First dates are nerve wracking. The anxiety. The cost. The hope. The expectation…well at least normally. Under most modern circumstances, dating is generally underwhelming. We all stare at our phones, judge others’ bad habits and fill our time with awkward silences.
Lucky for me, awkward silences have seldom been a problem. And I have to admit, this time around I took a bold step and set an impossible to top standard, and it was worth every penny, every ounce of sweat, and every cough lozenge since as I medicate a throat that has become coarse from trying to sing along (key word ‘trying’) to Peter Dremianis’ guttural rasp.
Most people go to the movies, or out for coffee. Many go for walks or drinks, or even the mall (those are still places people frequent right?) Not me. No, I had a better idea. My idea included trying (and failing) to remove my alcohol and perspiration smeared Joker clown make-up on the morning after a less-than-PG Project Mantra musical performance at a loud and crazy house party, putting on my cleanest dirty shirt, and driving a young vixen to see Canada’s next big band, as July Talk prepared for a very special performance at Club Soda in Montreal.
Supported by Aussie alternative band Kingswood, on this leg of their Canadian tour, the show kicked off with a harmony-based rock show that was reminiscent of Wolfmother.
As an admitted “super fan”, I am a member of a proud and growing club of dedicated and passionate obsessors for a band of beautiful and talented people who are still just on the cusp of something overwhelming and magical. If you don’t believe it, just ask me or better yet, ask any one of the countless others who line up outside each venue in the cold, crowd the front of every stage, show off their July Talk themed tattoos (I have two of my own), and collect set lists and guitar picks, and broken drum sticks and skins, all the while raving about the magic we witness every time.
Magic is an appropriate term for it. I had the pleasure of enjoying my favourite blues-rockabilly-disco-punk-rock band on two occasions back to back in the last few days, and I am already eager to plan my next trip to watch a loud, unique, passionate and collective mess of organized chaos, and bare witness to a beautiful power struggle that is mesmerizing, as emotion and electricity pours out of a very dynamic duo at every dance club or concert hall they occupy.
But it’s not merely that there was a great concert and I got to court a very pretty girl. It’s not just that I got my money’s worth, and am now broke from purchasing every piece of merchandise I could afford. No it’s not just the ttapping vibes, or the growing collection signatures, or even the July Talk socks (“July Socks Because of You.”)
I mean, those are all lovely and noteworthy parts of a complete story, but only one moment in the last two shows really and truly, and spectacularly brings this tale to a full circle crescendo, and that moment happened on Monday night at the Algonquin Commons Theatre in Ottawa. That moment may be as close to sharing the stage with my favourite new obsession as I may ever get, but pass or fail, it sure as Hell won’t be the only chance I get if I can help it. And that moment came with the angelic Leah Fay pulling me close to the stage by my purple neck tie and shared her microphone with me. And for about sixty seconds that both felt like forever and not long enough, I was coo’ing (or hoooing) along with a powerful female companion, and providing back-up vocals for a gruff frontman that I often attempt to emulate, as they set that stage on fire with one of their signature songs “Guns and Ammunition,” to a theatre of a thousand people.
Suffice to say, after Leah kisses my hand in an intimate moment of crowd interaction and the audience collectively swoons alongside me, I probably could have began to levitate and fly away. The fact that one of my darling fellow Superfans was wise enough to capture the moment on camera for me, made the evening more special.
In both back-to-back blistering performances of anthemic sing-alongs like “Push and Pull,” “Paper Girl,” sensually hypnotic cat and mouse numbers like “Beck and Call,” “Lola and Joseph,” and “Gentleman,” along with booze soaked rockabilly like “The Garden,” there was little left to the imagination. Throw in some Halloween costumes, crowd surfing, some blood, friendly stage banter dripping with gratitude, and two nights of electric crowds, the only moments that could top them were the unforgettable encores where their sophomore album’s title track “Touch” made us all feel something intense. Watching the band openly emote in ways that resembled such classics as “And The Crowd Called Out For More,” it was an insane sight to be seen as I watched (and partook) in hundreds of strangers linking hands and sharing their attachment with the song by way of a physical attachment to strangers with one common love interest…a band having fun, singing from the bleachers, dancing with their fans, and murdering all conventionality.
The Algonquin Commons Theatre and Club Soda both make for beautiful backdrops to the madness and love affairs that took centre stage. And suffice to say, whether my date is a beautiful young woman who appreciates getting lost in a moment, or my date is with my favourite band as they pull my closer by my necktie, a date with me can be memorable.
Of course, I have an amazing wingman named July Talk.
And when I got home, the first thing I did was plug in my guitar and start brainstorming ideas on how to set the stage on fire with even a quarter of the passion I got to witness and then witness again. And I don’t want to wait. I will take anything.
Until next time, superfans.