Lou Reed has made his mark on rock n’ roll history for composing intriguing yet biting music while being effortlessly cool. A piece of his repertoire will be celebrated on Sunday, November 25th at the Waldorf, where several Vancouver musicians will come together to play their favourite Lou Reed songs as part of the Song Book series. We asked a few of the performers to tell us what the former Velvet Underground member means to them.
Ian R Browne, who will be performing Berlin and Dirty Boulevard
I had heard the song Berlin years ago, and always liked the Velvets. But seeing a YouTube clip of Lou performing the song live (possibly for the first time) with John Cale on piano and Nico looking on from side stage really blew my mind. I was going through a rough time last year and this song really resonated with me, felt like a song I could sing from a personal perspective.
Elizabeth Fischer, who will be performing Pale Blue Eyes
Lou Reed, especially in the era of the Velvet Underground, was –well, at least to me– an inspirational symbol; He represented the dark dangerous edges, fearless, limitless rock music as it was meant to be lived. The songs, brutal, honest and simple, the deliberate lack of sophistication, offered no frilly panaceas to assuage delicate bourgeois sensibilities. That’s where I always imagined art to exist, skill manifest as the act itself, the writing and performance as one, ferociously clawing at brutal existence.
Eric Campbell, who will be performing I Wanna Be Black and White Light White Heat
Lou, the one and only rock n’ roll animal. It’s all in that sneer. I remember hearing Sweet Jane ’74 for the first time, and being taken away, to some gut-wrench-gutter-romance-outerspace and never fully returning. Ever. Lou’s just beautifully singular, blunt, and bloody evocative, and one of the few who still makes me believe that rock n’ roll can save us, save our souls. The joy, destroying the mundane with dog collars, wrap around sunglasses, and feedback. Sha la la man.
(Thanks to The Waldorf’s associate creative programmer Juliana Moore for helping to coordinate this!)
The Lou Reed Song Book
Sunday, November 25 at the Waldorf Hotel
1489 Hastings Street
Doors at 7 p.m.