Many came far and wide for the Memorial and I doubt they were disappointed. By 9:00 it was clear this was going to be a sold out show. The Main Hall’s capacity is only about 250 tops, and at the time we thought this would be enough. Now we realize it probably could have been at Cabaret. Either way, the Main Hall is a great venue with superb sound and because it was packed the atmosphere was initmate.
At 9:00 PM, Ted from Jerk Appeal tells me their drummer hasn’t shown up yet and they may have to use Alex MacSween. I’d already been advised through the week that Jerk Appeal’s drummer was becoming a problem for them, but the guy is a good punk rock drummer and they were sure that given the nature of the occasion, he’d be in shape for it. He wasn’t. He showed up at 9:05 when they were due to come on at 9:00, and he was in very poor shape. He walked on stage with his bag of cymbals, through them on stage, and just sat there for a while. Then he tried to setup his snare drum and just wound up crying into it. This guy, who I hear is quite a talented drummer, is the kind of guy Alex wrote about when he wrote “Scratches and Needles”. Fucked up on chemicals, author of his own destruction, and in need of serious help. It took about 10 minutes for us to yank Jerk Appeal from the bill, but getting the drummer off the stage was going to be a little trickier. He didn’t seem to want to get off but finally was convinced. From that point on, the show went off without a hitch.
In the middle of all this, I’ve got people to meet and stuff to do. There were so many good friends in the room that night at times it was a little overwhelming. There were also people I had never met but had been corresponding with, like Jim Byson. This guy is such a sweetheart and a huge fan of Alex’s and it was great to meet him. There was Susan Smith, an old friend who came all the way from Bermuda with her husband for this event. Hardly had a chance to talk with her but it was great to see her again. There was Dwight Faithful, the guy that introduced me to Alex back in high school. And Donald Doucet (guy with the Nils cap), whose parents basement was a practice space for the Nils in 1983. Mark at the Rock and Roll Report has a story about that.
Woody has a fairly comprehensive run-down of how the show went here:
It was a special night and we did Alex’s memory justice. Every performer played from the heart, determined not to let him down. Los Patos practised on the day of the show because they couldn’t find a rehearsal space and pulled off something remarkable, playing “Grounded”, “Belly Full of Heartache”, and “When You’re Not Around” so well it ached. That was the first time in 15 years Stephane, Steve, and Clive played those songs. It was the first time Alex MacSween had ever played with them. And it was the first time Stephane had played bass in 13 years. In one day, they managed to do the “pop” Alex justice. Los Patos were Alex’s pop band.
But really, the whole evening was one big highlight – Los Patos were just this very pleasant surprise. Even the problem with Jerk Appeal was a minor event and somehow fitting.
More to write about….but I really must get some sleep.