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Bluesfest highs and lows

Mon Jul 18, 2005 Miss Vicky 

So I haven't been the most prolific blogger this past week, mostly because the Webgeek and I have been spending our evenings and most of the weekend at Bluesfest, getting our money's worth for our passes... We sure saw some great shows, though. Highlights for me were Spearhead (the show that was rescheduled after the skies opened on us on Wednesday night), Rufus Wainwright, pretty much everything at the Cuban Stage (last night's closing concert was amazing), John Prine and the Cornerstone gospel choir. More about the choir in a second....

As for the lows, well, Miss Vicky did experience the tiniest bit of Blues Rage during the Rufus Wainwright concert. Still flying from the Spearhead buzz, I was really enjoying Rufus' performance. Except for the two young women nearby who were so intent on their conversation they must have forgotten they were at a concert. God forbid the music you paid money to see should get in the way of your hilarious tale about the boyfriend you've just dumped, or the story your hairdresser told you on your last visit. Several people around them were giving them long, rebuking stares, but they were oblivious. I muttered a few complaints to the Webgeek, and the guy in front of me said "If you don't say something, I will". Of course he promptly moved out of earshot. Coward. Anyway, the last "So, like, i was at my hairdresser's..." finally got to me, and I became THAT PERSON. You know, the one who feels compelled to enforce decorum at public events, crushing everyone else's fun in the process? Yep, that was me. I was ever so polite as I suggested they take their conversation somewhere else. Really.

The rest of the concert was great, though.

Webgeek, on the other hand, got to play the Hero during the K-OS concert. It was a hot and steamy night, and the place was packed. We were about halfway back, where there was a bit more room to breathe (Miss Vicky gets a mite claustrophobic at times). About three quarters of the way through the concert, a woman came staggering out of the crowd toward us, looking a little dazed, and promptly fell into the Webgeek's arms. He stood there for a second, then gently brought her to the ground. Not to suggest that the Webgeek doesn't have that effect on women most of the time... but she was clearly suffering from heat exhaustion (after WestFest, I know the signs). Chefgeek was dispatched to get the ski patrol and folks around us brought water and ice from coolers.

Anyway, turns out she's a reporter for the Citizen. She wrote about her experience on the Opinion Page today, to caution people to take it easy during these hot, muggy days. Wise counsel. And we're glad she's feeling better.

(I'd link to the story but I'm afraid it's Subscriber-only)

Now, back to Cornerstone and the choir.

Hintonburg folks are familiar with the Cornerstone House of Refuge Apostolic Church. It's an old movie theatre on Wellington near Parkdale that now serves as a (pentecostal?) church. The building is fabulous, but tired. I've always been a little curious about the congregation - you can tell the church attracts people from all over. On Sundays that corner is filled with snappily-dressed families (some amazing hats on the ladies, let me tell you) and the old cinema billboard advertises gospel music, along with various messages relating to the promise of salvation.

Turns out, the choir there is amazing. Young and incredibly energetic, their voices are powerful and their music infectious. The Bluesfest crowd was really getting down, even in the downpour that started in the middle of their performance yesterday. The minister and director didn't miss a beat; he integrated the rain into his gospel message. It was pretty inspiring, even for a jaded agnostic like me. It was just great to see people doing something they love, spreading a positive vibe with pure joy. I loved it.

Some people were moved to reply

The Webgeek Jul 18, 2005 01:23 PM said:

Anyway, turns out she's a reporter for the Citizen.

Seriously? Do I get some sort of Citizen prize pack for saving her or something? I think a water bottle would be apropriate at least.

The Webgeek Jul 18, 2005 01:32 PM said:

Oh, and you forgot one of the lows being the Wednesday night downpour. It happened right in the middle of "the String Cheese Incedsent" and didn't let up for quite a while.

I mean watching a massive thunderstorm is pretty cool; but hiding out near the "outdoor facilities" wasn't exactly the best place to view it. Seriously. Standing there soaked to the bone inhaling the combined stench of hot porta-potty and wet hippy kinda gets to you after awhile. By 10pm, Miss Vicky and I descided to pack it in. The most disapointing thing about it though, was finding out the next day that Micheal Frante, the lead singer of Spearhead, was actually out playing in the puddles with the few fans who took the rain in stride and stayed away from the porta-potties. Not only that, he invited them off to crash Babylon and did a set there till midnight.

accidental altruist Jul 18, 2005 03:08 PM said:

yeah! Greg n' I were among the puddle prancers - but i didn't know it was Michael Franti we were dancing with until the next day! i figured he lead the chanting, stomping n' dancing because he happened to be the tallest in the group. my friend Vish joked it was cuz he was the guy that looked most like Jesus ;-)

the thunderstorm shenanigans ended up being my Bluesfest highlight.

Hugh Jul 18, 2005 07:58 PM said:

Hey Webgeek, you're a hero. Great!

But what the heck is a, "String Cheese Incedsent"?

Incedsent? I can hardly get my tongue around that.

I'm glad it isn't a word. Worse than February or Wednesday.

Oh! I've created a new blog on my favourite subject. http://hughphoto.tripod.com/No ise and don't forget to paste the URL back together after this site puts a space in it.

(did my webgeek thing for Hugh)

Special Patrol Group Jul 18, 2005 08:07 PM said:

Damn! Damn! Damn! I knew I should have gotten a whole festival pass! I just went for the first weekend and missed out on all that stuff! I love dancing in the rain. Chefgeek and I did it once at Bluesfest to "The Blues Brothers" (they actually went by another band name, which I forget now cuz, well, it was Dan Akroyd and the other Belushi...) and it was fun to get all muddy footed to the Blues =) Don't get me wrong though those four days last weekend were great, weather wise and music wise. Hoorah!
A great festival to be enjoyed by all. 3 Cheers!

And Miss Vicky don't feel so bad about being "THAT PERSON" in the situation you found yourself in anyone would feel the same. It's one thing to talk with someone at a concert every now and then...it's entirely different if the person's not there for the show and just there to chit chat while annoying other concertgoers... You gotta say something sometimes, and only the ones with let's call them "SOCIAL BALLS" can be the ones to let those people know they are affecting others' experience negatively.Otherwise they might never realise it and keep doing it!

The Webgeek Jul 18, 2005 10:56 PM said:

BTW, Hugh
Incedsent = Incident + my complete lack of spelling ability.

It drives poor Miss Vicky nuts.

:)

amckay Jul 19, 2005 07:44 AM said:

I love being "that person" if someone is doing something they shouldn't be doing. Parking in the wrong place. Tossing a ciggy butt on the ground. Littering in general. One of these days I'm going to get a punch in the mouth ... which I guess is part of the reason why I started practicing Aikido. :-) But hey, I just can't stand by while an injustice - however small - is being committed. Drives my wife crazy ...

Once about 2 years ago I was getting off the 417 at Parkdale (eastbound) and stopped at the lights at the bottom of the ramp. Suddently a pop bottle came flying out of the driver's window of the car in front of me, so I calmly got out of my car, picked up the bottle, opened the driver's door and confidently proclaimed to the 2 very stunned occupants that this was a $250 fine (I made up the amount as I wasn't sure) and threw the bottle back in the car and slammed the door.

Like I said, one of these days I'm due for a punch in the mouth ...

Miss Twiss Jul 19, 2005 01:14 PM said:

Hey guys, here's my take: While looking for the right spot to take in a performance at the Grassroots stage, I bumped into a friend. We kept on talking and talking and it wasn't until someone got up, out of their lawn chair, came over to us and asked us to take our conversation elsewhere. Now, if I weren't talking, I would have been watching the performance from that standing position. But I was talking, so I moved, and kept on moving to another stage. That night didn't do it for me, many nights didn't do it for me this year.
But what about two lazy-boy type lawn chairs at the front of the stage, like right - S M A C K dab in F R O N T - of the stage, for the New York Dolls to boot? These chairs took up the space of at least 15 people. The sitters were indignant. We asked them if they would fold up their chairs and let people stand closer to the stage, to get the full impact of the PUNK performance. They said no. The rock show started, my guy and I went wild, we bumped into one chair, that's what happens in a rock show, but it bothered her. She got up to, not talk to me, but to say, "No - No - No"(don't you love the complete sentences?), so I said to her "You're inability to let the people around you enjoy the show is bringing me down! You and your partner are bringing everyone around you down!" she told me to f***-off but it didn't bother me, I just repeated, "You're bringing me down!" until someone from behind folded up her chair and she was forced to stand and she was forced to allow other people enjoy a Punk Rock performance, they way it ought to be. Well mostly, except her guy was still sitting.
I find that really weird that we all have this sense of entitlement. But really, to take up so much space when people want to get as close as possible to the band, I find rude.

Miss Vicky Jul 19, 2005 01:40 PM said:

I'm with you on the festival chair issue. Even worse are the folks who set their chairs up for the day , right in front of the stage and then LEAVE THEM to go check out other performances.

I think the chairs took up way too much space at Blues fest this year. I can appreciate the need ofr some folks for a place to sit - but there should be desginated chair areas, they should be off to one side and not right in front of the stage. People should be encouraged to dance at Bluesfest, but too often the vibe of the chair-sitters makes it difficult.

The Cuban stage had it right - set up a dance floor right in front. Of course, on Sunday night people actually went and SAT ON IT. What the heck were they thinking?! Fortunately, they moved pretty darned quick once the salsa dancing started.

Your story reminds me of one of the times I went to see the Rocky Horror picture show. Someone actually got up and chided us for our "participation". We offered them a piece of toast, of course.

The Webgeek Jul 19, 2005 01:50 PM said:

For the record, while we were at the grassroots stage, Miss Vicky and I left our lazy-boy sized lawn chairs at home the night she turned into "that person", so it wasn't us that asked you to take the conversation elsewhere.

Also for the record, the lawnchairs smack up against the stage thing was very annoying -- especially for "headline" gigs. I really think there should be a line set up somewhere that clearly indicates "no chairs past this point". Miss V and I missed New York Dolls, as we were attending a wedding that night -- but the chairs would have remained home that night too. In fact, having been to a few punk concerts in my day, I'm suprised the crowd didn't simply pick the couple up, chairs and all, and depositted them off to the side like sacrificial virgins in their "we're so special" canvas thrones.

Sorry I missed the show.

In a similar vein; the last night of the fest at the Cuban stage, moments before the final act was about to start up, a few people wandered up to the PARKAY DANCE FLOOR set up right in front of the stage, lay down blankets ON THE PARKEY **DANCE FLOOR** and sat down -- as if this wide open space was left magically open for them, and only them, to sit down upon. However, unlike the punk crowd, the cuban salsa dancers were to have none of this and quickly started dancing almost on top of these people -- who beat a hasty retreat.

Trust me, you do not want to be on the business end of a well trained salsa-dancing couple.

The Webgeek Jul 19, 2005 01:51 PM said:

hmmm...

seems Miss Vicky and I were posting in tandem again.

amckay Jul 19, 2005 03:20 PM said:

A punk band at Bluesfest?

WTF?

Time for a name change, perhaps? Maybe I'll actually look at the lineup next year. I lived with a (delta) blues man for a year and frankly I've had a lifetime's exposure to depressing suicide music. But you're telling me I could have had a chance to slam a couple of pinheads in lawnchairs? Right on!

Miss Vicky Jul 19, 2005 04:09 PM said:

there was very little blues at this Bluesfest. we took in a real assortment of stuff. that's why I like it - I can indulge all the eccentricities of my musical tastes....

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