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Prizes all sizes and vacation stays

April 19, 2010

I finally got off my ass and saw Mr. Russia for the first time outside of the many shows we’ve played together.  Watching Mr. Russia on-stage at the Beat Kitchen Saturday made me realize I was looking at more than the band and hearing more than the music.  I saw them all and thought, these are my comrades and this is our battle cry.

I met Mr. Ivan Russia himself at the first show we ever played together at the Tonic Room in January of 2007.  By the time MR’s cover of “Boys Keep Swinging” filled the room, I knew that this band had something extra up their sleeve beyond their bass/drums/vocals set-up would initially expose.  I didn’t get the chance to talk with Ivan that night, but I remembered his swagger and jacket (hahaha, it’s true though.  It was a sweet jacket).  I then started seeing this guy everywhere I would go.  The Man Man show, seeing their name in print, and ending up at the Double Door together; Ivan and Mr. Russia were all over the place.  Those damn red MR stickers are still everywhere!  I finally got a chance to talk to Ivan that night at the Double Door and we’ve been ‘comrades’ ever since.  He hooked Camera up with a place to practice when we were in an ultimate bind (and we’re still there.  Carrol St. hooligans unite!), allowed us the opportunity to cover Radiohead’s Idioteque, and always has dependable advice, both on and off the court.

So, needless to say, my critical feelers were on full alert getting to go and watch Mr. Russia in full concentration for the first time.  I’ve loved MR’s output of recorded material, but the live show is usually where my concentration goes while processing a band in full.  The second they started playing a smile came across my face: Of course I loved Mr. Russia!  I had known that all along, but actually getting to take in their performance without having to worry about my own was focusing.  The set opened big and the show stayed loud and large until the band broke things down to a whisper with the title track off of their EP Training for the Gameshow Host.  This was my absolute favorite moment of the night, the week, and month.  Ivan’s talent’s and natural showmanship came into full view, the band steamily slunk back and the Mr. Russia show suddenly became an event, a happening, and the only place to be on earth at that moment.

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