Thursday, July 24, 2008

Parallel Paycheque


I don't think I've ever seen four (well, five) guys ever want to be ANYWHERE but where they were last night.

Last night's gig at the "MLS Soccer Jam" had to be the most embarrassing gig I've ever seen. First off, there was literally nothing else (other than a horse show) going on down at the CNE/BMO Field, so for those of you familiar with the surroundings, it was pretty sparse. Secondly, despite the fact that it was a FREE SHOW, barely 200 people bothered to show up! You couldn't even argue that they excluded the kiddies, since it was an all-ages gig.

This has to be the most ineptly-promoted gig in the band's history. Chris joked that he wanted to fire his manager at the beginning of the show, which might only be a slightly-more-drastic-than-necessary reaction to the fiasco.

On with the show....

What followed was basically a well-executed 90-minute sound check, which was plagued by problems with Jay's mic. Witch's Wand is a wonderful instrumental, but it might've been a bit better had it included a lead vocal.

The boys played as professionally as you could expect, although Chris had this chronic "what the hell am I doing here?" look on his face all night. The extended Andrew sets were welcome, especially when he got to sing Sinking Ships TWICE!*

*-ok, he didn't actually play Sinking Ships, despite chronic prodding from various members of the audience, but the songs that he DID play, notably Emergency 911 and "People In The Sky" (another 'request') were great.

Perhaps the highlight of the gig came near the end of the show when they trotted out a nearly-funky version of Money City Maniacs which started out in a pseudo-Disco-Jam style and which continued into a more straight-ahead rocker which barely resembled the Future Shop ad.

At the very end of it all, probably the most telling aspect of the night was the hasty disappearance of Mister Murphy into the night on his 10-speed about as fast as he possibly could.

I know why bands do gigs like this; it pays the bills. It would've been a lot better had it become a gathering for fans of the band, as it could have very easily become, instead of just another paid gig.

My first Sloan concert was 9 years ago to the day of last night's show (Aquafest, Hamilton) and I look forward to many more shows in the future. I think I'll stick to going to Sloan Concerts, instead of gigs like this.

Photos taken at Exhibition Place, Toronto, Ontario on Wednesday, July 23, 2008.

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