Friday, 26 July 2013

Mad as the mist and snow

Setting the poetry of Yeats to music could be awkward and pretentious, but in Mike Scott's hands the result is spectacular. This is his powerful, earthy performance of "Mad as the mist and snow".





Bolt and bar the shutter,
For the foul winds blow:
Our minds are at their best this night,
And I seem to know
That everything outside us is
Mad as the mist and snow.
Horace there by Homer stands,
Plato stands below,
And here is Tully's open page.
How many years ago
Were you and I unlettered lads
Mad as the mist and snow?
You ask what makes me sigh, old friend,
What makes me shudder so?
I shudder and I sigh to think
That even Cicero
And many-minded Homer were
Mad as the mist and snow. 
 --- William Butler Yeats

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Dr. John at the Montreal Jazz Festival

Dr. John played at the jazz festival last night and my partner-in-life and I were at the Theatre Maisonneuve to see him.

dr john - montreal jazz fest 6

The good doctor played an entertaining show, ably supported by a tight band featuring an eccentric singing trombone-player who wowed the crowd with her musical and physical shape-throwing. It took a while for the concert to get going and for the band to find its groove; the first few songs felt a bit stilted and tight but after 20 minutes the music was loose, the crowd was swinging and it was hot and steamy. Just like New Orleans I guess.

Dr. John & the Nite Trippers - Montreal Jazz Festival 2013

Leon Russell played support but he shouldn't have bothered. The sound was terrible for his part of the show and he insisted on using a cheesy synthesizer to beat all the subtlety out of his music - it was pathetic. Thankfully Dr. John's show made us forget all about it.

The show finished just after midnight. Outside it was 25 degrees, there was a large crowd enjoying a free jazz show in the quartier des spectacles, the cafes and bars were buzzing. Montreal in the summer - it's hot and it's cool.