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Von Bondies at the Royal Albert Arms, Winnipeg

Von Bondies

Von Bondies at the Royal Albert Arms, Winnipeg, June 2 2009. Antoinette photo

Review – Von Bondies at the Royal Albert Arms, Winnipeg, June 2 2009

– review by Eugene Osudar/photos by Antoinette

where do i begin this night(‘s)

on the massage table
at 6 pm
recounting the madness
of 89 full sets
of live music
in May
(15-20 partial sets
and dancing at most every one
and dancing wildly
like no one else can
in My Winnipeg)
while holding down
a full/time job
working with 200 kids
K to grade 5/
that i am indeed

or arrival at the Albert
around 7:30 (show time
as Don
Von Bondies drummer
bangs away at
snares and toms
during the beginnings
of sound check

or watching Jason
unwind cable
checking his guitar

as Leann plucks
bass strings
Don pounding

or the drunk street guy
who walks over
mumbles sentences
that i haven’t a Clues
Huh? What?
just smile
(i do this naturally)
“are you into hockey?”
says me, hoping to deflect
his dead eyes to the Albert’s
multiple TV screens
just to find common ground
he mumbles sentences
we end up shaking hands
for the next two minutes
both hands
various styles
i’m going with it!
(yes he asks me
to buy him a drink,
that part he’s clearly
able to communicate!)

and finally,
walks in
and picks
up her guitar
joins jason
and leann and don
on stage

sound checking
through partial
silly songs
a little elvis presley?

i’m talking to Mike
as the Wings and Pens
are tied at 2
he’s cheering for the Pens

jason’s a Detroiter
a Red Wings fan
an octopus man
at heart, at heart
(i think the Wings will repeat)
he tells us
Helm’s from winnipeg
and i take notice of this Red Wing
playing it hard and gritty
along the boards

that’s the way i like my
gritty and hard

but sometimes, it’s wonderful
to clear the musical palette
and check out something
soft and sane and intense
in a completely different way
and different venue/setting
Anton Kuerte
playing piano
at the Westminster United Church
or The Paint Movement
getting jazzy funky soulfully Poppy

it all can’t be Monotonix
or No Means No
or Ridley Bent
or The Wind Ups
or The Weber Brothers

or in this case
The Von Bondies

but i’m getting ahead of myself,

and this is what i know
from the sound check,

Jason Stollsteimer
can sing
his Voice is strong
and Bright
and clear
pitched perfectly
like a bell
and leann and christy’s
harmonies are beautiful
(and so are they)
and don’s drumming
is true
and economical

the band
is a band


when they tore through
C’mon C’mon
(one point one million hits on myspace!)
i could tell,
they play (perfectly) together and they’ll
play it
play it

(that’s all i ask for)

jason recalls the Jets
playing the Wings
(when the Wings
were at their best)
playing it hard
playing a team
in a different league


the great ones
rock and roll

The Racoons (from
Victoria) opened
with a 30 minute
new wave set,

good musicians

they played hard

here’s what they lacked,
a spark,
a sense
of humor

bob says,”you can’t take yourself
too seriously
when you’re an opening band
playing this kind of music. You
have to act like a goof, like goofs,
get silly and have fun with it.”

i agree.

toes were tapping.
but the audience

The Replacements
(an Amazing band)
put on mascara
cut off their eyebrows
Bob Stinson wore dresses
tommy was the pretty boy

The Young Fresh Fellows
wore nothing at all
at the 7th Street Entry
(the night i saw them
the night Paul Westerberg
told me to, “Fuck off.”)
except for the newspapers
affixed to their naked bodies
The Essential Places

wigs and hats and frilly things
inside out shirts
underwear over pants
do something to set
yourself apart
and on fire

make us intrigued
make us come to the stage,
and be engaged
invited into your

your rock and roll show

David Bowie’s been Ziggy Stardust
the thin (cool) white duke

Neil Young’s been everybody
from Bob Dylan
to Sonic Youth

it’s a show
it’s sport
it’s drama
it’s Shakespeare
it’s Beethoven
and it’s Mozart

The Von Bondies
are beautiful
and sexy
and pleasing to the eye
(to the gaze)
jason and don
leann and christy

hit the stage at 11:25
and from song one
\it was clearly hard/
not to be engaged
in the fervor
the passion
the beauty
The Von Bondies


so it began
dancing away

the music hard
the music gritty
the banter easy
nothing greasy

about moose
and thunder bay
the boarded/up
and the long drive
through Ontario
to get to Winnipeg

Jason talked about the conversation
about winnipeg
just after sound check
the murder capital of Canada
he was told
(per capita)

“it’s by stabbing, i hear.
who wants to stab me?”

oh the sexual double entendres!

and raunchy Brandy
who’s been branded on the brain
with a few too many
(she staggered into
me earlier, twice)
offers to stab

i didn’t see a set list
i heard them talking
songs to play
and agreeing
a band
and (honestly)
i don’t know their songs
i just danced
to mostly
every song they played

This Is Our Perfect Crime
Pale Bride
C’mon C’mon
recognized from myspace

early in the set,
leann glides over to me
on the very edge
of the stage
playing the bass
directly above me
thanking me for
beginning the dance

(and sharing my illimitable

the relationship
every band
needs with every

it’s mutual
it’s sexual
it’s sexy
it’s massive
in its intensity

and the floor
is packed
and the floor
is hot
the band
is sizzling
the music
drives us
into feeding
our dancing

near the end
i’m dancing with
my back to the stage
and i’m turning to my left
to watch

she’s not on stage
and turning more
there she is
gliding over to me
on the floor
playing her bass

she’s dancing with me

we’re dancing
we’re dancing

just like Ian Blurton
walked off stage
at the C’mon
show and danced
with me
as he played guitar
and went down on his knees
to me
Matt of Pride Tiger
left the drum kit
and walked down to thank
me and hug me
as the band blazed on
without their drummer/lead singer

we’re all dancing

as One

it is
the power of 1

as Monotonix
did with the 75
at the Pyramid
making us
part of the performance

for 60
Hard Rocking
(two songs
that i counted
as lulls)

The Von Bondies
played it hard
played it gritty
and were genuinely
engaged in being
in Winnipeg

on a Tuesday night

at the Royal Albert

as the Red Wings
dominated the Pens
for two periods
but couldn’t beat Fleury
and in the third
with their season
and boyhood dreams
on the line
the Pens took over
and willed themselves
to victory

and Jason must
have known

his Wings

no matter

last night


we won.
we one.

so i emailed The Von Bondies,
asking about last night’s
set list,
and this is what i just received

(less than two minutes ago)

thank you so much

(explaining that i was
the older dancing guy,
ah to be eugene at 45!)

we had a great time
we never do set lists anymore
we make it up as we go along
we know how it started and how it ended, but thats it

Von Bondies

Von Bondies at the Royal Albert Arms, Winnipeg, June 2 2009. Antoinette photo

Von Bondies

Von Bondies at the Royal Albert Arms, Winnipeg, June 2 2009. Antoinette photo

About Eugene Osudar

“born, august 16, 1963. i’m 45, and yes, i’m getting too old for this. bring out the rocking chair. my first concert, november 1978, elvis costello and the attractions. i was 15. their blisteringly brilliant 65 minute set only served somebody to affirm my new direction in the musical parallel universes, new wave punk alternative, oh sanctity oh celebration (!Freedom!) college radio! i’m old, i’m used up and i’m free. i see 50something Full sets of music every month and dance most of them. and when i dance, i mean to say, I Dance and Celebrate, 2/3/4 hours a night. The Gaslight Anthem. The Boss. The Weber Brothers. The Wind Ups. i’ll dance with Los Campesinos. i’ll move to The Long Winters. The Replacements. Husker Du. The Pogues. oh elvis costello, oh Clash! i could go/go/go Gogol Bordello forever. L(eonard) Cohen. come, Dance With Me (Old 97s) wherever you may be, sincerely, eugene
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