A couple nights ago we went to see Steven Page in concert at the Westman Centennial Auditorium. It’s been a while; he hasn’t been to Brandon in twenty-five years. He was on tour with Craig Northey of The Odds and Kevin Fox, a cellist.
The show was amazing. I confess, I didn’t know much of Page’s newer stuff, but what I heard I liked. We ended up buying a couple CDs during the intermission, so I look forward to hearing more of his recent work.
The music was great, a nice mix of old Barenaked Ladies tunes and Page’s new work. He’s got a distinctive voice, both in his vocals and in his lyrics. His songs each tell a story, and Lord knows I’m a sucker for a story song. But the story’s not often straightforward, and deep, dark truths can be hidden in boppy, happy pop tunes.
Page, Fox, and Northey had a great rapport on the stage, too, and the banter between the three of them was comfortable, amusing, and easygoing. There wasn’t a single moment, listening to their little stories between songs, that I was impatient for the music to start. The tales told were as much a part of the experience at the songs.
Here’s my favourite of Page’s new work, at least so far: “Gravity”.
Early on in the show, he launched into the BNL tune “The War on Drugs”, after which he joked that he knew a lot of us were hoping that he’d play some of the old Barenaked back catalog, and he also knew that we were all hoping he’d pick the most obscure, depressing ones to treat us to.
They snuck an Odds song (“Someone Who Is Cool”) into the breakdown in “Alternative Girlfriend”, which I thought was a nice touch (and it was good to hear Northey’s voice in the forefront, too; he hasn’t lost his touch either).
On the whole, I loved the concert. A friend of ours, at the end, said it was better than she’d expected. My wife and I disagreed: it was as great as we’d hoped.
Hopefully we don’t have to wait another twenty-five years for another encore. Eh, Steven?
[Edited to add:] Oh man, I forgot to mention the Sleep Country Canada/Wexit song. You’ll have to ask me about it some time.