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Sufjan Stevens and the Illinoise

  • 10th Sep, 2005 at 3:21 AM

I had a great sushi dinner with elliptic_curve and pphaneuf. We went to Kanda Sushi, which had horrible fish during the week, but Friday night was apparently a good day to get fresh fish. It was utterly fresh and wonderfully flavourful. Yum!

Originally uploaded by sfllaw.
I'm continuing my exploration of musical trends by going to concerts with Julie. We showed up at La Tulipe about an hour late for the concert.

Outside, there were people smoking and talking, so we figured it wasn't too bad. We were accosted by a scalper but I just walked past him like the bottom-feeder he is. We went in to the smoke-filled club, which is interesting because it's a non-smoking place, and sat down at a free table. This turned out to be a good idea because the show was sold out, so that the hallways were filled to capacity.

We had missed the opening act, and soon after we sat down, Sufjan Stevens and the Illinoise got up on stage to enthusiastic applause.

It was about then that I noticed the σ of people's ages in the room was really huge. In front of me sat a boy of twenty with combat boots, piercings and tattoos drinking beer from a plastic cup. Beside him sat his father with a bushy beard and a cardigan. This wasn't an isolated incident: these people were everywhere! Sure, there were young couples going to this show, but there were sure a lot of mature fans there. The dad in front of me seemed to be really getting into the music!

Sufjan Stevens
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.
I didn't really understand all the cheerleading that went on in Sufjan's show. Halfway through, I realised that this band was a reincarnation of The Patridge Family — obviously an episode where they visit Canada and tell us how great the United States is. He cheered out names of towns in Illinois while the girls on stage looked cute and waved about pom-poms. And sang songs that were wholesome as mother's milk, that were more patriotic than "one nation under God." Normally, I don't mind this sort of thing, but this guy's a folk singer. Shouldn't he be singing about loss and war and life and death?

The technical aspects of his music were done pretty well. Banjos, acoustic guitars, and trumpets have always been pleasing to my ears. Sufjan's voice was clear and crisp; his female backups made pleasantly perky sounds. And the crowd really seemed to enjoy themselves, so who am I to complain? But I didn't like his sound enough to compel me to buy his work. Or stand about forever around the merchandise table. I have to admit though, his band looked like they were having tons of fun on stage.

Afterward, we walked past a Tim Hortons, and saw lots of kids inside that looked like they just came out of an indie-folk concert. We poked our heads in and confirmed they were Ontarians trying to get a soup-in-a-bread-bowl and a large double-double. Ontarians are funny with their habits, I have to admit. I understand that they had come all the way down to Montréal, because Sufjan was not playing in Toronto!


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
10th Sep, 2005 16:55 (UTC)
No, no, Sufjan was SOLD OUT in Toronto from a million years ago. He's even playing in a church there, I think.
12th Oct, 2005 21:11 (UTC)
sufjan is a genius
No one is obligated to like music just because I like it. Nonetheless, Sufjan is considered the first great American composer of the 21st century. Don't believe me? Check out what meta critic has to say about him. http://www.metacritic.com/music/artists/stevenssufjan/illinois

We saw him in Champaign, Illinois and it was an amazing show. They did the same Cheerleading show, but that's because it was all about the Fighting Illini, the biggest of the big 10 schools in Illinois.

Trivia: His album had a picture of Superman on the cover because of Metropolis, Illinois. DC comics made them take it off the cover in subsequent releases. I have a first printing with Supe-baby on it and it's not for sale.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )