Paul Goodwin

Canada Fortnight Pt 2

Published on Wed 10 Aug 2011

So, the day after Dan Mangan's wonderful show at St Pancras Old Church, it was back to London to see The Weakerthans at The Garage, which I'd not been to since the Broken Family Band's last London show. We got to London fairly early and met in a pub round the corner where the cheapest beer was San Miguel so we had a couple and went round the corner at about 7.30, only to find that the doors hadn't opened. So we went back and had another, getting into the venue in time to see the last couple of songs of the support act. I don't remember their name, something about a racetrack I think. They sounded like they'd listened to Deserter's Songs by Mercury Rev a lot to me. The Weakerthans were as good as I'd been hoping and they weren't the comedown from the night before I'd been worried about. There were only a couple of problems with the gig. The first being that about halfway through someone came and stood with his heels touching my toes and the back of his head in my mouth and would do the same wherever I shifted to. The other was that I'd had a bit too much San Miguel so let that bother me more than it normally would. Anyway, they played everything I wanted to hear I think, and they have A LOT of really great songs. I very much want to see them again.

If you see me drinking San Miguel ask me politely if I really had no choice about it.

The final of my three Canada based gigs was Arcade Fire at Hyde Park exactly a week later. It started much earlier than any sensible gig would, but we got there in time for both opening act Owen Pallett and a massive sudden rain shower. Which was a shame. He was good though - probably my favourite of everyone that played. His constant switching of instruments and the fact we were watching it on the big screen rather than the stage made me think there were 2 identically dressed identical twins in the band for a while. 

The Vaccines were OK I guess. Each song sounded not only like a specific band but a specific song by a specific band, so that was fun. Beirut were good but I think I'd have liked them better if I'd known the songs because there seemed to be a lot of eastern european waltzing. I also spent a large portion of their set queuing for the loo and then a burger.

I've had a good time watching Mumford and Sons every other time I've seen them, despite the material. I might have been influenced by the hatred for them shown by the people I was with, but this felt like too big a show. They'd drafted in a couple of extra people to do some haphazard morris dancing and occasionally hit things, but that was a bit lost on us from the distance we were at. The banjo player's beard is looking really full and thick these days, which is nice to see. There were some new songs that were fairly indistinguishable from the old song, so everyone will either be pleased about that or hate them even more.

I don't know anywhere near as much by Arcade Fire as I probably should, mostly because I got their first EP and never really got into it, and they aren't on Spotify (I'm such a sod for hardly ever buying anything any more). I pretty much only know the one that goes "oh oooh oh oooh oooh oooh oooh ooh". Luckily for me, that turned out to be about 5 of them and despite the sound not being amazing (could've been louder, and was affected by the wind) I really enjoyed the set. I'd forgotten how difficult it is to find people in massive crowds when you mobile phone doesn't work  and despite triangulating my position with various masts and speakers and things I spent the last half hour or so on my own (I did well - one of our number had been missing since 2 songs into Mumford). No matter though. It was a good day.