Thursday, 11 December 2008

Review: Andy Kim Christmas Show @ the Mod Club

Last night, I went to the 4th annual Andy Kim Christmas Show at the Mod Club in Toronto, which has become a Christmas tradition of mine over the last 4 years, since it started.

Some of you might be wondering, "Who's Andy Kim?" ... I guarantee you know him. You might not recognize the name... but I bet you will as soon as I start humming: "sugar, da-da-da-dah-da-dah, aww, honey honey..." or "rock me gently, rock me slowly... take it easy don't you know...."
Was I right?

Anyway. In previous years, this show had been presented by Mix 99.9 (a contemporary rock-pop station). But since they changed formats (and name) to Virgin Radio, Andy Kim didn't really fit the demographic. This year it was presented by CFRB 1010 (a news-talk format on the AM dial).

The sponsor change may have affected the lineup. In previous years, it seemed like the acts skewed a lot younger. At previous years of the Andy Kim Christmas Show, I’ve seen acts like Danny Michel, Raine Maida from Our Lady Peace, Serena Ryder, Haydain Neale of Jacksoul, and so many more. This years’ lineup was rather different. There were a couple of younger-skewed acts like Emm Gryner (who had also performed previously) and two members of Broken Social Scene, but most of the acts were a lot more… legendary, if you will. Gowan, Alex Lifeson from Rush, and The Kings were among the performers that took the stage last night.

Because of this, I was possibly the youngest person in the audience. And I was definitely the youngest person in the audience who knew all the lyrics to Andy Kim’s songs. Hah. I’m kind of used to it now. When I was a teen, I often was the youngest person the audience at shows that I went to.

There were only two minor annoyances at the show last night, and they both came from audience members. One was the girl that kept talking to us about how much she loved Andy, and celebrities in general, and how she should become a journalist (they would never let her near a journalism school!) The other was the supposed photographer with the awful blonde extensions. I’ve had an official photography pass for concerts, and the unwritten etiquette of photographers is that sure, you can head to front row, center, to get your shot. BUT, you NEVER linger there for more than a song, blocking all the true fans views. This girl plopped herself right in front of me, and broke up two ladies that had gone together, by standing right in between them, and was TOTALLY annoying. If I was those ladies, I would have started cross-talking in front of her, so that she got the message and went away. I think they were probably too polite though.

But I tried not to let either of those two bother me too much. The show itself was absolutely FABULOUS. Andy Kim came out with his band – I’d give you their names, but the only people I knew were my friend, Derek Downham on guitar, Terrence Gowan on bass (Def Leppard’s bass, to be precise), and new addition to the band, Peter Elkas – just after 8pm, fairly close to schedule. They opened with Rainbow Ride, which I don’t think I’d ever heard them play live! Awesome. Another change from years previous was that they played Sugar Sugar in the first set! It was so, so good. Stellar, even.

Up next was an R&B singer named Dru. Not gonna lie, the music generally isn’t my cup of tea. This guy was pretty good though. I could definitely get into it. He played two songs, a Christmas song, and one of his own. For his own song, he brought out four backup dancers, who were absolutely mesmerizing.

Following Dru was one of my favourite female performers, Miss Emm Gryner. Her Christmas song was a cover of The Waitresses “Christmas Wrapping” – which she had blogged about recently. She did a wonderful job remembering all the lyrics! Her next song was a bass duet (duel?) with Terrence Gowan, harkening back to THIS Andy Kim Christmas Show that I attended with my (then) friend who wrote the article. It was indeed, a very sultry version of The Beatles’ Revolution.  I'm definitely glad I was there to witness that song, revisited.  It was amazing the first time, and amazing last night too.  Emm was probably the highlight of all the guest performers for me. I simply adore her.

The Kings followed Emm. I don't really have all that much to say about them. I thought they were kind of cool. They played their song called Switchin' to Glide - which I swear I had never heard before, but I do know the quote "Nothing matters but the weekend from a Tuesday point of view" ... I always wondered where it came from. Now I know.

Gowan was the next act up. I think he sang a Christmas song, and followed it with "Strange Animal" (which, I believe if memory serves me well, he played at last years show too). Very high energy. Super cool to watch. For one of his songs, he brought out a 16-year-old to play drums. I'm not sure if it was his son or his nephew (I couldn't tell if it was Terrence or Lawrence that spoke into the microphone saying "that's my nephew!" when they introduced him). Then Andy came out and they sang a duet together.

Andy did a few songs, and then Ron Sexsmith came out. He played a couple of Christmas songs - one that I think he did last year, and one new one that I can't quite recall. Then Andy joined him on stage, and they sang Baby, How'd We Ever Get This Way. Here's my clip of that song, as performed by Andy Kim & Ron Sexsmith (and the rest of the band) ... the audio is absolutely horrible (my camera is really not meant for video recording, especially at a very loud venue) but it'll give you an idea of just how close I was, and the high energy in the room!

Up next came Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning from Broken Social Scene, supported by a band that they mentioned, but whose name escapes me right now. I know I will be hated by my Canadian indie-hipster friends... but I actually find Broken Social Scene to be kind of pretentious. I didn't really like their set last night (especially when dude was like, "okay keep talking, you need to talk..." to the audience. Umm, hello. You live in Toronto. And this is CLEARLY not your crowd. Just play your song and be nice. No need to be a downer at a Christmas show). I'm not sure who's idea it was to bring them on so late in the show (considering demographics, more than popularity), but I probably would have had them go on closer to Emm's set. The audience was kind of lost at this point.

Alex Lifeson of Rush was brought on next (after the most set change time of any act) . I'm not a Rush fan at all, but I must admit that he is a fabulous guitarist. It was very cool to see him play. One thing that I was disappointed in was that I had NO idea who his band was. They just didn't introduce them at all. I guess they figure it's just an honour to be playing with him - but I really would've liked to have known who they were!

After their set, all the performers that were left at the Mod Club came out on stage for the grand finale - Rock Me Gently.  Andy's most famous song.  He promised it would be unlike any version of it we'd ever heard, and boy was he right!  Awesome performances (there were a couple of missed notes/cues, but overall, that could be forgiven).  They didn't break into Lou Reed's Take A Walk on the Wild Side for the bridge, which they've done every other time I've seen them, so that was kinda neat, to hear a new arrangement.  

Click here to watch the Rock Me Gently finale from last night! Can't believe someone's already got it up on YouTube. I shot video of this, but my audio sucked, so I'm glad someone else got it. It's funny, because I can actually see myself holding up my camera, filming the song. (I was centre, about 2 people back)

I am slowly working on pictures, and will hopefully have them up on Flickr by the end of the night!  (Hah, when I look at the "post options" for this post, it tells me that I started typing it at 8:16am.  I don't think I've ever taken more than 12 hours to write a post before!)

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Susan Legare said...

Dude! We have to make plans for Saturday! Shall we go for dinner first? :)

Katie said...

Ooh, I would love to! :)
What's your email address? I'll send you my cell # and we can coordinate :)

Susan Legare said...

That way I can bring your message with me (work email) :)

sarah said...

wow, i can also see you in the audience in that video!

incidentally, things are a bit slower for me now that i don't have a thesis project, so hit me up during the lull for that dinner i owe you (sorry, won't be nota bene!).

Anonymous said...

Wow what great reviews hun! You are such a talented writer. I am looking fwd to reading all you have up here and what you have yet to come!

Anonymous said...


Katie said...

Nancy - I apologize for hurting your feelings. I am very apt to stick my foot in my mouth from time to time. And I am quite biased about people working in the media industry, because that's the field in which I work. I suppose it comes from years of comments from people saying that they could do my job, and not realizing that there is *much* more to it than meeting celebrities.
In any case, I did not mean to hurt your feelings or shine a negative light on the show for you.

Anonymous said...

thats ok edit your review...i grew up in the era and he was the poster on my wall...and he kissed me in hamilton so i was jacked up emotionally....70s music helped me through some hard times thats why it means so much to me...and there was one guy that irritated me from the press walked in front of my camera when he could have went behind,,,nit to mention that tall blonde at front her head was in the way,,,i hate being short


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