The Zombie Lists, Part IV
We are getting far beyond the point in the new year where one can still decently post a Best Of list, but I'm not quite done yet. The Zombie household took in a record number of concerts this year, and here are some of our favourites, in no particular order:
Top 06 Concerts of 06
Wilco / Elliott Brood
- there was Jeff Tweedy on crutches, sporting a scruffy beard on that baby face, but despite the lameness and the facial furniture, Wilco rocked Mac Hall down to the bricks. And I almost got into a fight with a couple of 8-foot guys who wouldn't shut up about how great their cell phones were.
We had no idea who was opening and were super pleased to discover it was none other than the glorious death-country trio out of Ontario - Elliott Brood.
the Constantines / Chad VanGaalen / Blood Meridian
- this was my first real exposure to the strange and beautiful local multi-media wunderkind, Chad VanGaalen as he opened for the hardest working band in Canada. The Cons, as totally expected, blew us all out of the water with their glorious hard rocking stage show. And in true Canadian indie comradery fashion, Bry Webb of the Cons played bass for Chad, while Chad returned the favour for the Cons later.
The presence of Blood Meridian added a strange hippie/trucker mix to the largely indie kid audience, but nothing could surpass the dedication of the fan-boy who brought Chad a pair of sunglasses and then introduced him to his mom.
- I kept forgetting whether I was at a musical concert or a standup comedy show. Aside from the impassioned and timeless music, Billy Bragg has hands down, the best on-stage patter. And the man is dead funny. Panties were in serious danger of being peed.
Chad VanGaalen / Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir
- Chad VanGaalen's album release party at an old downtown theatre was a truly multi-media celebration befitting this multi-facetted artist. The large elephant and frog cutouts decorating the stage, the screening of the musician's original artwork and animations projected at the back of the stage, the stories that this gentle giant had us in absolute stitches over almost, but not quite, surpassed the strange beauty of his music.
And to have the whole evening start off with some of the growliest, dirtiest, stompiest blues from the scruffy bearded faces of the Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir, well that was sublime.
Matthew Good / Melissa McClelland
- in a huge departure from his rocking shows of the past, but in keeping with the stripped down acoustic reworkings offered on the In a Coma double cd/dvd set (of which I have an autographed copy), Matthew Good took his guitar and hit the road without a band. The table seating at the concert added an intimacy that suited the intimate presentation of the music so beautifully, and really showcased Matt's amazing voice.
The eight-song encore sort of made us suspect that Matt didn't want us to go home at all, and the opening act by Melissa McClelland was quite lovely.
The Calgary Folk Festival
- This really needs a category all its own, as it is actually 4 days of music, featuring dozens of musicians from around the world, all within the setting of the beautiful and intimate Prince's Island Park. The highlights for me are always the workshops where you can see the most imaginative and creative combinations of musicians jamming away in a shaded glen.
But even if you only take in the evening concerts and a few workshops, this year you would have still seen Broken Social Scene, Feist, Macy Gray, Kris Kristopherson, Matt Good, Ani DiFranco, Bedouin Soundclash, Elliott Brood, Great Lake Swimmers, Lorrie Matheson, Dubblestandart, Jeff Healey, Elaine McIlwaine, the Roches, Tanya Tagaq, Rachelle van Zanten, Dar Williams, and so many more ...
It was a very good year ...