10 Notable Moments in Arts & Crafts' History
Published Jun 07, 20136. Fall 2002 – The Other Other Man
At a Toronto BSS show, former couple Feist and Andrew Whiteman perform a version of Sloan's "The Other Man" with composer Chris Murphy in the audience. Murphy originally wrote the song about how his relationship with Feist caused her to eventually leave Whiteman.
"I had played a songwriter circle thing the night before that show at the Rivoli club," Whiteman recalls. "I 'Elliot Smithed' Sloan's song of angst and turned it a bit more inward. I guess I surprised a few people by playing it — it's always interesting when you hear musicians do an unexpected cover, especially when they bring a new flavour to the dish.
"I think Brendan and Kevin — maybe Justin too — were at the Rivoli show and really dug it. It was Kev and Brendan's idea to play it the next night as well. The older Social Scene days had a significant amount of 'What the hell is going on!? Let's change the show at the last minute!'-type of energy. It was okay the next night, but maybe the ambush element lost a bit of its thrill."
As for Murphy, his memories of this incident are foggy. "It sounds familiar," he says. "I do know that Andrew has played 'The Other Man' before, but I don't know if I've seen him do it or if someone told me that. It is possible that I saw that show and I can't remember. I do know that I dreaded seeing Andrew for a long time, but I don't anymore. I would also like to say that I went with Leslie to [see] Andrew's band AroarA play when we all happened to be in NYC last fall and they were amazing. All's well that ends well."
5. December 1, 2002 – The French Connection
Arcade Fire play one of their first big shows, opening for Royal City and Broken Social Scene at la Sala Rossa in Montreal. This was a significant confluence, as Arcade Fire's Tim Kingsbury and Royal City's Jim Guthrie grew up playing music together in Guelph, ON, while Broken Social Scene's Feist was briefly a member of Royal City.
"It seems most big cities are made up of hungry hearts that want to get out of the smaller towns they grew up in," Guthrie says. "Moving from Guelph to Toronto in the early 2000s taught me that there's always a larger community to embrace if you allow yourself to pull up your roots and plant yourself somewhere else. We were all packs of nomadic artists moving around in different bands, looking for a home.
"Back then, the Toronto music scene was already pretty vibrant, and the fact that everyone I knew was moving there (or Montreal) made it easier to slip into. Toronto and Montreal have always had killer music scenes and the fact that this show happened is a testament to that.
"To be honest I don't remember much about this show. The fact that I remember so little speaks to the innocence of it all. It was friends making music for friends and other new potential friends came to watch the show and that happened every night all over Canada. We've all gone on to reach other communities internationally and that's crazy to think about now."
Canning reflects, "I always liked playing la Sala Rossa in Montreal. Super vibe, good times. My fondest memories of Montreal fall around that time. Kevin and Justin were both raving about Arcade Fire that night. In my typical fashion, I missed the openers because I was enjoying a meal with friends, and food always comes before rock'n'roll in my books. I likely missed Royal City as well. Both terrific bands — my bad for moving at Canning's version of mach speed."
4. May 22, 2004 – Keep on Rockin' in the NDP World
Jack Layton and Olivia Chow join Constantines onstage for a version of "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World" at an NDP fundraiser at Palais Royale in Toronto.
Says the band's Bry Webb: "I remember getting a call while we were on tour somewhere in the Prairies, saying that the Sadies had been asked to play Jack Layton's campaign launch party at Palais Royale, and said they would do it if we would do it. So we got it in our heads to come up with a condition of our own. We said we'd do it if Jack Layton and Olivia Chow would sing 'Keep on Rockin' in the Free World' with us. To our surprise, they agreed. I think it was a friend of Tyler [Clark Burke] and Lisa [Moran] of Three Gut [Records] who ultimately made it happen.
"It was such a strange place for the Constantines to perform, actually. I remember feeling pretty under-dressed. Mr. Layton and Mrs. Chow were very warm and fun-loving though, despite the demands that were likely put on them at the time. I recall seeing headlines side-by-side the next day, one stating something about Paul Martin appearing with Bono during his campaign, and the next saying something like, 'Layton Takes the Stage with Unknown Rock Band.' I'm not sure if we were any boost to the man's campaign, but it was an honour to share the stage with some good people on an auspicious night in their careers."