TicketMOMster review: Cabin Concert – Raine Hamilton @ Fort Whyte
In the dead of winter, I watched Carly Dow perform at a field station in an urban forest. It was a great performance that inspired one of my most humorous reviews to date (http://bit.ly/2bmzFXi). Despite being completely out of my element, I really enjoyed the experience and was itching to go back to Fort Whyte.
That experience instilled an ill-fated sense of courage in me, because this time, I decided to go without my super fashionable/woodsy friend who can throw spears. However, I’m also super fashionable, I can write and I’ve seen Little House on the Prairie numerous times. That’s gotta be good for something.
I wasn’t always anti-nature. When I was young I practically lived at a cabin in Ontario. Being outdoors was no big deal because everyone took care of me. If the mosquitoes were bad, someone was slathering me in DEET. If it got cold, someone wrapped me in a sweater. Now that I’m older, I’m completely useless in the wild. So useless, that I left the house at dusk to go to an urban forest wearing a t-shirt, jeans and ballet flats. Even though I KNEW I could be slaughtered by mosquitoes, it never occurred to me to bring mosquito repellent or even a jacket. This is why I love not camping.
I drove out to Fort Whyte feeling pretty brave that I was going to take on this adventure alone. I reached the gate and drove down the main road. That’s as far as I got before I got lost. Last time I was here, my friend drove, it was dark out and there were people on the road showing us which way to go. This time, there was no one on the road and everything looked different in the light. Augh…I called my friend for directions. Independence FAIL.
Before I knew it, I was following the signs for the field station. I parked the car, opened the door and I could literally hear the mosquitoes giggling with glee. I bolted for the field station and then stopped dead in my tracks. The chairs were OUTSIDE the field station. Like…in the wild. I took a picture and texted my friend right away. Here’s our conversation:
Me: “It’s outside”
Spear Throwing Friend: “Oh how lovely. Now I’m really jealous. My favourite place…sigh…”
Me: “I have no jacket and no mosquito spray. WHY AREN’T YOU HERE TAKING CARE OF ME?!”
Spear Throwing Friend: “Oh boy. I’d have an extra jacket, blanket and toque in the car. You’re screwed.”
While I was waiting for the performance to start, I walked over to the field station deck and watched the loons swim and dive in the lake. The weather was warm with a breeze strong enough to keep most of the mosquitoes away. I marveled at the forest and the fact that something so completely wild could exist in a planned and manicured city.
I found my seat just as Raine Hamilton and John Mark Baron (bass) stepped up on the deck. Raine, with her deer antler necklace and lazy Mohawk haircut looked right at home.
She started with a song she wrote for her family called Everything and it sounded like nature. Her voice, the acoustic guitar, the bass, it all sounded like an extension of the surroundings we were in.
Time dealt with her struggle with adult responsibilities such as going to the bank and washing forks every day.
Next up was a beautiful rendition of Joni Mitchell’s Case of You. Raine’s high notes gave me goose bumps, they were so sweet and pretty; I really enjoyed that song.
Lay Me Down was a harder tune which showcased the strength of her voice. It was a bit too loud for the surroundings and I wasn’t a fan until the very end when she almost shouted “I’m yelling on the other side” and her voice rang out across the water. That was incredible.
Robin Hood, Strangest Thing and I Read Your Book ended the first set.
At this point the wind died down and the mosquitoes came out. I overheard two women mention they had “the good stuff” in their car and I politely asked if I could have some too. Ordinarily, I don’t follow strangers to their car when they tell me they’ve got “the good stuff”. But in the past, I’ve been tempted to douse myself with lighter fluid and set myself on fire to get away from mosquitoes, so anything that didn’t involve matches sounded appealing.
One of the women handed me an ancient looking aerosol can of Watkins and I sprayed every inch of myself. I thanked them politely and then walked to my car looking for a source of warmth. In my trunk, under 8 pounds of hockey equipment, I found an emergency blanket. THANK YOU HUSBAND.
I sauntered over to the bonfire feeling pretty satisfied. I roasted three ooey gooey good marshmallows before the second set started.
January and Abigail were both gentle and soothing tunes. My invisible Watkins force field was working like a charm and I tilted my head back to watch the birds flap their wings rhythmically under the wispy blue and white sky. Raine sang a French song and her voice was just as beautiful and soothing in French as it was in English.
The sun went down as I wrapped myself in my emergency blanket; I felt warm and satisfied. The crickets chirped in harmony to Paper Cranes and I instantly fell in love with the prairie lyrics in Aurora In The Meadow. Even when the song changed and the lyrics described the west coast landscape, it still kept that prairie quality to it. I think that was my favourite song of the night. The performance ended with a song about loss and leaving called Starlight.
Yes, I had to bum mosquito spray off of some kind souls and yes, I was the only person wrapped in an emergency blanket. But I learned that I’m resourceful and I survived to tell the tale.
And now, I’m going to hop in the shower because my eyes and throat are burning and I think I might be a tiny bit radioactive.
P.S. Check my “Upcoming Winnipeg Shows” post at the top of my blog for more Cabin Concerts at Fort Whyte (http://bit.ly/2b1fqCk)
TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here: www.facebook.com/TicketMOMsters