RIP Dan Achen

I didn’t know him personally, as he left Regina before I moved from the farm to town. But Dan Achen was a friend of Mike Burns, and that’s good enough for me to think that the world is a poorer place without him. Here’s his obit in the Hamilton Spectator (he apparently died of a heart attack during a pickup hockey game, and as far as rock music deaths go, you can’t get more Canadian than that), Exclaim magazine, and the CBC.

Here’s something I didn’t know: Feist called him Uncle Dan.

Pick of the Day: Hawksley Workman

Carle was lukewarm in her review of his new CD Meat a few issues back. I’d have given it four stars. “Tokyo Bicycle” is my favourite tune, but overall it’s a pretty rockin’ disc. So props to the Hawkman. If I was in town, I’d totally be into seeing his show tonight at Darke Hall that’s being presented by the Regina Folk Festival as part of their Concert Series. But I scored a really sweet seat sale on WestJet so I’ll be out in Victoria visiting with my parents for a bit.

I’ve seen Hawksley Workman three times in concert now, I think. Once at Darke Hall in 2006, and twice at the RFF on the main stage in Victoria Park. It addition to being a great musical talent, the man definitely knows how to entertain. Here’s video of his song “We Dance to Yesterday” off his other 2010 release Milk. (YouTube)

Also on tonight are gigs by Passenger Action at O’Hanlon’s Pub and The Bystanders at the Cathedral Village Freehouse. There’s also a two-night world music festival running at Carrefour des Plaines (3850 Hillsdale St.) tonight and Saturday night from 5-11 p.m. Featured are groups like Sugar Pie, Mama Llajta, Riel Reelers and Shekinah. For more info, visit www.acfr.ca or call 566-6020. Finally, there’s an opening reception for Linda Duvall’s show Where Are the Mothers? at the Dunlop Art Gallery beginning at 7:30 p.m.

“The Lunatics Are In The Hall”

Someone’s got commercial radio on in the background and whichever station I’m half-listening to just played the Pink Floyd songs “Brain Damage” and “Eclipse” from the album Dark Side Of The Moon.

“Brain Damage” has one of my favourite lyrics. The verse is: “The lunatics are in my hall. The paper holds their folded faces to the floor and every day the paperboy brings more.”

See if you can guess why I like that.

Just a random thought while I try to get my  busy day organized which is harder than you might think.

Now they’re playing AC/DC. Oh well. Here’s a creepy anime mash-up of “Brain Damage”. The images are from the 2000-2001 TV series FLCL (Furi Kuri).

Nerd Gospel Music For Pi Day

Today is Pi Day! Hope you took some time to sit in a circle with your friends and family and enjoy a nice slice of pie. Last year, I posted this 2001 video by Hard ‘n’ Phirm of their song “Pi”.

It is awesome.

So awesome, in fact, that this year I’m going to post the same song only this time it’s a live version. Notice how when these guys are singing the digits of Pi they aren’t just making up random numbers. They can’t be. They’re singing the numbers in tandem. These two comedians have Pi memorized to like a hundred digits or more.

Hope to see you all tomorrow at the Pi Day celebrations at the UofR (1 pm, CW 113). There will be free pie, free Pi cookies, a screening of the movie Pi, three 14 minute lectures and a debate to resolve the question of which transcendental number is better, Pi or e? Karen Meagher (yep, that’s my wife) will be defending Pi’s honour against FNUniv math prof, Ed Doolittle.

Should be fun. And by fun, I mean nerdy.

Pick of the Day: Genius Within

At the RPL Theatre this weekend there’s been a bit of a Glenn Gould Film Festival screening. In addition to this documentary by Peter Raymont and Michele Hozer, which is subtitled The Inner Life of Glenn Gould, Francois Girard’s classic 1993 feature 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould has also been playing.

Born in 1932, Gould was a child prodigy who could play and read music before he was four. Taught exclusively by his mother until he was ten, he became one of the most acclaimed concert pianists of his era. Bach’s Goldberg Variations was a favourite of his, I believe, and at the height of his popularity in the 1950s and ‘60s he was a true national icon.

Gould was also pretty eccentric. Eighteen years before his death in 1982 at age 50, he quit the concert stage and never again performed in public. He was also a huge hypochondriac. But he was also a genius. And our society sometimes doesn’t look very kindly on people like that.

For further insight, check out one or both of these flicks. Genius Within screens at 7 p.m., 32 Short Films at 9 p.m. And to set the stage, here’s video of Gould performing sections of the Goldberg Variations on TV in the early ‘60s. (YouTube)

This afternoon, there’s also a free family-friendly performance by Maritime musician and storyteller David Stone at the Royal Sask Museum between 2-4 p.m. The gig is being presented by Regina’s Spring Free From Racism Committee. And tonight at the Exchange Camaromance (a.k.a. Martine Groulx) is playing as part of a national tour in support of her third album The Parade. Here’s the video for her 2008 song “Mostly Harmless” (YouTube)

Regina A Winner, According To The Sumner Brothers

The Sumner Brothers enjoyed playing in Regina and seem like rad dudes.

The Sumner Brothers play the ExchangePlenty of bands send out an e-mail before they play in a city. Few e-mail after.

The Sumner Brothers, a Vancouver folk group, opened for the Deep Dark Woods on Saturday, March 6 at the Exchange. A few days after, they sent out an e-mail with the subject line “Regina Wins!”

The e-mail said:

We really had a great time @ The Exchange. The crowd, never having heard us before was so welcoming, made us feel right at home. So thank-you for that. And the late night Denny’s was a good time too…If you ever wanna see some shit get weird…yeah.

We hope to see you all again real soon Regina Folks. Until then take good care, and come say hello on facebook & myspace and all that.

I couldn’t make it out to this show, unfortunately, but it’s always great to see a band enthused about having played in Regina. Rock on, Sumner Brothers!

Pick of the Day: Armchair Cynics

 

As far as band names go, Armchair Cynics is pretty cool. There’s a lot out there too. Armchair cynics, I mean. People who sit on their ass a lot and bitch about how shitty/lame/boring stuff is. Ain’t it the truth? And by sitting there bitching you’re helping improve the situation … how? Oh right, you’re just sitting on your ass.

Mind you, I suppose it could be worse. You could be one of those insufferable Facebook “activists” who’s out to change the world one mouse click at a time (and yes, those were sneer quotes back there, in case you were wondering). Both of you are pretty disengaged, but at least with you we don’t get much in the way of sanctimonious attitude.

So, anyway. Armchair Cynics are a Victoria-based rock band. They first came to my attention with their 2005 EP Killing the Romance. Disc was 25 min. 32 sec. long, had seven pretty rockin’ tunes, was co-produced by Chad Kroeger, but we won’t get into that now.  In October 2009, they released their first full-length Starting Today. Tonight, they’re at the Exchange with another band called We Are Maurice. Here’s video of the former doing their song “Ablaze” (YouTube).

 And for anyone who’s not an armchair cynic, today’s International Women’s Day. If you feel like celebrating there’s a gathering at the Institute Francais Theatre at the University of Regina from 8:45 a.m.-1 p.m.

Pick Of The Day: Mixed Bag

There’s a pile of stuff happening tonight. At the Lazy Owl out at the University of Regina there’s a drag show fundraiser for the student queer organization GBLUR. Just down the hall at Riddell Centre in the Shu-Box Theatre there’s a concert of experimental music and immersive soundscapes called Sounding Landscapes. Both events start at 8 p.m. At the Exchange, rising Saskatoon alt-country band Deep Dark Woods is playing a gig. Here’s a link to a post James Brotheridge did on the band last week. And “Foghat” is at the Casino. Those aren’t meant as sneer quotes, by the way, just an effort on my part to dramatize that the band that hits the stage tonight is pretty much Foghat in name only. I checked on Wikipedia, and two of the original members are dead — one expired from kidney cancer in 2000, the other of a heart attack in 2005. And since this blues-rock group got going in the U.K. in 1970, it looks like a whole shitload of musicians have played for them. But I think the drummer is still an original member. There’s also a big International Women’s Day celebration at Queensbury Centre with guest-speaker Buffy Sainte-Marie (pictured), and Telemiracle XXXIV kicks off tonight at Conexus Arts Centre.

Friday Night Power Pop: Visqueen

So I have a rare, rare cold and I’m taking it easy tonight, sitting at home and listening to tunes. Just stumbled across Seattle band Visqueen and am pleased to report they rocked the snot out of me (good thing too — I have work waiting for me tomorrow). Their leader is singer/songwriter/siren Rachel Flotard and her songs are GREAT — super energetic, melodic power-pop. Their latest disc came out in the fall: it’s called Message To Garcia and it’s dedicated to Flotard’s father, who died of cancer in a country with shit for health care but no shortage of loving daughters.

Give ‘er a listen and if you like what you hear support the band–buy the album. It’s on  iToons and teh Amaze-On. I think you’ll like this. If a band’s good enough to have Neko Case sing back-up for ’em, they’re good enough for you. Thenkew.

Road Report: Rah Rah

Rah Rah are playing in Regina again after touring nationally.

Rah Rah are playing at the Exchange on Friday, March 5

Since local act Rah Rah are returning to Regina right away, I messaged guitarist/vocalist Marshall Burns, asking what their best show on the road has been this tour:

“Ottawa was pretty memorable cause we had a wicked party after with the Gramercy Riffs. Our awesome friends from Newfoundland. Though I did spill beer all over my amp right before we played so it shorted out and I had to borrow someone else’s last minute…”

Rah Rah is doing a Haiti benefit concert at the Exchange tonight (Friday, March 5) starting at 7 p.m. Other acts include Tinsel Trees, Geronimo, Black Drink Crier, and DJs ThrillHouse and Panda Magic. Maybe take the opportunity to ask Marshall how his amp’s doing.

Pick of the Day: Charity Concerts

There’s two charitable type concerts happening tonight. At the Exchange, several local bands, including Rah Rah, Geronimo and Tinsel Trees are putting on a benefit to raise money for earthquake ravaged Haiti. Meanwhile, at O’Hanlon’s Pub, the Edmonton rock groups The Falklands (pictured) are playing a benefit in support of Solidarity Rock with local groups ASSX3 and The Czar, The Kaiser and The King. I spoke briefly over the phone with Lee Klippenstein of the Falklands and he said that Solidarity Rock was geared to raising money to help indie musicians in Cuba get new gear to replace the decades old stuff they’ve been forced to use. To learn more, check out www.solidarityrock.com

 Those are two great causes. So if you get a chance, check one (or both) of the concerts out.

Extras Wanted

If you’ve got some free time on Friday afternoon, and you count yourself a fan of indie Canadian rock/punk music, you might want to drop by the Distrikt (1326 Hamilton). Between 2-5 p.m. legendary Hard Core Logo director Bruce McDonald will be shooting a concert scene for his sequel Hard Core Logo II. Reginans who want to be part of the shoot are encouraged to show up with their best rock fan attitudes and apparel (but no clothes with brands, bands or logos on them).

Performing will be the punk rock band Die Mannequin. Plotwise, apparently the group’s lead singer Care Failure claims to be channeling the spirit of Joe Dick and McDonald arrives on the scene to document the goings-on.

To further set the scene, here’s video of Die Mannequin performing their song  “Bad Medicine”  (YouTube)

Deep Dark Despair

Saskatoon folk-band records song about the closing of Good Time Charlie’s

Saskatoon's Deep Dark Woods
The Deep Dark Woods are releasing a song about the closing of Good Time Charlie's

Some have heard enough talk about the Plains Hotel closing down, as evidenced by this past issue’s Queen City Confidential. But some are still bummed about it, including the Deep Dark Woods. The Saskatoon folkers even wrote a song about the end of Good Time Charlie’s for a CBC competition.

From the Sheaf: “Ryan played there a long time ago,” said drummer and vocalist Lucas Geotz, while waiting by their busted-up tour van in Lethbridge, AB. “I’ve never been there. Chris and Jeff and Ryan went down there right before it closed. And now someone is doing a documentary on the place. They are tearing it down and putting up condos — of course.”

They’re releasing the song on a seven-inch at a March 5 show at Amigo’s in Saskatoon, so you could probably pick up a copy at their Regina show at the Exchange the next night.

You can hear the song, “Charlie’s (Is Coming Down)”, here.