Dark Dark Dark with A Hawk and a Hacksaw at the Rivoli; Thursday September 22, 2011

This had to have been one of the most bizarre shows that I’ve been to. I suppose it’s just a reflection of the equally odd music played by both acts. I sort of had a feeling that this is how the show would be. In asking a friend to come with, I regarded the show as being and odd one, as if I had to justify him not liking the show.

Have you ever gone to a show for just one song? Yes friends, I did that last night. Dark Dark Dark are a band I stumbled upon in a very sappy episode of Grey’s Anatomy, a show I indulge in from time to time. Their lovely ditty “Daydreaming” was the showcased tune. “Daydreaming” has to be their most vibrant song, it’s what made me make the trip out to the show. It has a real glum sound that the band has really perfected, but it lifts a lot nicer than the other gloomy songs on the album.

It’s a kind of gloominess that the band is very aware of. The female singer of the group, Nona Marie Invie, muttered to the crowd very softly – “I hope you like our introspective party tunes.” She had to say it again because no one heard what she said the first time. She then proceeded to prod people to laugh claiming it was her first joke made in Canada. People humoured her.

I stepped out for a bit, missing a quarter of A Hawk and a Hacksaw’s set. This band is totally off-beat, but totally enjoyable for the uneducated listener. I couldn’t help but find myself in awe of how talented this band is. They’ve been around for the last decade with most of the band hailing from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Few people probably know this, but it was A Hawk and a Hacksaw that really gave Zach Condon, AKA Baeirut a real lift into the industry a good seven years ago. They put some his music out on their label and played on the studio recordings of his first full-length Guglag Orkster.

Another interesting tie to note is A Hawk and a Hacksaw’s relation to indie heavy-weight Jeff Mangum. Accordionist Jeremy Barnes was actually an active member in Neutral Milk Hotel when the 1998 album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea was released. He strangely has no relation to Kevin Barnes that I can gather…

Watching Barnes play the accordion was absolutely amazing. He made Dark Dark Dark look like newbies. His sound was real crisp and clean, moving at unimaginable tempos. His wife and bandmate Heather Trost, had equally brilliant talents, but she played the violin. She also continued to play a very eerie sounding instrument that was the body of a violin with a trumpet horn attached. Trost would pull strings from the base of the instrument and alter the key. The sound was somewhere between a stringed instrument and a muted trumpet. She played it with ease and grace. (Note: This instrument is called a Stroh violin, look into it!!)

This Balkan-folk sound is definitely picking up… At least in my life. Beirut aside, I really took to the Eastern European sounds that American Julian Koster made. A sound that’s completely full of energy and life while completely unlike North American music. Funny enough all of the arts that I’ve cited above are from North America.

I normally find myself listening to the music I’m writing about. I don’t really find A Hawk and a Hacksaw that easy to listen to. Seeing them live was such a spectacle, sadly, I don’t think I can say the same about recorded. I hate to say it but Beirut is pretty, he writes songs with a few words to go with. Perhaps that’s why I like him more than the others…

Lesley Gore

Alright, you know her for this, she recorded “It’s My Party” at the tender age of sixteen!!

This gal is such a gem… I’m thinking of starting a Lesley Gore cover band! How fun!

Ironically, she sings every song about boys, love and tears, but in 2005 she came out in her late fifties.