for the crowd

Great Big Sea: Concert Review, Yo
December 3, 2008, 6:23 pm
Filed under: Music | Tags: , , , ,

My reviews are a joke, mostly I just talk about what I did that night. Haha… oh well. This is another of those times, because on Sunday night I had the pleasure of seeing Great Big Sea… again.

The great thing about these guys is the fact that going to one of their concerts isn’t actually a big event. I don’t stress about it, wondering if I’m going to have a good time, if I’ll be able to see them again a year from now, and et cetera. GBS is always around, ever since I was a kid. They swing by about once a year, and going to their concert is like going to a party where you vaguely know the people throwing it, but it doesn’t really matter (and unfortunately you have to pay for your drinks). After the first couple shows, you get the feeling that these are guys who would be just like any regular guys if you ran into them at the pub, probably because they would be.

If you’re unaware, Great Big Sea is a folk music group from the East Coast, and listening to their music always makes me want to quit whatever it is I’m doing, move to the coast, and start up a bed and breakfast and then spend my life in blissful harmony by the sea. And… yeah, pretty much that’s what the music makes me feel like doing! Lately, with their newest album, they’ve hedged away from cheerful Newfie music and are all over the board, with a bit of rock and country thrown in, which certainly stirs things up a bit.

So the concert was at the Jubilee Auditorium, which is a very nice venue and actually where my graduation ceremony was held, not that I really recognised anything (It’s not like I cared enough to pay attention at the time). I ended up buying two drinks – gin and seven, and then Grand Marnier over ice. I wasn’t about to overdo it, because I was with the same person I hung out with at Halloween, and I was both miserable and embarassed on November 1st when I called her from work in between bouts of throwing up behind the counter, exclaiming “I am SO SORRY I got that drunk last night.” so I wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice. Anyway, that still cost me like twenty dollars. Sigh.

It was a great night for a concert, the weather wasn’t harsh; in fact, the weather was perfect. My pal and I were pretty close to the stage, just enough that we could see the boys performing but not so close that we were craning our necks. We were still seated next to a pair of women, though, who actually had pre-prepared dance movements (hands waving and so on) for most of the songs that they would perform, in sync. My friend and I took note not to become them in ten years. But whatever: the band sounded completely amazing. Possibly it was the way the amplification was set up in the theatre, but also they looked very fresh and energetic, which also probably contributed to the amazing performance.

They were also incredibly weird and silly; possibly the tour is making them loopy (… loopier). Of the boys, my friend and I always have a little crush on Sean, a bit soft spot for Alan, and complete awe for Bob, because he can play anything. He’s like the folk version of Trent Reznor, only, like, more wholesome. There’s also Kris and Murray, who, unfortunately, my friend and I always have a tendency to forget about until we actually see them onstage, just because they’re relative newcomers, but of course they’re both fantastic as well.

With the exception of Kris, it seems, everyone in Great Big Sea sings, and they all play. And they’re all incredibly talented at it. They live and breathe music, honestly. They pull out guitars, bass, flutes, various percussion, violins, accordians… and they play it all with panache. I love it. They’re such good performers, and last night they were over-the-top with Newfie goodness. Generally, half the time when they stop to talk to the audience, they actually play little riffs so their dialogue has a soundtrack, and they did that last night. And then they started composing songs out of nowhere. They did this one long poem/song near the end about how cool Edmonton was, how Calgary sucked, that time they first played Edmonton, and that they ate Cadbury cream eggs that entire first tour because someone gave them a giant box and they couldn’t afford anything else, etc. Also there was a point during the concert when Murray tried to lick Sean. Good times.

Back to the music itself, a lot of the songs they played off their new album (Fortune’s Favour) sounded way better live. I heard their song ‘Straight to Hell’ live at Capital Ex last year and loved it, but hearing it on the album wasn’t as great. Usually the songs sound great both on the album and live, but with the new record mostly it’s awesome live and okay on record. Not too bad a thing, though; the music is still good.

So really, to you Americans out there, if you ever have Great Big Sea pass through your town (because they do, with very little fanfare), give ’em a chance. They’ll knock your socks off, and you’ll leave feeling happy.


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