Friday, April 24, 2009

Construct a Burning Hell, Barzin!

The atmosphere of this show was jubilant, as it seemed more like a party of close friends than a concert. The crowd consisted of all sorts of local artists and members of the local scene, and the Burning Hell really played off of this to great effect. It was a fantastic show - perhaps the best Burning Hell show I've seen (which is saying a lot, not just because I've seen them many times, but because their standard show is a sight to behold!). It's difficult to describe the friendly, and light-hearted atmosphere in the room. An attempt would mention...lead-singer Mathias' ad-libbed pretend-dialogue with a rabbi during the opening number "Dance, Dance, Dance" that remarked on his love of Guelph and its residents, mentioning many in attendance by name. Carrying on they played most of the new album (since it was another CD release) including highlights such as Dancer/Romancer, Everybody Needs a Body (to Be Somebody), When the World Ends. Mathias then remarked that even in their hometown of Peterborough they wouldn't get as warm a response to that many new tracks. It wasn't difficult to enjoy these tracks, as not only were we treated to clever and amusing lyrics, but the full 8-piece ensemble were simply exuding energy which became contagious. Local violinist (and Magic frontman) Geordie Gordon was especially excited, dancing freely and surprising even his own band by sneaking sidestage to change into a severely undersized, striped, blue, one-piece, shorts/t-shirt that looked utterly hilarious. The backing female, Jill Staveley, wowed the crowd everytime she used her amazing voice. Overall the entire band was joyous and played a stellar set that eventually included some old favourites such as Grave Situation Pt. 2, and The Things that People Make. Nobody wanted to the show to end - not even the band as they returned for a medley encore. Hilariously this consisted of Nick Ferrio (bass) singing a slow and stupendous version of Destiny's Child Bills, Bills, Bills, the intro to Madonna's Like a Prayer, before the Burning Hell original, Last Will and Testament, which garnered a great singalong, leaving everyone absolutely beaming.
[Note: A couple bands opened, but this post is in reverse order]

Barzin played a more conventional folk rock set, with a full band backing including a double bass, full-blown xylophone and a lap steel (on the final track), in addition to standard guitar/drums/bass. The lead singer, Barzin himself, controlled the set by singing mostly personal narratives - many off the album for which this was a CD release. Banter consisted mostly of mixed memories of the time Barzin had lived in Guelph, while pointing out that Nick Zubeck who was backing him (and is a solo artist in his own right) had recently moved to Guelph. While not mind-blowing, it was aquieter enjoyable set that ended with a Leonard Cohen cover.

Stepped right into a male-female Nova Scotian duo, Construction-Destruction, covering a wide range of songs from an assortment of arrangements. If you made a still-photo montage of each song you'd find each one was entirely different as they cycled through drums, guitar, and bass, while also trading lead vocal duties. From the grungy electric guitar and drums, to a quaint guitar/female-sung song with a french chorus, they really did run the gamut - and there was goodness to be taken from it.

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