Friday, 5 June 2009

Concert Review: Freestyle Open Mic Night at the Royal Conservatoire

For an inexpensive evening of music, Open Mic nights are usually an interesting way to experience a variety of styles and performances, from folksy guitarists to up-and-coming rappers. This week, I grabbed myself a table at the Royal Conservatoire of Music on Bellhop Drive, where the Freestyle Open Mic Evenings are becoming somewhat legendary.

The R.C. has been home to some of the most talked-about events in open stage history. Who could forget the hardcore cello battle when L’il Stradivarius publicly called out V-Valdi from the stage in 2004? And nobody who witnessed it could forget the historic surprise appearance from Des Dead Prez in 1999 when he previewed his as-yet unreleased sonata for solo harpsichord.

With these memorable moments in my mind, I was full of anticipation when the first act took the stage. He was a talented young bassoonist called Shoo-Bert, and it was clear from his combination of flicking and venting techniques that he’s going to go far. He had total control of the crutch, and his glissando was anything but wack. Keep an eye out for him in future!

Next up was a freestyle duet between timpani and triangle. God, that was dull. It was like refereeing a sprint between a comatose snail and an asthmatic sloth.

Sadly, regular performer Bach Daddy was only able to rock the mic with his extreme piccolo skills for about a minute before excessive heckling from another area of the crowd forced him off the stage. It seems that BD’s crew – the BaRoqckers – have been in a violent turf war with the Renaissance Renegades, and this latter group were responsible for the interruption. Both groups were ejected from the Conservatoire for the disturbance, and I’m told that a fight broke out in the car park straight away. Apparently several reeds and violin bows were damaged in the melee.

While the fight was going on outside, within the RC we were being treated to a great performance by the locally popular Tuba-ng Clan who performed from their excellent Enter the 36 Chamber Music album. The twenty-three members all worked the stage with their French Horns, Tubas and Clarinets, ad-libbing and freestyling like old pros. This was a wonderful show, made even better by some excellent honk and response that really got the crowd involved.

Finally, the attendees at the open mic night were blessed by a truly remarkable performance by an amateur glockenspiel player. I wasn’t able to see the crowd’s reaction to this stellar young artist’s recital, but judging by the stunned silence that accompanied his incredible playing I’m betting that they were impressed. So awed were they by his amazing command of the glockenspiel that they even maintained a reverent calm after his performance had finished, during the time when they’d usually clap and cheer. In fact, when I – whoops, sorry, I mean he – came off the stage, he was greeted by the international symbol of “great show!” Yes, everyone was covering their ears with their hands and looking pained, obviously to tell me him that when I he stopped playing, they felt a pain in their souls.

The Freestyle Open Mic Night at the Royal Conservatoire is highly recommended for all B-Boys (the ‘B’ stands for ‘Beethoven’!) and flygirls who can’t get enough of that crazy French Horn madness. I’ll be there next week; will you?

Freestyle Open Mic Night is every Wednesday at the Royal Conservatoire, Bellhop Drive, Toronto. Doors open at 7:00, but you’re still not allowed in until 7:30, when the building has warmed up. Bring a xylophone and lay down some dope ass tinkles.


Red said...

I freaking love the glockenspiel!

Tash said...

No appearance by up and coming young freestylist De Buzzey? Shame.

Soda and Candy said...

Your mom has extreme piccolo skills.

(sorry, couldn't resist)

; )

Fantastic as usual. Love it.

Eric said...

Wait, the acoustic or electric glockenspiel?

Great post.

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

Red: Yeah, I rock the glockenspiel like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson Rocking a giant Rock to Sleep in Rockingham Town Centre. With added rock.

Tishtash: De Buzzey? Oh, I like it! (Cue furious scribbling in notebook)

S&C: My Mom is well versed in all the woodwind instruments. How did you know?

Eric: Ah yes, the electrospiel, one of my favourite instruments!

Mr London Street said...

The Opera Slam at the Royal Albert Hall in October is the one that's whetted my appetite.

The Ambiguous Blob said...

I've heard of no stranger turf wars than this. I'm sorry I can't be there to see shit go down next time.

Brian said...

This sounds too cool for school.

Amy Green. said...

absolutely fantastic. i want to rip you off and disguise it as homage. i will keep those primal instincts to myself.

mo.stoneskin said...

Open Mic nights can be expensive if you need bank-busting ear surgery shortly after. I don't really fancy extreme piccolo playing.

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

Mr LS: Yeah, I hear that's where the scene started...can't beat a bit of history!

TAB: You'd be surprised how violent the underground classical music scene can be. And don't get me started on the fabled Strings/Brass rivalry of the late 90s.

Brian: It's cooler than a school of ice-making machines swimming through an ice-cream sea in December.

Amy: Try it...The Onion will probably give you a job...

Mo: Yeah, those high notes can be killer for the front row.

Feisty Democrat said...

I'm beginning to suspect that you are actually the glockenspiel player who performed, but I can't quite put my finger on why...Hmmm...

Daltana said...

Don't let the one tympani versus triangle battle turn you off to them.

As an avid competitive tympani player (and recreational mathmetician on the side) I can say many have been moved and open mic nights across the country by enthusiastic duels.

Le Meems said...

And of course the grand finale by the electric harpsichord player.

What an effort, eh?

ÄsK AliCë said...

That's it...I'm on the next plane out there. Who can resist the Bach Daddy (of the BaRoqckers) vs. Renaissance Renegades battle ??

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

Mathdude: I'm assuming that you suspect that because word of my excellence in the field of glockenspiel playing has passed through all the way to the US.

Dealer Man: I'll take your word for it. Maybe it was more the triangle than timpani that let it down.

Le Meems: No mean feat, I assure you.

Alice: Oh yeah, the Toronto scene is where it's at!