Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Braid - Live at the Canary House - 13 December 1997
This was the second visit to South Bend for the Chicago, Milwaukee and Champaign based Braid, following a show at Clifford the Big Red House a year earlier (show #175 for Braid, according to complete Braid show list -- the Canary House show was #309), when they played with Chisel Drill Hammer from Iowa, The Fold from Chicago, and The Cuba Five. In '97, Braid visited the Canary House (aka the little yellow house at 610 N. St. Peter) on the way to Washington, DC, where they would record their third album, Frame and Canvas at Inner Ear Studios. Not surprisingly, over half of the set is songs from that album (including "Never Will Come For Us", not shown on the setlist). Florida Evans and The Butterfly Effect opened, along with Chicago's 90 Day Men, who were also returning visitors to the Bend.
The basement at the Canary House was one large, unfinished room the size of the entire house, which made it an ideal show space. Use of the unenclosed toilet attached to one wall was optional. Colored light bulbs and strings of Christmas lights gave the place a bit of atmosphere. The PA setup was a bit dodgier, with the speakers propped up on boxes and shelves. It was not a singer-friendly setup.
Inspired by the excellent treatment emiLy received at Knox College, we liked to cook meals for visiting bands, which helped evenings get off to a friendly, relaxed start. Aside from bands with ND alumni, Braid drew the most out-of-towners to shows. Some were friends from Chicago who drove the hour and 45 minutes, others were South Bend natives who came back to town for the occasion. Ultimately I think that's a reflection of the sort of loyalty and dedication bands like Braid seemed to elicit from friends and fans. Heck, I saw them a dozen or so times in the space of two years in four different cities. It also explains the inside jokes and friendly heckling you can hear on the tape.
My favorite memory of the night was before any music got played. Ben Barnett, who was traveling with Braid, pointed at a drawing by my friend Ian (who turned out to be our mutual friend) on the refrigerator door and got very excited as he was planning to get a tattoo of the same drawing. We got to talking and he explained that he had a band called Kind of Like Spitting and asked if he could play a short solo set during the night, which he did. A few years later, I ran into Ben out in Portland. He said that he looked back on that night in South Bend as his break, as it led to Braid asking him to play again the next night and later taking the full-band version of K.O.L.S. on tour. (Listen for Bob's dedication "This is for Ben!" at the beginning of "What A Wonderful Puddle!")
From what I remember, this was recorded by Ron Garcia with a single room mic, as were the majority of the live shows soon to come via SBP90s.
Braid - Live at the Canary House - 12/13/1997
Braid on Facebook
Studio recordings available from Polyvinyl Records