Monday, May 16, 2005

Tulips, Tea, and other Clever Alliterations

mel

Here in Ottawa, we sure do like our tulips, and from May 5-23, the fact is hard to miss, as the city is in the throngs of the world's largest tulip festival. I don't know what kind of competition we have over that claim, but the city seems pretty darn proud of being able to say it. After Canada helped liberate Holland at the end of the second world war, Dutch royalty was so happy about it, that they gave Canada a crap load of tulips, and since 1958, Ottawa's celebrated their blooming with a whole lot of hoopla. Yay tulips.

UK Tulips (L) and Canadian Tulips (R)

UK Tulips Ottawa Tulips
The Canadian Tulip Superiority is Pretty Darn Clear

So, what does this have to do with music, and in turn, mocking it, you may be asking? That's a valid question, and can be answered thusly; The Canadian Tulip Festival's Ottawa Citizen Concert Series. In a park with a view of Parliament Hill to the left and the massive American Embassy on the right, there is a week and a half long concert series which showcases Canadian talent of almost every genre. The concert series was kicked off this past Friday, May 13, headlined by Toronto's The Tea Party. I think the last time I'd heard of the Tea Party in a non-condescending tone was probably around 1999 when they released TRIPtych, the single Heaven Coming Down was getting heavy play on Much Music, and I used to give a damn about things like that. I'd never really been much of a fan of theirs - they seemed to take themselves too seriously. The lead singer Jeff Martin sounded/looked a little too much like a Jim Morrison impersonator and you just can't beat the real thing, as far as I'm concerned. Because of this, I initially wasn't overly excited about attending opening night.

I decided to take in the show when I found out the francophone indie rock duo Projet Orange would be taking the stage before The Tea Party. I'd heard good things about the brothers who have recently released their first English language album, Megaphobe, so I looked forward to the chance to see them live. I had also purchased a concert series pass, so I figured I might as well be in attendance to get my money's worth.

Jeff Martin is Jim Morrison
His Favourite Song is Radiohead's "Anyone Can Play Guitar"

Unfortunately for me, and perhaps you, the loyal Mocking Music reader, my attempt to make the 8:00 pm show time for Projet Orange proved futile, because, well, that's pretty freaking early to try and go out on a Friday night. By the time my room mate and I managed to eat and consume the proper amount of beers in order to "prepare" for the show, then hopped a bus to the concert grounds, it was shortly after 9:00, and the band was just finishing up their last number as I crossed the threshold into Major's Hill Park. Maybe this summer I'll buy their CD and review that here, until then, you'll have to check them out on your own, and I'd encourage it.

I wandered around the tent city of vendors until it was time to find a spot amidst the crowd for the headliners, and tried to maintain an open mind about the band about to try and rock my world.

There's no doubt in my mind right now that the members of the Tea Party are talented musicians. Drummer, Jeff Burrows consistently blew my mind. His style is different from what I generally hear in the music I listen to, relying more on the toms for rhythm than the snare/bass/high hat combo that's become almost cliched.

As the show went on, Martin continued to pull out multiple stringed instruments, from your basic array electric and acoustic guitars, to an electric cello, along with some Middle Eastern instruments I don't actually know the name of. It kept things interesting, as it provided different sounds throughout the set.

Tea Party at Tulip Festival
Mel in Back Hoping Not to be Mistaken For a Fan

Their stage presence was pretty typical and wasn't really the kind of thing that gets me excited at a live show. Martin told the kind of stories that can be summed up as the look at me, I'm a rock star type, alluding to drug use, international tours and hanging out with adoring fans. Some might find them interesting, but it didn't do much to sway my previous opinion that they may take themselves too seriously. Oh, and let's not forget the, "You know what? I think this is the best time we've ever had in Ottawa," speel. Perhaps I'm just too cynical, or maybe it has something to do with being lost in a huge crowd, lacking the perspective to really gauge how much the performers are enjoying themselves, but it didn't feel too sincere. Either way, it just seemed as though the band did the same thing they did every time they played live, substituting Ottawa in place of the city that preceded it on the tour.

They were ok... Pretty good, I guess, but I don't think I'd try and see them again if I got the chance.

Downloads:
Tea Party - Save Me (Live in Toronto)
Tea Party - Walking Wounded (Live in Toronto)
Tea Party - Psychopomp (Live in Montreal)
Tea Party - Mantra (Live in Montreal)
Tea Party - Full Montreal and Toronto Show Directory
Projet Orange - Tell All Your Friends (Streaming Audio)
Projet Orange - Tell All Your Friends
(Quicktime Movie)
Radiohead - Anyone Can Play Guitar
(Lyric: "Grow my Hair. I wanna be, wanna be Jim Morrison")

When Mel's not drowning her sorrows in cheap booze and tea she can be found at her own blog:
me, myself, and mel.

Comments on "Tulips, Tea, and other Clever Alliterations"

 

Blogger Casey Dorrell said ... (16/5/05 11:29 pm) : 

I was afraid my caption about the Radiohead song would appear as though I was mocking (so to speak) his ability to play guitar.

I was really only referring to the Jim Morrison lyric.

Clever, I think so.

Alternative titles:
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-Take Your Medicine Brings the Brit Music, We Bring the Tea
-Tea, Tulips, and Other Lurid Tales Related to the Doors
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