What’s in Your Fridge is where the Straight asks interesting Vancouverites about their life-changing concerts, favourite albums, and, most importantly, what’s sitting beside the Heinz Ketchup in their custom-made Big Chill Retropolitan 20.6-cubic-foot refrigerators.
On the grill
Who are you
I'm Adam Veenendaal, or Adam Vee when I'm in my music-producer guise. I'm a mixing and mastering engineer by trade and the lead singer and guitarist in the shoegaze band the Ludvico Treatment, although not for much longer—we're playing our farewell show on March 18 at the Cobalt as I'm moving to Toronto to attend law school this fall.
I saw a Beach Boys concert with my family in 1995 or so which was great, but the first real gig I attended as an autonomous music fan was Everclear at an HMV in downtown Calgary. When they played their mega hit “Santa Monica” the audience started moshing and crowdsurfing, completely destroying the CD racks in the process. Someone uploaded a video of it to YouTube but it's not nearly as anarchic as seemed in my memory!
In 2004, Metric headlined a gig at Richard's On Richards (R.I.P.) and played an opening slot at the Commodore the following night. I was obsessed with their debut Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? and spent both shows right up front singing along with the other mega fans. At the end of the Commodore set, Emily Haines invited me on-stage and showed me how to play the keyboard line at the end of “Dead Disco.” I'm sure I hit a bunch of sour notes but for a couple of minutes I got to jam with my favourite band at the time. I'll never forget that gig.
Top three records
This is always a painful task for music nerds so I'll limit myself to live albums to make things easier.
Spiritualized Live at the Royal Albert Hall This is a cheap way to not have to pick a favourite from Spiritualized's brilliant first three albums, but I do really love the energy captured on their live recordings. Jason Pierce isn't the most animated performer in rock but the most important part for me—the music—is absolutely transfixing. The year after this was recorded Spiritualized opened for Radiohead on the OK Computer tour but I missed out; tickets to the Calgary gig were sold out by the time I got out of school that day. I still wonder how different my twenties would have been had I caught a gig like this at the formative age of 15!
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Live Seeds Again, this spares me from having to pick a favourite record from a formidable catalogue but Live Seeds also features what I consider the definitive versions of “The Mercy Seat” and “From Her To Eternity”. Nick is in full proselytizing madman mode here—check out the 1993 gig at the Paradiso club in Amsterdam on YouTube for proof. I read that the band hired Neil Young's producer David Briggs to work on Henry's Dream, the album that preceded this one, but Nick hated the results and felt like it wasn't the album he wanted to make. Live Seeds sounds like a band taking back their songs and making them their own again.
Sam Cooke Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963 Something that is often missed in the streaming versus physical media debate is the significance of album credits/liner notes and the role they play in the preservation of music history. I first heard this album online and tracked down an LP copy which tells the story of how this particular concert was recorded but left in the RCA vaults for over two decades. I could hardly believe it! “Bring It On Home to Me” gives me chills. This album presents an entirely different Sam Cooke than the one the world had seen or heard up to that point. It made me a total Cooke convert.
All-time favourite video
David Bowie “★ (Blackstar)” I'm a massive Bowie fan (my band covered his 1997 album Earthling in its entirety just for kicks) and Station to Station is one of my favourite records ever. The day that ★ was released I was furiously studying for the LSAT and really shouldn't have been procrastinating, but I just couldn't stop watching the music video. Musically it's the closest thing to Station he'd done since that album, and the beautifully cryptic visual accompaniment definitely adds to the song. I couldn't and still can't recall the last video that had captivated me so completely—this is the music video that made me start caring about music videos again. I'm not sure I'll see another that I love quite this much, though.
What’s in your fridge
A bottle of Hoyne Brewing's Dark Matter. I don't much like coffee but I'm obsessed with coffee-flavoured beer, go figure. It's the perfect drink for a relaxing evening spent watching movies, spinning records with friends, or drinking alone with a great book—because who needs social pressures anyway?
Moroccan-style hummus even though it seems to give me heartburn on a semi-regular basis. Funnily enough, the first time I bought some there was a manufacturer recall due to an E. coli risk. Undeterred, I came back for a second one which was also subjected to the same recall. Fate seemed be to telling me to give it up but I still love the stuff.
A jar of Major Grey mango chutney. Caffé Barney on Granville used to serve a penne that combined mango chutney and goat cheese which was a novel flavour combination that I couldn't get enough of. I started adding mango chutney to my veggie burgers and have never looked back. I only wish local restaurants would take a cue from me on that...
The Ludvico Treatment plays the Cobalt next Friday (March 18).