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MUSIC REVIEW (Live)
Burdocks & Geoff Berner
Live @ Zaphod's Ottawa

The Burdocks Site
Geoff Berner's Site

Date: Monday March 24, 2003


Residing somewhere in the space where early Sloan, Jale and Eric's Trip form the foundations, Rush possibly is the ornamentation, and indie rock of the Superchunk and heavier side of Sebadoh are the supports, The Burdocks continue a long line of cerebral, sometimes oblique pop hailing from Canada's east coast. Maybe it's the proximity to the ocean, the rugged terrain, the often dismal economic situation, but this region seems to spawn some of the most harried yet inspired music, and The Burdocks are no exception.

Two guitars, bass and drums, and duelling vocalists soar from harmonious hooky heights to delirious raging fits, jangly guitar to head-pounding tom-tom rhythms, all delivered with unrelenting sincerity and precision. Their self-effacing social skills only added to the naive charm of an awesome set.

Opener Geoff Berner may as well be the Billy Bragg of the accordion - a solo set of material ranging from high-school pick-up artists to World War II, interspersed with rants about the Vancouver police, yuppies, and the big-screen TV in the bar, made for a continuously entertaining though occasionally deafening set. Berner's banter almost stood on its own - calling the audience in Calgary (and Billy Bragg who happened to be sitting next to him) no better than whores is a good indication of his subtlety, or lack thereof. Set to the backdrop of fairly standard song structures - acknowledged when "High-School Cruiser" became a medley including Oliver's Army, I Don't Like Mondays and Science Fiction Double Feature - Berner pounded and coaxed the songs out of his accordion, at times looking like a possessed Woody Harrelson.

The Burdocks:

Photos/layout 2003 Stephen K. Donnelly, All Rights Reserved, not to be reproduced without permission.

Steve Donnelly Email WWW

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