Wednesday, July 21st, 2004

Hometown Blues

The Toronto Star ran this piece yesterday about what it’s like to be a youth in my hometown of Oakville, Ontario. I found the article abso-freaking-lutely hilarious, as the culture described is still as familiar and alien to me as it was when I was a bored-as-hell 19-year old Jokevillian a decade ago. Familiar because I know well what it’s like to drive aimlessly through the city looking for something – anything – to do. Driving from Sharky’s to Arnold’s to the Oar House to Philthy’s for no discernable purpose. Just killing time, really. Oh yeah. And it’s alien because, well, the folks profiled in the article were not the crowd I ran with, not even close. We weren’t affluent, though I won’t insult my parents by implying we were from the wrong side of the tracks or anything – we certainly weren’t. It’s just that by Oakville standards, well-to-do is REALLY well-to-do.

It’s funny that the girl in the article went to the same high school as me, because it was just that clique-y when I was there and I can probably tell you what clique she was in… God, the roles in high school never change, do they? Just the names and faces. I was one of the clique-less, I think. Unless geeks count as a clique… which they probably do. The Geek Clique. Dear Lord. The demographics mentioned in the article surprised me – 87% European descent and only 2.3% Chinese? That’s amazing because when I first moved there, there were a helluva lot fewer Asians than that. In high school the Chinese population seemed to increase exponentially as the influx of folks fleeing Hong Kong before 1997 began.

I’m surprised a single fluffy article in the Life section of the paper could spark such a wave of nostalgia in me. Actually, nostalgia is probably the wrong word – I have only the faintest yearning for my salad days, and that’s only because at that point I hadn’t quite fucked up my life yet. I don’t miss Oakville itself hardly at all, and it’s only hardly because most of my high school friends have stayed in the Halton region for reasons unfathomable to me (yeah yeah, cheap houses – they all own homes and I rent a basement. Thanks for reminding me). It’s true, you know. You can’t go home again – and for that I’m eternally thankful.

But enough about me – let’s talk about …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – their new album is out September 21. This news comes on the heels of the announcement that bassist Neil Busch has left the band on account of poor health. They hope this situation is only temporary, but from the sounds of it his condition is fairly serious. Best wishes for his speedy recovery.

The worst-named band in the UK The Music will be at the Mod Club August 23, tickets $16. Have you ever tried to do a google search for “music”? Yikes.

Franz Ferdinand just won’t stop touring. The Mercury Prize nominees (and odds-on favourites) will be back in Toronto for a third go-around this year at an even worse venue than last time – catch them October 1 at The Docks, tickets $25. Apparently tickets were supposed to go on pre-sale through their website yesterday, but I can’t find anything about it.

VH1 has Tanya Donelly’s latest record Whiskey Tango Ghosts available to stream in its entirety right now. It hits stores official-like next Tuesday. From Stereogum.

The Washington Post has taken the time to catalog and document all the types of annoying concert-goers out there. Read these over and if any of these have EVER been you, hang your head in shame. SHAME. They did miss my personal bugbear, though – a local variant on The Stander. Namely, those three or four 6’4″ frat boy-looking guys who make a point of standing right in front of me no matter what show I’m at. What is that all about? What’d I ever do to you? reports on the amount of sex, drugs and booze that one can expect to go down in the Olympic Village in Athens this Summer. Apparently Australians take the god for most boozed-up partiers at the Summer Games and Canadians hold the title for the Winter Games. Canada, represent!

Blue Jays slugger Carlos Delgado is getting shit from certain quarters because he doesn’t support the Iraq War and won’t stand while they play “God Bless America” during the 7th inning stretch. For voicing his opinion, a Puerto Rican playing in Canada has been branded “un-American”, “a member of Al Queda” and “a terrorist”. For the love of God people, what’s wrong with you? Have you seen his numbers this season? He’s not even terrorizing baseballs, the way he’s swinging the bat. How are people so flippin’ stupid? How how how.

Oh – my photos from my trip are now online, thanks to the simplicity of Folderblog. Check them out here – I didn’t realize how many shots of wildlife I’d taken. I’ve rejigged all my non-concert photo galleries to use Folderblog. Quite handy – I might reskin them eventually to match the rest of the site, but probably not. Lazy, y’know.

np – The New Pornographers / Electric Version

By : Frank Yang at 8:33 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Anonymous says:

    The Washington Post article forgot a few.

    The Aggressive Dancer – the people who start their own personal mosh pit no matter what the band sounds like. I can recall someone trying to crowd surf at a Beautiful South concert a long long time ago, and though it’s a rare occurance now, it still happens.

    And the Documentarians – Frank you and I "might" fit into this category. There are two types audio and visual. I’ll start with audio. The Audio Documentarian is recording the show and hauls out the gear. Here’s what I’ve seen people do (I have never done the following). Ask people around them to "keep it down" rather than moving, and try and interview people at the show while other bands are playing.

    The Photo Documentarian – Frank takes a bunch of photos, so I may be treading on shaky ground, but I’ve never seen him do any of the following. If he does, he really should stop. Excessive use of the flash, holding the digital camera above their head and spending most of the time looking at the LCD rather than the show. Ignoring the dirty looks of the band.

  2. Frank says:

    I like to think I’m not overly obtrusive with my photos. Not nearly as bad as another guy I see regularly at shows who travels with several cameras and huge flashes – I’ve seen him get into arguments with the artists after they’ve asked him to cut it out with the flashes. Anyone asked me to stop, I would immediately. I’ve gotten better at shooting without the flash, anyway. That said, I definitely need a better camera…

    And Mark Kozelek is the only one who’s ever made comment to me paying more attention to the LCD than him.

    Another variant on the dancer – the "I wanna dance so everyone else has to dance otherwise you’re ruining the vibe of the show" guy. Okay, that’s not as succinct as some of the others, but you know what I’m talking about. You wanna dance, fine. Don’t give me shit because I don’t. You’re so insecure that you can’t just enjoy yourself how you want to without involving those around you, that’s your problem.

  3. Jake says:

    Re: tall frat guys in front of you…

    This is the worst at Wilco shows, I’ve found. All those milk-drinking midwestern boys. At an extremely crowded Lounge Ax show back in 98, a big dude pushed his way in front of me and stood there the whole show. He was like 6’4, and I’m 5’8. By the end of the show I probably dumped three full beers on him with my "careless" bottle-pumping cheering. I feel a little bad about it now, because I was obviously being an obnoxious drunk…

  4. sam says:

    the stander: they must be reproducing like crazy ’cause i also always have one in front of me wherever i go.

    delgado: hadn’t heard about his stand on iraq or the shit he’s been getting but that’s crazy. what makes right-wingers call people who don’t support the President terrorists? seriously. i honestly can’t figure it out.

  5. tbone says:

    re: the standers

    Iā€™m 6’4 and go to lots of concerts. I hope I haven’t been one of those guys in front of you Frank, but I really make an effort to not move around the floor too much and stand at the back of the crowd when I get there, so the people who come in after me know what they’re up for.

  6. Gary Campbell says:

    LOL… Frank I forgot about Mark Kozelek singling you out in the crowd for taking so many pictures. It was pretty funny. Maybe, who knows, he’ll write a song about it.

    You guys left out a variation on The Talker… it’s the Pissed-off Girlfriend, who spends most of the show using body language (rather than words) making sure everyone around her knows that she’s having a bad time, that she’s bored, and the band, in her mind, is terrible. Sometimes they can become Drama Queens if left unattended for too long.

    I got stuck at a show beside a girl like this once (who was not MY girlfriend) and it’s like the whole show she spent giving off bad vibes… making the show difficult to enjoy!!

  7. KT says:

    The "talkers" really drive me insane, especially at the more quiet shows. For instance, at an American Analog Set show there was a group of about 5 schmoes standing practically 4 feet from the band talking the whole set as if they were in a normal bar. If you were planning on talking the whole time, why INSIST on being so close to the front? It’s hard to feel the mellow vibe of that music if you are trying to use your eyes to shoot daggers through the people in front of you…

  8. robot mark says:

    These are mostly exclusive to younger rock/punk shows:

    1. Shirtless Sweaty Dude: There’s always one guy, who refuses to wear a shirt and sweats like a leaky garden hose. Variation: Smelly Sweaty Dude, usually reeking of patouli.

    2. The Crybaby: The one at the front of the pit who is either too young/too small/too smart to like the crazy action. Can result in being lifted over the barricades in tears.

    3. The Knight: The guy who tries to protect girls from the pit.

    4. The self promoters: The kids who pass out flyers to their house parties at the show. Will offer you rides in their parents station wagons.

  9. Ken says:

    Hometown GTA nostalgia blues?

    Mine had it’s own book ( an full book!) published this spring: ‘Apple Blossoms and Satellite Dishes’. 50 yrs of Applewood Acres :)

  10. rooney says:

    Hey, just be glad that there is AT MOST two tall people at a downtown Toronto concert venue. I realize that being 6’3 is "above average" but I never felt like a monster until I moved to this city.

    Once, by coincidence, I ended up standing beside "the other tall guy" at a Unicorns show. I said to him "damn, it must suck to be the bastard standing behind us". His response was "well, i never asked to be tall, and i’m sure he’s never had to deal with airplane seats or trying to find pants that fit like we have".

    I don’t know what the point of that story is but rest assure no matter how polite I try to be, I will be heckled at every Toronto concert for being tall.

  11. Frank says:

    Everybody hurts, everybody cries.