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Mary’s Best Shows of 2009

December 21, 2009

Sun after thunderstorm in Central Park | nickdigital photo

You’re not sick of year-end lists yet, right? Good, because here’s a chronological list of some good shows and festivals I saw this year!

I did quite a bit of travelling to see shows in the first half of 2009. It was good times and I need to do more of it. Noted! I plan to visit England and/or New York in 2010 and hope to take in some more festivals. Maybe Pavement?

The list, complete with sexy, sexy photos and video after the jump.

The Constantines

Constantines | Sandy Chase photo

The Rolling Tundra Revue
The Weakerthans, The Constantines

SUB Ballroom (Fredericton, NB)
March 23

Early in the year The Weakerthans and Constantines embarked on an ambitious cross-country tour. An actual cross-country tour, none of this Vancouver to Montreal nonsense a lot of bands try to pass off as a national endeavour. These two bands went from St. John’s to Whitehorse in the dead of early spring. Commendable!

I’d seen The Weakerthans before and liked them more than is reasonable or healthy in 2007/8, but I was never really into The Constantines prior to this year. I liked them well enough when I saw them at this show but I really got into their Too Slow For Love EP, released as a free bonus download for fans who purchased their (so-so) Kensington Heights album.


  • Very conspicuous film crew recording the whole thing. There’s apparently a tour DVD coming out.
  • Drunk dude trying to dance with a somewhat alarmed John K Samson
  • The Weakerthans playing “Anchorless” on Value Village synths
  • A good ol’ fashioned internet fight about which band was better

The Melvins

The Paradise (Boston, MA)
May 16

I’d never been to Boston before. I paid for everything with American loonies that day, thanks to a miscalculation on my part at the change machine at an MBTA station. Whoops! Pockets heavy with gold coins, the whole day was just like being at home in Canada after a night of heavy drinking except for the pervasiveness of Red Sox bumper stickers and obnoxious accents which for some reason struck me as charming.

Hey, here’s the Melvins playing a song! Not pictured: me.


  • Buzzo’s clear plexiglas guitar
  • Everybody in muumuus!
  • Missing 100% of the Houdini material because my boyfriend wanted to leave and I apparently love him more than I love The Melvins. So there’s that.

Metz at The North Street Church | Paul Rodeo photo

The Obey Convention III
Too many bands to list

Various venues (Halifax, NS)
May 21-24

All of The Obey Convention shows were fun. All of them. I’m pretty dim when it comes to, like, performance art and shit, so there are whole sections of it I’ll never be able to fully appreciate, but Obey is a great little festival. It focuses on noisy, arty bands you would probably never see all in one place outside of New York or some other sexy movie-setting city where even harassment on the L-train sounds glamourous.

My complete, boozy review of my two days at the festival is here and here.


  • PIG
  • The terrifying murals coupled with affordable hot wings at The Oasis
  • Minivan Halen moshing-dude rampage in the VLT room at Gus’

New York SummerStage
Explosions In the Sky, The Constantines

Central Park (NYC)
June 30

Explosions In The Sky | self-titledmag photo

New York City, you guys! This show was part of a small tour EITS did to celebrate their 10th anniversary as a band. The Constantines were an odd pairing, but EITS are fans of the band and wanted them on the bill. The crowd were polite but most people seemed bored to death by this unknown Canadian band. You could literally hear crickets when they wished everyone a “Happy Canada Day eve!” Womp womp.

EITS played well and seemed happy to be there. I was definitely losing interest after the first hour, though. Ugh. At one point during their set some guy was trying to get a slow clap going. Nobody was having it, but he was really persistent. Eventually, someone behind me screamed, “CONGRATULATIONS! THOSE ARE YOUR HANDS!” L-O-L!


  • There was a thunder storm for approximately two straight hours while we waited to get into the outdoor concert site. Fun times!

Too many bands to list

Various venues (Sackville, NB)
July 31 – August 2

Old Man Luedecke | Miss Gillian photo

I only went to the first night on the main stage. Sorry! I really only wanted to see Eric’s Trip because I hadn’t seen them since they toured after The Eric’s Trip Show came out.

I was pleasantly surprised by Old Man Luedecke, though, who was on the same bill and turned out to be the highlight for me. I had a couple of his albums and liked them, but was never really interested in seeing him live. He was really good, though! I dare you to frown while listening to banjo music and lyrics about friends, food, and quitting your stupid job. He also told a good, funny story about the time he inadvertently moved to Vancouver. Good, good.


  • The man who took my ticket smiled and said, “Welcome to Sappyfest!” and I looked like a deer in headlights because I’m used to door people being like, “DUMP OUT YOUR WATER! YOU CAN’T TAKE THAT BOTTLE OF ADVIL INSIDE! DO YOU HAVE ANY WEAPONS??”
  • Man, am I ever glad I didn’t live in residence when I went to university.
  • Zine Fair! I bought a graphic novel and a non-graphic novel from the Conundrum Press people. Wise choices!
5 Comments leave one →
  1. aimee permalink
    December 22, 2009 1:25 pm

    I totally drank beer at Oasis in Halifax in July.
    I have LOTS of mural pictures somewhere. LOTS.

    Relevant: The Weakerthans/Constantines show was $15 more expensive in Calgary, fuck that!

    • December 22, 2009 1:32 pm

      We had never actually been to The Oasis before, but were walking down Spring Garden and thought, “Hey, this looks sketchy but cheap!” There was an old guy in there, sloppy drunk at 4pm on a Sunday. He’d just won big on the VLTs and was trying (and failing) to high-five everybody.

  2. passerine songs permalink*
    December 22, 2009 2:32 pm

    Re: greetings at the door: at the Sonic Youth show in Berlin, the ticket people were saying “have fun” to everybody.

    • December 22, 2009 2:59 pm

      Weird/awesome. Like I said, I’m used to being treated like a criminal. I even went to a small-ish all ages show in SJ one time and security made me coatcheck my hoodie because they said I could be hiding weapons in it. I offered to let them go through my pockets, but no go. WTF.


  1. Records of Note: March 2010 « Gunshy

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