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L.A. Beat

Geoff Berner band entertains with politics and humour

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It is always great to see Vancouver accordion powered klezmer punk Geoff Berner, especially when he has almost a full house to see him as he did, Feb. 5.Geoff Berner at the Slice, Feb. 5. Photo by Richard Amery
 He was backed by drummer Wayne Adams and violinist Diona Davies (aka DD), who added a hauntingly beautiful string to Berner’s exotic sound.

 I missed the first few songs of his set including “ Swing a Chicken Three Times Over Your Head,“ one of the outstanding tracks from his latest CD “We Are Going to Bremen to be Musicians.”
 I did arrive in time for anarchic crowd favourite  “Daloy Polizei (Fuck The Police,) which had the crowd shouting along with the chorus.

 Berner always entertains with his ironic, witty and self deprecating sarcastic stage banter, but each line he sings has six inches of sharpened steel sticking out of it.  Especially on political/ historical songs like “Maginot Line” which he played in the first set. All that and you can dance to his music — most of it anyway.

“Let’s see you get up and dance, otherwise the show is lost. It’ll make you feel better,” he quipped at one point. He had the floor full of dancers for  some of his more upbeat songs, but had them listening intently to the slower ones.

He played original music and rejigged Jewish folk songs, basically bringing forth an evening that made the audience simultaneously laugh, think and dance.

He played several tracks from the new CD including the highlight “When DD Gets Her Donkey,” which showed off DD’s subtle prowess on the fiddle and a lot of songs about drinking  and dancing in addition to nice balance of more serious fare.

He dug back into his vast back catalogue for his second set, opening with another crowd favourite “The Clown and Bard.”

 He also featured another highlight from the new CD “I Don’t Feel So Mad at God When I See You in Your Summer Dress.”
  This was the set that had a good part of the room on their feet.

Geoff Berner and Diona Davies at the Slice, Feb. 5. Photo by Richard Amery
 He went even further into his back catalogue for another highlight “Can’t Stay Dry.”

 I wanted to hear two of my favourites “Condos” and “We All Gotta be A Prostitute Some Time” but may have missed them.

—by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 February 2016 11:57 )  
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