That's right, I got busted out of the house on a Thursday evening, and treated to a few hours of amazing heavenly fun music at club in Toronto called Hugh's Room.
If you've read my profile you will have seen the name Kevin Breit under the Music heading, but his name may not mean much to you. This is shameful because the world would be a better place if everyone got a chance to hear this guy play. I guess you would say he is a guitarist but he's much more than that. He's a brilliant musician and a nice guy too. My Mr. Genius, Jethro, has had the opportunity to work with this guy on several of his records and he's a big fan.
The act last night was called Folkalarm, one of Kevin's bands. He also plays with a group called the Sisters Euclid, who I would say are more of a funky jazz outfit, although really all of this stuff defies categories. I like defying categories. Folkalarm is Kevin Breit, Jørn Andersen on drums -he is more than a drummer, he's a drummist- and Russ Boswell on upright bass. I didn't get to meet Mr. Andersen the drummist, who looks exactly like Jack Nicholson and is therefore super cool on top of being a wicked musician. Russ Boswell is also one of the nicest guys in the world.
Kevin was playing a very small guitar, which was funny because he's a big lanky guy. I didn't recognize the make of guitar at all but I'm not an expert by any stretch. Then I counted the tuning pegs- eight. I leaned over to ask Jethro, who told me that it was in fact a ˆmandolaˆ not a guitar.
It goes like this: Mandolin=violin, mandola=viola, mandocello=cello. Kevin played the electic versions of all those mandolin type instruments, plus guitar. For a few songs he played with a slide too.
Special guests on stage with them were: singer-guitarist Romney Getty, Perry White on Saxophone, Dennis Keldie on accordian, Carlos Del Junco on harmonica, Jane Siberry on vocals, Kurt Swinghammer on vocals and some strange little instrument that even Jethro was puzzled by. It was like a theramin inside this little wooden box. I'm telling you, Jethro knows pretty much all musical instruments in the northern hemisphere and this blew us away! It was a totally crazy night.
The most wonderful things about the music last night were things that are missing too often. To see music played live and know that the players not only love what they're doing but know how to do it, is pure bliss. Their time was perfect. Which leads me to the wide open spaces in between the beats and the notes. These guys could play a wild loud crashing part and abruptly STOP leaving us a breathless waiting moment before they suddenly scream it back into the song again. For me, pleased when I can get from one chord to another without fumbling, can't sing while playing, and can't keep up with anybody else, this is stunning. They weren't even looking at each other most of the time. They KNEW. In each of their heads, there's a click track that none of us can hear, and it silently counts off how many beats or half beats until the notes start again. Intuition? Feel? Call is what you want. I was relishing those notes but the pauses, the fresh air between the notes, had me hanging in mid-air. I loved every second of it.