soundtracking April 2009: crank it to 11

April 10, 2009

Friend and colleague Jordan Zivitz has agreed to add some music to the mix on 11th ave. Here he is:

For my inaugural 11th ave post, I thought I’d spotlight songs that honour the numerology of this blog. Unfortunately, that proved slightly harder than expected (maybe 11 is the loneliest number), and I fear I’ve given the impression that I stopped listening to music in 1985. Which is not true. Next month: The three best a-ha songs from 1986.

U2: 11 O’Clock Tick Tock

I’m a lifelong U2 fan, but listening to the naivete of this early-career gem makes me lament the day Bono discovered irony and those wrap-around swimming goggles. The song’s stilted prose may not have aged gracefully, but The Edge’s spiky guitar has. This live version from the band’s landmark 1983 Red Rocks concert also provides a glimpse of Bono’s awesome square-dance moves when he plucks an astonishingly composed fan from the crowd. Ditch the Christ poses and bring those back, would ya?

Genesis: Eleventh Earl of Mar

When I saw Genesis at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium in 2007, I was crushed. Not by the chunks of concrete I feared would tumble from the weathered rafters, but by the mewling remains of Phil Collins’s voice. Here’s a typically epic 1970s track (originally from 1976’s underrated Wind and Wuthering, Genesis’s final proggy huzzah before commercial instincts started taking over) that captures him in much prouder form. The long shots in this 1978 concert clip look like they were filmed through Vaseline-smeared cataracts, but the sound is clear — as are the close-ups of Phil’s inexplicable shadow boxing.

Spinal Tap: Stonehenge

Finally, all you’ll ever need to know about the Druids, courtesy of the band that always goes to 11. Nothing to say that can top David St. Hubbins’s astute critique: “The problem may have been that there was a Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being crushed by a dwarf.”

Jordan Zivitz is a music writer, devoted fan of Nick Cave, Rush and Jann Arden and, because he has to support his music habit, a copy editor on the Montreal Gazette Arts desk. He’s only doing this because he thinks I am in possession of evidence that incriminates his cat.


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