shattering live experiences

Oh I hear ya, but it’s hard to diss an event that will bring Drive-By Truckers, Jeff Tweedy and Danny Brown to our fair city.

So no complaints. Other than my ongoing objection to the festival’s name.

Too late to change it, you say? Tell that to the Gloucester Fair.

Yes, it seems local institution the Gloucester Fair is seeking a new name — one that is “more characteristic of its newly announced date change,” according to the news release. There are prizes for the best suggestion. And no, the Central Canada Exhibition is probably not an option.

That pretty much narrows the list of candidates down to The August 15-24 Festival! I can’t really see any name reflecting the dates of this year’s event better than that.

Now what do I win?

I’ll always have a soft spot for the festival formerly known as the Gloucester Fair. That, after all, is where I saw a truly memorable Honeymoon Suite performance some 13 years ago. I don’t imagine the phrase “memorable Honeymoon Suite performance” is heard often, but not everyone has had the opportunity to catch a set that saw the rockers overload the festival’s puny power system, prompting what appeared to be a backstage tirade by frontman Johnnie Dee, who seemingly railed at any and all hapless stage assistants within earshot. Dee’s frustration was understandable, given that the band had lost badly-needed momentum just as it was about to launch into Wave Babies. It was also awkward, given that, in the absence of a stage backdrop, his behaviour was visible to all in attendance. Fortunately for the singer, that didn’t amount to a large number of people.

Still, a truly memorable Honeymoon Suite performance. Unlike, say, this one:

Here’s hoping the band can return to play the newly-named August 15-24 Festival. It may be merely a matter of filling in the form posted on the fair’s website. Like so.

After all, judging by the lineup for the summer’s largest festival, it’s shaping up to be a banner year for hasbeen bands. Again.

It was, therefore, encouraging to read the following words in a Live Nation news release this morning, with regard to this weekend’s concert by Yes at the National Arts Centre: “Prime seats just released.” A quick glance at available seats for the March 30 performance — featuring a new vocalist who has been hailed by some as “more than up to the task” — suggested hundreds of seats have just been released. Or, at least, hundreds are up for grabs. Buy a ticket in the balcony, for instance, and you’ll have plenty of room to stretch out. Which is handy, as you’ll want to put your feet up and read a book.

Indications are, then, that an increasing number of Ottawans are saying no to Yes.

During this unending winter of our discontent, we must be thankful for such small mercies.

By any name.


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