Friday, June 22, 2012

Quality over quantity during NXNE's Friday

My baseball team lost 5-4 and the game meant that I couldn't attend any North By Northeast shows until midnight on Friday, but quality instead of quantity was the order of the night and made the sting of the loss a little easier to take.

I've seen both Andre Williams and The Sadies in a variety of incarnations over the years, but the two of them together is a deadly combination. The 75-year-old singer was pimped out in a red satin suit and red fedora and added new elements to his look with earrings and a beard. He may have looked like an aging ladykiller, but he was behaving like a person a quarter of his age with his come-ons to the young women in the audience.
Andre Williams with The Sadies

Things got hot right off the bat with "Agile, Mobile, Hostile" and then his 50-year-old hit, "Shake a Tail Feather," with The Sadies' Dallas and Travis Good providing a wall of guitar in accompaniment. Upright bassist Sean Dean and drummer Mike Belitsky kept a solid rhythm and Williams' manager added to the ensemble by playing keyboards. Perhaps he felt he had to keep a close eye on his artist, who has a long history of substance abuse that was documented in the 2007 film "Agile Mobile Hostile: A Year with Andre Williams."

Things continued with selections including "I Wanna Be Your Favorite Pair of Pajamas" and a slow doo-wop version of Williams' 1957 hit "Bacon Fat" before he left the stage to "take a pee." The Sadies filled in ably by performing "Pussy Stank" on their own, while accompanied by some sultry burlesque dancing by Caitlin Veitch.

Williams returned wearing a white jacket and fedora and Travis picked up his violin for "She's a Bag of Potato Chips" from 1999's Red Dirt. That was Williams and The Sadies' first album together, and they finally followed it up this year with Night & Day. "Jailbait," another vintage favourite, was followed by "Bad Motherfucker" -- and you have to know that the man was, and still might be, what the title proclaims. Williams and Veitch left the stage, leaving The Sadies to take the song to its conclusion.

You can see a video of Williams and The Sadies performing "I Can Tell" in this video recorded at the show by Matzoh Ball.

Greg Cartwright (The Compulsive Gamblers, The Oblivians) had been quietly sitting backstage during the set, but there was nothing reserved when he took the stage with his garage punk combo Reigning Sound at 1:15 a.m. and opened with "Your Love Is A Fine Thing."
Reigning Sound

The club was packed, and had a long lineup outside, and Cartwright rewarded fans with a blazing hour-long set of soulful rock-and-roll that included "Everything I Do Is Wrong," "Debris," "If You Can't Give Me Everything," "Bad Man," "Time Bomb High School," "I Don't Care If You Ever Come Back Now," "Funny Thing," "If I Can't Come Back," The Compulsive Gamblers' "Stop and Think it Over" (which you can see in this video by Matzoh Ball), a great cover of "Stormy Weather" and more.

I'd seen The Deadly Snakes' Max Danger (who'd worked with Cartwright in the past) backstage, but he was soon on it and urging everyone to demand an encore. It came with a one-two punch beginning with "Drowning."

Cartwright was in fine voice throughout the performance and his band members became a united force to be reckoned with and exemplified what good old rock-and-roll is all about.
No Sinner

Vancouver's No Sinner had the difficult task of following Reigning Sound at 2:30 a.m. Singer Colleen Rennison seemed to be going for a sexy white trash look, and her powerful blues-rock voice combined with the competent musicianship accompanying her gave the performance a Janis Joplin  vibe. The group still needs more in the way of songs, but there's some potential there.


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