sax on yonge silenced
It's curtains for a couple of live music clubs. Last week, Yonge Street jazz club Sax on Yonge suddenly shut its doors for good. How suddenly? Press releases went out Monday announcing that Tuesday's jam session would be the last night of music at the club.
Sax on Yonge had only been open for seven months when club owner Michelle Bellisle ran into "financing problems" with the building owners.
And next Thursday, October 31, is the final night of music at Queen West global music hot spot the Bamboo. The restaurant and live music club is set to to be replaced by a club fronted by the owners of the Guvernment complex.
rhett miller, october 16
Major-label release parties tend to be boring affairs where an artist will typically stop into a club to play a couple of tunes from the new disc, shake hands with retailers and then jet off to the next city to do it all over again. Evidently, no one informed Old 97's frontman Rhett Miller of the routine. He actually worked up a sweat bashing his acoustic guitar solo during an entertaining 40-minute set for the appreciative few on hand at the NOW Lounge Wednesday.
The affable Texan was ostensibly in town to plug his Jon Brion-produced solo debut, The Instigator (Elektra/Warner), but that didn't stop him from kibbitzing with the crowd and ripping through a few Old 97's faves like Barrier Reef and Rollerskate Skinny, which he confessed actually was about his brief flirtation with Wynona Ryder. Before splitting for Chicago to record a cover of Roger Miller's Dang Me for the follow-up to Jon Langford's Executioner's Last Song project, Miller announced he'll be back with a band November 18 at Lee's Palace.
upcoming, wilco flick
The new Wilco movie, I Am Trying To Break Your Heart -- photographer Sam Jones's warts 'n' all rockumentary about the Chicago post-country crew -- is a wide-eyed version of a VH1: Behind The Music special. Shot in stark black-and-white, the film, which opens October 25 (for review, venues and times, see First-Run Movies, page 88), follows fearless leader Jeff Tweedy and company over a year of upheaval.
Jones chose a particularly fortuitous time to make his doc, as Reprise/Warner dumped Wilco after hearing the first track of the experimental Jim O'Rourke-produced Yankee Hotel Foxtrot disc.
According to Tweedy, Jones had a tacit all-access pass into the band members' lives.
"We just resigned ourselves to being the subject matter of a movie," Tweedy explains. "I certainly didn't foresee the record company dropping us. I knew our relationship with them was weird, and he'd see that."
The film offers an interesting glimpse of the musical process.
"I only asked Sam to leave my room once, when I was getting ready to go on during a solo tour. I have a tough time before shows sometimes, feeling kinda sick and sad, and I just couldn't deal with having cameras there. That was the only time I asked him to leave all year."
What's more fascinating is what didn't make the cut. Like why is there no mention of the group's long-time drummer, Ken Coomer, who left the group under mysterious circumstances? We only see footage of the new guy, Glenn Kotche.
"Glenn's first day as an official member of the band was the first day of filming," says Tweedy, "which was maybe done because we knew the cameras were coming. The decision was made really fast, partially because we didn't want to do that to Ken."
Still, there are even more perplexing omissions, such as the scene where manager Tony Margherita drops the bomb on the band members that they've been dumped by Reprise. What should be the film's central dramatic moment just isn't there.
And why are the only arguments we see between Tweedy and writing partner Jay Bennett (who's fired partway through the film) the ones where Bennett looks like a total dick, while Tweedy never appears less than saintly?
Considering the incredible access given to Jones, the missing material seems like a glaring oversight. It makes you wonder what other revealing footage ended up on the cutting room floor, and why.