cherry blue skies
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Our visit to CBC MusicWorks to see Boy was great fun, if perhaps the strangest rock concert I've ever seen. The "MusicWorks Warehouse" is really just a dilapidated, frigid chamber at the back of the Ottawa CBC studios, with the addition of a fake (warehouse) wall, equipped with graffitti. The graffitti says such punk things as "VOLT" and "HIP-HOP". I've never seen the show on TV, but it looks like it's basically American Bandstand, but for radio-worthy Canadian rock instead of American pop, and none of the acts are particularly high-profile -- this is public broadcasting after all. Dan and I sat for many hours, watching the taping proceed. Host Joey Jeremiah seemed likable enough, if slightly incompetent. (He kept calling Stephen "Boy" Kozmeniuk, "Nathan," resulting in take-after-take.) The audience was almost entirely 15 year old kids who had been dragged by their junior-high teachers. They swayed with moderate enthusiasm. Boy performed well - he didn't look like I expected: too grunge, not mod enough, but he definitely had his shit together. The performances were solid - and it wasn't too painful to hear each of the four songs performed several times. "French Diplomacy" is indeed the stand-out, but I wish I could have heard the string section properly! I guess the sound was wired for TV, and not for we lucky studio observers. I'll also go down in history was the one who suggested that Boy replace "shitty" with "shoddy," in "Joey," in order to let him bypass tight-ass CBC censors. It's not my fault he (and I) almost burst out laughing, each time he said it.

The most morally vacant part of the vening was when Joey Jeremiah quizzed one of the teenyboppers in the crowd on semirandom musical knowhow. Everything was fine (the kid was almost funny, in fact), until they did a Take 2, and things were repeated word-for-word. Watching a child pretend to hem-and-haw over questions, and pretend to be surprised at her correct answers, was one of the most excruciating things I've ever seen. CBC producers are going to Hell.

Dan and I snuck out before the final interview with Boy - we were there for the music, after all, and couldn't really bring ourselves to be exuberant for another forty-five minutes.

Oh -- It seems Boy changed his name from Stephen Kozmeniuk to "Stephen Noel." What the fuck? Lame lame lame.


I'm listening to A Beautiful World, by Thicke. It's terrific white-boy soul, from the son of Alan Thicke. The kid's surprisingly talented, and the record has great range - from stripped-down ballads to hip hop and rock'n'roll. It's earnest and competent, and I'm not embarassed to be digging it. Kudos to Anne for tuning me into the fellow.

Tomorrow - The Microphones! I'm still hoping to find someone to go with me. People seem to be scared off by my inability to encapsulate Phil Elvrum's sound in terms rock-radio listeners will understand. Anyone have suggestions?

Here's my Bluesfest listening schedule, at least using the performers who are booked as of today. Artists in bold are must-sees, artists in italics are things I might take in. I realize there's some overlap, but that's what my magical time-stopping abilities were for.

Friday July 4
6:15 K-Os (Main stage)
7:45 Ben Harper (Main stage)
9:30 Oh Susanna (Roots Stage)

Saturday July 5
1:45 Golden Famile (Roots Stage)
2:40 Torture King Sideshow (Birdman Stage)
7:45 Elvis Costello (Main stage)
8:00 Deadly Snakes (Birdman Stage)
9:30 The Sadies (Roots Stage)

Sunday July 6
5:30 The New Deal (Black Sheep Stage)
6:20 Gordon Downie (Main stage)
7:45 Cesaria Evora (Main stage)
9:30 Cinematic Orchestra (Black Sheep Stage)

Monday July 7
9:00 Sum 41 (Main Stage)

Tuesday July 8
9:00 Sheryl Crow (Main Stage)

Wednesday July 9
9:00 Great Big Sea (Main Stage)

Thursday July 10
7:30 Hawksley Workman (Roots Stage)
7:45 Kool and the Gang (Main Stage)

Friday July 11
6:15 Nina Nastasia (Birdman Stage)
9:30 Orchestra Baobab (Black Sheep Stage)
9:30 Howe Gelb (Giant Sand) (Birdman Stage)

Saturday July 12
3:00 Jim Bryson (Sacred Stage)
4:00 The Trachtenburg Family Slide Show Players (Acoustic Stage)
4:30 Howe Gelb (Giant Sand) (Sacred Stage)
7:45 'Have Love will Travel' (Blues Bros) (Main Stage)
9:30 Antibalas (Black Sheep Stage)
9:30 Jim Bryson and the Occasionals (Roots Stage)

Sunday July 13
5:00 The Trachtenburg Family Slide Show Players (Acoustic Stage)
5:30 Kate Fenner and Chris Brown (Black Sheep Stage)
7:00 The Sights (Birdman Stage)
7:45 Blue Rodeo (Main Stage)

It was interesting sorting through the Bluesfest schedule, because I, uh, don't like the blues. I kept feeling like the organizers were trying to trick me into checking out straight-ahead (or garage-)blues performers. But I staunchly refuse. Probably. Unless someone makes some recommendations.

Posted by Sean at May 31, 2003 11:32 PM

you should try and see Cesaria Evora - i hear she's fantastic...

Posted by kevin at June 1, 2003 3:27 PM

i don't like that the front page tells you there's a new post every time someone posts a comment.

Posted by smackmastah at June 2, 2003 6:56 AM

either do i. david seems to think it's hard to fix. *sigh*

Posted by Sean at June 2, 2003 8:42 AM

why haven't you posted about the microphones yet? you'd better not have skipped it. best concert ever. solidifies them as my new favorite band.

Posted by smackmastah at June 4, 2003 2:48 AM


Posted by sean at June 4, 2003 8:54 AM

Hi! Oh my god, that's hilarious, I was at Boy (Music Works) in Ottawa as well and I was thinking the exact same things--we were right next to these super annoying teeny-bopper grade school kids who kept sitting on the stage and trying to act all 'punk' (like a 'punk' would really wear a sweater from the GAP)--Anyway, I totally remember you! --'Joey's in the bathroom, feeling kinda woozy, wonderin' if he'll ever make another shi...ody movie'--classic--and Joey Jeremiah kept fucking up--oh, and that girl who got to answer the questions was apparently a friend of the girl he introduced as his 'girlfriend'--go figure

Posted by K$ at July 2, 2003 11:36 PM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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