Mira Black delights fans with heartfelt performance

Review: Mira Black @ CCFM

MIra Black and company performing at CCFM in St. Boniface. /PHOTO: Anne Martin

I’ve been purposefully laying low. My Daughter started Grade 1 last Wednesday and I made sure I didn’t plan any shows around this event. I knew it was going to be hard on me and feared it would be difficult on her because she’s rarely away from me for most of the day.

I needn’t have worried about her. After the second day, she came home yelling “I LOVE GRADE 1!”

I, on the other hand, was a mess. Everything was a reminder that she wasn’t with me. I cried when I got home, I cried in the grocery store, and I was half hour early to pick her up for lunch (actually, I was the ONLY Mom that picked their kid up for lunch). So, it’s been hard.

Along with this new journey, I’m coming up on the first anniversary of my Dad’s sudden death.

So when local guitarist, Keith Price offered me a ticket to his upcoming show with Mira Black, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to go. Also, I had no idea who she was.

Then I changed my mind. Concerts and show help me process hard events, so what am I doing sitting at home? Get me to a theatre and play me some live music.

Keith told me the show would include poetry which I wasn’t thrilled about because I rarely understand poetry; certainly not well enough to review it. Then I asked him who Mira Black was and he told me she was in Acoustically Inclined. Instantly, my mind exploded with these lyrics:

“Sew buttons on ice cream,
Paint pictures on a bedroom wall,
I’ve just got to spread these colours around.”

Has that ever happened to you? Someone will say something and a song from your past explodes into your present? I completely forgot about Acoustically Inclined.

I remembered that Julene Gravett was their drummer, but the only other thing I remembered was the song “Sew Buttons”; I played that song to death. It was a wonderful mixture of floating and soaring and I remember it resolved to a satisfying end. I loved that song.

(Here’s a blast from the past:

… and oh my God, is that Dave Maurakis? I think I went to school with that guy. Huh! I forgot he was in the band.)

I told Keith I’d take the ticket and warned him the review may be emotionally charged (spoiler alert: it’s not – keep reading). He was totally fine with that and told me the ticket would be waiting for me.

I found my seat just as the lights went down. Bassist, Gilles Fournier took the stage first to enthusiastic applause, followed by the other band members. Mira came on last and also received loud applause. She waited for the late-comers to find their seats and then started with the first tune.

This show was the soundtrack to her book “Love & Porn” and she rarely mentioned song titles. I don’t know where to look them up and I probably could have asked Keith, but I just thought of that now and it’s very late and he’s probably sleeping. Darn.

Gilles played a great solo during the first tune and at the end, drummer Kevin Waters emulated the sound of a heart beat with his kick drum while Mira recited her first poem. I think it was about a woman suffering in a hospital.

The poem went right into the next song which really showcased Kevin again. Every time I see him I’m more and more impressed.

I remember he started out as a really intense drummer and it’s amazing to watch him grow into his instrument. He was so relaxed and groovy tonight and he seems to be at a different level than where he started. I love watching the progression of Kevin Waters…

There was another poem about Gods and humans and suffering and that’s about all I got out of it.

Here’s the thing about me and poetry (and interpretive dance): It sounds and looks like music, but I don’t usually get it and that frustrates me because I can’t speak intelligently about it.

Tonight, I sat in that theatre with a confused look on my face every time Mira recited her poetry, and that’s far from where I wanted to be. I could tell there was passion in what she was saying and the words were meaningful, and the phrasing was lovely, but for the life of me, I don’t know what she was trying to say.

It was around this time that people in the audience started snapping. I have no experience with snapping and the couple behind me were complaining about all the poetry, so I thought people were snapping to speed Mira along, which would have been horrifically rude, but she didn’t seem to care.

I later realized that poetry isn’t for everyone, and snapping was a form of clapping used by people who understand poetry. It’s “Love It! You Go Girl!” in poem language. Live and learn…heheh…

Audience enjoyed performance by Mira Black and her band. /PHOTO: Anne Martin

The next tune was more upbeat and the band left the stage as Mira recited a poem about love, which I enjoyed because the words were pretty.

Gilles came back out and played while Mira recited a poem about hard relationships.

Later, Mira explained her use of the word “God”, which I followed for a bit and then got lost. I picked up her train of thought again when she started talking about supporting people during hard times and being a witness to their struggle.

With that, she sang “Stay” and it was wonderful. The lyrics were beautiful and it was the ultimate good friend/support song that made my throat close and my eyes water.

After intermission, Mira took the stage by herself while her fans shouted words of love to her. She sang a song solo and then the rest of the musicians came back out. She spoke about yin and yang and explained that the first set was the feminine divinity and the second set was the masculine energy.

The song that followed was one of my favourites of the evening, it was upbeat and danceable. Plus Keith played a really tasty solo and the whole thing gave me goose bumps.

A ballad Mira wrote to get a man’s attention was next, followed by a poem while Keith played in the background.

Next, was a very slow and beautiful tune played by Keith and Gilles which featured Keith’s delicate strumming and picking. I loved that one.

Another upbeat and interesting song followed with another lovely solo by Keith and some great work by Kevin. That tune gave me goose bumps that spread all the way up to my chest and neck, which very rarely happens to me.

Keyboardist, Johnathan Alexiuk got the crowd going during the last two songs and there was a standing ovation at the end, complete with chants of “Mira! Mira!”

Mira expressed her gratefulness for her band members and then they played a very upbeat tune which showcased every member.

The show ended at 9 p.m. and I was home, making my Daughter’s lunch before 10 p.m., which I was thrilled about.

That was a good show. I liked the second set more than the first. It felt a little less dramatic/reflective and a bit more upbeat. Thanks for the ticket, Keith!

Good night!

TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here: www.facebook.com/TicketMOMs

Anne Martin

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TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here:
http://www.facebook.com/TicketMOMsters

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