Wednesday, March 21, 2012

in the arms of my sweet-lovin' band

The Magnetic Fields
- Vogue Theatre, Vancouver
March 18, 2012

Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields has a reputation for being downright curmudgeonly. After his sly gender-bending lyrics and his basso profondo voice, it's arguably his most endearing quality. Watching Merritt and long-time friend and band-mate, Claudia Gonson, bicker comfortably at each other like an old married couple was a charming bonus to Sunday night's fabulous concert.

The show, my first at the opulent old-world Vogue Theatre, was opened by Holcombe Waller and his ensemble from Portland. I was more a fan of his banter than his music, which we all agreed was of the Cat Stevens/Chris DeBurgh school of singer-songwriterliness. He would have been fun to go bar-hopping with, though.

The Magnetic Fields, though, were delightful. Much of the audience had left their velvety seats and migrated to the mosh pit prior to the start of the set, eliciting a sharp rebuke from Mr Merritt to sit down, much to my delight.

They played many of my favourites, drawing heavily from their famous three-album release, 69 Love Songs. Despite the fact that they all seemed to be suffering from nasty colds and SXSW exhaustion, they soldiered on, with mugs of hot water laced with lemon and honey.
Such rock stars!

When the final notes closed on the final song of the encore, the band was showered by flowers hucked lovingly onstage by some uber-fans. I learned later that many of these fans also brought offerings of chocolate, hard to find in the US.

Never underestimate the power of Smarties, though personally I would have gone for Coffee Crisp.


Allison said...

It was a lovely evening. So glad I was able to attend with you all. I loved the end - even more now that I know chocolate was involved. :)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It was so great to concert with the gang again, Al! The Vogue is a lovely theatre, with great sight lines!