Wrockstock Wrecollections – Part 5

Happy giving of the thanks, Americans!  Screw you Canadians, I didn’t acknowledge YOUR Thanksgiving! NA NEE NA NEE POO POO!  Displays of my startlingly mature psyche aside, it’s time we got moving on this again, aight?  I really wanna get all the Wrockstock articles done before the one month anniversary of said event.  So, without further ado, the Sunday afternoon sets, or as I call it, Bryce, Blibs, and Boyd!

So, I was really, really excited when it was announced that Neville’s Dairy was going to be at Wrockstock, because ND has been one of my favorite bands for awhile, and that position was cemented with the release of the amazing song “Pansy Looks Like A Dude” on the equally amazing collab, Siriusly Smiling (seriously, if you have not yet bought it, do yourself a favour and do so).  And I’d always written off Neville’s Diary as one of those bands that I’d probably never get to see live, so when it was announced that Bryce would be playing mainstage, I was very, very excited.  However… I sort of kinda not really missed most of his set.  Part of that were various extenuating circumstances that couldn’t be helped, and part of that was the fact that I had temporarily misplaced my badge to get into the Room of Wrockquirement, where the mainstage bands were all playing.

And by the time I resigned myself to chill outside the room and listen in, I realized I had missed “Pansy Looks Like A Dude”.  I weeped bitter, bitter tears.  And then got distracted by a pony.  It was awfully shiny.  So, I don’t really have to much to say about the set except that I liked what I heard, which was basically slightly souped-up live versions of the few songs I already knew (I had no idea Bryce had made so many albums – that’s what I get for trusting MySpace for an idea of how prolific an artist is).

So, after running back to my abode, frantically searching for my badge, and running back, I got into the Blibbering Humdingers’ set, a band that I was also really, really excited for.  It’s bands like these that I was possibly more excited about than, say, Draco and the Malfoys or Ministry of Magic, because, current lackluster touring schedule aside, these sorts of bands are astronomically more likely to ever come touring ’round to my neck of the woods then bands like ND or the Humdingers.  Also, I loved Wizard Rock Made Me Crap My Pants, which in retrospect is (or was, until the new album came out) the perfect introduction to the band, because I knew almost all of the songs they played, and I’m pretty sure the one or two I didn’t were off their new album.  Or I just have a shit memory.

Anyway, they had a fantastically fun set, and I mean “fun” in a way that I don’t usually use to describe Wrockstock sets.  See, most of the Wrockstock sets I describe as fun were fun because of how high energy it was – how much it made the crowd move or devolve into a mosh pit, just how much energy was put into the performance.  Now, not saying that the Blibs or the crowd weren’t into their set, but they just aren’t the band you break someone’s kneecap to, sorry.  No, the fun came from the hilarious songs, and even more so from the way they were presented.  I especially liked the cue cards for the list of words and phrases ending with “ate” during “Hufflepuff Sandwich Wrap”, which both allowed the crowd to chant along, and was just an amusing image.  And the fact that there was a contest for the best underwear worn… it was just a truly fun and satisfying show, and I pity everyone who missed out.  Also, they played an impromptu show during the campfire (NOT a bonfire), which was a lot of fun, if cold, and they played one of my favorite songs ever, “Ophelia”, by their… well, whatever the opposite of a side project is, because this one was first, Efenwealt Wystle, which made me happy in ways I should probably consult my therapist about.  And first I should get a therapist.

Anyway, after a great show filled with comedy (and that one song that made everyone cry), people came streaming in for what was the unofficial “main event” of Wrockstock 4 – the final show of Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls, long the band fans have used to prove to their muggle friends and family that there is musical talent in wrock.  Some thought that Christian’s show should have been the final one of Wrockstock, but I actually quite liked it where it was.  Yes, putting his show in the final slot would have been a sign of respect, but honestly, does Christian really need further proof that the fandom loves him?  I’m positive that he knows how much wizard rock fans and bands love him, and he doesn’t need a choice slot at Wrockstock to convince him of that fact.  Also, as much as I love his music, I would much rather send off Wrockstock with a night of pure energy and excitement and screaming and fun, and not crying.  That’s what Monday morning is for.  So, I think the last slot of Sunday afternoon was pretty much perfect.

As for the set itself, it was… well, it was actually quite an odd experience.  I mean, musically, it was absolutely fantastic.  But Christian’s music is just not the sort of music that really works well with a packed crowd at Wrockstock.  Because packed crowds at Wrockstock are made to be dancing and jumping about, and that just does not work with Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls.  It’s too damn artistic for its own good.  So, most of the set I was stuck between wanting to dance, and wanting to sit in a comfy chair and nod, knowingly smoking a pipe.  And I really don’t even mean this in a bad way, it’s just sort of the way things had to go.  Christian’s music is a step below dancing but a step above swaying (also, swaying for that long really messes with your sense of equilibrium, plus your arms get tired), and exists in this weird twilight realm of energetic music.  But still, musically, the set was great.

Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls definitely won the award for highest concentration of talent on stage at one time – I mean, you had Christian, obviously, as well as Jarrod on drums (again), and Alex and Tyler of The Remus Lupins and Jason Munday on guitar-like instruments of one sort of another (I am completely guitar/bass/whatever illiterate – I only know that ukuleles are the small cool ones).  So, despite the fact that I had no idea what to actually do with the rest of my body, my ears were in heaven.  Well, actually, the temporal lobes in my cerebral cortex were in heaven, since that’s the part of the body that actually processes and appreciates music.  And actually actually, the temporal lobes in my cerebral cortex were located inside my head, and not in a blinding white light located inside a multi-faith church that all your friends happen to be attending.

Anyway, there was a definite air of sadness, but also expectation around the proceedings.  Sadness, obviously because it was the last show of an adored band.  But it also felt like the entire room was holding its collective breath for 45 minutes until “End of an Era” began.  None of it truly seemed… real, until those familiar tinkling guitar plucks filled the room.  And that’s when things got weird.  You see, this is what the recorded version of “End of an Era” sounds like:

And this is what the live version of “End of an Era” sounded like:

You’ll doubtless noticed (especially if you play both files at the same time) that the entire rhythm and meter of the live version is markedly different than the live version.  Now, I have nothing against bands playing a song in a different way live rather than recorded – after all, I was griping about the whole “sounds exactly like the CD, so what’s the point?” issue in the previous article.  But it didn’t feel like that – it felt that either Christian still didn’t know his own song very well after all these years, or that there hadn’t been great communication between the onstage band on how to play the song, or whatever.  Then, later, he forgot the words so much everyone else had to sing an entire verse until we hit the chorus.  Fantastic.

After perusing other videos of this song being played live, it seems that the lyrics-forgetting is practically a tradition for this song, and as Christian said in a comment somewhere on this site, his forgetting of his lyrics is as much a core element of the band as is the fact that The Mudbloods play, excuse me, played muggle music as well. I do remember him forgetting his lyrics a couple times previously in the show, but it wasn’t quite as noticeable, and also, and this is hard to admit, I just didn’t know many of the songs he played.  I have a total of 9 ObatR songs, and four of those are from various charity comps, and one of those is “Save Ginny Weasley From The House Of Awesome”.  I have long been a fan of the band, I just have never gotten any of the music – a large part of that was Christian’s hesitation to put his shit on iTunes, as well as my hesitation to pirate.  So, I wasn’t always really noticing it if he skipped a verse or fumbled a line or something.  And really, I am fine with you messing up your lines a bit, if you’re just one dude, and especially if it’s almost become just part of your onstage persona.

However, for the very last song you will officially play as a band that has been going on for four years… well, why the HELL can’t you get your fucking lyrics right for that?  I mean, come on, couldn’t you have just put the song on repeat during the plane ride or something?  And to add insult to injury, it looked like Christian wasn’t even sure what “End of an Era” was supposed to sound like at the beginning.  I am completely sympathetic to how different and difficult it can be to perform music live, but I really don’t think I’m asking too much for the song, the final OBatR song, ever, to be as close to perfect as possible.

Now, for some massive caveats. While I’m not even sure I can truly say I enjoyed myself during the set, it was very, very good.  But I wouldn’t really enjoy a Split Seven Ways set either, as much as I’d love to attend one.  Either the sound crew was really on top of things and they kept it all sounding great, or they didn’t really have to do much – just kicked back and listened.  Also, once we got into the thick of “End of an Era”, all possible qualms and nitpicks were left aside, and my brain only had room for the sheer acknowledgment of the moment – a moment that could quite possibly never happen again.  You know that moment when everyone but Christian left the stage, allowing him to tackle the very end of the song in solitude (well, solitude plus 300 people staring at you)?  There is no other word to describe it than perfect.  And as the entire crowd sang along with “So don’t you ever wonder…” a single manly tear rolled from eye.

So, my ire at the beginning of “End of an Era” notwithstanding, Christian had a great set.  I still wish that he could have been a bit more on top of his own lyrics, if only because this was his last show, but my happiness at getting to seem him live before he moved on to other things, hopefully bigger and better ones, far outweighed the negative.  And speaking of which, I’ve got to say… I’m actually happy that he’s retiring Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls.  Yes, it’s always sad when a great band stops making music, but it’s not like he didn’t make a shit-ton of music (a shit-ton I still need to buy…).  And more importantly, I think that this is a really good thing for Christian.  Let’s be honest here, as much as I love wizard rock, it’s not the largest pond in the world, and Christian’s a pretty big fish.  Of all the wizard rock bands out there, he is one of the few people that I would describe as a “musician” or an “artist”, not a “performer” or “entertainer”.  I think he’s got a shot at making it in the realm of muggle music, maybe even one day getting on a chart somewhere.  Though I’m not sure a world that allows Ke$ha to ever get anywhere near number one, or even on the chart at all, would also allow Christian anywhere very high.  Still, with the semi-recent news of him winning the DeStorm thing, things don’t look too bad.

While it might be sad to see him go, as he said before performing his final song, he’s not leaving music at all, just going to try different things, and I wish him the absolute best with his future musical career.  Well, as much as I can wish good will towards a Canadian, anyway.  I hear they all have superpowers up there.  NEXT: The final mainstage sets! AFTERWARD: The Wampum Willows sets! LATER: The Top Ten Moments of Wrockstock! EVENTUALLY: Jingle Spells 4!  Wrock Snob out.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Christie
    Nov 27, 2010 @ 14:46:19

    OK I’m definitely going to start actually clicking the links you put throughout your articles from now on. Where in the world did you find the dancing pumpkin? HILARIOUSNESS. (Though my amusement probably come more from the fact that I’ve been doing basically nothing but constitutional history all day (and yesterday, and the day before) than from the actual hilarity of the video, BUT HEY, it was still funny to me. I’ll admit that I watched the entire video out of sheer morbid curiosity. Lolz.) 😀

    Reply

    • wrocksnob
      Nov 27, 2010 @ 15:21:31

      My favorite part is when he just starts patting himself, and it becomes like interpretive and avant garde and stuff. Also, that it randomly switches to a Christmas theme, but keeps the pumpkin.

      Reply

      • Christie
        Nov 27, 2010 @ 15:36:10

        Did you see the comment under the video where some kid though it was their dad? RANDOM stuff on YouTube… XD

        Reply

  2. Christian
    Nov 27, 2010 @ 17:43:54

    So, for the most part, I agree with everything you said. Almost 😉
    I do think my stuff is not as playful and fun to dance around to as some of the other wizard rock bands. I’m fine with that. Wizard rock for me was always just a chance to write songs, not define them into a musical genre. I think I’m one of the, if not the only wrock band that has a catalogue of songs that spans such a wide variety. Listen to “Whoa Is Me”, then “The Boy Who Lived”, then “Don’t Make It Hard”. It’s that spastic jumping around that was one of the main things I got out of OBatR.

    I started the band as a fun musical side project where I could just write any type of music I wanted, the only caveat being that the lyrical content was about HP. I never had dreams of it being anything more than a studio endeavour.

    In regards to forgetting lyrics, if you knew me or my music better, you’d probably have heard me explain the reasoning behind it. But since you don’t, I’ll give ya the run down partner *tips invisible cowboy hat*.

    First off, Remembralls is in the band name.
    I have a terrible memory. I remember about 10 brief memories of my life before the age of around 11. I almost wish I could blame it on some kind of traumatic event, but no, normal childhood for the most part. No blows to the head, inappropriate touching from a creepy uncle, or any other significant turning point that could be suppressing the rest of my memories. Maybe I should take more B vitamins or antioxidants. Those apparently help.

    How this affects remembering my own lyrics works like this..
    I write OBatR songs. I record them. Then I don’t come back to them until the 2-3 shows I play a year. OBatR was a recording side-project for me. Had no plans to be a touring band or go to every Con or event.
    So even though I wrote the lyrics, I most likely listen to and play the songs much less than most of the fans do. I guess I could have studied more before the big test, but that’s not who I am. I never wrote OBatR songs for anyone but myself. If people liked them, it made me happy, but I never felt that I owed anything to anyone. I appreciate the support, and the drips and drabs of sales helped pay some bills from time to time, but wizard rock alone, was never supporting me financially. If it had been, I would have obviously felt more inclined to fully focus on it and make sure performances were more polished. I could have dedicated all my time to just OBatR, practicing, writing, releasing, etc. But that’s not how things played out and it stayed in the form of an awesome hobbyist project.

    As unprepared as most of my live performances were, they were if anything, honest. For my Wrockstock 4 set, me and the band had 40 minutes of time to practice. That’s it. The first and only rehearsal. The fact that were were able to follow each other at all made me proud of it.

    In regards to the End of an Era performance, it did start off shaky.
    We didn’t have time to rehearse it, and it started too slow. In the recording once it speeds up you can hear me say, “There we go”. It was f**ked up due to lack of collective understanding of how the song was to start. But ya know what? We figured it out within a few bars, and then it was great. 🙂
    As for it being a different version than the recording, that’s just how I wanted to do it. You criticized MoM for playing to tracks and not being able to improvise because of it. I always treated live OBatR performances as improvisations. Tempos, rhythms, and entire restructuring’s were just part of what OBatR was. It’s unfortunate if it bothered people, but I stick to my “take it or leave it” attitude. My songs, from my mind, are gonna be played however I feel at the moment. And that’s how it should be for any creative person.

    So overall, I really appreciate your kind words in your review. Like I said, I agree that it wasn’t a perfect set, nor was it completely danceable, but we can’t all be MoM or tRL lol. Variety is the spice of life good Sir.

    It was nice getting to meet you, even if only briefly, at Wrockstock. You’re a quirky dude, with a flair for wordplay, though I’d still be interested in knowing what your musical background is. I think to truly review music (the songwriting of it at least), a person has to have a background in it. Have an understanding of the science of what goes into writing songs, melodies, basic theory, etc. There are reasons why Beatles songs are loved the world over. There are formulas to a lot of their writing style and how they put things together. Of course we all loved the haircuts, personalities, and the heartfelt and catchy melodies, but the truth is that there are university courses on understanding their catalogue of music.

    It’s for this same reason that I would never attempt to be a literature critic. Yeah I’ve read a lot of books and can say if I enjoyed the story and give my opinion on characters and plots, but I have no training or experience when it comes to that creative form. I think that would really limit my credibility.

    Anyways, enough rambling from this old man with memory loss.

    Hugs & High Fives!

    -Christian

    Reply

    • wrocksnob
      Nov 28, 2010 @ 00:18:45

      Hokay, firstly, thanks for your comments! I did partially know about how you forgetting shit was worked into your band, but you make an excellent point with the fact that wizard rock was not financially supporting you (though I gotta say, it might have if you embraced iTunes sooner? Also, if you didn’t live in Canada), and thus, didn’t put aside other things, some of which may have been financially supporting you for wrock performances. Still, forgive me for wishing that your final song as OBatR had been perfect. And I must admit, I counted the fact that you had practice time against you, but I didn’t think about how much you actually had. Though, you prolly should have forced a quick runthrough of End of an Era in practice, or practiced it instead of something else. And yeah, I did note that you guys got it together, but it was still just an odd beginning to the end, but I can understand why better now. Also, I completely understand and am fine with doing a song differently live, especially if this is the last time you’ll play it, it just appeared as though no one knew what was going on, because everyone was out of sync with each other.

      Again, you have now provided reasons for why this happen, but still… Hey, whatevs. It was still a damn good set, and I’m basically just picking nits. As for my musical background, and how you would never be a book critic and stuff, I think I just have more hubris, I’m going to perfectly honest. As my Government teacher said, “It takes a pretty big ego to run for President”, and the same is true for reviewing – you have to legitimately believe, though it may be subconsciously, that your opinion is important enough (for whatever reason) for other people to want to take heed of it. Now, this isn’t truly what I believe, or at least on the surface – I just started doing all this shit because no one else was, really. But if this wasn’t taking up all my free time, I would definitely be doing a review blog for movies, or books, or video games, or whatever. I have lots of opinions, and I like talking. As for my musical background, I’m only a couple steps above “Just has listened to a lot of music” or “I don’t know music, but I know what I like.” I’ve taken the odd music theory course in college, and I have a music major for a best friend, and he’s always teaching me about suspension and intervals and stuff. True, most of it runs straight through my ears like Mountain Dew through sand, but every now and then the sand will actually be cat litter, and some of it will clump and stick in my brain. I am working on the technical aspects of listening, though there are times when I’m like “I’m sorry, they just sound like notes to me, I can’t hear the “movement” or whatever”. Also, I played piano for 5 years and clarinet for a few, so I can sight read… deeeeceently, but only barely competently, if that. Also, I feel I have a pretty strong background in writing (like, words), and you may have noticed that I spend a fair amount of time critiquing those, just as much or even moreso that the music, so…

      Oh yeah, and the fact that it was not danceable was not at all a negative thing – just an observation. I mean, the majority of the sets were focused on dancing, or trying to get people dance, and you just have a different sound. That’s not a bad thing, just a different thing. So, yeah. THE END.

      Reply

      • Christian
        Nov 28, 2010 @ 00:49:58

        I hear ya man. Like I said, I agreed with the majority of your comments. They were respectful and honest.

        When the band and I were rehearsing we were running the songs in order, and before we got to End of an Era, we got kicked off the stage because we were holding up the rest of the soundchecks. We just didn’t get the time to run through the last tune. It would have been great to have that song be solid, but it just didn’t end up that way. Such is life, right? 🙂

        Reply

  3. Christian
    Nov 27, 2010 @ 17:44:32

    Wow, that was waaaay to long, sorry! I’m (clearly) not good at editing.

    Reply

  4. Christian
    Nov 27, 2010 @ 17:45:11

    And because I’m a lamer I have to correct my spelling, “too”, not “to” 😛

    Reply

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