Wednesday, 4 July 2012

So, you say you've been to Revolutions? (Day 3)

Revolutions: Kingston's hottest venue/nightclub
With heavy hearts, the Argyles prepared to leave Montreal. It was a magical 3 years together and the shows played will never be forgotten. But it was time to move on from the insular world of the plateau. Just as we had received our hugs and kisses, the rain fell from on high. It was blessing: the city was baptized from the stench from moving-day's week old trash bags; the Argyles from the sins of our previous life. Out of the ashes emerged our new, pure, Argyle selves. No longer were we individuals, but disciples of rock. Our mission was to spread this good news. It was as if god itself came and spake unto us: “Argyles, though art good. Go ye therefore unto my creation and make disciples of all nations so that they may know the spirit of rage within them." Amen Lord. 
Practicing hard for the show

                Today would be our first show with Argyle bassist Geoff Dowling (hereafter referred to as GD) and it was an important one. A native of Kingston—he grew up next door to his cousin and Argyle Matt Dowling—he would be performing for his extended family, which was no small feat: his grandmother’s fertile womb brought thirteen children into the world.

                But there was no one GD was more eager to impress than his father: he was once the backup bassist on the Lovin' Spoonful summer tour of 1975; however, this one time rocker had soured with age, rarely expressing emotion or approval toward his son, his alternative way of life, or his long hair. GD knew this was his big chance to melt his icy heart with a hot bass line.

When Dorfman plays he shifts in and out of material existence
After a hearty meal of meat and potatoes at the Dowlings, it was time to head to the venue. As we set up, the Dowling clan began to arrive. It was like being back in the old world. The Dowlings, of Irish descent, were a hearty breed of redheads with pale skin hardened by generations of farming potatoes during harsh Canadian winters. The the rest arrived; the room was packed; it was time to hit the stage. Alexei Martov began with a solid set to get the crowd warmed up, followed by local Kingston rockers Vorasek. Then it was time for the Argyles. As we took the stage, the crowd began chanting: "DOWLING! DOWLING! DOWLING!"

GD’s performance started off a little shaky, but  he loosened up. His bass lines were tighter, and dancing less robotic.  One Down and I'll Take It went particularly well. Even the Dowlings were beginning to enjoy the set, with a few of the more youthful and adventurous moving onto the dance floor. But GD’s dad remained seated, arms crossed, with a blank expression on his face. 

The Dowling Clan in partial force

Then it came time to close with Headfull, the Argyle's first smash hit and music video. It was the song everyone was waiting to hear. GD had only learned his part that day and I feared for him, but he held it together. Then the breakdown came; all of sudden, the baseline stopped: GD had forgotten his part. His pale white face was as red as the stage lights. We kept going, but GD couldn't recover. The crowd gave us a generous applause afterwards and we were pleased with the performance. But as GD looked out at his clansmen, only faces resembling his father came up to him.

We met in the parking lot for the customary beers. GD was upset with himself, but tried not to let it show. He shotgunned his old mill with a fury I had never seen. But soon after, GD's dad emerged from the venue. He walked up to GD with that same blank expression. But it gave way to a smile, and the old man then extended his hand and said: “Son, I am truly proud of you.” They embraced. As the tears streamed down GD’s face, I struggled to conceal my own.

Ryan MacKellar is now an SEO Consultant living in Toronto with his friends. 

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