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Happiness Amidst the Recession: Review of Charles Spearin's The Happiness Project Live

Posted by Sarah / March 15, 2009

The Happiness ProjectIn times where we turn on the new and all we hear is reports of how we're pretty much heading towards a great depression, what can be better than to spend an evening listening to Charles Spearin's sounds of happiness? I'm inclined to say the answer to that is "nothing". Friday, March 13th 2009, it was my immense pleasure to be part of the receptive and joyful audience of Il Motore, who got treated to the live experience of what I believe to be the most ingenious musical project to come out of the Canadian Indie music scene in years. I thought the show would be an upfront presentation of the album and didn't really expect much more out of it. However, I was pleasantly surprised by a live performance worthy of the utmost admiration I have for Do Make Say Think and the way their music comes alive on a stage. Read more after the jump.

Charles SpearinSo it's Sunday morning and I still have a very tough time putting into words what this show was like for me. It was so great, it's almost beyond words. The show began with a solo performance by the Apostle of Hustle, otherwise known as Andrew Whiteman. Behind him was were lying the myriad of instruments ready to be taken hold of by the eight members supporting supporting the wonderful Charles Spearin. After a brief introduction of some concepts of happiness, Spearin started the show with the "hit single" Mrs. Morris.

The following songs were presented as more beefed-up versions of what you can hear on the album, which is what really impressed me. Sort of in the way a simple jazz riff can soar with the right musicians, Spearin's inspirations let loose in the live setting. The songs deployed to their full extent, like a bird being let out of its cage. They became more static and alive, which is what I think songs should become in front of a live audience.

Other great perks of this show was the little introductions Spearin made before every song, which allowed people to better connect with the songs and to understand their context a little better. I swear I've never seen a kinder audience. People were so attentive and quiet during the entire presentation. When I looked at people around me, I didn't see faces that were judgy or uninterested. Instead, I often witnessed smiles and laughter coming from my fellow audience members. It was an absolutely charming show that I wish more people had a chance to experience.

AudienceTo learn more about the project, you can listen to the interview I did with Charles Spearin during sound check on Friday, or watch Christopher Mills' wonderful short film that I posted below.

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