Day fifty-three

The music concert

I love live music.  You can really tell a lot about where the song comes from by listening to a band perform it live.  I love the atmosphere of having a room full of people really listening and enjoying the music.  I love discovering new opening bands I’ve never heard of and buying their album.  Just like I talked about yesterday regarding the theatre, a concert’s success is influenced by the audience.  The vibe of the audience can make a concert great or can make it dull, completely separate from the music that is being played.

Joan As Police Woman at the Drake Underground, April 21st 2011. Taken by my friend Clark Kim on his phone.

Yesterday I went to see Joan As Police Woman at the Drake Underground, a tiny basement venue on the west side of Toronto (maximum capacity 150 people, but there were less than that last night).  I took three friends who had never heard her music and we stood at the very front.  I’m pretty sure the band was stoned – it was interesting to watch how talented they are as musicians that the sound came out so beautifully when they looked like they were out of their minds (or just really tired)!  That all adds to the atmosphere of a concert.  And I love the funny anecdotes told by musicians.

I met with Joan at the end of the performance and had her sign my cd cover.  She was lovely.  All three of my friends really enjoyed the music and two of them also bought her newest cd and had her sign their copy.  Without coming to the concert and having experienced the music live, I’m not sure either of them would have bought her cd.

Signed Joan As Police Woman cd

In an interview on You Tube about her new album The Deep Field (watch interview here), Joan talks about how she never allows a song to get recorded unless every single word is exactly right.  It’s interesting to see that precision versus the fluidity of the concert.  That’s why I love live music – it adds an extra visual and emotional layer to an already beautiful sound.

A couple of Joan As Police Woman live-in-concert (amateur) videos:

Tonight I’m off to dance some salsa.  More on that tomorrow…

Day fifty-two

Last night I attended the Buzz Festival at Theatre Passe Muraille – a tri-annual theatre work-in-development festival, which I talked a little about in yesterday’s post.  The Buzz Festival takes place over the course of a week and features three short works-in-progress and one musician or band per day.  After each presentation the audience is asked to write down their thoughts of the piece by answering specific questions given to them in a booklet form in the program.  Examples of questions included tonight were: “what images stand out?”; “was there anything unclear/confusing?”; “what do you think the focus should be?”; among other more piece-specific questions.  The goal of the festival is to allow the creators to receive specific feedback and build on the partnership between audience and story.  As Andy McKim, Artistic Director of Theatre Passe Muraille, said in the program: “Rather than theatre being created in isolation, artists are given the opportunity to incorporate audience feedback into the development of their work, ultimately creating stronger, supported theatre.”

This was the first time I had been to a Buzz Festival, and I will definitely go back.  Not only was it great to see works-in-progress (all in different stages of development), I really did feel a part of the process.  It was encouraged to write down feedback in the booklet and also to stay and chat with the artists afterwards.  You were also able to leave your e-mail for the specific shows you were interested in to stay up-to-date with the progress of the piece.  In live performance (like theatre is by its nature), the audience is a huge part of the production.  This is a great way to get the audience involved.

I also found the atmosphere made me very open to discussion.  I ended up chatting with a very interesting couple sitting beside me.  It turns out they are activists who were arrested at the same time as Tommy Taylor – the writer and performer of the third piece of the evening, You Should Have Stayed Home (about his arrest during the G20 summit last June in Toronto).  It was very interesting to talk to them about activism and the negative spin the public generally associates with what they do.  They suggested I should do a month of activism as my last month and told me about all the different ways to get involved.  They also have vegan and freegan (more about freeganism from Wikipedia here) roommates, so I left them my e-mail in hopes that I can chat with their roommates about their lifestyle for the month of September.

Tonight I’m going to see Joan As Police Woman in concert, so will be writing about my experience tomorrow.  But here’s one of her music videos: