rush

REVIEW: Rush – “Caravan” / “BU2B” (2010 CD single)

RUSH – “Caravan” / “BU2B” (2010 CD Anthem single)

“Parts one and two of Clockwork Angels, a work in progress”.

That’s pretty monumental.  Rush were releasing two key tracks from their forthcoming studio album, a full concept album this time, well in advance.  Two years in advance.  Notably, this was a full concept album start to finish.  In the 70s, Rush were more known for half concept, half non-conceptual records.  The bands that Rush inspired like Queensryche and Dream Theater had done full concepts.  Now the original masters were taking a shot.

On the final album, “Caravan” is track one and “BU2B” is track two.  On this single the order is swapped.  “BU2B” (“Brought Up to Believe”) opens, although its intro changes on the album version.  “BU2B” absolutely slams.  “I was brought up to believe that the universe has a plan…”  Perhaps it opens this single because it sums up the overall album concept.  In a fictional world run precisely by a “Watchmaker”, a rebellious protagonist feels pulled in a direction different from that assigned to his life.  Questioning his reality, he embarks on his own adventures despite his mandated mundane role in society.  Musically, after the metallic riff has done its business, Neil Peart takes the spotlight a moment as the song shifts.  Geddy lays down the heavy bottom end while Alex strikes hither and yon with lightning-like licks.  Clearly a classic in the making.

“Caravan”, the final album opener, sounds pretty much the same as the record.  It establishes the setting, “in a world lit only by fire…”  The riff is a major feature, a deliberate, descending rock monster that feels just right in the guts.  The lyrics paint a picture of a steampunk world, half explored, with alchemy and ancient knowledge.

Clockwork Angels wound up as one of the greatest final albums by any band anywhere any time.  This single is a nice add-on, a reminder of the long careful gestation period that created a masterpiece.

4.5/5 stars

REVIEW: Rush – Working Men (2009)

RUSH – Working Men (2009 Anthem)

Rush weren’t really known as a “cash grab” kind of band.  That’s why the Christmas 2009 release of Working Men was so surprising to fans.

12 tracks, all but one previously released on live Rush albums of recent vintage. It is not difficult to figure out that this disc was created to keep Rush product on the shelves while the band was on break during the Christmas season. While the music is excellent (obviously), it is hard to imagine a Rush fan that would play this single-disc album before listening to the actual live albums that the tracks were sourced from.  This is Rush’s version of You Wanted The Best by Kiss, but with only one unreleased recording instead of four.

Here’s a tracklist, and a breakdown of where these tracks were lifted from:

1. “Limelight” (From Snakes & Arrows Live)
2. “The Spirit of Radio” (From R30)
3. “2112 Overture/The Temples of Syrinx (From Rush in Rio)
4. “Freewill” (From Snakes & Arrows Live)
5. “Dreamline” (From R30)
6. “Far Cry” (From Snakes & Arrows Live)
7. “Subdivisions” (From R30)
8. “One Little Victory” (From the R30 tour) (Previously Unreleased)
9. “Closer to the Heart” (From Rush in Rio)
10. “Tom Sawyer” (From Snakes & Arrows Live)
11. “Working Man” (From R30)
12. “YYZ” (From Rush in Rio)

“One Little Victory”, a stormy firecracker of a version, is the lone previously unreleased song. Is that one song worth your $15? You decide. Unfortunately “One Little Victory” is basically all you’re going to get for your money. There is no booklet and there are no liner notes to speak of. The cover art, once again by Hugh Syme, is quite nice, hinting at past works.

The songs fade-in and fade-out, rather than flow as a seamless listen. The selections lean heavily on oldies as opposed to newer tracks, which does not really reflect what a Rush concert was about at that time. Clearly, this was to entice consumers who wanted songs they have heard frequently on the radio. At least the running order is well sequenced for maximum firepower.

This release is not particularly for anybody except completists and Rush diehards. Everyone else would be well advised to spend their money on Rush In Rio, R30, or Snakes & Arrows Live.

2/5 stars, not for the music, but just because it’s a bit of a Christmas cashgrab.

 

#943: Irate With a Beeper!

RECORD STORE TALES #943: Irate With a Beeper!

There was once a time before we had our infamous “no questions asked” return policy.  In 1996, we were able to…shall we say, “express ourselves” more freely as managers of Record Stores.

We learned from the best, and we didn’t take kindly to someone trying to rip us off.   Some time in early September 1996, I received a call from T-Rev at his own store.  “Mikey,” he said, “Just a warning.  There’s a guy coming your way with the new Rush CD, that he wants to return.  Now I had a look at it, and it is just hacked.  There was no way he opened it like that.  I wouldn’t let him return it.  You’ll see what I mean when he gets there.  He’s this little short guy with glasses and short hair.  You’ll know him when you see him.”  A prepared myself for the Rush fan with Napoleon complex.

The new Rush album, Test For Echo, was received with mixed reactions.  We started seeing used copies early on, traded in by ordinary fans (albeit impatient ones) who simply didn’t like it.  T-Rev and I both thought it was a step down from Counterparts, while acknowledging that sometimes a Rush album needs time.  We liked a couple tracks, and disliked a few as well.  (“Dog Years” and “Virtuality” were on the shit list.)  We were not surprised to see people returning it, but Nerdlinger here was unique.

The little guy stormed in, straight up to the counter, and asked to return the Rush CD.  “I don’t like it,” he said simply.  I dutifully opened the case and, as T-Rev has warned, the disc was mangled.  Probably due to a car CD deck, which were common and had a habit of murdering discs.

“I’m sorry,” I began, “but I can’t take this back.  It’s seen some pretty serious use and it’s scratched up really bad.”  I didn’t know what else to say.  “I’m sorry,” I added lamely.

He was irate.  “‘Seen some serious use’?” he quoted back to me.  “How?  I just got it at your other store.  It’s a day old!”

Customers always asked “how” their CDs got scratched.  How the fuck am I supposed to know what he did with it?

“I don’t know how it got scratched up this bad, but they don’t come this way out of the shrinkwrap.”  I grabbed our store play CD to show him.  “See, this is one we just opened a few days ago and we’ve been playing it every day.”  He glared through his glasses at our copy.

He insisted he didn’t scratch it, that he bought it that way from T-Rev’s store and he wouldn’t return it.

I didn’t know what else I could say.  “Well, I showed you what they look like coming out of the shrinkwrap.”  Then, poking the bear just a smidge, I chided, “Did you drop it?”

“NO, I didn’t drop it!” he expressed in a mocking tone.  Knowing he was not going to get anywhere with me, he left.  And, much like many tenacious customers of his guilt-free mindset, he returned later that day on the night shift.  A time he assumed I wouldn’t be working.  But he didn’t get anywhere with the night staff.  They knew something wasn’t right about it and asked him to return when the manager is in.  So, like any douchebag worth his salt, he left a pager number for me to call the next day.

“Oh, joy” I said to myself upon seeing the note waiting for me.

I never called a beeper before.  I noted the occasion for its novelty.

A short while later, Nerdlinger stormed back into the store with his Rush CD.  He must have been so dejected upon seeing I was the manager.

And so for a second time I refused to return his CD, and he did the usual expected temper tantrum.  I’m never shopping here again, I’m telling all my friends, I’m this and you’re that.

And life got incrementally better, knowing I’d never have to see that fucking Nerdlinger again.

 

Hiatus Update

I’m sorry for “vaguebooking”.  I can tell by the number of concerned messages that it wasn’t a good idea.

We have a couple problems to deal with, some health related, and one plumbing disaster.  It is taking maddenly long to resolve.  Until it’s fixed I can’t do this site.  It’s taking up all my energy, and also the time that I normally would spend doing creative stuff.  The third plumber cancelled today because somebody else had a more dire emergency, which is fine.  But it has been over a week since we first reported this issue to the condo management.  We have to replace the carpet, the drywall and redo some tiles.  But the plumbing has to be fixed first and that’s condo responsibility.

Deke will be taking over the Storm Force interview, with me riding shotgun.  He’s just getting everything set up to stream, so keep an eye on Superdekes for updates.  I’ve cancelled the Jack Frost interview, but hope to reschedule when this is all resolved.

As Deke would say though, it’s not all bad.  Yesterday Mark from Encore Records stopped by to deliver a whole bunch of music that I ordered.  Yes, that’s what you think it is.  It’s the massive Metallica 2021 box set.  24 hours of music.  Also Permanent Waves box set by Rush, and a Kiss radio broadcast of the same Tokyo show that was recently released officially.  I ordered this a long time ago, before that official bootleg was even announced.  I just forgot about it and never picked it up.  Fortunately Mark kept it and brought it with him!  I have a weekend of music, at least.

Hoping to be back soon.  Sorry for worrying you.

Mike

 

 

This Is Your Life, Jacob Moon on the LeBrain Train + musical performance of “Someday”

The LeBrain Train reunites old friends — it is what we do!  Whether it be Mike Fraser and Andy Curran, or members of the community at large, we enjoy bringing people together.  We also enjoy improvisation, both in our music and in the live show.  This time, flying by the seats of our pants, we reunited Jacob Moon with old friends from his past.  By the stories told, you can call this episode This Is Your Life, Jacob Moon.

Watch as Meat, Trevor and Jacob relive their favourite memories, musical and otherwise.  Observe as Meat forgets how to count up to eleven.  Enjoy as Jacob performs some of his favourite impressions.  Ed Grimley?  Check.  Tom Waits?  Check.  Nigel Tufnel?  Top ten!

In a LeBrain Train first, Jacob gave us the show’s first full musical performance.  Steve Earle’s “Someday”, live by Jacob Moon, is a LeBrain Train exclusive musical performance!  He also gave us a partial version of “Downtown Train” with some hilarious impressions.

We took viewer questions and a celebrity guest question from Andy Curran.  Discussion subjects included:

  • The making of “Subdivisions”
  • Musical adventures with Trev and Eric
  • “Christmas Goalie”
  • Playing a Rush song in front of Rush
  • Playing the Marillion weekend
  • Looping and technical stuff
  • Streaming live

Thank you Meat, Trevor and especially Jacob Moon for an awesome Saturday show.  Jacob, I am honoured and flattered to have you play live on my little show!  I cannot thank you enough.

 

Robert Lawson Defeats the Live Stream Technical Glitches for an Evening of Rock

Not even disconnections and bad internet can keep a good man down. Robert Lawson — author of great listener’s guides on Cheap Trick, Nazareth and The Guess Who — persevered and eventually defeated the internet demons plaguing the start of Friday’s show. Hang in there folks — it starts rough but gets better!

This free-flowing chat covers numerous topics:

  • The Guess Who and Burton Cummings
  • Nazareth and “the kids”
  • Cheap Trick encounters
  • Band management
  • Rarities
  • Aerosmith’s Done With Mirrors
  • Martin Popoff
  • Sean Kelly
  • Gene & Paul
  • 5150
  • King Kong

When it comes to Cheap Trick, Robert gets raw and tells it from the heart.  You’ll have to see for yourself but we appreciate Robert’s candor and willingness to relive some emotional moments in his rock and roll life.

Thank you Deke for introducing me to Robert, and thank you Robert for being patient and generous with your time tonight!


REMINDER – The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike and Meat

Saturday – Episode 72 – Jacob Moon

“Jacob is an incredible Canadian talent.” — Andy Curran

If you only know Jacob Moon from his jaw-dropping Rush cover of “Subdivisions”, then you are in for a treat.  That viral video catapulted him to Youtube fame, but he is about so much more than just covers.  With nine albums to his name (so far), Jacob has been around.  When guys like Andy Curran sing his praises, you know he’s seriously good at what he does.  He has also won the admiration of Rush, Marillion, and many more.  What’s it feel like performing a Rush song in front of Rush?  Let’s find out from Jacob himself!

Saturday June 19, 1:00 PM E.S.T. on Facebook:  MikeLeBrain and YouTube:  Mike LeBrain.

Double Show Weekend! Friday – Robert Lawson & Saturday – Jacob Moon

The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike and Deke

Friday – Episode 71 – Robert Lawson

 

Robert Lawson is the author of some excellent listener’s guides:  Still Competition (Cheap Trick), Wheatfield Empire (The Guess Who), and Razama-Snaz! (Nazareth).  Join Deke and I as we quiz the writer on these books, the experience of writing them, and rock fandom in general.  This show is guaranteed to be a fun hang.  Make sure you catch it live — have your questions locked and loaded for Robert!

Friday June 18, 7:00 PM E.S.T. on Facebook:  MikeLeBrain and YouTube:  Mike LeBrain.

 


The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike and Meat

Saturday – Episode 72 – Jacob Moon

 

“Jacob is an incredible Canadian talent.” — Andy Curran

If you only know Jacob Moon from his jaw-dropping Rush cover of “Subdivisions”, then you are in for a treat.  That viral video catapulted him to Youtube fame, but he is about so much more than just covers.  With nine albums to his name (so far), Jacob has been around.  When guys like Andy Curran sing his praises, you know he’s seriously good at what he does.  He has also won the admiration of Rush, Marillion, and many more.  What’s it feel like performing a Rush song in front of Rush?  Let’s find out from Jacob himself!

Saturday June 19, 1:00 PM E.S.T. on Facebook:  MikeLeBrain and YouTube:  Mike LeBrain.

 

Sunday Screening: Jacob Moon & Adi Berk – “Red Sector A”

Our guest on next Saturday’s LeBrain Train episode is Jacob Moon, talented singer/songwriter/guitarist from Hamilton, Ontario. He has done a number of Rush covers, but never does them “by the book”. He always takes a different angle. His piano-based approach on “Red Sector A” (Adi Berk on keys) is a stark change from the high-tech original. Jacob’s remarkable voice becomes the focus.  Have a listen, and make sure you tune in next week to chat with Jacob himself!

Curran: Round Three! Spending RSD with the Coney Hatch man!

Any time we talk with Andy Curran, we can count on two things:

  1. Amazing rock and roll tales.
  2. A few scoops!

This time out, we got some exclusive information about some new forthcoming Coney Hatch releases.  Andy told us about one of the new songs to be included as a bonus on the new Coney live album, including the title and subject.  He also dropped some details about a new band he’s working with, and involving a certain guitar player from a certain Canadian trio.  Sounds interesting.

We also discussed some other releases Andy has been involved with:  the Triumph Allied Forces box set, Kim Mitchell’s The Big Fantasize, and the Rush box set featuring next week’s guest Jacob Moon.  Best of all, Andy showed us his El Mocambo bass up close and personal, with a detailed story behind it.  He also told us about a charity idea that he has, and he wants your feedback.  If you want a chance to own some Coney Hatch history, this will be of interest.

Thank you Deke and Andy for an awesome Saturday.  Happy Record Store Day!

 

Sunday Screening: Jacob Moon – “Subdivisions”

Continuing with Friday’s theme of cover tunes, one of only a few that made multiple lists was Jacob Moon’s 2008 live rooftop rendition of Rush’s “Subdivions”.  A version that would earn the praise of Rush themselves.  You already heard Moon cover “Something For Nothing” on the 2112 boxed set.  Now hear and see the track that brought him to Rush’s attention in the first place:  “Subdivisions”!