Friday, June 17th, 2005

Tears Are Not Enough

For the record – I have no problem whatsoever with Live 8. Nor do I have a problem with Canadian music. And I don’t even bear any emnity towards the good people of Barrie. But put all together, I can’t help but shudder.

So as you probably know, Sir Bob announced yesterday that we’re getting a Live 8 show here in the Big Smoke on July 2 (even though he’s openly said he didn’t want to and it’s just to put pressure on the government. They’re going to rock us into shame! Thanks Bob, we love you too). This has bumped my interest level in the whole thing from non-existant to barely-existant – after all, now that it’s happening in my burg, I can’t help but pay a little more attention. The way the media is going to be all over this like a fat kid on Smarties, I won’t have a choice.

The official announcement isn’t until Tuesday, but the rumours have been flying fast and furious over the past day and it’s fun to speculate. Here’s some of the key rumours going around – the event will be happening at Molson Park in Barrie, an hour north of Toronto proper. The Rolling Stones whom everyone expected to take part since they do love doing benefit shows here apparently have scheduling issues and may not appear. Annoying Canucks Bryan Adans and Billy Talent are confirmed and the likes of Barenaked Ladies, Jann Arden and Our Lady Peace are also expected to be pencilled in, as well as usual suspects such as Blue Rodeo and Rush.

Know what all this says to me? LAME. First the venue – Barrie? Come on, all the other countries are having their shows in the heart of the cities hosting them. We have to farm ours out to cottage country? What’s wrong with Downsview Park, where they held SARS-fest last year and POPE-fest the year before? Is there some immovable logistical issue that’s preventing it from happening there, because that’s the only excuse I’d accept.

Second – the lineup. It was only when trying to think of who they could have on the bill that I realized how wide the chasm between the the Canadian indie and mainstream worlds are. On one side, acts like Broken Social and Arcade Fire (neither of whom are booked for anything on the 2nd) are world renowned within a certain demographic. Let’s face it, in the indie world, Canada rules. But as I mentioned in my little blurb in Salon last week, this isn’t about hip and their audience isn’t necessarily the crowd Live 8 wants to appeal to. For that, you need to dip your feet in the mainstream. I didn’t really get why people were complaining before (and instigating the Salon piece), but now I sort of get it.

So who are the Canadian artists with an international profile? Barenaked Ladies? Shania Twain? Alanis? Celine Dion? None of these are acts I’d feel any nationlistic pride for – they’re more like punchlines. Nickelback? I’d sell my passport on eBay first. Philadelphia has already bogarted Sarah McLachlan. Neil Young would certainly be respectable but I’m not sure how his brain is doing. After those names, we’re left with acts that are big in Canada but who have little international profile. I realize it’s not supposed to be comparing lineups with other countries, but it’d be nice to be in the same league. The Tragically Hip, Sloan and Our Lady Peace are no U2 or Coldplay. A Guess Who reunion or Bill Priddle rejoining Treble Charger won’t make headlines the way Roger Waters getting onstage with Pink Floyd again will. Sadly, we’ll probably have to count on the international ringers to make the Canadian show worthy of bragging rights – but again, who’s left? I guess the point of all this rambling is why doesn’t Canada have any international-calibre acts who aren’t cringe-worthy?

And yes, I realize this has just been a MASSIVE exercise in the good ol’ Canuck inferiority complex. Whatever. All I’m saying is that while there’s no way on earth they could assemble a bill that would make me actually want to attend this thing (not that I could – no cellphone = no text messaging lottery), it would be nice if they could at least put one together that didn’t make me feel embaressed. Nickelback. Just watch. Maybe they’ll get Mitsou to come out of retirement or reassemble the whole Northern Lights lineup. Mike Reno’s not doing anything these days.

But really, it doesn’t matter. No matter who ends up on the bill, tens of thousands of people will attend, everyone will pat themselves on the back for being socially conscious, there will be dubious tangible benefit to those the concerts are meant to help and life will go on. Oh-bla-di, oh-bla-da. Cynical much? Sure. But now I’ve gotten that all out of my system and am back to not caring. Aaaah.

And now for something completely different.

John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats explains The Sunset Tree to WWeek, song-by-song, in haiku form.

Via Largehearted Boy.

Transform Online talks to the thus far ignored member of the Dinosaur Jr reunion, drummer Murph.

How Stuff Works gives you the low-down on Christian Bale’s batsuit. I remember seeing Adam West’s costume at the EMP in Seattle. The utility belt was made out of felt! Bale’s is better.

24 – The Motion Picture. The ticket better come with a catheter. Talk about missing the point…

This Personality Disorder Test has made for a better MySpace “about me” than anything I could have written myself. Maybe that’ll scare off all those people wanting to be my friend. What’s that? You didn’t think I was such a headcase? Oh my goodness gracious, YOU HAVE NO IDEA.

np – Calexico / Hot Rail

By : Frank Yang at 8:11 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. suckingalemon says:

    thankyou. we did the lame thing at sarsstock, except we got the flaming lips, ac/dc, and the stones to make it worth it.

    but im sure alot of people will trek up to barrie to see celine dion and bryan adams. im just glad that it will be up in barrie so if we are anywhere in the vicinity of toronto we won’t have to hear it.


  2. Gary Campbell says:

    I can only hope that the Spoons, Honeymoon Suite and Platinum Blonde re-form for the Live 8 concert. And the Shuffle Demons. Oh! And Moxy Fruvous! That’ll show world hunger! It will be quaking in its boots! But agreed, this whole thing stinks of LAME.

  3. Frank says:

    you joke, but I was actually talking to a guy about getting Mark Holmes to re-assemble Platinum Blonde for the occasion. It’d be better than Bryan Adams, anyway.

  4. tbone says:

    Micheal Jackson! then i’d go. and what about bran van 3000, they should do something already. you right though, it’s going to take a miracle for this show not to suck ass.

  5. PG says:

    honestly-and this is subjective of course-but all the lineups outside of London look pretty weak as it is. that said, canada should still pass on the show IF it’s going to be a lame duck.

  6. brian says:

    to be honest, i’m down w/ bryan adams. and shania. and i’d be so there if celine was there. celine!

  7. TS says:

    Hmmmm…BSS and Arcade Fire? Good for the Indie-Yuppies I suppose. Apparently Billy Corgan is in town, so why not a Smashing Pumpkins reunion? How about some of our more interesting acts like K-OS, Buck 65 and Jully Black? Nelly Furtado is all about the World Cup, no? What about Robbie Robertson – a true Legend? All this talk about how WHITE Live8 is, why doesn’t Canada show that it is different? I love my white man bands as much as the next Canadian, but I think it’s time to appeal to a younger set to get the message across. Billy Talent and Our Lady Peace (of shit) are going a bit of the way, but let’s see some more diverse acts.

  8. bozairzere says:

    too bad joni mitchell is retired, from music that is.

  9. Quinn says:

    if she came out of retirement that would actually be exciting though… maybe the Band?

    All in all though, I’m glad I live out West so I can continue ignoring the whole event.

  10. supernewt says:

    the state of cancon and the music industry in canada makes me throw up a little in my mouth.

    sure…you have to throw a few of those huge-name sure to bring in thousands of eager concertgoers bands, but It would have been nice to see a small percent of the bill devoted to developing artists.

    I second the buck 65 idea that would have been fantastic. Smart-rap does exist, and it’s name aint fiddy.

  11. Frank says:

    yeah, good choices TS – I definitely support there being a larger urban quotient to the lineup. I didn’t want to suggest anyone though, since I don’t know boo about that world of music. i probably would have just embaressed myself…

    Maestro? Snow? Do kids listen to Kish anymore? He was from Oakville, you know. He may have rhymed the world in eighty days, but he always came home to Oakville.

  12. Maggie says:

    Pink Floyd/ Treble Charger reunion comparison is gold.

    I vote Sweatshop Union and Swollen Members. At least they’ll make it fun.

  13. shoma says:

    Kish? You’ve been waiting a very long time to namecheck him, haven’t you?

  14. graig says:

    maybe the 24 movie will just be called "2"

    I remember there was a Johnny Depp movie with Chris Walken that used a "real time" thing— "Nick of Time" I think.

  15. thomaus says:

    Actually, if you want a current Canadian band with popularity world-wide, you could mention Simple Plan. Personally, I’d rather see Green Day in that genre, but I guess that shows my age.