And The Hits Just Keep On Comin'

And The Hits Just Keep On Comin'

A Music Journal Collective Effort

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans
Live @ The Horseshoe Oct 19th  

Most of the time, in music, the big name players get all the glory. Larger
record labels have larger distribution deals and hire marketing teams to
market their artists on a 24 hour basis. These big name players (and usually
by little fault of their own) end up hogging the airwaves, the grant money,
the video circuit, the big award shows, and just generally steal the spotlight. 
Last night, it was nice to see an underdog, hard-working, fifth business
Ottawa musician of the Canadiana scene take back some of that glory 
(and on a tuesday night, at that!) - The Horseshoe Tavern was packed to the 
gills as Jim Bryson (sideman guitarist & keyboardist for such esteemed 
acts as Kathleen Edwards, The Tragically Hip and many more) laid bare his
newest release 'The Falcon Lake Incident' which was written and 
recorded with none other than Can-rock Winnipeg kings The 
Weakerthans. Showing a varied range that wavered between floaty, picking
folk tunes to balls-out, drive-beat rock, Bryson seemed genuinely thankful
on stage and mentioned many times that he was thrilled to see so many
people out. 
More than that, though, was the obvious notion that The Weakerthans,
taking a break from the headspace of playing their own music, thoroughly
enjoyed themselves as smiles, nods and random tambourine solos
erupted from the band as they backed Jim up with authority. At one point,
a rowdy crowd member shouted 'play some WEAKERTHANS!' and John
Samson (who played a little keys and mostly sang harmony throughout
the set) gave the audience member a 'shoo' sort of motion with his hand
as if to say 'Get lost. That's not why we're here.'
Showing more of their true, good-natured colours, Jim and Weakerthans
guitarist Stephen Carroll even took their guitars off in a flash to lend a hand 
as they saw a girl in the front row begin to pass out. Luckily, a friend of
mine (who just happens to be a doctor) was able to help the temporarily
frazzled girl back to her feet. After a moment, the guitars went back on,
and the set continued without a hiccup. Ending things raucously with
the horn-blasting 'When The Wishes Pile Up', the crowd could not get
enough of the energy that was blasting from the stage. 
Having recently interviewed Jim for the magazine I write for (which you 
can read here) and having grown up in the same city, I almost felt overcome 
with pride for him in the success of the night and the the sonically golden
live presentation of his new record. The whole night was basically a
a statement showing that when friends help other friends, good things


Anonymous Anonymous said...

rock solid review. what a show and a half, it was.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous charn said...

Awesome review, awesome show.
This concert solidified my ideas about these two musical forces each being performer/songwriting powerhouses and extremely important to Canadian music, though at times underrecognized.

Having said that, I think they know the high quality of what they do, they are not surprised at people liking their stuff - they are just relaxed about it, excited at an appreciative crowd and can let loose and enjoy. I felt that similar surge of being "proud" for lack of a better word, not in a-knock-on-the-shoulder-good-for-you-kid! way, but rather like at the end of the movie where the the hero, who you know was going to win, does win. These are the kind of guys I want making my music these days in Canada - guys who wan rule the small stage one night and the big one the next and stay aw shucks about it. Like a good hockey defenceman that can haul ass and pound faces (in a musical sense) and still be smiles and sign the puck at the end of the game for the kids.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good hockey analogies Charn! Your words are slick like a newly hosed Winnipeg rink in February.
awesome article - its AWESOME to see Bryson gettin' some public praise.

10:03 AM  

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