Thursday, January 13, 2005

Rob Read reads

Rob Read's and Anthony Metiver's performance last night was truly troubadouric in its realization of Read's revisiting and revisioning of the lyric in 18 Full English Breakfasts. Read read with an impressive mix of earnestness and humour, straightbacked and clear voiced, while Metiver played a distorted guitar, sometimes with a slightly Baroque* flourish and occasionally accompanying himself on bongos. A highlight for me was a nearly full-on metal rendition of the cuckoo translation below. I say "nearly full-on" because from where I was sitting the mix of guitar and voice was balanced perfectly for a reading, with vocals clear and just in the forefront, though at one point an audience member perhaps not as well seated got up to fiddle with the knobs on Read's amp. Except for one exceedingly long intro (intentional judging by the smiles Read and Metiver exchanged) the pacing was perfect to allow the listener a moment to think between pieces, while maintaining momentum. The duo also treated the audience to samples of Read's Treated Spam project.

Most, I was struck by what I perceived as Read's and Metiver's awareness of history, both its continuities and discontinuities. I enjoyed the reading tremendously.

In the audience (is this ethical? an invasion of privacy? a useful form of documentation?): John Barlow, Neil Hennessy, Marshall Hryciuk, Karen Sohne(?), Paul Dutton, Steve McCaffery, Karen Mac Cormack, among about 20 others.

* Correct me if I'm wrong; I am no music historian.

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