LET'S Jack It Up with Jully Black , DJ Zahra , MartHa Chaves , Barlow , the Constantines and the Sadies , hosted by Steven Page at the Palais Royal, May 22. Tickets: $30. Attendance: 300. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
The heavy spring rain that greeted those en route to this NDP fundraiser also met my shoes and soaked them through. This made me hope the event would be supremely peaceful so I could take off my footwear and wander around barefoot without fear of reprisals. Had it been only slightly less raucous I would have, but the energy in the air made me suspicious that my shit would get stepped on, so I gave up on the shoe removal and allowed my feet to sog.
Jack Layton kicked off the night with a keynote speech rallying those in attendance and complimenting the political bent of the youth of today. Then MC Steven Page came out and performed acoustic versions of U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday and Brian Wilson, backed on stand-up bass by fellow nude babe Jim Creeggan .
They were followed by the comedic stylings of recently naturalized Nicaraguan emigré Martha Chaves , whose solid set was well received.
The Sadies played a 20-odd-minute set accompanied by their mother on backing vocals. Dallas Good rocked well in his weed-symbol-emblazoned garb, and Travis managed to restring his guitar mid-song while also handling vocals, showing the kind of grit the NDP probably needs in the upcoming election. Their set ended a bit too quickly; Dallas seemed a little disappointed when they had to stop early. He wasn't the only one.
The Constantines , fresh off their American tour, had some trouble with their sound mix, which was sparse and left singer Bryan Webb 's vox a little too buried. However, their rock excited the room and got the attention of New Democrats young and old.
And they held it completely when Layton and partner Olivia Chow clambered onto the stage and the band launched into a cover of Keep On Rocking In The Free World, accompanied by Page and Creeggan. Fun as the boys' cover was, Layton's singalongs during the chorus, with the crescendo of his rising vibrato, were the highlight. Not bad for what he confessed was his debut as singer.
Up next was a brief clusterfuck of other NDP candidates who were hustled onstage for a quick Bollywood dance lesson from DJ Zahra . Her brief spinning set primed all for Barlow , whose prime midnight spot was a bit long. I wished they'd given more Barlow time to the Cons and Sadies.
Closer Jully Black was left to play cleanup to a diminished crowd, but thanks to her solid backing band, cool personality and sweet pipes, she closed things on a good note.
The night's turnout was affected by the rain and the May 2-4 cottage exodus, and the high price tag meant the crowd was older than younger.
Next year in tent city.