Tuesday, February 06, 2007

O Canada! Oh Rise Up Our Mighty Neighbor to the North!

What great fun I had Saturday night at Theater 150! The O Canada concert was a real gem - not just the usual suspects like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell but selections from the songbook going back to the mid-19th century. Loved Jaye Hersh and friends singing that melancholy song about St. John's, Newfoundland.

Lots of sweet little moments throughout the show - Peter Bellwood opened the show by singing the Canadian national anthem in French, and all 15 performers closed the show with a stirring, sweet version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." J.B. White, who produced the show, should be mighty proud indeed for harnessing such exquisite talents.

Canada's music scene is so vibrant, the real test for J.B. would be narrowing it down to a two-hour show. Just in Montreal alone, the following first-rate bands have recently come out with albums — Wolf Parade, Islands and Arcade Fire.

J.B. White gave us a few good Canadian jokes, but when it was the audience's turn to reciprocate, we couldn't come up with a single one. I wanted to tell one, but the moment passed. So here's my chance. I grew up near the border, so we always had a few 'nuck jokes up our sleeve. Here's one from the olden, colden days:

A Canadian is walking down the street with a case of beer under his arm.

His friend Randy stops him and asks, "Hey Dave! Whatcha got that case of beer for?"

"Well, I got it for my wife, you see?" answers Dave.

"Wow," exclaims Randy, "Great trade."

Here's a video for "Rough Cut," by Montreal's latest export - Islands. They are no joke:

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