The Good and The Baruchel – Not So Private Banter
Canada’s Walk of Fame Festival clearly understands the chemistry between the two and had the highlight of their three day concert series on Sept. 20 at the breathtaking Massey Hall with Matt Good and Jay Baruchel Live – Not So Private Banter.
This pairing for Massey Hall is not an inseparable pairing that is usually associated with a comedy/music mix but a “what if” type of collaboration between individuals that could be worth seeing – and it was.
Good, a nerdy eye-wear touting veteran of Canadian music – Baruchel, the Montreal native being known as a lanky yet laughable comedian known most recently for starring in the apocalyptic satire written by Seth Rogan “This is The End,” and before that the unusual romantic comedy “She’s Out of My League.”Opener Scott Helman was an easy choice for warming the audience with booming acoustic guitar, percussion and the demeanor resembling if the singer of Local Natives was the type of person to date Ariana Grande.
The stage now fully set framed with bar and bartender on one side and a mini lounge with NHL 94 ready to play projected on the screen behind on the other. The main act now ready to dig in gives a heads up about what to expect.
“There’s going to be profanity…”
They may have been putting it lightly.
Clad in their show portrait graphic shirts in white and purple and the phrase “WE WILL DESTROY – YOU WILL OBEY”.Both are diving in with an approach unforgiving and fearless especially considering crowd participation. Running up and down the aisles, hands outstretched for high-fives and cusses propelling from their mouths candidly jeering at the crowd in the most polite way possible.
The show is quickly stopped in it tracks when an audience question and answer period goes from silly to supremely awkward when Good is asked “What are your thoughts on mental illness?“ from a petite blonde in the 7th row.
In the nick of comedic timing Baruchel allows for the strangeness and strain to resonate in the crowd, howls “Jesus Christ!” Followed with banter on help phone lines and the counselor’s inability to read the situation.
Baruchel cheers “Let’s get some 90s alt-rock up in this bitch” to lead into Good’s songs.With a live twitter feed of the then trending hashtag for the show (#notsoprivate) people are furiously tweeting observations, requests and even calling out the habits of their seat partners for a chance to be mentioned by the pair. Some are read and vibed on, some are brought on stage for the best seat in the house and a glass of gin from the personal bar. Even with the rambunctious air of the room without hesitation or struggle Good’s song performances are met with intent silence despite Baruchel still actively playing NHL 94.
The cross between tenderness and comical aggression mixing together sets you off balance. The manic rollercoaster of bringing the audience up and down creates a vulnerability that makes the laughs louder and the quiet starker.
An anecdote of teenage sexual awakening from Baruchel brings Our Lady Peace’s Jeremy Taggart onstage for a drum solo. The crowd is ecstatic. The surprise appearance leads to a fantasy map penned live by Good, crowd-sourced with frat boy answers like “balls falls” Baruchel acknowledging the random reality “Everyone loves cartography, that’s why they’re here!” and asking “So in the meantime how do you guys like this bit?”For fans avid or otherwise the show is what you wish for. An intimate raunchy look into backstage antics that allows you to enjoy both Good’s and Baruchel’s work even more individually from that point on.
For those less aware of their work it may seem scrambled. Good’s presence is still palpable, Baruchel is still charismatically cheeky and the chemistry is evident but the structure can be a little lost.
The show concept is all carried by the respect between the performers. Both eagerly ready to quip at each other. Baruchel clearly Good’s biggest fan and Good clearly Baruchel’s biggest supporting force.Classics from Good close the evening adlibbing as he sings “I get paid more than you”. Baruchel during sweetly answering fan requested selfies.
The end is dotted with an encore and standing ovation.
Maybe it’s Good surfing on the theater chair tops, maybe it’s the pictures projected on stage of clowns making out, maybe it’s the brief PSA style presentation with graphs on the quality of strippers in Canada.
But there’s a note hit by a performance like this that rounds out the reasons why there is Canadian Walk of Fame.
Story by Elyse Simpson, Photos by Ftfphotography