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Monday, April 11, 2005


I went to see Queens of the Stone Age and brought along Jon Paul Fiorentino's new book of comedic short fiction, Asthmatica, for the ride. Couldn't find my friends and ended up reading the book during intermissions, waiting for bands. A great book, very funny. Fiorentino's writing is very much worth checking out. I have all of his books since hover which I suppose is all of them, although David Arnason (another outstanding writer that everyone should read) is currently holding my copy of Transcona Fragments for ransom. I lent it to him with the suggestion that he include Fiorentino's work in his book The Imagined City: A Literary History of Winnipeg. Arnason hadn't read Fiorentino and apparently he ended up liking the book I gave him and says he has included it somehow. That Arnason book may be out any day, legal issues are holding it up (a lot of clearances) but things should be worked out soon.

Queens was of course fantastic. The Mars Volta and QOTSA are my two favourite bands in the world at present. Outstanding, consistently brilliant work. Smart songs that rock hard as Hell. The band played a good selection from its 4-album catalogue, including some of my classic faves. Josh Homme was apparently sick with the flu and hopped up on Codeine-filled cough syrup. He seemed high as a kite but still managed to be a technical marvel, though his voice wasn't as up to the task as his guitar playing, and he had a few lame improvisations here and there. However, by and large, the band did a lot of improvisation and a lot of altered versions of songs, that overall were great improvements on already great songs. I love it when I go to see a band and they surprise me with great variations on songs that I already know note-by-note. It adds a little extra to the experience and confirms for me the importance of live music over recorded simulations of music. To top things off, just when I thought I wasn't going to get to hear it, Queens closed out their encore with my favourite Queens song yet, "Someone's in the Wolf."

The opening band was called Throw Rag. They were pretty good, wasn't a big fan of their sound but they put on a great show, had a half-naked man playing a washboard and a trumpet who hauled small children out of the crowd to play the washboard during a few songs that he sang while convulsing on the floor of the stage.


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