had a nice out-of-the-ordinary friday around town.
to continue daves birthday, we booked massages at a place downtown. we walked down to body mends at 5p very excited to get our tired muscles dealt with. they had a lady with extra training in pregnancy who did a great job with me. laid on one side with a full body pillow and then switched to the other side and then laid on my back at the end, propping one butt cheek on a pillow, to get my neck, head, and face done. ahhhh. lovely. and dave...he came out looking stoned, or like he'd just come out of deep hibernation. i think its safe to say that those one hour massages did us some good.
on the way home, we were hungry and uninspired to make anything we had in the fridge. we passed "star anise" on barrington, which is a thai/vietnamese place we hadnt gotten around to trying yet. we peeked at the menu and thought we could give it a shot. i ordered the lime leaf coconut chicken and dave got some salad rolls and the rare beef and rice noodle pho. we unpacked it at home and chowed down. the portions were right and the flavors were great. the prices were also pretty standard and the workers and customers at the place were asian. so perhaps we are on to something here. finally.
completing the trifecta for the night was the fact that we had randomly agreed to attend a concert that was occurring near us. we had never heard of the band before but a colleague of daves sent out an email and since the venue was literally on the block behind us, we thought it would be an easy thing to check out and bail on if we were bored.
at 8p we arrived at the little jazz east cafe. its not actually regularly open, only when they have events or member meetings, but its a nice intimate location. they had set up chairs for the live acoustic concert we were seeing. somewhere in the next 15-20 minutes, the concert started.
the pre-opener was actually a member of the headlining band, but he was doing some of his solo stuff. seeing as how he grew up outside of halifax, he had some local things and memories to sing about. he was accompanied by a cellist which was cool, but for the most part, since he was still new to the solo thing, the set was a bit too unpolished for me to really get in to.
the next guy was a great opener. his name is keith mullins. he sang and played the drums while guys from the headlining band jumped in for the occasional piano or guitar need. im not sure what category of music keith is. maybe folk? his voice is very versatile and he had quite a range of songs during his set. the final song was cuban-inspired. his set really seemed to inspire monster, who was grooving around like crazy for his music (which was not the case for the pre-opener guy. monster was napping). anyway, i was impressed to be so entertained by music i had never heard. they also mentioned that he is going to be heading to nashville to do some work with some famous country guy, so perhaps he is an up-and-comer to the larger music scene.
and finally, the headliner band, caledonia, was up. normally five guys (two guitars, a bass, drums, and piano), the drummer was substituted here by keith, which was cool. this was an acoustic show, but i guess normally caledonia is electric and their style is folk/rock. they too had some really nice tunes. the lead singer was also pretty versatile, perhaps not quite as strong as keith, but he had a great falsetto he used for some songs that made him sound like tracy chapman. i also dont think it hurt that he looked like a younger colin firth with a beard and was wearing a cool hobo-type hat. i liked his style.
some of the band guys were also from nova scotia which meant they had many friends in the audience, which was nice for the ambiance. it was very casual and friendly and nice. the music was also easy to listen to if youve never heard it before, and their single from their new album "we are america" was an interesting commentary about how canadians might like to pretend they are different from americans, or would like to say they are better, but many, especially those in the larger cities, really behave the same, buy the same things, etc.
anyway, in the end, we had a lovely evening start to finish and we had done some new things. always nice when that happens. especially when it comes together with minimal planning. a pleasant surprise. :)