Bidini joins the Wordstage event at Cervejaria tonight (Thursday, December 13). See Readings, this page. Rating: NNNN
When the rheostatics gave their last show ever in March, fans across Canada began asking, “What will these five guys do now?”
As it turns out, guitarist and singer Dave Bidini had already started his post-Rheos life a year earlier, touring the world and playing solo in cities his band had never visited.Of course, this accomplished songwriter and author couldn’t embark on his first solo tour without pen and paper in hand.The result is Around The World In 571¼2 Gigs, which is basically about Bidini’s life after bassist Tim Vesely told the Rheos he was quitting the band.
This is no tour diary; it’s a remarkable travel book in which Bidini describes the decor of off-the-wall venues in Tempre, Finland, or what happens if you forget to get your papers stamped in Vyborg, Russia.
It’s also a well-researched rock ’n’ roll history lesson that gives enough background on each country’s musical past to put the author’s solo shows in context. (Who knew punk really started in the USSR?)
Ultimately, 571¼2 Gigs is about self-discovery. When Bidini starts his trek in London, England, he’s a nervous soloist, still wondering why his band is breaking up. By the end, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, he’s a confident performer who embraces the isolating troubadour life.
Although he’s a better musician than prose writer, this is still a must-read for music fans, an insightful look into the life of the Canadian solo artist without glorifying the experience. Instead, it shows just how challenging it is, even for Dave Bidini, to hit the road with nothing but his guitar.