Well, I don't know what you losers did last night, but I got to see my boyfriend live in concert!!!
Seriously, if you don't know him, shame on you: Hawksley Workman is a rock god, one of the most exciting, talented, quirky, and incredible singer\songwriters to come out of any woman's vagina, ever. I'd like to lock him in a closet with Joni Mitchell and a bottle of scotch just to see what would come out.
And it was my profound honour to be able to sit in the Harbourfront audience last night and enjoy him, because indeed, his live performance is among the best. He's got a swagger and an energy that are a thrill to watch, and I have rarely seen any musician connect so fully with his audience.
The event host kicked off the night by asking the audience who they were there to see - this was stupid of her. Of course hundreds of voices roared back Hawksley, the obviously answer, so if she wanted to alienate and embarrass the opening act, she did that quite well, I think.
The Stills are a newish band from Montreal and probably they didn't need to be reminded that they weren't the main event. I'm not a complete Stills neophyte, I do know a couple of their tunes, and it's decent stuff, although filling an hour's set seemed to be a stretch for them, and a couple of the songs seemed a bit derivative. I was, however, pleasantly surprised that they managed to sneak a french song in there. Plus, they eagerly convinced us of their hardcore-ness by drinking beer and saying 'fuck' onstage, and yet, I couldn't help but notice that their act started on time (to the minute) and really, what the hell kind of rock and roll show starts on time?
Now for the important part, which I know you're all waiting for:
Coolest haircuts, in ascending order:
2. guitarist\vocalist guy in the middle
3. keyboardist (I know he's wearing a hat, but still...I always like the keyboards guy, they're always so much more eclectic and untortured looking...and they rarely wear skinny jeans)
Also, one of the dudes seemed to struggle with the "talking to the audience" bits between songs - at one point he seemed to have forgotten what city he was in, and referred to us as "beach people" (the other guy corrected him - it's a harbour, not a beach) - and it's not like this is some sort of whirlwind U2 tour they're on.
At one point the drummer put down his sticks and picked up the maracas. It was a cool sound, but I think if I were a drummer, I'd be above playing the maracas - they just seem like the pussy of percussion, don't they? It's probably much harder to get laid from playing the maracas.
Anyways, as The Stills finished up, so did the sun. And while it set, the roadies got busy setting up for Mr. Workman, who had the self-respect not to start on time. That's how it's done. I mean, how else can you get an entire audience to start chanting your name? Nobody chanted for The Stills (though one guy kept waving his crutch and yelling Stiiiiiiiiiiiiiiills...I think he was the bassist's little brother). Oh, and during the intermission, this dude from Degrassi: The Crap Generation showed up, and it was funny how no one cared or hassled him, which is so Canadian (either that we're laid back, or that no one watches the shitty TV we make, you pick).
So Hawksley finally makes his appearance and he opens with Paper Shoes - excellent choice - always start off by informing the audience that "singing is about sexual confidence" (and better yet to let the audience fill that part in for you). And when he gets to the part about letting the "berry juice just slide out from in between your legs", some guy whooped his appreciation and I smiled the small smile I always do when I hear that part on my mp3.
At the end of the song he sniffed the air and said "I smell drugs" which was true, someone was bathing in eau de cannabis, and most were partaking in whatever the beer tent was selling, and I thought: I am among my people. And then it started to rain. No, it started to pour. I was among the lucky, the few closest to the stage who were under the canopy, and I think we all said a little prayer that no lightning would strike our huge metal structure as we all danced happily and wetly to the music we love so much.
And then we all booed the evil condo-dwellers who "hate rock and roll" and wanted to limit the concert to a pathetic 90 decibels. Instead of cranking the amp, we endeavoured the break the decibel barrier by singing along "like church" to You, Me and the Weather (fittingly, although the rain did stop and it was a beautiful night).
By this time it was fully dark outside (which is why I have no good pictures) and the light sculpture Pulse, also part of the Luminato festival, was sending spotlights up into the dark sky all schizo-like (apparently to the timing of the heartbeats of the people walking by), and Hawksley made some comment that Batman was being summoned to help us get louder, and then he slipped into a little SuperTramp and I guarantee you that we rattled the panes on those prissy condo-fuckers' windows.
And then he played one of my favourite songs, You and The Candles, his "political" contribution, apparently, and he prefaced it with the warning that he may forget the words (not that we'd let him), but that he didn't want to be Axl Rose (who used a teleprompter), but maybe envied his hairband collection. I can't even tell you how beautiful it was, and then Anger as Beauty...I've never heard it sound so ethereal, and then he morphed Jealous of Your Cigarette (Matt, I thought of you!) into The Who's Won't Get Fooled Again. It was awesome, as in, a sight to behold.
And when we all sang Smoke Baby together, I got shivers, and not just from the cool breeze coming off the harbour. No, it was magic, like a big group orgasm and no one could get enough. And when he sang Your Beauty Must Be Rubbing Off, I danced on a bench like no one was watching, not even the man who inspired it all.
So yes, it was a great concert. And in the end, I wasn't even disappointed that he left out a few of my favouritest songs because the set list was perfect as it was. And as the crowd left in one big mass, headed for a subway tunnel that's always too small for the crush of people trying to fit in it, we didn't even feel the claustrophobia because we were all still vibrating with the goodness.
And if I've inspired you to check out this Canadian icon (and for fuck's sake, I should have), check out:
-Even An Ugly Man (there is not a person on the face of this earth who won't fall in love with this song)
-No Sissies (the song I love to bounce around to; infectious in the good way)
-We Will Still Need a Song (this song + chilled white wine = the greatest inspiration I know, it's invigorating...and if you see me dancing down a sidewalk, chances are, it's this song making me do it)
-Smoke Baby (still one of the sexiest songs I know)
-Your Beauty Must Be Rubbing Off (feels good in the soul)
Happy music making.
Don't be a stranger to the danger that is kissing you.