Okay, perhaps it’s boring to read a post about the parking lot near (I hesitate to say “at”) Ikea. But it’s the internet. So I get to write it, and you get to skip it. Onto rock music, rivers and apples.
Sunday night found us back in the apartment, predictably lethargic after our outing. But I’d read about a show of possible interest: Dreamt Pyramid and Dopamine at la Sala Rosa. The Sala is one of my favorite music venues in town, and I’d not heard of either band but checking them out online, they sounded dreamy in that ponderous Montreal postrock way. Keep in mind that I really like ponderous. So much so that Carrie now asks me “how long are the songs?” when I introduce her to a new band or try to persuade her to hit a show. And so after some hemming and hawing, realizing that as of yet we have never regretted attending a rock show in this town, we headed out. Dreamt Pyramid tunred out to be a side project of Black Cannons, which was, er., less accessible than the main project. By the time I made it over to the CD table (during the break between Dopamine sets), they’d already taken their Black Cannons CDs with them, so there were no CDs to be had.
Dopamine rocked, pure and simple. They sound mellower on myspace somehow, but they’ve got a nice edge to them, and they squared a circle for me playing a cover of Pink Floyd’s 23:27 “Echoes,” which would win a prize for most ponderous rock song ever had the band Yes never existed. In high school I was in a band in called “Echoes” and we formed with the specific purpose of playing “Echoes” at the homecoming “Band Jam” my junior year. Which we did. Then we broke up. My AP History teacher, Mr. Abalan (who grew up on 50s singles), happened to be in attendance at that event. For the rest of the year, whenever he was feeling jocular, he would utter some variation on “Sterne, how could you play a 15 minute rock song?” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it was actually 23 minutes. Abalan was actually an amazing teacher and it’s because of him I know anything about American or European history. But that’s another story. My point is that postrock is the new slow side of prog. Math rock was the new fast side of prog, when it was new. I haven’t dusted off any of the old prog LPs in my collection (except for Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, but that was back in Pittsburgh). Not yet.
Anyway, by intermission, both Carrie and I both had those silly grins we get when we’re in the presence of something that rocks. I went over to the CD table and bought one of everything, only to discover that a complication CD I’d just purchased was mastered by “Mike Baker.” Now I happen to have an RA named Mike Baker. Coincidence? The evening ended nicely as some anonymous person bought me a bourban. Or maybe it was just the bartender. You know things are going well when you are sitting, rocking and some anonymous person buys you a bourbon. That hasn’t happened in a long time.
Despite the rain Monday we ventured out east, to the Eastern Townships. We haven’t really seen much of Quebec besides the freeways between Montreal and the border. But within a half hour from our door, we were driving up a winding country road that ran parallel to a river, through small elegant towns with luscious looking bed and breakfast places, and enjoying the countryside. The highlight was definitely the area around Mount Saint-Hilaire. Town after town was carefully manicured (no doubt because some of them featured mansions — we must have been in a playground for the rich). We eschewed the “festival de bieres et saveurs” that charged admission in Chambly (think parking on fields, big tents and lots of flea-market style wares) and instead weaved around the mountain, stopping at an antique shop (overpriced, but I’d never actually seen a photocopier for sale in an antique shop before — looked to be an 80s vintage Sharp model), a glass factory (very cheap for what you got but we resisted), and several orchards to sample the wares and in one case feed the farm animals (yes, I know that exhibit was for kids and I don’t care). I’d never tasted 10-year-old-raw-milk cheddar, which was amazing, and we took home some cider and some pickles to boot. In graduate school we expended a lot of effort exploring the countryside around Champaign-Urbana since there wasn’t much going on in town. Montreal can intoxicate and bedazzle, to be sure, but there is still something wonderful about those big open spaces. As we drove by one “for sale” sign after another, I wondered how much it would cost to buy one of those giant houses. But then, after the time it takes to have a vacation, I’d be bored. Plus the commute would be a killer.