Last Night: Fred Eaglesmith At McGonigel's Mucky Duck
Rocks Off Sr. wanted to know, and he wanted to know now.
"What kinda crowd is this? Canadians?"
"Yeah, some, for sure." Aftermath understands these things. Instinctively. It's like drinking good whiskey.
"But look at this bunch. There are people who drove over from Beaumont. And there are people here who never stay out this late."
"So how many Canadians do you think there are in town?"
Aftermath had encountered anti-Canadian sentiment before, but never at this level of toxicity.
"A bunch. You should see the Albertans who turn out for Corb Lund's Tuesday shows here. Way more Canadians than you think. But this crowd cuts across it all, Robert Earl Keen, Hank Williams, Gordon Lightfoot, Anne Murray, Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Sarah MacLachlan, you name it.
Aftermath has seen Eaglesmith a dozen times the past few years, but Tuesday night it had, as it often does, some "that's not where I'm at any more" element, some sign of moving beyond what's gone before.
By the time he was done, he'd brought his local tribe together anew. But at some other place than they assumed the meeting would be.
Like a limping, bankrupt circus or a no-label, brown-bottle medicine show, Eaglesmith's latest stage reinvention, with its hoochie women and seedy midway aura, made a perfect visual backdrop for his songs for parched souls. One could almost visualize this tour moving across the back roads in a Conestoga wagon drawn by two oxen with bells, selling patent medicines to people who would later star on Corn Flakes boxes with pitchforks.