Wednesday, July 13, 2011

West Eats Meat*

Last night I was lucky enough to enjoy a concert on behalf of a hotel that we deal with at work. I was part of a group of "hand-selected" clients to be invited to the Halifax Jazz Festival tent to hear the musical stylings of Harry Manx and Sisters Euclid!
All photos by me
I was pretty excited for this - both because it is awesome to get invited to free stuff (lets be honest, here), and because I am always up for discovering new music. I knew both of these artists had a blues-style sound, and I love blues music so I was looking forward to hearing both.

Well, I was SO impressed! Harry Manx is a "slide guitarist" - he plays guitar with it laying flat on his lap - and also plays banjo and harmonica. The person who introduced him referred to his musical style as "Mysti-ssippi", which I think was the perfect description. It was this really cool mix of raw southern-style country-blues-rock and dreamy Indian-Latin-style mystic music. I loved his covers of Crazy Love (one of my favourite songs) and Foxy Lady (Jimi Hendrix=love). He was also really funny, providing witty banter between songs, including several jibes at JP Cormier (a popular local blues guitarist).

Guest artists included a keyboardist from Australia (to be honest, I forget his name! Ah, terrible. But his sound was SO neat - it was set to sound sort of like a gospel organ; really added to the raw southern sound of the songs), and Mike Cowie, who is a local trumpeter who plays in lots of restaurants/lounges around town regularly. Man, can that guy play! I feel sweaty and out of breath just watching him!

Mike Cowie - he always wears this hat
Sisters Euclid came out after a break, and despite what the name suggests there are no women in this group and they are not hippies. The group consists of four guys - I was especially impressed by the guitar player and the keyboard/accordion player. They were both really funny and their fingers were so fast during some of the numbers they were like a blur!

Their sound was a little more "funky" blues than Harry's, and honestly a couple of the songs had so much "noise" going on it was a little overwhelming for my little brain, but I was really impressed with the fun layering of the songs in any case. Harry joined them for a couple of songs at the end, including another Jimi Hendrix tune (Voodoo Child! YES!) because he and the guitar player are good buddies who just released their 3rd disk together.

I had never heard of either of these acts before this show so really didn't know what to expect, but I am so glad I discovered them. To be honest, the homogeneity and unoriginality of most of mainstream music today really gets me down so it is so nice to hear artists that are passionate and real and have amazing talent and are not just a marketing machine. It's just a shame that so many great artists don't get the full recognition they deserve outside of small circles. I just love having my mind expanded and opened by creative people!

Halifax is no Montreal or St. Lucia (two places that both have huge, high profile jazz fests every year) but I think our festivals can certainly rival the ones of bigger cities in terms of organization, fun and variety. This is the 25th anniversary for the Jazz Fest, so they must be doing something right!

And beyond the Jazz Fest, there are TONS of really great festivals in Halifax and Nova Scotia in the summer - the city really does buzz and sing in the summer like no time of year. Just in the past few weeks there has been the Greek Fest, Atlantic Fashion Week, Canada Day festivities, Lebanese Fest, Dragon Boat Fest, and coming up there is Pride Week, Atlantic Film Fest, Natal Day festivities, Beer Fest, Seafood Fest, etc, etc, etc. Summer is short here, but we certainly make the most of it.

On a completely unrelated note, I am discovering that my new kitty is quite the goon and likes to get into things. She also really likes cool things (hence why she often sprawls on the floor or table). I was in the bathroom yesterday getting ready for bed, left for 2 minutes, came back in and found this:

Needless to say I laughed out loud. I probably should be annoyed that she is getting fur all over my sink, and will likely track her wet paws on my floor once she jumps out, but what can I say - I'm a cat person and we are weird.

Happy HUMP day!

*If you are curious about the odd blog title, this is the name of one of Harry Manx's CD's - funny, eh?


Hannah J. Holmes said...

I also love blues/jazz. Sounds like a good time :) 

P.S. That pic of your cat is the sink is so cute! 

Kim Humes said...

She is really is cute isn't she? I'm biased though lol. There is something about that kind of music that just gets you down in your gut, ya know?

Mdgarris_2 said...

Harry manx is awesome..I have one of his albums packed away in storage...and yes, the photo of the cat is very cute...

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