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Sylvan Esso at the Commodore Ballroom

At their sold out show Aug 15 2017. Kirk Chantraine photos.

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Review – United Steel Workers of Montreal at Times Change(d), April 14 2009

United Steel Workers of Montreal,
shane macgowan pogues/
gordon lightfoot insight.
winnipeg. april 14.

“you know they’re going to be good
just by looking at the instrumentation,”
the cyrk’s darek says.

we’re at the times change(d)
high and lonesome.
it’s a tuesday night.
and it’s rare
for the high and lone
some
club
to be open
on a tuesday
or a wednesday
or a monday.

times owner
john scoles
is the writer
of the housecoat diaries
(uptown magazine)
after
all
writing
essays on the glorious pursuit of leisure.
therefore, the purest form
of ecstasy.
the four night work-week is relatively
civilized.
and so are the scores of housecoats
hung on hooks for any
and all patrons to try
on and flirting
the evening a
way.

“i guess i should sound check
for my witty banter… oh, that was it,”
says gern f.

“i like what you do on guttersnipe,”
says guitarist matt(hew) watson
as he slips me their first cd,
Broken Trucks and Bottles (2005)
(his fave).
thank you, matt.
i have the the most recent two,
Three On The Tree (2009)
and
Kerosene and Coal (2007)
and Ilove those cds!

shane macgowan
Pogues,
gordon lightfoot
insight.
unabashedly
proudly
emphatically!
canadian
(song
and
dance)
stories.

gern f’s
“shot tower”
spits, “let’s dance with the angels
of Death on this earth
let’s dance with the boss who
said it had worth
let’s drink to the boys
that we all left behind
let’s raise another bucket
of Death up the vertical line.”

and the band roars,
“let’s dance
let’s dance
let’s drink
let’s raise another bucket of
Death up the vertical line.”

i’m dancing
from first
the furious
note
s
the times patrons
taking care of business
the hard drinking.

“we’re proud to be here,” says gern
f
“second time we’ve been at
the center of everything cool
[times changed].
this is a song about a drunk
and getting into
a fight with your lady.”

“Out In The Cold”!
it’s pogues!
the outright
s
e
x
y
felicity spits venom,
“I ain’t gonna be left
out in the cold no more
cause i ain’t gonna be
the loser in this
loving war.”

“next song is about love

and hot dogs…”

(gern rambles
on and on about hot dogs,
those that loves ’em and thems
that hates ’em)

“regardless
it’s about the hard times we’re
living through.”

“emile bertrand”
i love this song
so much shane macgowan
in gern f’s and rachel hoffman’s
poetry. and the melody.
lead vocals shared,
shane m and kristy mccolllll
style/gern f and felicity,
plays her accordion
(mama’s got a squeeze box,
The Who!).

“i wrote this next song after
thinking about some buddies
who decided to make bank
robbing their summer job.”
“small town banks”
what a song to move to.

“this song is for all you unionized
folks –”
(i’m one, thank you)
and a roar
comes from a group in the back.

gern f grins/asks,
“which union?”

“steel workers local ___”
(i missed the numbers)

steel workers seeing USWM
(brothers and sisters
of the decimated union
movement
share a laugh)
gern says,
“and it’s for the folks who are
filling the sandbags.”

the red’s rising again!

gus beauchamp’s song,
“Union Man”:
“seen my daddy lose his job for breaking his foot
seen my mama cry when we had no food
seen them scream and shout when the tax man came
eight dollars an hour for a family of six
just ain’t no good for anyone.
I’m gonna be a union man
help my daddy stand
on his two feet again.”

listen.
feel.
hear.
know.

Number 4
from the first cd,
matt’s fave cd.
gern f and a
growing up story
“in the refor”
(reforestation
areas)
“spent my teenage years driving around the woods
hundreds and hundreds of miles
of nothing
you can drink
you can drive
and no cops.”
in the paraphrase of poetry,
“we don’t condone that now
these were my teenage years
and there was nothing, nobody
around
just the refor”

“i got a 2-4 in the Refor
change in my pocket from the corner store
454 and four-barrel carbs
i got 400 horses
four speaker stereo
four on the floor and that’s for sure
cruising on the dark side of the fourth line
of northumberland county.”

gern f does his natural tom waits carny
growl
and then felicity takes a verse.
this
band
Rocks
this
band
Souls.

super dance swing of
“for love and your mother’s sake”
(track two on the brilliant new cd)
gus b’s song
as sung
by felicity
sweet strings romp
oom-pa-pa
dance the floor,
“i went down to the river’s edge
when i was just a child
i’d seen a woman floating there
she’d been there for a while
her long brown hair
swirled around her like
the sun behind the moon
and i stood there silent on a
doomsday afternoon.”

and the set ends
with “Green Means Go”
from the Kerosene and Coal
gern f
says,
“a hot rod song. it’s about driving fast.”
and blisters in
under two minutes!

soaked.
sweat.
sweet salt.
the dance.
thank you
USWM.
seek out
gus beauchamp
cuz he’s wearing a Pogues t/shirt
and i tell him my amsterdam
story. when i saw the pogues.
in the late 80s. when shane could barely stand.
and staggered off.
to puke
to sleep it off.
and the 1000s irish strong
who sang
shane’s poetry
and danced
just like me.

and gus told me of seeing shane and the popes,
doing pogues songs too.
of shane saying he’s been a heavy
drinker since 14. an alcoholic.
never without the demon spirit.
had his first taste at 8.
we agree
shane’s
a poet
and how he’s still alive
is
a marvel.
a wonder of the world.
and now shane and pogues are
touring again,
together.

that’s
only
a set and the
zee
second
hotter!
tighter!
sweeter!
75 more dance moving
shirt soaking minutes.
emphasis on the new
songs.

“three hard knocks”
i dare you not to move!

“this song is about a dead hooker.
apparently every seven years
she comes looking for her head.
i have friends who’ve seen her.”

“the ballad of mary gallagher”

“go to bed, go to bed
my sweet child
before the candle lighting
or the headless lady
will be sure to get you
so there is no use in fighting”

as sung by felicity
haunting, haunting

“next song is about going out and getting
loaded and going to a tattoo parlor and
that what the fuck did i just do
morning feeling,”
says gern f

“Big Ol’ Dirty Tattoo”

“and let’s hear it
for
me,
i think i’m doing pretty good up here,”
says gern f

and dang if he isn’t
doin’ pretty good
so we let him
have it.
rip roaring and stomping
whistles
and wolf howls.
and we give it
to eddy on the
standing bass
and chris too
on the mando

“Glen Jones”
felicity sings,
with real
ur/
gen/
cy,
“here you are, here you are
you go six months
and then you fall
only on birthdays, you say
from here on in
i need to find 364
more friends
Glen Jones!
there you go, there you go
throwing ’em back
like there’s no tomorrow
ten ounces of vodka on ice
to keep it cold
you know we all know
there’s a name for that drink
they call it a Glen Jones!
Glen Jones!”

gern f says,
“next song is about having sex in a car
and driving real fast—”
felicity,
“it’s about making babies!”
matt and felicity share the vocals
on matt’s song.

and then comes
“Tracie Dean”
a gus song
with felicity’s voice
bop, fast flash,
ping feet
bouncy
distortion guitar
e,
lec,
tric!

“and an anti-riot-cop
song,” gern f says.
adds, “there might be a whole bunch
of people for the riot cops.”
cuz if you know anything about
montreal
a hockey game
is an excuse for a good
old fashion riot
goon squad
beating
party
once every few years
in the tradition of The Rocket
(Maurice Richard)
and Mr Campbell!
toss in a whistle,
gern f’s vocals
and words
and you have a song
the pogues could have
proudly recorded,
“What A Riot”

and then a pretty song
“Little Girl”
felicity sings

gern f launches into a rambling
sea shanty talk story
“to the past fans of the gilmour girls
this is from season seven
that never got made.”
and something about a saw
and gus’
head and why gus wears
a hat on stage, cuz they took
a look on the internet and performed a little brain
surgery on gus. sawed him real good.
opening his head up…
and touched parts of his brain. cuz they
had the owner’s manual.
(a truly inspired story that i couldn’t follow
because i was danced to oblivion)
and how gus smelled burnt toast
and how his brains spilled out.
and something about
a mon
oc
U
lus
a little red man
long red hair
and a pissing stare
“My babe’s meaner than you
my baby’s meaner than me
my baby’s meaner than the devil
just you wait and see.”

“Meaner Than You”
from Kerosene and Coal

“next song’s a gospel number.
jesus may enter your heart.
sweet
baby
jesus!”
gern f says.
“Jesus We Sweat”
last song on Three on the Tree.
call and response song
we give the hallelujahs!
praise be!

“Ask Me To Stay”
the guaranteed holy F song.
ask/receive.

“Rise Up”
another wonderful gus song
rousing!
mag 7s,
cover this song!

and

all ending with sincere
ly passionate
ly
demanding
encore
kicking the walls
leading into
eddy’s song about thumb switching,
derriere and mouth
switch!

“Goddamn the CPR”
from the first cd
Broken Trucks and Bottles,
ends the night…

shane macgowan
pogues
gordon lightfoot
insights

united
steel
workers
of
montreal

in winnipeg
april 14th
tuesday night
times change(d)
high and lonesome
club.

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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