Last night was a celebration of life, death and family and the party director was Loudon Wainwright III. He just seemed in a great mood throughout the evening and why not when you get to share the stage with your pregnant daughter, Martha Wainwright, and your very talented ex-wife? The audience was on the small side, but those that made the choice to forego the Habs season opener were rewarded for their loyalty.
Loudon is about to be made a grandfather (my, how the time has flown!) and yet he was as sarcastic, cheeky and abandoned as he has always been. The man gave a masterful performance (enhanced by the beauty of the venue) yet retained a youthful side as well. Despite the fact that a noticeable portion of the material he chose to play from his extensive catalogue was preoccupied with death, the evening still retained a light flavour. Probably due as much to the mural of summer fields on the walls of the venue as to the performer's devilish sense of humour.
The appearances by Martha and Kate were surprises (of the pleasant variety) that reinforced that this is a family that no matter the distance or separation betwixt them will always play together. During her short appearance Martha was cheery and seemingly very happy to be on the stage with a man that she wrote the song "Bloody Mother F%*king A$$hole" about. Kate still seemed quite frail from her recent battle with cancer, but thankfully it has not diminished her talent. She played fiddle and accompanied her ex-husband on the song "If I Lose" from his latest album "High, Wide & Handsome". Despite the fact that she and Loudon were long ago divorced he is still able to make her smile as he did last night onstage.
The man is 63 years old and is obviously still doing something that he enjoys very much. We all should say that at his age. And why shouldn't he love it as he has never bowed down to industry pressures and has always recorded the type of music he wants to.
He is quite funny at times and oozes musicality. True to his folk singer background for most of the night he performed accompanied by his trusty acoustic guitar, but occasionally he would treat with a change of pace by moving to the piano.
Watching his delight it made you wonder why this man who obviously has ties to the city and especially to the Mile End area plays the city so infrequently as his last show here was roughly 8 years ago.
It was a throwback show as the artist just stood there in his jeans and shirt, strummed and picked his guitar and sang his songs. Nothing fancy about anything but the music. He performed several songs from his most recent album and "Heaven", "If I Lose", "You Never Phone", and "Father and Son".
Two opening acts on this evening with singer/songwriter Mike O'Brien and folk/country artist Carolyn Mark paving way for the Wainwright Family Jubilee. They were both quite good