Monday, October 22, 2007

Final Fantasy Has a Good Home in Calgary

The sensible way to prepare for a sure-to-be-exhausting weekend away with the Marthas would be to stay home and pack, or at least get some sleep, but no, I chose to go to the Final Fantasy concert at the Warehouse on Thursday night instead.
Best irrational decision I ever made.
As we shuffled into the deliciously rough and slightly grubby Warehouse, we were delighted to see Owen Pallett (aka Final Fantasy) manning his own merchandise table. How can you not love a headliner who sells his own merch, especially when he is one of the most interesting and unique musicians in the country? To be honest, his little gentleman friend was doing the actual selling; whilst O Palz appeared to be playing on his laptop, but he very graciously posed for photos and even drew a lovely little cartoon with xo's on the back of the shirt Eva bought.
Eva still laughs at me for my reaction to seeing Owen Pallett in
person for the first time at the folk festival this summer, when I blurted out "He's twelve!" Now having seen him up close and personal, I have to admit he looks closer to 17. And now I feel like less of a pedophile when I say that he is a stunningly beautiful boy.
But that's not relevant. What counts, of course, is the stunning show he put on. There were two openers, the first a highly experimental looping and sampling free-style set by a fellow who's name I forget, but could be Nifty. I was quite pleased to see Owen slip into the crowd and stand just a little in front of me, grooving to the sound and sipping on a Red Bull. I do love when musicians take the time to listen to the people who are supporting them.
The second opener, Basia Bulat, had the shiniest silver-blonde hair I have ever seen on a person, and an impressive voice that at times recalled Tracy Chapman. She and her bandmates played a countryish folky set.
By the time Final Fantasy took the stage, the room was stinking hot and packed, but nobody seemed to care about that. Actually the Warehouse kept supplying free pitchers of water all night, which was really pretty decent of them.
The Final Fantasy set was a feast for the senses. Owen Pallet was playful and open, joyfully declaring "Hey, this is fun!" at one point, and we all agreed. He even told us he will write a song about Calgary to make up for all the songs about central Canada that he was playing that night. "I actually came up with a song title today as we were driving around - 'Outta the Way, Bitch'. Would that be okay?" And after we roared our approval, he told us that when the song is released in a couple of albums, "you'll know what it's about."
He really is a musical wunderkind, having gone far beyond using the violin and piano in their standard formats, which of course was recognized last year when he won the inaugural Polaris Prize for his album He Poos Clouds. His stage shows are a tanatlizing blend of him sampling his violin and shouting into it, using it as a drum, and accompanying himself on played-back loops. This night, the performance was highly visual as well, with a delightful paper and lantern show of old world looking illustrations being projected onto the back wall by an assistant. It was utterly charming.
The audience was pretty charming as well. I was expecting a lot of scenesters, but no. They were all really sweet and polite kids from next door. Except for the big doofus who stood two inches away from me, directly in front of me toward the end of the show, but that was minor.
Final Fantasy has now taken the crown away from Tokyo Police Club for the shortest duration betwixt show and encore ever. After the final song, he walked to the edge of the stage, stopped, turned around and came back and declared, "you know what, I don't have any place to go (he really didn't, it was all one big room), so I'll play a couple more songs and then I'd like to go for a drink. Okay?"
And even though he did not honour Eva's shouted out request for Please Please Please (his response: "No, no, no. No.") or for Arctic Circle ("No, that one is really hard. No seriously, it's really hard!"), we loved every minute.
Why don't you take a few minutes to enjoy some Final Fantasy now? You deserve it:
This Is the Dream of Win and Regine.mp3

The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead.mp3

Please Please Please.mp3

This Lamb Sells Condos.mp3


Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

How do you keep up that whirlwind social life? Heck, I'm tired after just typing that. I'm gonna lay down now. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Allison said...

I remember last year reading about Final Fantasy on your blog and totally falling in love! I'm so glad you were able to see him in concert and I loved your description of "He's 12!" He really is young and a musical wunderkind. Is he wee too? I have this feeling he is short.

I think Win and Reg would have to be one of my favourite songs and his reaction to Eva's request of Please, Please, Please will forever make me smile well listening to it.
The song titles are the best aren't they?

p.s. Expect a proper email from me tomorrow, with pictures! I know I've been a slacker.

BeckEye said...

Although I love the album title, "He Poos Clouds," I downloaded "Please Please Please" at random and I can't I can't I can't get into it. Oh well.

Is 12 THE go-to age when describing someone as much too young looking? I've always used it, and I hear a lot of other folks say it as well. I guess twelve just rolls off the tongue nicely and it's the end of the tween years.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I have officially reached the end of my whirlwind social life, Dr M. Nothing left to do now for a while but sleep and eat bonbons.

He's considerably taller than I expected, Al, but of course extremely slender. I could snap him like a twig.
I love Win and Regine very much too, but I think This Lamb Sells Condos was my first favourite. And yes, the boy certainly rules at song titles, bless his little heart.

The first time I heard Final Fantasy, it elicited a WTF response from me as well, Beckeye, but be warned, it grows on you. Be warned, I tell you!
Twelve has got to be that pivotal age that everything revolves around. Plus it is easy to say.

hilary m. said...

Great review Barbara!
Again, it was an excellent concert. He's such a talented guy, and I really love him live. I almost prefer the simpler live stuff, to the less easy to play stuff on the album. I actually updated my blog with a review, maybe I should do one for Bright Eyes and Stars too..

justacoolcat said...

He Poos Clouds has to be one of the greatest album names ever.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm so glad you wrote up a review as well, Hilary, it's great to get your perspective on the concert. I just wish we had run into each other there.
You should definitely write a review for Bright Eyes and Stars. I'm not going to those and I'd love to hear about them.

Isn't it grand, Just A? He's got some awesome song titles as well.
titles = fun!

Hot Lemon said...

Is he wearing any pants in that bottom picture??

mellowlee said...

Wooooooo! It sounds like such a marvelous time! wouldn't it be magnificent to see Chad and Final Fantasy together? Hmmm. That might just be too much for the senses! xoxo
Thanks for the mp3s

mellowlee said...

PS Get some rest woman *grinz*

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hi Hot Lemon, welcome! My guess would be yes, unless he has naturally blue legs.

That would make for a great show, Mel, they both have such a unique approach to music and they are both kinda purdy.
No more concerts for me for a while. No doubt I will start going crazy in a couple of weeks.

phlegmfatale said...

Is it possible to have any title more adorable than "he poos clouds?"

I think not!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

The adorableness factor is pretty high around the Final Fantasy camp, Phlegmfatale, pooing clouds being right up there, agreed.