Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kate Maki- Live At The Folk Exchange

Wish I brought my camera!- photo from 2008 by Clayton Turner

I didn't know what to expect when I attended the Kate Maki show last Friday night at the Folk Exchange. I heard this was a good intimate concert venue that had good sound and nice sight lines. For me as a concert taper I like small spaces that have good acoustics that fill the room without too much crowd noise and distractions. Well, I guess I should have anticipated a small crowd because exactly a week before the show when I bought my tickets at the Folk Fest office, my ticket numbers were 001 and 002. Yes, I think I bought the first two tickets! Sure enough when we showed up 10 minutes before the concert was to begin (8:00pm, doors were 7:15), there were only 3 other people there already. Things picked up though, as in total there were 11 audience members (+ 5 volunteer staff) that paid $12 to see Kate Maki.

Kate Maki is a singer-songwriter from Sudbury, Ontario who had a career as a teacher, but quit to pursue music full-time. She says she still substitutes ("to pay off her tour expenses"), but her true love is music and you have to respect someone that goes after that dream and can make a living doing what you love. She has four albums to her credit and has toured back and forth, up and down extensively across the country (U.S. as well) touring on her own and as a supporting act. Her last stop in Winnipeg was last year with the Great Lake Swimmers.

The show opened with Kate's tour mate, Brent Randall from the band, the Pinecones. Brent played a respectable set of organ-infused pop songs that brought to mind late 60's Brit-pop. Maybe it's his sleepy-Paul McCartney eyes that kept me thinking he was British, but he obviously has a lot of talent and as sparse as they were performed, the songs sounded good. I would definitely like to see him with the whole band if they tour through here anytime soon.

By the time Kate took the stage, we had already become familiar with her. During Brent's set she called out some requests from the chair beside us and later joined him on stage to sing backing for a song. Her set got off to a little slow start, after her first song, Bloodshot & Blistered, she searched on the floor in front of her to try and find a screw that fell off her pickguard on her vintage Gibson hollowbody. She ended up using a piece of electrical tape the sound guy offered, to tape on the guard and the show carried on. The show was everything a good concert should be, Kate actually talked to the audience, not just, "Hey Winnipeg I love your hockey team or whatever", but actual conversation, asking us questions and telling us about her last few years. She said she was being much more candid than she should be, but that just added to personal and genuine performer (and real person) that she seems to be. She was funny, she was charming and she was sincere. At one point she pleaded, "Whatever is said in this room does not leave this room" and "Please don't say anything, I hope no one's recording this"... Oops, I guess I won't be sharing this recording. Her songs kept me captivated despite playing without a band, though Brent added some keyboards and bass on some songs, and she was a very capable guitar player that was able to fill out the sound. All in all, the small audience, the cozy venue and Kate's easy-going honest persona made for an enjoyable evening out. It was almost like having her play in your living room. (except with a better sound and light system)

At the end of the show I bought her latest CD, Two Song Wedding (I have her other 3, buy them! If you can find them.) and asked Kate to sign it. She also signed the back of her setlist for me with, "What was said in the exchange, stays at the exchange", how appropriate!

(I think I'll send Kate a copy of the recording and see what she thinks. I'll try to post a sample or two from the show.)

2 comments:

maruad said...

Any relation to the former NHL player?

Sacke said...

Any relation to the former NHL player?

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