Of course The Biltmore was sold out! Headwater, C.R. Avery, and The River and The Road brought down the house. And if C.R. didn't nail you from the stage in the head with a beer can crushed by his sweaty, bare hands then you weren't really there!
The River and The Road were a delightful, surprising treat. Especially when they managed to get the frontmen from Headwater, Jonas and Matt, to join them in an encore. Yes, it is going to be a very good night when the sold out audience wants the relatively unknown opener to do an encore; this yet with Headwater (up second) and C.R. Avery with band and, of course, top-notch half-naked burlesque dancers on the way.
I was suffering severe spinal pain, but stayed late since we were having fun, and I'd embarrassingly never seen C.R. Avery live, despite listening to his recordings and YouTube for many years (and recording also out of Red Light – with Neal Miskin or Jesse Waldman.)
If you haven't seen Headwater's music video for "Your Love," here it is. It's clean, simple and filmed in our backyard in North Vancouver. I apologize to some of my friends who feel all I write about is Headwater. It's not true, but the only way to write is what you want and what you love, all the time and do nothing else.
So… Headwater really brought their act to a new level last night. The Georgia Straight and most reviewers, hey, probably the band, see themselves as finally becoming "rock". Ridiculous! We don't live in a world of genre anymore (if C.R. Avery that very night didn't remind us all of our endemic post-structural locality in 2012.)
Headwater was never country, nor were they a string-band. They were in metal acts as teens, Jonas on drums, Matt on guitar or bass even when he played in punk band The DC Tones (*DC stands for something venues often banned from print). The point, musicians aren't performing within genre anymore, and it frustrates me to think we still define our tastes that way.
I don't merely like alt rock, metal and Celtic. There are in fact only a handful of bands within those large genres that I listen to with any regularity.
Based on my iTunes plays, quite accurate despite mostly listening to vinyl:
My most listened to bands in 2011 are...
- Mumford & Sons
- John Hiatt
- Black Dub (Daniel Lanois)
- Maynard (Tool, Puscifer, APC)
- Jeff Martin (The Tea Party, solo)
So far 2012:
- Maynard (Tool, Puscifer, APC)
- Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers
As you can see, I'm weird. There's no logic, nor genre loyalty. But unless your playlist is something like: Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Gotye, The Black Keys and Foo Fighters new album, I bet you're as erratic as most listeners when it comes to taste.
And yet we freak out when musicians change and grow. Dylan got booed when he went electric. So, I hope that Headwater doesn't get sucked into this new rock genre, and forget their roots (lol, yep, I said that.) The fact that Jonas sang "Lonely Trail" from their debut EP My Old Friend made me want to cry when I thought of that album release, my life at the time, and the full nostalgia of realizing how things change as we grow older.
Musicians must change what they do. Thank the gods Headwater has, and I hope they keep changing.
Tim and Patrick have said they would like to go do something more like My Old Friend again. I think the band is primed for a live album, or even a live EP. Or even just sending out a live track once a month from whatever show and let fans pay what they want. Those tracks, I can tell you, would get heavy rotation by me, at least, for sure.
As listeners, or music consumers if you like, we feel no guilt over what we like, regardless of its genre, and so I dis-'like' this idea of musicians being within this genre or that, or going from that to this other. Listeners listen to what we like. We don't care if our playlist has Enya, then VAST, then Headwater, and perhaps some Planxty or Christy Moore to really feel good today!
Listeners don't listen in genres, and musicians shouldn't think that way either. It won't get you radio play anymore, being rock, or being commercial even. Why bother pushing songs on radio stations when you can more easily hang-out online, chat, meet people and communicate that way. Of course, radio is still good, but fewer and fewer are listening to it.
I sell more online by being played and referenced in podcasts! I can't recall a single direct sail from any of a dozen radio interviews or live-on-air (including being the first uilleann piper to play live on FOX 99.3 in 2006).
Last night at The Biltmore, Headwater didn't unveil their new "rock outfit" or new "sound." Headwater just did what they always have done, made people dance by playing really fucking great new music!