pig” got a particularly dry “are you shitting me?” look out of Éric, who contributed the helpful dry suggestion of “Your accordion?”) Eventually, though, they did get around to making the expected joke about how you don’t need money to have friends–you just need Facebook. Commentary was made as well about it being the band’s tenth year of operation, which got them a suitable round of applause.
Then we got “Refaire le monde” and an instrumental and then YAY “Adieu donc cher cœur”. About which there was the obligatory discussion of the song being about a guy who was sad about being dumped, and the obligatory encouragement to have everybody sing with them on the big turlutte at the end. CAN DO SPORT. (I’ve even ALMOST memorized the actual lyrics, though mostly that means the last verse. And when I get REAL ambitious, I’ll even learn the CHORDS.)
After this André brightly announced that “We’re going to play one more tune again! Yes, the show is not yet done!” We were all also duly appreciative when he added that they’d won Traditional Album of the Year at the ADISQ awards. (And if you know anything about Quebec trad at all, you know they were up against some powerful competition. Like Michel Faubert. And Les Tireux d’Roches! Me, I know very little about the ADISQs but I know enough to use them as a recommendation source for further albums to check out!)
Anyway, after that delightful announcement, we went into “Valse St-Sévère”. Which André dedicated to Le Vent du Nord, in a gesture of brotherly love, by which I also mean rivalry. Commentary was made on the prominent display of the aforementioned Le Vent du Nord concert posters! And I myself feel that this was definitely a shot fired in the ongoing question of whether De Temps Antan or Le Vent du Nord can claim supremacy as Anna’s Favorite Band from Quebec.
(I’m just sayin’, you guys, it’s becoming a harder call to make. This whole ‘learning tunes directly from the source’ thing is a strong and powerful argument.)
Much encouragement was given to couples to get up and dance to this particular waltz. Dara and I are not the dancing types, and so instead, I let Jean-Claude dance on her head. Some couples show their affection by dancing in one another’s arms. Me, I put stuffed animals on the head of my spouse. And I’m pretty sure André spotted those shenanigans, too. He shot a grin in our general direction partway through.
The first set was finished up with another fiery instrumental. In the middle of this, I was particularly impressed when Pierre-Luc reached down to grab his accordion while still playing the harmonica in his other hand. This, O Internets, is a splendid example of musical multitasking. Not to mention a high DEX on the character sheet.
During this set, as well, we did get a loudly proclaimed SWING! Great Big Sea has “VERTICAL MOVEMENT”, De Temps Antan has “SWING!” There’s at least one of these per show.
Between the sets
The band went offstage for a break, Dara and I refreshed our cider supply, and our MC came back for assorted announcements and a raffle. Which Ginny won! Yay!
The second set
The fiery instrumental (and one of these days I swear I will learn the names of De Temps Antan’s various fiery instrumentals) that opened up the second set featured particularly spicy harmonica out of Monsieur Dupuis. Spicy harmonica, important indeed for the recipe of a traditional set. Especially if you don’t happen to have a hurdy-gurdy.
“La maison renfoncée” let Pierre-Luc jump from spicy harmonica over to vocals, which is always fun. Then we went right back to another fiery instrumental. Or we would have, if André and Éric hadn’t discovered feedback problems with their instruments in close proximity! Several of us in the audience started singing the feedback tone back at them, and we even got in a little chord action going on there. It took them a bit to get the proper positioning for that number to happen!
After that little outburst of lol, the evening was proclaimed “Saturday Night Fever in Vancouver!”, but then we went into a bit of a mood switch as the boys proclaimed that they have only two sad songs. Once they said that I was sure we were heading into another Éric song, particularly when he wryly announced himself as a “specialist of the sadness”, and opined that perhaps he has some Russian roots.
Which, of course, led right into “Jeune et joli”. And I ain’t saying who might have made jokes at me from behind about loving to hear Éric singing about being a pretty young girl, but her initials are D-E-J-A-H L-E-G-E-R.
“Thank you beaucoup, merci very much!” proclaimed André, after that. And once he started in talking about parents and “the nice song you sing every night: you go to bed and stay there!”, I knew what was coming and was not mistaken: “La fée des dents”. Lovely as always. <3
Finally, though, that brought us in the home stretch–and the songs that made me, at last, have to get up. (And during which Ginny was quite tickled to finally have me up and over there boinging with her–because these are the songs that make me HAVE to boing, you guys. I sat down only for a breather during “Mépriseuse”!) “La turlutte du rotoculteur”. “Mépriseuse de garçons”. “Grand amuseur de filles”. And last but not least, “Pétipétan”.
We yelled them back out for an encore–just the one, but oh, a delightful fiery instrumental encore it was. With all of us yelling “Whoa oh oh oh” on André’s cue!
After the show
I was very delighted to corner André long enough to get him to sign the CD–and to chat with him a bit. I confessed I’d gotten to the point with my Quebec music collection that I’ve already found all the easy-to-get stuff that’s available online, via iTunes, CD Baby, or MpTrad.com. The older albums, though, those are the tricky ones. Like the one that André and Éric did together. And I had a conversation with André along the lines of “if you have a copy of this album lying around, I have money and will pay you for it!”
And I warned him they weren’t quite rid of me yet, and that they’d be seeing me in Cumberland, after I worked on editing my book. That got André to grin, mime dollar bills at me, and ask, “Money money money?” “Hopefully,” I replied!
And he asked me for a description of the venue, which was kind of lollerskates–I would have thought they’d gotten that particular data already from Le Vent–but I was happy to describe it.
Pierre-Luc said hi from where he was further back on the stage, getting his stuff together for teardown! And then I finally went over to Éric so that I could bid him a proper good evening, and there may have been hugging involved. *^_^*;;
Many farewells were tendered to Ginny, Gary, Carol, Dejah, and Michelle as well! And I got asked repeatedly if I was going to be attending the Salt Springs show the following night, about which I had to regretfully say no. But it was all to the good–because the second show of this trip, as I write, will be happening TOMORROW NIGHT.
Stand by, Internets, for that report to come!
P.S. All pictures in this post, except for the one with George at the top, were taken by Dara! And I have them all in a Flickr gallery right over here!