Monday, September 13, 2010

A weird Sunday morning with The Sadies



Why the fuck is my alarm clock going off at 9:45 a.m. on Sunday morning? (Aimz fades in and out of consciousness) I could use a large glass of water. (rolls over, yawns, stretches) I need to buy a dress for Ryan's wedding, but the stores don't open until noon. Why the hell did I set my alarm? (pulls covers over her head) Why the fuck was I dreaming about my office printer? (clock now says 9:50) Oh yeah, there's a free Sadies show at 11:00. I better pull it together and get moving.

3/4 of The Sadies during the TIFF Lightbox opening street party.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is in full swing, and as part of the festivities the city welcomed the official opening of the TIFF Bell Lightbox with a street party. The Lightbox building is the new home of the TIFF, and it includes the TIFF offices, a public atrium, five public cinemas, two art galleries, three learning studios, a center for students and scholars, a bistro, a restaurant, and a lounge. The other side of the Lightbox will boast a 46 story condominium development called the Festival Tower that is currently nearing completion.

So why, you ask, would I drag my sorry carcass out of bed on a Sunday morning just to see a new building? Normally I wouldn't, but for this street party my favorite Canadians were playing a mini gig. Yes, a free Sadies show is one of the few things that will get me moving on a weekend morning.

The scene was actually quite surreal at 11:00 a.m. at the intersection of King West and John St., roughly four blocks from where I live. Normally this area is pretty dead on a Sunday morning, with a few people headed off to brunch, or to the Starbucks, Second Cup, or Tim Hortons, all of which line the block. I crossed the intersection of Peter and King West and was greeted by a giant inflatable rat, part of an ongoing, rotating series of scheduled walkouts by hotel employees (this time from the nearby Hyatt) to protest working conditions. After the rat and dozens of protesters, I came upon lines and lines of people headed into the Lightbox to see whatever TIFF screenings aired at 11 or 12. Vendors from nearby restaurants were preparing food tents.

"A donut for my dog?"
The people watching was fantastic. In addition to the movie-goers and protesters, there were people of all walks of life milling about the block. Overdressed TIFF scenesters, young couples with their little munchkins, old couples decked out in their Sunday best, hungover locals (e.g. me), baseball fans (the Sky Dome is three blocks to the south and the Jays had a 1p.m. game), the homeless man who hangs out in front of the Tim Hortons who has been terrorizing people with his cranky German
"Most boring security gig ever."
Sheppard for the last eight years (upper right). The security dudes looked completely bored and surly (lower right). One in three people had TIFF lanyards (which means that they are more important than you). One in two had an iPhone. One in four had a bluetooth headset. I kept thinking, "This must be what L.A. is like."

When I got to the stage at King/John, an energetic young rock band called 100 Monkeys was finishing their set. They had a lot of excited fans, mostly chicks. And they were from L.A. - the band that is, I'm not sure about the chicks. The Sadies were supposed to go on at 11:30, but the stage was already behind schedule. I usually see the Sadies take the stage at 11:30 p.m., so I was very amused to see the band members all carrying extra large coffees instead of extra large beers. It's rough being a rockstar at 11 in the morning.

Dallas Good, the other 1/4 of The Sadies.
The Sadies played a very quick set of six tracks, four of which were from their latest album Darker Circles. The mini-set was heavy on the psychedelic riffs, and despite the early hour, they sounded really good. Some on-stage genius decided that a smoke machine would be a good idea, but it actually made the stage look like it was on fire. I estimated that only about 60 people were actually paying attention to the band, as opposed to the reported 1000 that showed up to see "surprise" guest K'naan later that afternoon (This link is to an article in the Toronto Star. The photo of all of the people with cameras just kills me. Can you imagine how man BAD photos of K'naan where taken that afternoon?).

As I was watching The Sadies, I noticed a kid, roughly 12-years-old, standing next to me watching the show. After it was over I asked him what he thought. "It was good!" he enthusiastically responded. One thing that is neat about public performances like this is that youngsters can actually see very cool artists perform. K'naan might sell out the all-ages Air Canada Centre, but the Sadies usually play in dingy bars well past the bedtime of young tweens. I hope this kid was inspired to take guitar lessons.

There were other bands playing that afternoon, but I didn't stick around for them. I had to go dress shopping (unsuccessfully, I might add), and I was really looking forward to my Sunday afternoon nap.

Another Day Again.mp3
Buy: Darker Circles (2010)

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