Live music galleries: David Byrne [2018]

(I got the idea for this series while sifting through the ‘piles’ of digital photos on my laptop. It occurred to me to share some of these great pics from some of my favourite concert sets from time to time. Like my ‘Vinyl love’ series, these posts will be more photos than words but that doesn’t mean I won’t welcome your thoughts and comments. And of course, until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts of page.)

David Byrne and brain, live on atage, September 2018

Artist: David Byrne
When: September 13th, 2018
Where: City stage, CityFolk Festival, Ottawa
Context: So I wrapped up my best albums of the year series a few days (and it already feels like years) ago so I thought I’d squeeze in one last post before the end of the year. And what better to focus on but my favourite live set of the year. Yes, David Byrne. I’ve already mentioned on these pages how surprised I was by his performance when I posted about how he managed to squeeze his way into my top ten albums for the year. I’ve been a fairweather Talking Heads fan over the years, loving some songs obsessively but never to the point of investing in more than their greatest hits compilation and certainly not enough to check out much of Byrne’s solo material. So when he was added to Ottawa’s CityFolk, I was curious but I only decided that I would see him for sure in the handful of days leading up to his set. I had no idea what to expect but it definitely wasn’t what I witnessed that night. It was a complete performance. Art and pop joined as one. Minimalist stage set but one that changed the idea of concert, a new idea of space. He had an incredible 11 piece band backing him but even they bucked against the standard ideas for what concert performers should be, equal parts marching band and stage actors. All dressed in matching grey outfits, all movements choreographed, and none tied down by elaborate drum kits or cords of any kind. Byrne was both ringmaster and lead player, running through a catalogue that pulled from his Talking Heads days, solo work and collaborations, with, of course, special focus on his latest album, “American utopia”.
Point of reference song: I dance like this

David Byrne and Chris Giarmo
The killer percussion section
David Byrne, of course
Bobby Wooten, David Byrne, and Angie Swan
David Byrne and the band
Daniel Freedman, Mauro Refosco, Davi Vieira, Gustavo Di Dalva, Angie Swan, and Karl Mansfield
Chris Giarmo, Tendayi Kuumba, Angie Swan, and David Byrne
Mauro Refosco, Davi Vieira, Daniel Freedman, and others
David Byrne and Bobby Wooten
David Byrne close up

Happy new year everyone!

Live music galleries: 54-40 (unplugged) [2018]

(I got the idea for this series while sifting through the ‘piles’ of digital photos on my laptop. It occurred to me to share some of these great pics from some of my favourite concert sets from time to time. Like my ‘Vinyl love’ series, these posts will be more photos than words but that doesn’t mean I won’t welcome your thoughts and comments. And of course, until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts of page.)

54-40 unplugged at CityFolk 2018

Artist: 54-40 (unplugged)
When: September 14th, 2018
Where: City Stage, CityFolk Festival, Ottawa
Context: If you’re Canadian and came of age in the 80s or 90s, the chances are excellent that you’ve heard of 54-40. I, myself, have never considered myself a huge fan but always enjoyed their music when I heard it on the radio, which was considerably often, given Canadian Content rules. I remember hearing them from my back deck, shortly after moving to Ottawa in 2001, when they were playing an outdoor show downtown and I realized that I knew a great deal of their songs. So when they were added to this year’s CityFolk, I flagged their set as one to see and well, it was a great time. It was an “unplugged” show, which meant they rearranged and performed their tunes with acoustic guitars, banjos, mandolins, and fiddles rather than electric guitars, and of course, their hits made up three quarters of the set. Thus, it was a rollicking singalong.
Point of reference song: Baby ran

Neil Osborne of 54-40
Daniel Lapp performing with 54-40
Brad Merritt of 54-40
Dave Genn of 54-40
Daniel Lapp sporting a CityFolk 25 shirt
Matt Johnson of 54-40
Dave Genn on the mandolin
Neil Osborne on the banjo (performing ‘Baby ran’)