I spent Hallowe’en of 2008 at the Royal Canadian Legion on Kent Street seeing a local band called The Flaps. I don’t remember much about the evening but I really hope it wasn’t as disappointing as I’m guessing it was.
Nothing against The Flaps, mind you. They were a really solid local band that included a really, really nice guy named John on guitar that I used to work with at the Folklore Centre. The band was instrumental, mostly surf-like and though I saw them here and there around town they were usually on the bill with someone else or they just happened to be playing in the same room where I happened to be sitting. It was rare that I would go somewhere specifically to see The Flaps but like I say: good band.
So why was I spending my Hallowe’en with them? They were the only band on the bill of a venue that was so rarely a venue there was literally no way I would have just been there by happenstance. Well, clearly there wasn’t something earth-shatteringly great happening for the pagan holiday that year but there is another, very likely reason why I was in attendance: I was hoping to relive a past glory.
Y’see, this show wasn’t just The Flaps, it was The Flaps featuring Jon Bartlett. Now, I don’t know who Jon Bartlett is but I know who he isn’t: he isn’t Remi Royale. I suppose I have a little explaining to do.
The first time I ever saw The Flaps was in February of 2005 at Irene’s Pub and I was completely, utterly blown away by them. My heart explodes with glee just thinking about it. The singer pulled off a dozen crazy unique and quite unbelievable antics such as singing a ballad whilst simultaneously spraying whipped cream into his mouth, peppering the crowd with used food, and rocking out like Judas Priest in front of a crowd of about a dozen people. It was astounding. The next time I saw John (the guitarist) at work I was raving about the show and was crestfallen when he told me that they were in fact an instrumental band and I had witnessed a one-time sit-in from a friend of the group. Damn!
So like I mentioned I saw the band here and there but after that Irene’s show it was always instrumental and while the music was great it was never the spectacle that had swelled my soul that first time. And so when I saw the band was appearing with a guest vocalist I thought my opportunity to relive the past had come. I donned a costume, walked to the venue and shelled out my dollars.
I don’t know if it was during this show or afterwards that I found out the singer on that first gig had actually been Ottawa crooner-weirdo-legend Remi Royale*, but I’m very confident that it took no time at all during this show for me to realize that it hadn’t been Jon Bartlett. I suspect that I was visibly disappointed. sigh
Nothing against Mr. Bartlett of course, who I’m sure was quite good. A band like The Flaps wouldn’t have a hack sitting in for a holiday set, of that I’m sure. As I said earlier, they were a good band.
But what I wouldn’t have done to have seen just one wanton can of whip cream on stage!
*Last seen tending bar at House of Targ.