Song Written Upon Getting Cut By The Argos (CFL Sessions cover)
Slow Boat To China
Raise Your Dead
A week before this show, when the poster to the right was still in pristine condition (I love taping one to the counter and watching it deteriorate over time…), one of Broadview Espresso‘s regular customers said to me “aren’t you worried about playing with Robin (front-woman for Bernice)? What if she blows you out of the water…you’re not going after her, are you?”
Funnily enough, we did play after her and I was a little worried that her phenomenal voice might be a tough act to follow. Thankfully, we’re nothing if not foolishly brazen.
These Broadview Espresso shows are often really intimate and not as crowded as others, so I thought it was a good idea to bring out my trusty little homemade tube amp, but when there are suddenly close to 50 people crammed in there 5 watts just doesn’t cut it. Laura’s Microkorg got rave reviews after the set though.
Oddly enough, of all the songs we played that night “Slow Boat to China,” a tune we usually avoid or butcher entirely, was the crowd pleaser (this happened when we played in Montreal as well, actually). We also debuted our version of Big Star’s “Thirteen,” a tune we may or may not be recording very soon (re: it’s 90% done).
All told it was another one of those wonderful shows that reaffirms why we do this in the first place…
Picking up where we left off earlier this week, here are the rest of our favourite moments of the year (in chronological order). Oddly enough, these all take place in the final stretch of 2010…
5. Going Analog
This one may sound like a vague hippie sentiment, but it’s not. Digital is great—we sometimes just like to get away from the computer. Case in point, this year we started demoing on an old cassette 4-track, but then came across a great setup including an 8-track Fostex R8 reel to reel recorder with tons of tape and a huge matching 812 mixer. A bit of crazy glue later and we had an entire reel of new demos, including the live demo of our new song, “Tortoise.” Most of this is probably gibberish to you non-gearheads (like Laura), but I assure you, it’s awesome.
Also, for Laura’s sake, let it be known that she sat patiently nailing her glockenspiel and vocal parts while I bumbled through take after take (listen to how happy she is at the end to have finally made it through the song). She’s the rock, I’m the roll.
A few months ago we came across an old Fostex R8 1/4″ reel to reel recorder with matching mixer for a great deal. I’ve been wanting to try analog recording for a while, so this was perfect—there’s something just so damn satisfying about hitting a big “record” button and watching reels spin instead of clicking a mouse around.
We set it up in our apartment a few weeks ago and recorded an entire tape of live demos with a bunch of mics strewn about the room. “Tortoise” is the best of the bunch. It features Laura on backups and Korg Polysix/shaker and myself on hollowbody guitar through my little homemade Fender Princeton with a tambourine on my foot.
“Tortoise” is a live staple these days and also likely the title track for our next album.
At our show last week I mentioned having dropped my newly homemade amp off the stage. Thankfully the damage was minimal and after a quick fix she’s up and running without issue.
Falling 3 feet isn’t really on the same level as the old Traynor tests (supposedly they used to drop their amps out a second story window), but the fact that my little guy only suffered a broken fuse holder is pretty reassuring.
Anyway, here are a few pictures of the amp in question. It’s a modified Fender Princeton 5F2-A made mostly out of old radio parts (the box itself is from an old portable turntable). At about 5 loud watts with great crunch it’s the perfect amp for smaller shows and recording—we’ll be posting some new demos made with it soon!
For all you gear-nerds like myself, the modifications include a solid state rectifier, switch to toggle the negative feedback in or out and an easily disconnected speaker so I can hook it up to something larger. If you want to build amps too, I suggest doing some reading/asking questions at Ax84.com. I couldn’t have finished this without the help of the forum over there.