His Name Is Alive Toronto, Canada Lee's Palace Sept. 4th
I casually walked in to the venue prior to the show and enjoyed Nettwerk signed Sully doing their soundcheck. They are doing a full headline show on the 11th but tonight they are opening for Livonia, Michigan's favorite thrash metal combo His Name Is Alive.
Just as the ads said in the local weekly music rags, early ticket holders get a chance at HNIA door prizes. This ain't no lie! For a mere CDN$10 (roughly US$1.50, haha!!) for the ticket, myself and the other early birds received a free HINA/timeSTEREO "Ft. Lake" T-shirt and a copy the "Can't Always Be Loved" CD single.
The T-shirt is very cool - timeSTEREO logo on the front with the "Ft. Lake" and HNIA logos on the reverse. Getting a free BAD8015CD was a nice bonus too! It features the "radio" version of "Can't Always Be Loved" and the "uncut" seventeen minute version of "Wish I Had A Wishing Ring". What a deal, and for only $10!
HNIA took the stage around 11:30. From left to right, Erika Hoffmann playing keyboards, Karin Oliver singing and Lovetta Pippen singing and playing bongo drums. In the back was Chad Gilchrist on bass, Trey Many or Scott Goldstein on drums (not sure, actually) and some guy huddled off to side named Warren.
Songs included "This World Is Not My Home", "Baby Fish Mouth", "Nice Day", "Wish I Had A Wishing Ring", "Country Girl", "Everything Takes Forever", "No Hiding Place Down Her", "Up Your Legs Forever", "Is This The Way The Tigers Do?", "Last American Blues", "Jubilee" (ESP Family) and "Fossil"...
It was an amazing show, even topping their last Toronto show less than two years ago at the same venue (with Red House Painters). The sound was great even though I wish the sound on Lovetta's mic could have been raised a notch or two.
After the show, myself and another HNIA fan-geek caught up with Lovetta and chatted to her about how Warren abducted her from a gospel choir he hired during the "Stars On ESP" sessions. We then caught up with Warren as he was heading back to the van. He gave us the latest timeSTEREO catalog which "has live HNIA tapes and stuff".
We chatted for a while about the usual fan-geek stuff at which point Warren took off back into the venue. Karin was kind enough to let us chat with her about various things. We even discussed what Warren had in mind in regards to "Up Your Legs Forever" and we both agreed he must of meant "that", just like we suspected all along. Chad also tolerated our questions and autograph requests as did the lovely Erika...
Overall, it was an super evening. We stood on the sidewalk and watched the van pull away on the six hour journey baxk to Livonia. His Name Is Alive are one of the best bands around right now and are 4AD's most criminally underheard bands.
Facts gleaned from the local press about HNIA:
- Warren seldom works with people further than walking distance from his house. For example, he met Karin in a college classroom and they say beside each other.
- Bands like Cornershop, The High Llamas and Beck praise HNIA for being so darned experimental yet still producing pleasant pop sounds.
- Warren will likely record over an hours worth of tape to get a four or five minute finished song that is ready to be included on an album.
- HNIA is more of a band than ever, not just Warren's one man show. "I was kind of used to being the dictator, so it was super-hard to give up all the responsibilty. The toughest part for me was just to concentrate on being the guitar player".
- "Ft. Lake" was produced by Steve King, producer of Aretha Franklin and Funkadelic among others in the Motown and funk side of music.
- Warren is glad he never makes the same album twice. He prefers a natural progression from album to album stating "I couldn't have predicted I'd be doing funk, though, that's half the fun".
Look for the American release of "Ft. Lake" on 4AD sometime in November and it's already out in the UK and Canada among other 4AD territories. The "Can't Always Be Loved" EP is out as of August 24th so go find it and groove to the over seventeen minute extended version of "Wishing Ring" and plus, there's a track on the 7" vinyl NOT on the CD single!
Selected various quotes and facts from either NOW or eye magazines...
JEFF KEIBEL TORONTO, ONTARIO CANADA