the prodigal son returneth
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.


So the trip was a delight. The biggest musical source of frustration was merely the plane rides: neither my old headphones nor the new ones (bought precisely for this purpose) were audible over the din of the engines. I know, I know - airplanes are loud - but o how i dreamed of a different way, o how i longed for it!

Beethoven was sold out on Sunday, so instead we hit the Upright Citizens Brigade for an hour and a half of outstanding long-form improv. It was my second time seeing "ASSSCAT," and it was certainly no less funny than the first. Appearances by UCB founder Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Horatio Sanz and Fred Armisen (as well as a host of other, non-SNL performers) spiced the brew, or something. We need to try the 'Harold' format in Montreal; there are a few people (Chris, Dustin - oh jesus, are they going to be gone? woe!) who would do terrific monologues.

Found a $2.50 copy of an Aroah CD in St Mark's place. She's a songwriter on Acaruela - sounds like the halfbreed child of Ani Difranco and Mazzy Star, or something. Still waiting to decide if I like it (I only "listened" to it on the airplane, which, as outlined before, uh, sucked). I almost cried at the sight of wrapped copies of this year's Kepler and Songs:Ohia records, going unsold (and for $2.50!), but couldn't find the heart to buy second copies for myself. A made fun of my sorrow, till she acknowledged that she had herself wept for unsold stuffed animals.

Damien Rice was a terrific show. Lacklustre openers (though Charlotte Martin will be a hit for the Tori Amos/intelligent-Jewel-listener crowd). He was there with full band - drums, bass, cello, and the lovely Lisa Hannigan on vocals. The songs from O came alive, and it was wonderful to hear Damien's music surrounded by people who not only knew it, but loved it. It was the last show of this tour, so midway through the encore, Damien declared the official show over, than critics should shut their notebooks, that the lazy should evacuate. He then went on to play six or seven increasingly silly, increasingly wine-stained songs. These included a surprisingly capable American spiritual, covers of "When Doves Cry," "Hallelujah" and Portishead's "Glory Box," as well as the svelte cellist's solo version of "Purple Haze." Damien said he was working on his new album (hooray!), and the little bit of new material sounded quite good. (One of the songs, however, was a mess - noise-by-numbers as an alibi for real emotion or craft.) He should be coming back later this year, and I'll try to catch him again then.

Oh - and, of course, Damien Rice played Letterman on Friday night. Which was very, very strange. Originally, he was slated to do Tuesday night - but got bumped by Bruce Willis. (At the show, he said he "Was glad, really," because he'd rather not share a stage with Willis' pro-war balderdash.) Friday it was, then - and with Tom Green (!?) as host. What the hell is Tom Green doing hosting David freakin' Letterman? As Tom put it himself, "everyone in Hollywood was busy." Still - to my great pleasure - the Ottawa boy did us proud, acting astonishingly normal, but still off-kilter enough to be engaging. He was very nervous, and must have been given threats ("If you sit there yelling "I'm the host! I'm the host!" for an hour, sucking margarine from a hose, your career is over, Green!") - and he certainly could have pushed the envelope a few centimeters further - but it was really great to see such a funny guy acting in a likable, non-infuriating fashion. It's been some time since Tom acted particularly human. Damien Rice then played two songs - an acceptable band version of "Volcano," and a solo take on "Cannonball" (which was actually, I think, better than the accompanied version at the show). I still don't know how what amounts to a self-released album scored a two-song spot on Late Night...

When I arrived home my Special Edition version of Hail to the Thief was waiting, but seeing as it's "copy protected," it won't play on my walkman. I'll have to rip and burn it. This shit is stupid. I'm still figuring out how I want to approach a review of it for TM - am considering asking several people to write 50 words (exactly), and collecting those... While I was in NJ, I missed Dan's Hail piece in the Ottawa Citizen - and I'm eager to read what he thought. Meanwhile, I'm not warming to the album as much as I hoped I would: it sounds great, really interesting to listen to, but I'm not feeling it as I did Kid A and Amnesiac. Resembles OK Computer in that way: HTTT seems preoccupied with a world that's noisynoisy, overrun with liars, cheats, gobblers and suits. Thom rants and raves - "dance you fucker" - about predators and prey, all endlessly birthing and gorging and dying... but I can't help but feel that my world is too empty, too full of open space, more wasteland than jungle. HTTT is about a place that jostles and speaks in mean tongues, whereas I'm living in a lonely reality that seems to rarely speak at all.

Where the hell is Julian?!

(Also: Public apology to Anne - I should have written you at least two emails by now, but instead I've been distracted and busy and lazy and stupid. Forgive me! I will write you soon!)

Posted by Sean at June 17, 2003 10:00 AM

you saw Fred Armisen? I'm so jealous.

Posted by Dan Beirne at June 22, 2003 12:20 AM

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"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
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.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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our favourite blogs
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Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
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st-viateur bagel
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drawn + quarterly
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blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
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Cult Montreal
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