Skip to main content

sing while you may


legendary pink dots w/ pony da look at lee's palace

i will always have a deep fondness for the legendary pink dots. it's not just the fact that they are one of the only bands that can push the envelope of emotion while (almost) never falling into the smarmy abyss that makes them so adorable. i love them for that, but i also love them because they were the first band i ever made a concerted effort to see. i made the trek with several friends all the way from halifax to see them in montreal years ago. as such, they are also implicated in my decision to move to montreal, since once i was up there, i found the city difficult to let go. so what's not to love?

i was starting to have my doubts about them for a while in the late nineties, when the rough edge that had generally prevented them from becoming too precious seemed to get blunted. all the same, they've always been reliably enjoyable in a live context.

i showed up last night in the midst of opening act pony da look. i didn't know what to expect because i hadn't even heard their name before i arrived (technically, i didn't hear it, or read it, until this afternoon). perhaps i'm getting a little intransigent, but i wasn't that hyped to see an opening band who i'd never heard of. for good reason, it turns out. the band sounds like nothing so much as a group of people trying to be a lot weirder than they actually are. this kind of sound was done with more panache (and more sincerity) by lemon kittens, lene lovich and nina hagen decades ago.

getting there earlier did give me a chance to survey the crowd a little, always an adventure at a show, i find. the first time i saw the dots in montreal, i was astounded at the sheer number of waxed and polished gothic beautiful people there were there. (the dots have always had a disproportionately large following in montreal, especially among goths, it seems.) this show had a much different vibe. the crowd looked a lot more like someone had done a sunset round-up on the boardwalk at venice beach- more than a little freakish and leaning towards the rangy side of bohemian. i couldn't help reflecting, as i stood in a haze of patchouli and nag champa (i'm not even making that up) that this was a much more appropriate audience, closer to the imafe of the band themselves.

the band took the stage shortly after eleven, in fine form (despite edward ka-spel's being laid low by the flu). one consistent aspect of each of their shows is that they have a captivating stage presence. both ka-spel and saxophonist niels van hoorn interact with the audience throughout, something which sent this particular crowd into fits. although the sheer mass of their back catalogue prevents them from ever being able to play all the songs i'd like to hear (i'd probably still be standing in lee's palace now), last night did give me several highlights- poppy day, belladonna, green gang and a particularly stunning version of hellsville are the ones that stand out for me. the sheer mass of their back catalogue also means that there are a number of songs that i have trouble placing, although i know i've heard them many times before.

mostly, i was happy to see that the band steered away from the prog-rock nastiness that was making me unsure about them for a while and were back in fine psychedelic, mind-expanding form. if they come by these parts again, i'll be in line for a fifth show.

Comments

as long as you're here, why not read more?

jihadvertising?

i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:



am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another…

making faces :: chanel's velvet realm

who doesn't love velvet? i know when i was younger, i used to, as george costanza longed to, "drape myself in velvet" and although that phase passed with time, i still think that the plush fabric has to be one of the high points of human achievement, up there with interior heating, advanced medicine and vodka. so to me, it's no surprise that one of the most hotly anticipated launches in the cosmetic world is chanel's new "rouge allure velvet" lipstick line, because even the name immediately makes me want to put it on my lips.

on a more concrete level, chanel describes these lipsticks as "luminous matte", which is sort of like the holy grail for lipstick lovers. we all want those intense, come-hither film noir lips, the sort where young men and sunlight are lost and never heard from again, but historically [including during the making of those films], applying a matte lipstick felt sort of like colouring in your lips with an old crayon that had…