Sunday, September 23, 2007

Et Ainsi il Va (And So it Goes)

This is how life should be, sort of:

At 8:26 p.m. on Saturday night, I was dawdling, tying my shoes, looking for my keys. By 8:31, I was ready to "lock up the house, turn out the lights, and step out into the night..." (Sorry, Bruce, it fit.). At 8:45, I was stepping down the stairs to the Cote de Ver train at the Mont Royal station. (No ticket booth at the Laurier station, and I didnt have a ticket,so...).

As I stepped up to the platform, the train arrived. Next stop--Berri-Uqam station, for a transfer to the Arnignon Green Line.

As I stepped up to the platform at Berri-Uquam, the train arrived.

As I emerged from the station and on to the street at St. Laurent, I looked to my left. There was the marquee for Club Soda.

No line outside. Everyone is in already. It's 9:02 p.m. I got a drink at the bar, and found a seat in the balcony stage left. I could literally see down the artists' nose. (How close was I? I took that picture up there from my seat.)

I reached for my notebook, and the lights dimmed. Opening act Teddy Thompson quietly walked on to the stage. A lanky, unassuming sort, he has a voice like Chris Isaak meets the Maverick's Raul Malo, a bit like strong coffee with just enough milk.

One guy, one guitar, a pocketful of modern cowboy country songs. A lot of them, too many of them, in fact, had that slow, loping, Bakersfield-type country shuffle, but Thompson, was assured and confident, and he delivered with style. He closed with George Jones' "She Thinks I Still Care," done sober, for perhaps one of the few times. You decide.

Speaking of one guy, one guitar, and a pocketful of songs, the ever dapper and stylish Nick Lowe then also strolled out unassumedly, but with a roar from the loyal and endearing crowd, no members of which, and I mean, no members, were under 40. They were teens and slashed-shirt 20 year-olds then, when Nick and his early bands were filling pubs. Nick is 56 now, with a new child, and lots of grown-up albums.

After an awkward French salutation, Lowe simply settled into a comfortable row of songs, both from his new effort, "At My Age," and his vast catalogue. Nick's always been a quiet touchstone of mine over the years, and not just because we both have that same excellent hair thing going on. His cheeky 1978 elpee, "Pure Pop for Now People," was filled with wit and irony as well as great straight-on rock and roll. Years and years and years went on, and I kept waiting for him to write "And So it Goes" again. But there he was, writing these smooth Ray Charles with a Guitar Songs, and they kept gettting smoother as time went on.

OK, people get older and better at what they do. Im learning that.

He snuck "Cruel to be Kind" in there amidst the new stuff--no buildup, no icky "Thanks for making this my biggest hit ever" noise. Just kinda snuck it in as the applause was waning from his previous tune. He did the same with a slowed-down version of "Whats so Funny (About Peace, Love and Understanding)?" As cool as you wanna be, thankyouverymuch.

There were two encores, he didn't do "And So It Goes," and the Montmorency train arrived in just minutes.

Sometimes life is like that.

1 comment:

Blue said...

2 more ¢

Berri UQAM (Université de Montreal à Québec...)