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The White Stripes

  • 19th Sep, 2005 at 12:05 PM

Saturday evening, I managed to catch a bus to Jeff's place and rang his doorbell. Just in time for our appointment. He finished hanging up some clothes, put on a coat, and we were out in the cold and damp.

We ducked into the métro station, and got off at Jean-Talon. There, we sat down at Restaurant Bombay Mahal. As we sat down, Jeff asked me if I already knew what I wanted. I really wanted to see the menu, but he pointed out that service at this restaurant was typically a little slow.

We eventually got moved to a different seat, and had menus delivered. We decided on some food, eventually flagged down someone and made our order. From the looks of it, it's completely family-run, with the wait staff doing the cooking at the same time. No wonder everything is so disorganised!

We had bhindi masala and channa masala with roti, naan, and bismati rice. The okra was nice and crisp, but it was served in a pool of oil. The garbonzo beans were a little underdone, but the sauce was quite nice. Both dishes were salted too heavily. The breads were fairly well done, but not impressive; and the rice had been sitting in a steam tray too long. All these complaints would normally add up to a very poor review, except for the fact that everything was dirt cheap. Including the drink that I had, the meal came out to $23 after tax. For two people, this is pretty impressive.

I think I will consider them more for delivery than for dining in. The decor and service are not particularly worth it, and they are quite far away from me.

The Greenhornes
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

After stuffing ourselves with food, Jeff and I headed back to the métro. We made our way to Lucien l'Allier, where we eventually found the billeterie at le Centre Bell. There, we picked up the tickets that I had ordered on-line, and made our way through the front entrance. Due to some extra walking, I managed to avoid checking in any of my bags, and we made our way towards our seats.

The opening band, The Greenhornes, had already started playing. Neither Jeff and I thought they were incredible, but I suppose they were palatable. They didn't get much of an applause, so they quickly left the stage and let the stagehands rearrange things.

Looking about the stadium, Jeff and I had trouble figuring out the demographics. It looks like twenty-somethings were in wide attendance. But also forty-somethings who brought along their teenaged children. I guess rock and roll really isn't about fighting the man any more.

A cloth backdrop fell from the catwalks, the lights went on the stage, and two people walked on. Jack picked up a guitar and Meg sat down at the drums and started playing without missing a beat. We couldn't see much, even though our seats were in front of the stage, because they had set up a rather large pit. I managed to eke out a couple of reasonable photographs, though.

The White Stripes
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.
Jeff borrowed some earplugs from me, which were pretty important since Jack left his guitar running in feedback between songs. Since we were fairly close to the front, we got a nasty kick whenever Meg started drumming violently. The White Stripes are definitely a garage rock band, with very little in the way of performance niceties. Like, oh, segues between songs.

Meg got to sing and bang on some timpani, but the show was mostly monopolised by Jack. It's too bad, since she's got a very clear voice with very good rhythm. Where as he seems to flail around with his guitar a lot and scream into a microphone. He was definitely raspier at the end of the concert than at the beginning.

Halfway through the show, they both left the stage and had the audience clapping for a good three minutes. They were also big teases: technicians dressed up like Jack would come on stage, adjust something, and leave. Eventually, they both came back on, but by that time many people had tired of clapping.

The rest of the show was pretty fun, although audience participation didn't really happen until the end. That's when they whipped out the crowd-pleasing favourites I guess. People in front started standing up, clapping, and eventually dancing. I looked into the pit below, and only the people really close to the stage were waving their arms and dancing about. There were a couple of crowd-surfers, so at least some people were doing irresponsible things.

After the show, we sat around for a while and talked about how many people attended. We guestimated at least five thousand, which would make the takings at least a quarter-million dollars. Jeff presumed that's why they could cart around a marimba that was only used for about thirty seconds. Eventually, the staircases had cleared out enough for us to leave. We made our way to Hurley's where we chanced to meet evildrgo and his friends (Dave, Laura, and Darcy) sitting near the door. We sat down, had a great chat until 3:00, whereupon we stumbled to a fast-food joint and ordered vegetarian burgers. Then we sat in the courtyard of the Anglican Cathedral, picnicing under the stars.

I have to say that going to concerts is fun, even if I don't enjoy the music as much as everyone else. I've figured that live concerts just don't sound very good, so one should go to ones where you'd meet interesting people or experience novel things. Or learn all the words and sing along in your head. Comparing my experience with Galean's was something educational that I did after I got home.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
19th Sep, 2005 16:18 (UTC)
Very cool that you also went to see The White Stripes. I haven't gotten around to writing my review yet, but suffice it to say that it will be a very enthusiastic one :-)
19th Sep, 2005 16:47 (UTC)
I guess it's a defining "feature" of the band that Jack preens and struts while Meg just bangs on those drums all day long. With albums like Get Behind Me Satan getting a lot more complex and experimental than the classic garage blues/folk of their first few albums, there's some worry that Jack will outgrow his sister.
19th Sep, 2005 16:51 (UTC)
I have it on good authority that SOME people were doing irresponsible things at the show, because they came to Brutopia afterwards, bragged about the crack they smoked there, tried to roll a joint on our table, and got kicked out by the bouncers.
19th Sep, 2005 18:48 (UTC)
You are apparently used to going to different concerts than I. I was surprised that the first pot I could smell wasn't until after the encore...

But I'm from Vancouver.
19th Sep, 2005 20:06 (UTC)
Re: Crack
Huh? I didn't go to the show - I just heard people afterwards talking about the crack they smoked while they were at it.

Are you saying crack is smoked at most concerts in Vancouver? Or did you think I was talking about pot the whole time? (I don't see how that could be, since you added the title "Crack" to your reply.)
19th Sep, 2005 16:52 (UTC)
Hm, I have to say that if you think live concerts just don't sound very good you haven't hit that sweet spot of really really good live gigs. There are bands/artists that are far better live than they are on cd. Others suffer. I think a band like The White Stripes improves with the clinicalness of a studio. Part of their sound is based around minimalism, and that's hard to pull off when there are 5000 people yelling, moving around, dancing, whatever.
19th Sep, 2005 19:16 (UTC)
Yeah, it really depends on the artist. Sad to say it, but many popular studio artists simply can't play/sing and fix it in the studio with multiple takes, comped vocals, time correction, autotune, etc. I've never seen The White Stripes so I don't mean to suggest this is the case with them.

I agree that a lot of bands are better live - many have a lot more energy and you often get to hear different and original things than on the CD.
19th Sep, 2005 21:35 (UTC)
For this show, I think it was just because the audience was too big. There's no way a huge hockey arena with over five thousand people in it could be acoustically decent.
19th Sep, 2005 16:55 (UTC)
The White Stripes are coming down here next week. I'm going to the show largely to see The Shins, though, who're opening for them. I've never heard The White Stripes before, so it should be interesting to compare my experience.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )