Arts + Music » Cultural Festivals

Day Two: It's like rain on Alanis Day

Friday’s day schedule was cleared for any and all Alanis-related activities, though I would get shut out of all but one. I didn’t get to see the show – fine in the end considering it was a half-hour set at a win-to-get-in fan event – and didn’t bother trying to get into the interview since I was mere feet away from her at a press conference.


I won’t use this forum to tell you why this is such a big deal to me, but it is. “If a song writes itself, there’s an effortlessness to it,” Alanis said. “If it’s a belaboured, arduous process, I throw it out.”

Currently on tour with , she flew in from a show in Salt Lake City, landed at 5am, got inducted to the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame at noon, did this conference at 2:45, the keynote at 5:15, the show at 7, and then flew out to Seattle for a show today.

She sat on a stage without any kind of barrier, except for when she got up to leave and four dudes in suits walked up to form a wall around her and escort her out.

You win this round, Morissette. And that other round in Ottawa. Blurgh.

Scenes from the Royal York:

So many handbills.

These people would normally be asked to leave the building.

The presentation is DIY, but that’s probably the best service the York could have provided.

Around the same time I wasn’t meeting Alanis, a snowstorm had begun to slowly make life hell:

Get well, Johnny Castle.

I met up with Music Nova Scotia’s Jonny Stevens and my Halifax cohort Megan Wennberg and her sister for a lovely and cheap Thai dinner. Afterwards Jonny and I took a long, leisurely walk down to the Tattoo Rock Parlour, where Chad Hatcher had a showcase. With a name like that – yes there is a tattoo parlour in the bar – you’d expect a bit of a hole, but it was totally trendy and over-designed. (The table next to us was eight girls, each, Jonny pointed out with glee, wearing a different hat. Like a different style of hat. It was weird. They clearly planned it.)

Before Chad was a dude with ironed blonde hair, a voice like Axl Rose and every radio rock cliche that makes me want to shoot myself in the face (a prominent feeling around the industry-based events here).

Chad’s own set was a winner, spinning through half a dozen songs from his record and before. “For a guy from the east coast to be up here in Toronto, that’s pretty cool,” he said in his laidback, humble way. Then he brought Classified up to perform “All About U:”

After Chad’s set, we bounced over to Holy Joe’s to catch Don Brownrigg, who was playing his first Toronto show ever with Down with the Butterfly’s Kris Pope and David Celia in tow. The modest crowd was dead quiet, a nice change, and my favourite show event – SPONTANEOUS CLAPALONG -- broke out during the set-closing “In It.” “That was pretty much the best thing ever,” Don said.

That’s Don and the top of Kris Pope’s head.

After a street meat stop Jonny and I jumped the considerable line at the Horseshoe aiming to see hey rosetta, who have had a tough tour full of cancelled shows thanks to singer Tim Baker’s bronchitis. But first we had to suffer through Danko Jones. First of all, I didn’t know anyone still cared about Danko Jones, but this crowd was all about it. Second of all, Danko Jones is terrible. Third, I had to crack out the earplugs for the first time this whole festival. Fourth, the fans weren’t on but the heat was and it was not great.

What was great was hr, in fine form. A pack of Newfoundlanders, doing that weird hey roseeeeetttttttaaaaa chant that they do, crowded the front of the stage. To be honest I expected a huge clearout after Danko, but it was only minor. Baker was blinking sweat out of his eyes by the second song as he introduced mostly new songs from their upcoming record. (They’ll open for producer Hawksley Workman at the Danforth Music Hall tonight.)

I had to leave before I passed out, so I pushed through the crowd – hello Jason Burns, goodbye Mike Campbell, nice to see you again Gord Lapp -- and out into the crowded, snowy streets where people were fighting for cabs. It felt like home.

Thorney, I’m sorry, you know I don’t control the list! But we’ll get together the next time you’re in Malibu.

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