This and That


The highlight of Sunday was my first rehearsal with Lindi. Meeting Lindi, like many other lucky breaks I’ve had since owning it, was an yet another accordion-releated incident. I’d brought my accordion to a Christmas party thrown by my friend Eric when she came up to me and asked if I would back her up for her CD release party.

Along with me, the band consists of Neil Leyton on guitar, a guy named Brad on drums and Lindi’s dad on bass. Lindi alternates between playing piano and guitar. All save me are serious musicians; each is working on his or her own musical career and playing with at least one other act. These guys play in studios and clubs; as for me, I play on the street, yo! (I wonder if Puff Daddy felt this way the first time he was invited to the Hamptons to do brunch with Martha Stewart.)

We took one break in the middle of the rehearsal to relax. Lindi’s Dad broke out a bottle of gold tequila and shot glasses with Spanish words on them. Now that’s what I can rehearsing! Lindi’s shot glass read “mama“, Neil’s read “jefe” and mine read “compadre“. Lindi’s dad showed us some footage of a burning set played by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones on his big screen TV for a couple of minutes, and then we went back to rehearsing.

The rehearsal itself went well. We managed to cover most of the songs (Lindi’s album plus three or four extras) twice. Lindi’s material, being folksy tunes with a strong “Paris in the twneties” feel aren’t terribly complicated, so we managed to pick them up quickly. I’m glad I was able to keep up with the other musicians — those guys are good! That being said, I’m going to have to set aside some time to practice my scales — I’m not as good as I should be in the keys of C# and A flat.

We’re going to practice twice this weekend, and we should be able to get one more practice in after that. I think we’re going to sound very impressive at the show.

Back in the ‘hood

Not having a car and having to commute to the ‘burbs every weekday meant that I missed out on the pleasures of running errands in the city. For the first time in about five months, I took my bike out for a spin around the neighbourhood and did some shopping. I went to Kensington Market, which has a different ryhthm on weekdays than it does on weekends, the only time I was able to visit. While supermarkets are convenient, and even though Loblaws is a much better supermarket than most (especially when compared to its American counterparts), there’s nothing like going to a bakery for baked goods, a butcher for meat, a fruit stand for fruits and vegetables, and so on. It was nice not to have to take a car to a mall.

Chicks Dig It

Last night was the second night of Chicks Dig It. I joined their mailing list last Monday night and received this e-mail message yesterday:

Please join us also for some live accordion music and dancing school-boys that will be interspersed throughout all the DJ sets. One night only!

I was planning to go anyway, but now that I was expected, I really had to go!

Heidi, the promoter who sent the e-mail, was at the door when Rob and I arrived at Temple Bar and greeted us. “Did you see what I wrote?” she asked. I thanked her and talked with her for a bit. She mentioned something about a cake being brought out later that night, as it was DJ Freedom’s birthday.

We went to the upper level to check out the dance floor. It was more crowded than last week and full of new faces. It looked as though word about Chicks Dig It was getting around; hopefully it bodes well for Monday nights. DJ Chocolate and one of the organizers walked by me and greeted me. “Hey! Good to see you again!”

If anything, a hiatus from work is always good for one’s scenesterdom. (Scenestership? Scenesterhood? Sceneterness? Scenesterosity?)

While on the dance floor, I could see some of the organizers lighting sparklers on a cake at the bar. I quickly took the accordion off my back and brought it into playing positions so that when the cake came, I was already on the opening chord for Happy Birthday. DJ Freedom turned down the sound system so we could all sing.

A couple of party/event organizers gave me their cards after the cake ceremony. It looks as though I should have at least a couple of parties to attend and gigs to play in the near future.

Another musician on my street

Rob and I called it quits about 1:30 and he took a cab home from the corner of Queen and Spadina.

I was unlocking my front door when a guy who was getting out of his car said “Whoa. Accordion.”

I turned around. “Yeah, this is my street accordion. I take it out often — you never know when you’re going to need one.”

“Play something,” he said.

I played some blues scales (quietly, since I didn’t want the neighbours to kill me) and then slipped into Head Like a Hole, one of the old standbys that I can play in my sleep.

He asked if I played jazz, and I told him about the improv jazz band I jammed with while I was living in San Francisco.

“That’s cool. I live just down the street, and I just got my music space set up, but I don’t have any musicians. Come knock on my door sometime this week if you have time; I’ll definitely be knocking on your door soon.”

As Mr. Burns would say: Excellent. It’s all falling into place.

Leave a Reply