Sunday, November 06, 2005

And Maybe In A Way The Tension Is A Life-support, Too.

There was good music last night, but I don't really want to talk about that, although Luke Doucet's "Broken One" was a hearts-and-knives burner, him thrashing on stage with a Johnny-Cash-on-a-bender look and a big white guitar. Brilliant. Also, Whitey Houston, who I don't like (their sound, I mean) got me going with a new one called "Nineteenth Century Breakdown", which punched them through the bar-band ceiling I thought they were happy playing under. Whatevs, though, cause I'm not talking about them, or The Fembots, who were quite skilled and definitely boring. Because I'm not talking about them, either. By the way, talk about COLD outside last night. Why does it take so ever-loving long to walk to the Plant from anywhere? Nevermind. What I am talking about is Shout Out Out Out Out, who I first heard of through 1) massive word of mouth, 2) Cadence Weapon/Rollie Pemberton/Razorblade Runner (Godsake, you pick the moniker)'s website and 3) every damn upright surface within four kilometres of Uni, because I swear every single one of those solid surfaces is papered with a cheap flyer advising the reader to express himself very loudly—"Shout!—Out Out!—Out Out!" Also, on a side note here, is SOx4, their t-shirt merch, I mean, just The Floor's poster logo but cowbelled? Anyways, the show was insane in the best of ways, Nik Kozub bouncing around like an evil Care Bear and doing kicks like nobody's business. And the drummers took it over the top. The stage was crammed with more machinery than Robocop's garage, band members spread out to either side and almost into the crowd. For the last song of the night (and I say "song" recognizing that half of SOx4's lyrics that night were unintelligible through the electric vox—and it still didn't matter), everyone from all four bands was brought out to jump around and spill their drinks and one guy even passed out drumsticks to the audience so they could hammer the cowbell he was holding. There was lots of dark, neon lighting, some fairly creepy pictures screened behind the band, and the audience couldn't keep still. And I'm sorry to anyone I stepped on. I'd post some pix, but the few I took were crap due to my limitless abundance of untalent and the flourescent screen behind the band. Sometimes, just sometimes, it all works together. Hey, if I was better at taking pictures, I wouldn't bother writing, would I?

Listening: I'm not tough, I'm a wimp. Even my mom agrees, and I'd punch her for it, but she's bigger than me and says that's disrespectful. Dammit. I used to listen to punk to try and make myself feel tougher, but the music hurt my ears and then the tears kept smearing my eyeliner. Dammit! Now I listen to soft-voiced singers and songwriters, cause I think, "Yeah, that's right, I could take you. I could take you all." But some of them are pretty tough, right? David Fridlund. DAMMIT! Now there is one sensitive but stronger-than-axes Scandinavian. The man seems to hate himself so much (in his songs) that, well, I'd really not look forward to getting on the wrong side of that much self-knowledge and self-loathing. That whole heart-swording "April & May" schtick was pretty intense, considering it was just basically him, his fiancée, and a piano. Oh, yes, and the grim spectre of regret and selfish waste clutching an entire audience with deadly lyrics, don't forget that. Don't forget that. Clear piano beginnings, typical. The slow voice rising, heard before. That synthy piano at 3:36, I have no idea what he's running that through, and here come the rest of the lyrics, all desperate: "But I throw myself / At the electric fence / As I think somehow / I will win you back again". It's easy to overdo lyrics and music like this, but DF keeps the balance. There's a line in this song—"Maybe in a way the tension is a life-support, too." That line is the balance, the pull between heart's-ease and Dear Diary, which grounds this song. A little too heavy on the first, and the lyrics to this song are getting carved on the wrists of every successful suicide out there. A little less with too much of the second, and Nickelback is fighting with Evanescence to see who's singing this song on the next Spiderman soundtrack. Yar. I'm late on my Fridlund, here, and he's got newer stuff up on his blog, but why not scroll back to when the internet was young (approx 6 wks ago) and listen (it's in his Links on the right of his site) to "Tears Are In Your Eyes" + David Fridlund

Reading: I'll be reading Moby-Dick for a while, stuffing in odd chapters between this book or that book, or this piece of writing and that shaggy dog story over there. For once, Reading, as opposed to I've Just Read or Read This A While Ago, is the correct title for this section of the post, because I'm always reading Moby-Dick. It's a white bread novel, you understand, and takes the flavour of whatever moment you're reading it in. Which does not mean that the novel itself is colourless, but more like it contains a little of everything. Which is not the freshest observation about this novel, but certainly true. I'm telling you, spread some butter on this novel and you could read it [edit: Read it? Eat it!]. What about large loaves of words like these?

Thus, then, the muffled rollings of a milky sea; the bleak rustlings of the festooned frosts of mountains; the desolate shiftings of the windrowed snows of prairies; all these, to Ishmael, are as the shaking of that buffalo robe to a colt.

Purple prose, and what does it lead to? Three or four sentences after, the author writes "Though in many of its aspects, this visible world seems formed in love, the invisible spheres were formed in fright." Oh, Melville. There'll be no Happily Ever After end to this novel, anyone could tell. The author's visible world, the dominion of love, remember, is bleak and frosted and muffled and shifting. Keeping that in mind, in what unfriendly fires do the souls of his fear-formed spheres burn? Melville—not an optimist, you could say. But it's this large-scale contrast between the visible and invisible, and love and fear, which keeps the tension rope-tight in this lengthy novel, and why I always return to Moby-Dick + Herman Melville

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