Market Square - Saint John, NB - 08.10.00
This was supposed to be my 2nd last Punters performance of Festival by the Sea. Turns out that because of some miscommunication and the fact that the bar they were supposed to play at wasn't open yet for business, the set at Market Square was my last...for now.
We (me and my mother. As I said she really likes them) got there as Larry was doing sound check. When he saw us he stopped, smiled and waved. As if I wasn't giddy enough before the show I was now thoroughly excited.
This was probably the longest set they did. The show was not without its technical difficulties though. Because of some damage to instruments due to the rain the day before, Larry was still without his own guitar and this time his mandolin refused to co-operate as well. This wouldn't have been that bad except that they still couldn't play Reena. I never did hear it this week either.
One downside about the daytime shows is that no one would get up and dance. I will if there's a crowd up but there's no way I'm doing it by myself. During Come Dancing Larry made eyes in our direction and motioned to the empty space in front of the stage, inviting everyone up to dance. Cute as he is I still wasn't going up by myself.
Larry commented on the article that was in the newspaper the night before. "Was that confused or what? Did I say all that? Makes it sound like we don't know what we're doing. Well we don't but..." The article went on about how The Punters were changing their sound towards rock/pop and away from traditional stuff. I think the guy who wrote it was a little confused.
The acoustics of the Market Square atrium are not the best for electric guitars and drums. The hall has a natural echo that tends to muddle amplified sound. It's a problem many performers have faced but The Punters managed to tame it somewhat. During their opening number, P3!, all I could hear was drums and some muddled guitar. After a song or two though either I had become used to it or John had worked some sound magic and balanced it out.
During Big Bow Wow, one of their last numbers, they showed the crowd that they didn't need a lot of instruments to sound good. The acapella tune filled the atrium with the natural echo of the room almost working in their favour this time. After instructing the audience on the words to the chorus Foley told the crowd to sing along, which they actually did. I was kind of surprised that they did this one. I was even more surprised that when they let the crowd take the chorus people were really singing. Of course when they tried to get us to do the chorus twice in a row we crashed and burned.
I think Larry got a little confused during this number. In one verse there's a line about calling for a steward. At this point Pat says into the mic in a very low, monotone voice "Steward." Larry cracked up at this, finished the verse but then proceeded to sing it again. I think this may have been one of those "you had to be there" moments.
So after the show I went to chat…again. I joked with Larry that he must be sick of seeing me by now. He said, "Oh no! Actually it's really nice to see a familiar face in the crowd." I mentioned to him how I was surprised that he remembered me in Halifax. He chuckled and asked me why. Well I'd only seen them twice before and the last time was 6 months ago. For some reason he found that amusing.
Said my good-byes, told him that I might see them in St. John's but it wasn't likely. After that Mom and I went to the eatery to get something to eat. Turns out that from here we could see the guys packing up their gear. On one of his trips in Larry stopped and gave us a big over the head wave. A bit later he headed over to say hi to us and ask for direction to a restaurant he was supposed to meet some friends at. "I thought 'Who better to ask than someone who would know?'" Said goobye…again and then Mom and I left to go check out Biscuit (also from Newfoundland).
*one of Pat's monitors was being unplugged*
*talking about the newspaper article*
*during the bass rumble right before P is for Paddy*
Not quite a quote but…
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