Saturday, December 30, 2006

Spamalot! My losing streak is broken!

Starting back in October I went to a bunch of really lame gigs.

Beginning with Matisyahu, whom I had hoped would be as good live as his first ‘Live at Stubbs’ CD and who had morphed, two short years later, into a lame-ass down-beat rockstar type of act. The show was slow, boring, and we didn’t stay long enough to hear ‘King without a Crown’. The lighting was the most notable aspect of the show, being much better suited for Gun 'n Roses than a down-tempo reggae act.

The most embarrassing part was when Matis hauled one of his roadies onstage and introduced him 'everyone this is Chris' and went on to explain that Chris had almost been stabbed to death and the guy who did it got off, and somehow God made that better. Chris nodded weakly in agreement, he wasn't as convinced of divine retribution as Matis was, that much was clear. Maybe Matis will face his for the deathly third album, over-produced by Bill Laswell. Interestingly, his band did a collaborative thing with Laswell of some dub that was astounding ... check out Roots Tonic Meets Bill Laswell

Next up were the Afro-Cuban Allstars; it is always hit and miss with Cuban groups because they are pretty much generic brand-names under which they send out travelling musicians – sometimes great, sometimes very very ‘cruise ship’ quality. Their last gig in Montreal was of the latter quality, with 19 musicians you’ve never heard of being trotted on and off stage. We didn’t stay long enough to hear ‘Guantanamera’.

Then, tickets to the Alouettes getting their asses kicked by the Toronto Argonauts (albeit on the 50-yard line) seemed like a bit of a waste, though mitigated by the Als win during the playoffs a couple of weeks later, which I also saw. My cheapskate friend Paul, with whom I was with, was steadfast in his refusal to leave early and not get every penny he paid for, so we did stay long enough to hear the final whistle, even though the score was a blow-out.

But I was beginning to get the impression my gig-luck had run out, perhaps I’d lost my ability to pick the winners, but Spamalot mitigated all that. I saw the production in London a few days ago, and it was great. As sly and smart, crude and louche as one would expect, with killer rabbits, a flying vache, a priest dirty dancing with a nun, and Tim Curry as Author, King of the Britons (discernible as the one without shit all over him). John Cleese is God or at least plays him 'onstage'.

I can’t say much more than has already been said about the show itself, but I did have a bit of an experience, in that I was ripped off by a scalper, I paid 40 BP for a 20 BP ticket. He was very good, and I would have taken him for legit, as he was positioned in a little ticket booth forming part of a junk and t-shirt shop. He indicated I was only “five rows back” when he showed me the ticket, conveniently covering the word ‘balcony’ (and the price) with his thumb, before he hurriedly stuffed the ticket in an envelope, to ‘keep it safe’, and handed it to me in exchange for cash. Nicely done, very slick.

The Southbank Show Vod & Podcast here with the Pythons, and some other very cool people talking about non-spamalot things – Nick Parks, J.G. Ballard, and so on.

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