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Rock ‘n’ roll on Hastings

This week, a short video of the Apollo Ghosts in their rehearsal space on Hastings near Abbott.  I’ve often passed…

By Daniel Guillemette , in Songs Like Weeds: Field recordings from the No Fun City , on March 21, 2010 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

This week, a short video of the Apollo Ghosts in their rehearsal space on Hastings near Abbott.  I’ve often passed by the strange, goofy artwork outside the building, and I was happy to discover that it was a good representation of what was happening inside — in this case the rock ‘n’ roll music that have been honing there in their spare time for the past few years.

In the words of singer/guitarist Adrian Teacher, all this rocking is all “for fun” — something to do after work.  In his case, that means teaching in an elementary school, while bassist Jay Oliver works at a grocery story, and drummer Amanda Panda works for the government (she refuses to name the branch or the agency: “people might get mad if they found out,” she said).

And so I don’t know if they’re crazy geniuses or what (), because while the music is fun, and rather simple, it certainly isn’t just tossed off.  It’s energetic, playful, ragged, and infectious — the perfect adjectives to strive for when you’ve only got an hour or two to rock with your friends before giving yourself back to the responsibilities of adult life, and, seemingly, middle class adult life: dinner parties, papers to grade, groceries to pick up on the way home.

A few years ago, The Globe and Mail arts critic Carl Wilson investigated class divisions in music and the dissipation of the idea of ‘bohemia’.  : “Personally, I feel like we can and should do without the Romantic quest for excess, and one of the strengths of alternative music/art scenes now is that in aggregate they do. There’s a lot less grandeur and more of a what-the-hell, playful, toss-it-at-the-wall attitude”.

What better way to describe a band like the Apollo Ghosts?

Their music does not seem set out to change one’s life, but to fit in snugly with it.  It understands the building blocks and limitations of rock ‘n’ roll (and it’s rock ‘n’ roll these cats are playing: just listen to that croon), and I think that’s sort of the point.  When jobs and responsibilities take precedence, then the gift of this kind of music is, perhaps, its simple, short bursts of joy. It doesn’t pretend that it can change the world, but it doesn’t either.  It is a humble kind of rocking.  Thankfully, it actually rocks.

I hope you enjoy the video.  Here is another one too:


Everything was recorded on March 15.


Quick call out: I’ve been trying to find, for months, some female rappers that once took part in the Oppenheimer Homeless Band project last year.  If anyone knows a way to them from this vague description, drop a line in the comments.  I’d love to film them.