Archive for the ‘Christian McPherson’ Category

sunSOUNDTRACK: MARTIN TIELLI-Fall Nationals The Horseshoe Tavern Toronto (November 17, 2003).

horsehoeA few weeks ago I wrote about the Violet Archers playing on this same night.  This was night 8 of 13 in the Rheostatics Fall Nationals 2003 Tour.  This was called SoloStatics Night.  Martin played and then Tim and the Violet Archers played.  And then Luke Doucet’s band Veal played (not sure if they were first or last).  Evidently Dave was sick, so he didn’t play.

The band for Martin’s set is Monica Gunter (Violin), Greg Smith (Bass), Ford Pier (Guitar), Michael Wojewoda (Drums), Luke Doucet (Pedal Steel).

It’s a short set (only 45 minutes) and he doesn’t play any Rheos songs (which makes sense).  It opens with “Double X” which is just him on guitar and Monica the violin. He plays very aggressively. It’s great.  Being in a fun mod he mentions that tonight is the solo show for the Rheostatics and whatnot, then he says that that’s not true, the Whatnots are playing tomorrow.

This is the first live instance of “The Temperance Society Choir.”  But he forgets a verse and they all seem to put their heads together trying to remember it until he says “somebody help me with this fucking song.”  There’s some wild bass and guitar noises on this song, too.

For “Sergeant Kraulis,” there’ a big chorus with everyone singing along.  And Martin gets out his Steinberger to really wail  And I love watching him (see video below) make the crazy noises at the end of this song.  Luke Doucet joins them on “Winnipeg.”  It’s a really good, robust version of the song, with Ford Pier taking some of the vocal lines (like “get the fuck off the stage.”)  And also jumping around like a lunatic during the more rocking moments.

They rock out “That’s What You Get for Having Fun” and the cover of “Cold Blood Old Times” (which Martin says they have to play faster).

Before the final song they start asking each other if any of them has any T-Bone, they all say they got mashed potatoes but no T-Bone (which references a Neil Young song, but is still pretty weird).

The set ends with a solo acoustic guitar version of “From the Reel,” which is beautiful.

It’s a really great performance and amazingly, it was captured on video, too.


[READ: October 22, 2015] The Sun Has Forgotten Where I Live

In all of the Christian McPherson blurbage, it mentions his two books, Six Ways to Sunday & The Cube People.  And these are the two books of his which I have not read.  Huh.

This was McPherson’s second collection poetry.  It is very much like his first collection: musings on being a dad (which are quite tender and sweet and very true to life) and then darker thoughts about society and such.

And he gets to the crux of what I find hard to know about whether I like his poems.  The entirely of the poem “trying to” consists of this valid exchange: (more…)

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logo_OL-lgSOUNDTRACK: MARTIN TIELLI-Lee’s Palace, Toronto, ON (April 5, 2002).

Lees-Front-360x238By April, Martin was back in Toronto.  The newer album would be coming out in 2003, and he plays 4 songs from it.  The rest of the songs comes from his first solo album with a couple of Nick Buzz songs, a Rheostatics track and a Joni Mitchell cover thrown in.

For the first three songs, it’s just him and his acoustic guitar.  “World in a Wall” sounds great and he even plays a gnawing sound on the guitar strings (sliding the pick up them).  He’s got cool, aggressive strumming in “Double X.”

For Joni Mitchell’s “River” Kevin Hearn plays piano. It’s quite lovely (and Hearn is applauded, of course). Then Martin plays an outstanding version of “She Said ‘We’re on Our Way Down’” (each live version gets better).

Before playing “My Sweet Relief” he says “stay tuned for Operation Infinite Justice.”  He is clearly keeping this as the band’s name, even if the next album will be changed somewhat to Operation Infinite Joy.

There’s a great percussion sound on “That’s What You Get for Having Fun.”  On Voices in the Wilderness” he finally just comes out and mentions the source of the lyrics: after singing “if you choose not to decide…” he changes his own words to “I know Geddy, he don’t know me” (from the usual “I know him, he don’t know me”).

During “Sgt Kraulis” (one of the newer songs) they have a jam section in the middle it turns reggae and someone starts singing “Legalize It.”  And in “Love Streams” the piano (I assume no longer Kevin Hearn) plays a “stoned” melody when the lyrics speak of being stoned (musical humor!).

“Saskatchewan” sounds great—it’s a really passionate versions (with some backing vocals going “woah woah” near the end).

Martin has fun with “How Can You Sleep?” he seems to be talking during it, expanding on a line in the song ”Want to quit drinking? Cut off your head.”

This is a outstanding show.   The recording quality us great and Martin is in fine and funny form throughout.

[READ: October 20, 2015] Killer Dope

Since I found some McPherson books in the library, I decided to also grab this book.  This is a short story, but it was published by Bad Moon Books (in a limited edition of 150 copies) and was the winner of 2004 New Cat Tattoos.  I believe that it was reprinted in his short story collection Six Ways to Sunday (but I cannot confirm this).

So this story is, as the title suggests, all about drugs.

Our two protagonists are Two Seconds (whose name has a wonderful derivation) and Little Fish (whose name is also cleverly derived).  Little Fish is painting graffiti under a bridge (a UFO flying out of the eye of a kid shooting smack). Two Seconds is watching him add details and believes it to be the best art he had ever seen.

Then Little Fish asks him if he is ready for tonight.  (more…)

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cubeSOUNDTRACK: MARTIN TIELLI-Richard’s On Richards Vancouver BC (March 30, 2002).

rich The download for this show is notable for being (in my opinion) out of sequence.  After the second song it seems pretty clear that the concert is now over. Looking at some of the other shows at the time, I wasn’t sure if I could reconstruct the actual order. It was a bit harder than I anticipated, but I think the show actually went like this

World in a Wall
Double X
Love Streams
My Sweet Relief
That’s What You Get for Having Fun
Voices from the Wilderness
OK by Me
That’s How They Do It in Warsaw
I’ll Never Tear You Apart
Beauty On

I’m guessing “World in a Wall” is first because before playing it he does a brief intro of “CCYPA,” and it seems unlikely that he would do it again after he just played the song. For this set he is solo for the first three songs . He’s kind of all over the place in “Wall” throwing in some extra lyrics and repeating verses—I’m surprised he didn’t get mad at himself.f

Then the band comes out and he introduces them as Operation infinite Justice (incidentally, “Operation Infinite Justice,” was the name of the military intervention that the U.S began after 9/11.  Muslim groups protested the name on the basis that their faith teaches that Allah is the only one that could provide “infinite justice”.  Thus, “Operation Infinite Justice” was changed to “Operation Enduring Freedom” on Sept. 25, 2001).  So clearly, Tielli was making a point.  The band consists of Greg Smith on bass, Barry Mirochnick on drums and Ford Pier on guitar and keys.

For “Ok By Me” he gets that great chorusing guitar (that sounds like Queen) just like on the record.  For “Love Streams” it’s just him and the piano (presumably Ford Pier) who at the line about being “stoned’ play a riff from Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine” (did anyone know that was a cover of a J.J. Cale song?)

“Shaved Head” stays in the delicate style of the previous show and for “My Sweet Relief,” he starts the song solo and the band kicks in about 1/2 way through.

After playing “That’s What You Get for Having Fun” someone in the band says that they have merch in the back of the room and that they will be flogged by their manager if they don’t mention it.

In “Voices in the Wilderness,” he sings the actual Rush lyric “if you choose not to decide” (rather than “if you choose not to be free”) and has fun with the word “squeaky” in squeaky voice.  There’ as mellow jam at the end of the song.

The penultimate song is “Winnipeg.” It’s the first live version of this song on the site. I like that since it was a new song the guys who recorded the shows didn’t know what it was called.  And it’s such a peculiar song with different things that could be choruses that the author of this recording calls it “Anyday” and in the next show they call in “I’ve Had Some.”  But it sounds great live.

The show ends with “Beauty On,” the opening track from his upcoming album (although he leaves out the humorous “Cincinnati” bit–which makes sense).

It’s another great show, running just about an hour.

[READ: October 19, 2015] Cube Squared

I found this book at work and judged it by the cover.  I decided it would be fun. And it was.

This is the sequel to McPherson’s first novel (which I have not read) Cube People.  I thought that perhaps there would be zombies in this novel (given the cover) and there are, but not in the way one might suspect.

The basic set up is this: Colin MacDonald works for the Canadian government.  He is in a tech job which is not very techie.  He works in a  cubicle, deals with his co-workers and plans to write the great Canadian novel (if such a thing exists).  He has already written two books.  The first one was successful, the second one less so.  And he would very much like to get a third book written.

But he is now married with three little kids, he has to paint his house and his father just died.

This last bit is pretty important to the story.  Even though his father was never a very good father to him (he was an intense drunk and then an intense convert to Christianity), he has mixed feelings about his father’s death.  Worse yet, his father seems to be talking to him a lot more now than he ever did when he was alive.  And he is fairly certain that his father thinks he’s a waste of time and effort with little to show for himself (or at least that’s his take on his father). (more…)

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poemsSOUNDTRACK: MARTIN TIELLI-Horseshoe Tavern Toronto, ON (2002).

tielliAfter the Rheostatics’ Night of the Shooting Stars album, the band took a few years before recording their final album.  During that hiatus of sorts, Martin Tielli released his second solo album Operation Infinite Joy.  But before getting that album out, he did a short tour in 2002.  This is the second date of that tour (although, as with other bootlegs, I find it funny that the date is lost).  Speaking of lost dates, there are no dates at all for Martin Tielli on Setlist.com. Shocking!

Anyhow, this show has great audio. It’s one of those recordings where you can hear the audience, but they are not louder than Martin himself.

As with many of the shows of this era, Martin opens the show on solo acoustic guitar—with some awesomely aggressive chord strokes. He just seems really into this set, with a great growling “ain’t necessary” line in “Double X” and one of the best versions of “She Said ‘We’re On Our Way Down’” that I’ve heard (better than the album).

Before Martin is joined by more musicians, someone asks him how old his jacket it. He says about 14 years old.  Then Greg Smith joins him on bass for “My Sweet Relief”

When he switches back to the quiet “World in a Wall” it’s practically like a dramatic reading the way he performs it.  He says he was living in a cruddy apartment when he wrote this song.  As an opening for “Voices from the Wilderness” he says he used to criticize Dave Bidini for writing songs about music, but he finally embraced it and wrote this awesome song.

For “Farmer in the City,” he says they’re going to try something really quiet—and the audience is rapt. It’s pretty cool.  Selina Martin plays crystal on this song (which I assume means glasses?)

When they get to the Nick Buzz song “Love Streams” it’s very quiet and you can hear someone in the audience loudly shot “Shut the fuck up.” He doesn’t acknowledge that but says that the band Nick Buzz was named after the cigarettes that he is now craving. After getting his smoke he introduces”That’s What You Get For Having Fun” by saying this is gonna be a gooood song.

He plays a quieter, more intimate version of “Shaved Head” with a lengthy outro. The track listing says “Stolen Car” is next but there is no “Stolen Car.” They play a rocking version of “Sgt Kraulis” with some fun mechanical voices over the end.

This is a great set that runs about an hour. The crowd I really into it and so is Martin.

[READ: October 19, 2015] Poems That Swim From My Brain Like Rats Leaving a Sinking Ship

I started reading Christian McPherson’s Cube Squared.  And when I looked him up I saw that my library also had a few collections of his poetry.  So I decided to check them out.

This was his first collection (after a collection of short stories).  Most of his poems are fast paced and immediate (as the title suggests).  There’s not a lot of reflection in them, they are more designed to get a point across.

And as such they work quite well. (more…)

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