Guest Review of the Animal Magic Tricks & Men Diamler House Gig

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[Well, I couldn’t exactly review this gig myself, could I? So Dianna has very kindly volunteered to write this for me for this week’s Sunday Supplement.  Click on the images to enlarge them, and go to Blueback Hotrod to see Dylan’s entire set from the night, and to read Dianna’s own blog (shockingly, it’s not about music) click here.  The next house gig will be in November for the Maxwell Panther album launch.]

Somehow I’ve been roped into penning this Sunday Supplement. Which, I have to admit, is a bit daunting as I’m a neophyte, comparatively, to this whole scene. As a bit of a preface and a warning, I’ll just say that this in no way is a very good musical review. I’ll leave that to people who know what they’re talking about – or barring that, are much better than I am at pretending that they do.

I didn’t go to the first Toad House Gig. I wasn’t in the country, so I was at a bit of a disadvantage. If it was anywhere near as pleasant as the second was, these things might just have a bit of staying power.

My friend and I managed to arrived unfashionably early, despite the fact that my iPhone conspired with my iBook and iPod to erase any trace of the address from my iCal. That’s a bit of a lie, I actually have a MacBook. I just liked the whole iCrap trend I had going there. But, on the bright side of that, I had a mini tour of Stockbridge, which is surprisingly cleaner and brighter than Leith. Which, on second thought isn’t surprising at all, but I’m still completely charmed by its trash-free streets and shiny, shiny lights.

After running into Dylan who helpfully pointed the way, Rebecca and I found ourselves in the fabled residence of the Toad family – consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Toad, and their cohabitant, Floyd, who made several comedic appearances throughout the evening. I have to say, that cat has remarkable timing. His accompaniment with Animal Magic Tricks was nothing short of inspired.

ANIMAL_MAGIC_TRICKS_002 It’s rare that one gets to sit on a comfy sofa three feet away from the performer in a close, intimate setting. For Animal Magic Tricks, this was enchanting. During Men Daimler, this was more borderline startling – I think we all witnessed first-hand the power of a singer who really knows how to project. It took me back to the days early in my college/undergrad/underage days when I’d go to house parties, have one beer, and then feel extremely nervous because I was positive the cops were going to come because of the noise, give me a MIP (minor in possession for those of you not from the States) and I’d never become the senator/astronaut/doctor I’d alway dreamed of becoming.

Anyway. Besides the appeal of comfy places to sit, and the ability to have any beverage that I wanted (because I had to bring it myself), the true appeal of the night was the informality of it all. It was much like an extremely large dinner party without any dinner – or almost like a feast in some sort of king’s court replete with minstrels for our entertainment. An example which, in one fell swoop, completely bashes that whole ‘informal’ thing that I said and adds an air of pretentious fatuousness that I really feel was lacking from this post. Which just doubled with the use of the term ‘pretentious fatuousness.’

MEN_DIAMLER_004 Perhaps I should actually talk about the music. As this is, primarily it seems, a music-type blog. Both sets were well suited to the small venue, especially Animal Magic Tricks as you got to see all of the things she was doing with the interesting little gadgets she had with her. She was, by the way, absolutely beguiling. I didn’t really know either of these musicians – except by virtue of their Myspace pages – but I was genuinely delighted by what I heard. Floyd’s interruptions, Matthew’s interjections on equipment use and misuse, and Men Daimler’s occasional lyrical slippage only added to the sense that we were all just a group of friends (friends who may not have actually ever met in real life) who were enjoying the talents of a couple of their more gifted friends (also whom they had never actually met before).

Unfortunately, my friend and I had to be horribly responsible postgrad students and got home before midnight, so I’m unable to fill you in on any gin-soaked shenanigans that may have taken place later. I might be able to extrapolate and make something up, but I’m not really all that bothered. So, instead enjoy the lovely photos from Blueback Hotrod from that night and just make them up yourself. If you were watching the live webcast, it won’t be that hard – unless we’re talking about anything that happened anywhere that wasn’t the 6 feet or so of stage.

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