Artist: Dave Bidini
Songs: Desert Island Poem + Stolen Car
Recorded at Monarch Tavern, June 15, 2016.
This self-declared "recent graduate from acoustic guitar player performance school" got the night started with a solo set of songs and stories whose shared themes of Canadiana, fandom and self-mythologizing were a good match for The Burning Hell. (In fact, Bidini even threw in a metacommentary-filled cover of their "Let Things Slip Away" for good measure.) The set mostly focused on new material, but there were a couple Rheostatics songs in the mix, plus "Desert Island Poem", written back in the the Rheos era and based on the real-life story of band diverting on tour to visit the Tyrrell Museum and getting stranded in a sudden prairie blizzard — and the cannibalistic musings upon who would be eaten first that followed from that. ("Naturally we'd eat the drummer, right? Because they have machines for that sort of thing now.")
The crowd, out for a Rock Show, started to lose focus after a while, so Bidini reclaimed their attention by unplugging his guitar and leaving the stage to play a couple songs totally unamplified standing on a bench at the edge of the room, including the ebullient "My First Rock Concert" and the closer, here reproduced in all its field-recording glory (hastily-drafted backup singers and all), beginning with the chatty shuffle of the crowd — which gets quieter as the song draws the room in.