It is the people of Montreal that make the Jazz Festival so good.
‘If you build it – they will come …’
Musicians from Zaire to Atlanta, each and every one of them, during the Jazz Festival or in the cold winter months, exude the same sentiment.
“Montreal has the best crowds …”
Maybe it is the winters which make us appreciate everything. Perhaps it is the lack of a Stanley Cup for twenty years. Does poutine have a magic elixir built in? Whatever it is – the people in Montreal love music.
“My two sons are playing with us on stage tonight – I think I am more terrified than they are …” Ed Robertson – The Barenaked Ladies
” Instead of saying they are amazing, people should say – I really enjoyed that band. I strongly suggest them. That way – you are not forcing your opinion on someone and letting them decide for themselves.” Susie Arioli
“You guys ( journalists) are very important for us. It is also very important to be true what you write. There is no point saying a show is good when it is not. How else can we decide who to bring to Montreal for the Jazz Festival?” Andre Menard – co-Founder of The Jazz Festival
” I had a Red Bull once. I thought I was going to die. I will never touch that stuff again!” Brian Ritchie – Violent Femmes
Gogh Van Go
Seventeen years is a very long time.
Think of it. In that time span – a person learns to crawl, walk, run and drive. A lot of growing up takes place, not to mention growing pains.
That is exactly what the band Gogh Van Go must be going through following their show at the Jazz Festival. Club Soda was not even close to half capacity yet one thing must be made clear – it was not the fault of Gogh Van Go.
Following a monumental return in December 2013, it appeared the time was right for Van Go. Um … not yet.
Sandra Luciantonio still has an incredible voice. Thrilling those in attendance with the power of a younger woman. In songs such as ‘ The Bed Where We Lie’ and ‘Sugar’ – Sandra’s passion for her craft shines through.
Her partner on and off stage – Dan Tierney, shares the passion and his love is demonstrated in the band’s (arguably) biggest hit; ‘Say You Will’. The duo’s original backing band, Yves Desrosiers (guitar), Jean Masicotte ( Keyboards), John Souranis (bass) and JohnMcColgan (drums) – all performed as a tight knit unit. They performed with familiarity.
Here lies the problem.
A band and songwriting team from the 90’s, sings and plays their instruments like they were in the 1990’s. As stated earlier, through no fault of their own and based on pure absenteeism, a gap existed at Club Soda. A gap which can be repaired the more Gogh Van Go propels itself into 2014.
The talent is there, the songwriting is there ( two new songs – ‘Sugar’ and ‘ Mama Needs a New Dress), the back-line of today’s alt-Pop is not there. All the songs performed would be awe inspiring moments if they were intertwined with a catalog which lay witness to a band evolving over they years. A ‘ look-back-at-the-beginning’ kinda thing. Preferably in black and white with Kennedy’s assassination headlines looming in the background.
This type of nostalgia plays well. The nostalgia which Gogh Van Go is performing does not. They are not old, they are not acting like people trying to make a buck. By all appearances and sounds – Gogh Van Go is a working viable group who have lost their way. A producer who is current would do wonders with Sandra and Daniel.
In other words – the ‘Tunnel of Trees’ cannot be seen for the forensic remains of the dated forest. Somehow – Gogh Van Go will figure it out. Somehow – Club Soda will fill out.
‘Too good To’ not to …
Mr. Costello …
Mr. Diana Krall.
Mr. Everything …
Elvis was in town on his current solo tour. A tour which left those in attendance guessing. Elvis not even allowing a reporter the luxury of knowing any songs which he was to play at the Jazz Festival during the press conference.
It was a forgone conclusion that at least “Alison’ would be played. Which it was. ‘Veronica” perhaps? It was …
Elvis over the years has become a parody in many ways. A parody of his punk years with The Attractions, a reasonable facsimile with tunes such as ‘Everyday I Write the Book’ and his incarnation into the world of Burt Bacharach. Costello is a chameleon who appears to evolve and work at top speed.
His concert as part of The Jazz Festival appeared rushed. The songs were played well yet it was difficult to not rid oneself of the feeling Mr. Costello had better places to be ( by Diana Krall’s side – for one).
Thank the music Gods Elvis has an acute sense of humor. A British sense of humor. Mocking himself numerous times – none more poignant than introducing one of his hits; ‘Everyday I Write the Book’.
” Because I like you …” Said Costello. ” I will play this song for you. I hate it. I wrote it it ten minutes and sadly – it became a hit. Now – I must play it all the time …”
That tune was rushed through. Others such as ‘Either Side of the Same Town’ and ‘ Watching the Detectives’ (both Elvis and the Attractions songs) – moderately so. As if Costello has turned the corner on the past. Nice but …what’s next?
Elvis did shine through on the covers he chose …
Nat King Cole’s ‘Walkin’ my Baby Back Home’; sung wistfully and soulfully by Costello. Singing and strumming his one man band into a place dear to him. The same could be said for his rendition of Robert Wyatt’s ‘Shipbuilding’. A nerve hit deep inside Costello. Moments when the show ‘slowed’ to a musical pace.
Costello is a storyteller. His tales and observations heightened during tunes such as ‘ Ascension Day’, ‘Ghost Train’ and ‘The Last Year of my Youth.’ No matter the rhythm of an Elvis Tune – there is something melancholy about Costello. Telling tales of his Grandfather’s excursion into America – side-splitting yet with a hint of sadness for another time. A pure reconnaissance of music from all genres.
The show displayed Elvis’ courage, depth and genius. His social conscience on display on ‘ Jimmie Standing in the Rain / Brother Can You Spare a Dime?’ His guitar playing on display all night. ‘ Come the Meantime ( a collaboration with The Roots), a display of keeping with the times.
Costello’s show was not perfect. A much more enjoyable experience would have had Costello with a backing band. Then again – with Elvis; who really knows?
A genius keeps them guessing …
Up Next … Burning Spear/ Sly and Robbie and Ginger Baker