Thursday, December 06, 2007

You're chased by ghosts...
You cannot say goodbye...

Oh, what a night.

Some experiences come close to being inexplicable. Saturday,
December 1st, at approximately 8 pm, was one of those.

Let's backpedal for a moment.

Around a week and a half ago-ish (maybe 2 weeks now), I get
an email from the owner of Zaphod's in Ottawa asking 'past
trusted Zaphods bands' (whatever that means - Graven
played there once) about the possibility of opening for Mr.
Andrew Whiteman himself and his band of musical sorcerers -
The Apostle of Hustle. Spooked and wordless, I emailed the
club owner back, inquiring for more info about this opportunity.
I heard nothing. A day passed. When logging on to myspace the
day after, there was a message in my Graven inbox directly from The
Apostle of Hustle's myspace account. The message basically
stated that due to the tightness of the time frame of the evening,
they weren't going to add another act after all but listened to my
stuff. Then came the punchline of the message: 'Hey - do you live
in Ottawa? Why don't you come out to the show and I'll put you
on the guest list plus one?'

After calling my friend Matt Roberts (I would have asked my bro
but I know Matt is a massive AOH fan) and telling him about the
news, he nearly soiled himself on the phone. THEN I told him about
the guest list...I think he actually did soil at that point. And we were
off and running...or were we?

December 1st rolls around and Jon B is coming down from his
'day before Montreal b-day bash' and his sister Laur is in town.
After hearing from the Bloomers, it is decided that the four of
us plus Mitchy, Dan and Flips are all going to go to the show
together. After eating some gruel downtown, we headed around
the corner to Zaphod's. Alarmingly, Matt and I discovered, when
telling our situation to the short, bearded fool working the door,
that there was only one person on the guest list and it was a girl.
Yikes. Being sure of the message I received, though, I was not willing
to concede and pay the inconsiderate midget (who forced us to stay
outside and keep the door closed and who also wouldn't let Matt use an
ATM that was within arm's reach of the dwarf) and so I left the
doorman my ID and went inside to find the band.

After about 5 minutes of standing near the bar and finding out
AOH has left to get some food, the furious/clueless doorman
comes up to me and tells me to find the band and not to 'stand around
and have a drink'. I explained that the band had left the bar to get
some food. He stomped, huffed and puffed, and insisted 'well, the band
HAS to be here! They gave me this guest list!' Is this guy for real?
I re-explained to him that the band wasn't actually on the premises.
He stormed off. To try and keep the peace though, I went back to
the front door area and waited so that the hobbitman would not
explode. 5 minutes passed and in walks the drummer - Dean.
I quickly approached him, kinda scared, but told him about the
situation. Dean, very nice and calm, explained he didn't know anything
about a myspace message but looked at me and said 'Ya know what?
I believe you. Yeah. I'll put you on the guest list.'

Wow! What a cool dude.

Dean then proceeded to the door troll and told him that myself plus one
was on the guest list. The bearded man, in his blind fury and utter lack
of social awareness, passed me my ID over his shoulder without even
looking at me and then actually tried to stamp the hand of Dean - the
drummer. I kid you not - this guy was for real. Dean explained that he
didn't need a stamp as he was 'in the band'. 'Beardy' then stamped my
hand and I told him I would go and get my friend. I found Matt.
In disbelief, I told him 'Come get your money back, bitch!' Matt soiled
himself for the third time that week. We ventured back to the front
and bearded wonder gave Matt the same silent 'over the shoulder' routine
that he did to me. Unbelievable.

Anyways, after it was all said and done, AOH did NOT disappoint and
put on one of the best concerts I have ever attended. Major Maker, the
opener, were decent as well but were largely outshined by Whiteman
and co. What made AOH so amazing is the fact that with just three
performers, they created a wall of infernal sound that blended together
so integrally. I found this out when I saw them perform at the Wolfe Island
Festival in the summer but this Ottawa show was like a step beyond.
Punches tighter, vocals clearer, drums louder and performances heightened.
And as if the evening couldn't get any better, Laur commented to me,
about halfway through the set, that she liked the Wolfe Island show
more because Whiteman did a little number involving a highwire that
he felt along while blindfolded and singing (it's hard to explain). At that
PRECISE moment, up goes the highwire on stage. I kid you not. Laur
freaked and I howled...and soiled myself...just a little bit.

Two more notes of amazement:
1. After AOH played two encores, I began shouting 'SWORD!' trying to
invoke the playing of the title track from their newest LP 'My Sword
Hand's Anger'. Was I disappointed? Not that night. Andrew Whiteman
got on the mic explaining that 'the title of this next song comes from the
movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.'

2. I had a chance to talk with Andrew after the show, explaining the
guest list mix up and how Dean saved me and he actually 'thanked me for
my patience'. What a righteous bunch of fellows, those Apostlers! He also
mentioned that Graven could open for them next time...but that's another

All in all, it was just that kind of night. Almost surreal.

I'm pretty overwhelmed just re-living it all.

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