Archive for the ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: RHEOSTATICS-Fall Nationals, Night 7 of 10, The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto (November 17, 2004).

The Rheostatics, live at the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, November 14, 2004. This was the 7th night of their 10 night Fall Nationals run at the Horseshoe.

I compared all of the setlists from the nine shows and was somewhat surprised to see just how much repeating they did. Most of the rep

 Two versions are available – Mark Sloggett’s soundboard recording and 8 track files provided by Steve Clarkson.  The Sloggett download has 8 minutes of pre show intro music, which I assume is on the PA.  It starts out kind of synthy and cool then turns into piano music then a big horn-filled jazzy song then back to piano as mike starts playing some drums and that’s the official start of “Who Is This Man, And Why Is He Laughing?” even with the PA music still playing.   Despite this being guest vocalist night, this song is instrumental with accordion and clearly spoken Polish.

Martin says they’re not supposed to sing tonight so they’ll do an instrumental version of “Four Little songs.”  No one sings their verse, but Chris String on keyboards plays a lengthy sample: you gave this to, me but you cannot escape, not this time.”  They play the song really well without the vocals and for the end someone is ringing bells in tune.

Dave welcomes everyone to the 4th annual Fall Nationals and introduces their first guest vocalist Robin Lowe from Pittsburgh, PA.  She sounds great singing “Introducing Happiness.”  She’s followed by Melissa McClelland who asks, “Can I do something on this?” and someone jokes, “no don’t touch the keyboard.”  “Can I do some beat boxing on the mic?”  “Absolutely.”  She doesn’t beatbox but she sings a beautiful version of “Aliens (Christmas 1988).”  It’s a bit of a different vocal melody than martin sings and is quite wonderful.

Mike Bell comes out to sing “Beerbash” guessing that they haven’t done this in a while.  It’s rocking and fun/sloppy.   Then Paul Linklater and Donna Orchard
come out to sing “King Of The Past.”  Dave notes that “you guys sang separately last year.”  Which they did.  They do a kind of dramatic singing of the song which I think I like, but not as much as the original.

Dave says, “The beer is here and so is my adorable wife.”  Janet Morassutti who has co-written many songs sings “It’s Easy To Be With You.”  She has a good, deep voice and I love when she gets into the 1,2,3,4.

Kurt Swinghammer comes out and introduces the Trands-Canada Soul Patrol back in the house.  But Dave says they’re supposed to be backing Brenda Lee.  Kurt continues, “It’s time for a Tim Vesely song.  He’s sort of the George Harrison in the band.”  This brings forth three jokes at once including Dave saying he;s more of the George Foreman of the band.   They do “Loving Arms” and Dave says, “you’re lucky we did this last night.”  He sings in a deep and ponderous voice not sure it’s quiet right for this sweet song, but he does a great job with it.  The song ends but the give Kurt an extra solo.

Michelle Rumball comes out and says, “Dave do you know that the last time that I was supposed to sing this song, I showed up and only knew the backing vocals.”  Dave says, “I’ve never forgiven you for that.”  “It was like ten years ago.”  Then Dave notes “No one ever sings “Saskatchewan Part 2”  Michelle says, “next year?”  It’s slow and moody and she kind of messes up a bit but holds it together.  Chris Brown gets a keyboard solo.

Greg Smith of the Weakerthans recently.  He’s going to sing “The Tarleks” and they start asking him “what are you doing now that KRP shut down?”  He says he gets a lot of questions about Bailey Quarters–everybody liked her more than Loni Anderson.   There’s lots of wild synth stuff in the middle.

Chris Brown comes out for “Bad Time To Be Poor” and there’s some seriously off guitar to start the song, but they settle down and play along nicely.

Then they need to take a five-minute break to work on equipment.  Martins Steinberger guitar died.  It led a rich life and needs to go to the hospital.  Sorry about that.

Royal Wood sings a pretty version of “It” and then Steve Stanley puts the power back in “Power Ballad For Ozzy Osbourne” including the intro.  They say that he is currently in a band called Midi-Ogres.  At the end of the song, there’s sustaining feedback note–“make it stop make the bad man stop, stop the fucking note, Mike.”  While they’re fixing that, Chris plays a sample:, “I’ve been practicing every day for a year.  I can’t even learn a piece in a week.  When will I learn to play real good?  How long does it take?”

Jen Foster sings “Take Me In Your Hand” (no accordion) and they do the penny whistle ending.  Justin Rutledge comes up for “Marginalized.”  Dave notes that he played with the last night and slayed the house. There’s some raw guitar sounds, but not as interesting as Martin’s.

Amer Diab comes up to play “Lying’s Wrong.”  Mike says, “Shit, I don’t think I’ve ever played this one.”  Dave: “me either.  How does it start?”  “Thanks for pulling that out of the closet.”

Howard Druckman and Beverly Kreller come out to sing “Chansons Les Ruelles.”  Bev plays the bodhran, which is evidently too loud in the monitors, which makes Dave says, “You’re the John Bonham if bodhran players, aren’t you, Bev?”  Mike: “John Bodhran.”   Howard says, “I remember the People’s Republic of Dave.”  Dave says, “You know Broken Social Scene stole everything from PROD.”

Kate Fenner sings “Northern Wish.”  her raspy voice is nice with this although she misses the “built my rocket” section.  Reid Jameson sings “In This Town” and dedicates it to all the Pisces in the room.  “Posses of Pisces.”  Martin says that he hasn’t listen to it since they recorded it.  They typically play a different version.

Dennis Ellsworth sings “Palomar” but the teleprompter seems to give out for a few seconds.

Simon Wilcox sings “Dead is the Drunkest You Can Get.”  But it causes nothing but trouble.  “Anyone remember how to play my song?”  Tim: “I thought this song only ever appeared on a t-shirt.”  She has a sultry, almost sexy delivery.

Matthew Cowley sings “My First Rock Show” although ta the end he says “He was there, I’ve never seen any of those bands.”  During the Joe Jackson saved my life part, Dave chimes in: “hes always doing that.”

Chris plays the “we are the music makers” sample from Willy Wonka.

Simon Head sings “Shaved Head.”  He says “It’s fun to be part of Rheostatioke.”  Martin says, we were thinking rheo-oke.  It sounds good.  The heavy part is really heavy.  At the end everyone comments: “Nice Vegas walk off, Simon.”  Martin: “next time we do that I’m going to do a walk off like that.  The walk off is underrated.”

David Celia does a nice version of “Claire” and Yawd Sylvester sings “Record Body Count.”  They have fun with Yawd (who mentions Tim’s album that he played on).  They call him the one-armed bandit and then say that “Yawd gives this the one thumb up.”  I wonder what happened to him.  There’s some fun jamming guitars (and accordion?) and other sounds.  And he says “Thanks you guys for putting smiles on 28 faces.”

Ford Pier comes out and Tim says, “Thanks, Ford, for not making us learn ‘Motorino.'” He retorts, “I didn’t not make you learn ‘Motorino,’ you refused to learn ‘Motorino.’  Who wants to hear ‘Motorino?’  Yea, well it’s not going to happen because of the lassitutde of these bastards.”  Tim: “That song is fucked.”  Ford: “It’s a damn good song and next year you’re not getting off the hook so easily.”  [He doesn’t sing it next year]. Tim: “It’s like five or six songs.”  Mike: “The only reason it didn’t happen is because you just got off a plane yesterday.”  Ford: “Perhaps we should be doing “Connecting Flights.”  But instead they play “Junction Foil Ball” and everyone messes it up at one point or another.  Guitars, vocals, timing.  It’s a mess, but fun.  And then right away starts the clapping for the next song, “Rain, Rain, Rain.”  Selina Martin sings it kind of crazy and growly and the final verse is pretty silly.

And then they’ve made it to the end.  John Crossingham comes out and they comment that making it to the end is an achievement in itself.

Mike wonders, “Is there going to be an encore?  Or are we going to be more theatrical about this?”
Tim: “The encore is tomorrow morning.”
Dave: “The encore is Selina Martin jumping around a bit more.”

The next song takes a bit of extra special tuning preparation, bear with us.  So John takes the time to thank the band for such a wonderful idea.  It means a lot to all of us who have graced the stage this evening.

Then Dave asks, “John where’d you get your toque?”  John: “On the floor at a Green Day concert at the Rico Coliseum.  I stepped on something and that was it.  I did wash it before I put it on my head.”  Dave: “You’d have to be pretty drunk to leave toque like that at a Green Day show.  How was the tour?”  John: “It was good.  Had its ups and downs.  His book On a Cold Road got us through.  If you haven’t read it already pick it up.  They’re even selling it over there, smartly.  Or perhaps you’d like to read about Italian baseball or hockey in the Republic of China?”

And then they’re ready to end the night with a great version of “A Midwinter Night’s Dream” (which is not available on the Slogett MP3 download).  John does an amazing job with this really difficult song.  He even hits the super high note in the middle.  It’s a solid version, and while I love Martin’ more of course, it’s really enjoyable.

There’s no encore since the show was already 3 hours long (!).  Although there is a crazy noise at the end of the song for a couple of minute–with synths and Martin messing around.

What a fun night.

[READ: July 7 , 2017] Spill Zone

Sarah loves Scott Westerfeld, although I hadn’t read him before. I had to wonder if this graphic novel was also a traditional novel, because I’d love to see how he described the visuals.  But I believe it is only a graphic novel, so I just get to marvel in the visual imagination of Alex Puvilland.

This book starts out weird, no doubt.  Addison is a teen with a camera.  She has been taking pictures of her hometown in upstate New York.  Which isn’t so strange except that her town is a Spill Zone.

What’s that? Well, actually I don’t know yet.  Suffice it to say that it’s not good.  There are dead people, weird sightings and a roadblock with military personnel.  Addison speculates it could be a nanotech accident colliding with the nuclear power plant, an alien visitation, something from another world?  Some people escaped, like her sister Lexa, but most didn’t, like her parents.  Addison was not there when it happened, and since the accident Lexa hasn’t spoken a word.

She is part of group if what she calls crazy tourists who like to take pictures of the disaster. (more…)

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Achoclnd after all of that, we catch up to present day Primus.  And this time Tim Alexander is back with them again!  I was supposed to see Primus at a small theater when they toured for the chocolate Factory.  And because of a planning snafu I didn’t get to go.  I had wanted to see the show live before hearing the album.  Sigh.

I was thinking about Les Claypool and covers.  He does a lot of them.  Even though he is clearly a creative tour de force, he also likes to revisit stuff.  His live albums are full of covers, and the Duo de Twang mostly revisited songs he had already done, not to mention how he has re-recorded almost all the songs from Primus’ debut at one point or another.

So it comes as no surprise to me that they would cover the entire Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory soundtrack.

The thing to know right off the bat is that Les Claypool is a rather dark and disturbed individual.  And that means that this cover recording is really much more dark and nightmarish than the original (which is quite sweet).  Now true, Wonka is a really dark and creepy figure, and maybe that’s what Les was playing off when he constructed this carnivalesque, dark funhouse mirror version of soundtrack.

And your tolerance for that (and your love of the original) will say whether or not you enjoy this.

This is not fun goofy Primus, this is dark Primus of the “My Name is Mud” and Mushroom Men variety.

“Hello Wonkites” opens this disc with dark and slow bass strings and a slow and menacing melody.  “Candy Man” one of the sweetest songs ever is turned incredibly dark with hypnotic vibes and weird bowed bass sounds.  The way they speed up parts of the song are really disturbing and his vocals are creepy as anything.  This tells you all you need to know about this recording.

“Cheer up, Charlie” is a little bit sweeter as it opens with cellos. But Les’ vocal is weird and a little, yes, disturbing,  Although I don’t really like the original very much so this one works better for me.  “Golden Ticket” is also quite sinister with the mad carnival sounds and the stomping bass.  “Lermaninoff” is a cool 5 second reprise of the Rachmaninoff lock in the movie.

“Pure Imagination” is probably the least creepy of all the songs, although it is still dark and ominous.   It features a lot of percussion, and I read somewhere that Tim doesn’t really play drums on this record, he just hits all kinds of crap that’s around him.  There’s a long instrumental section that is pretty cool.

There are four versions of the Oompa Loompa song, just like in the movie.  Each one is about a minute and a half long.  They’re each quite similar and faithful to the original’s creepy vibe.  They might do better to be spaced out more, but it’s still fun.  The “Semi Wondrous Boat Ride” is actually not nearly as creepy as the original.  “Wonkamobile” is just over a minute long and it is just Les being Les.

“I Want It Now” features lead vocals by Ler!  I don’t know that we’ve ever heard him sing anywhere before.  He doesn’t have a great voice (or he’s trying to be bratty, it’s hard to tell), but it’s such a welcome change to have someone else singing on the disc.

My favorite track is “Goodbye Wonkites” which has a very cool Pink Floyd feel.  The instrumentation is the same as “Hello” but the guitars have this great echo, and the chords that Ler is playing (yes normal chords) sound very much like Pink Floyd to me.  It’s a cool instrumental.

Even though I don’t love this soundtrack, I’d still like to see the stage show that they create for it, which I imagine is just insane.

And that brings an end to the Primus land–a month’s worth of Les and the boys.

That there’s a bad egg.

[READ: January 29, 2015] “Apple Cake”

This story is about a woman who has just entered hospice care.  And yet surprisingly it is not all that sad.

Jeanne was the youngest sister.  Her to older sisters Sylvia and Helen are very different but both were quite upset that it was their baby sister who would die first (even though none of them was actually young).

Since she was in hospice, the family was gathered around pretty much all the time.  The sisters were there constantly and her sons and nieces and nephews all took time off to pay their last respects.  But Jeanne lingered–despite doctors saying that she had only a day or two left, she continued to seem rather strong and coherent.

And really this story turns out to be more about the fighting between the healthy sisters–and their children.  Will they defer to Jeanne’s wishes–like when she asks for a bagel even though she hasn’t eaten solid foods in weeks?  And, most importantly, will they honor Jeanne’s wishes about her death–she wants no funeral, no ceremony, not even a burial.  Or will they follow tradition and have a rabbi preside over her.

And so this fight comes down to Helen and Sylvia.  Even though Jeanne has made her intentions clear to her sons, Helen and Sylvia have always been at odds and will continue to be so: “There was simply the great divide between them: Helen told the truth, while Sylvia tried to paper over everything.”  Helen is insistent that Jeanne see a rabbi and have a proper burial.  But Sylvia and everyone else finds it disrespectful.

And in her grief, Helen begins baking.  After all, she was the baker of the family–Sylvia hadn’t baked in years because her husband was diabetic.  She made apple cake (which was pretty good), almond cookies (which were less so) and a pecan bar which was, well, left uneaten.  And so the food starts piling up, because Helen never threw anything away.

Then one day Sylvia brought in an apple cake, warm and fragrant.  Even Jeanne remarked on how good it smelled.  Which gets Helen indignant.

“It’s my recipe,” Helen said, “I gave that recipe to Sylvia twenty years ago.”
“Yes I remember,” Jeanne said, “she bakes a very good apple cake.”
“I bake the same one!  I brought you apple cake last week.”
“I know, but I like hers better,” Jeanne said.

Eventually Helen convinced the rabbi to see Jeanne.  The rabbi is friendly and accepts that Jeanne is an atheist–Jeanne was looking for a fight but he was very kind.  And she even concedes that she could be buried in her plot.

When Jeane eventually dies, they agree to a simple ceremony.  Helen tries to make it more religious–saying that Jeanne agreed to it–but she is unable to hijack the ceremony.  Sylvia is off course pot off by Helen’s behavior and gets rather sulky.

At the gathering afterward, they agreed it would be catered and no one would bring baked goods.  But as the day dragged on, there suddenly came the smell of fresh-baked apple cake.  The nuclear option had been pulled.

I really enjoyed this story and the inner workings of passive aggressive family troubles.  And the way that Jeanne seemed to supervise the whole thing.

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I didn’t know a lot of the music mentioned in this book, but like most people, I know and enjoy “Für Elise.”  It’s an interesting choice of music to end such a crazy chaotic story, although I suppose there are some less than peaceful moments ion the song too.  It’s a shame Bast never gets to play it.

I find the most engaging moments to be when the lone high note comes before the reintroduction of the initial melody.  The middle, minor key section that sounds kind of menacing is also neat–a big switch from the delicate opening.

Why not take 3 minutes and enjoy it now:

[READ: Week of August 20, 2012] JR Week 10

The end is here.  After endlessly interrupted conversations, the book has actually hit a period.

As the last week ended, Bast was being dropped off at the hospital by Coen.  And the bulk of the end of the book takes place in the hospital.  There are many similarities between this book and a big 60s/70s comedy romp, and here is another one–all the characters seems to pile into one location for a big finale.  (Technically the finale happens at Bast’s house, but you get the idea). (more…)

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