Why Blimp Rock Rules by Jenny Mitchell (2015)
Do you know that feeling you get when you flip through your old rolodex? Viewing each little labeled tab, revisiting some name or business venture from your past? That little “tick tick tick” of names and ideas, flipping through and strumming memories into your heart? Do you know that feeling you get when you hear the hiss of a floating vehicle propelling itself through the sky? The dark shadow of some lucky passengers with a really really good idea floating slowly overhead? There are some sounds and presentations that find their way right into the deepest and most excited part of our inner being, and a really smart, strategic marketing team from Toronto has found a way to put together a musical presentation that embodies all of these things.
They have one ultimate goal in their marketing campaign; to raise $700, 000 by selling us on the idea of a Music Festival in a blimp over Lake Ontario. But, along the way, these musical geniuses have been sneaking in other campaigns, raising awareness of other plights that have shaped our current culture. They sing of the secret late-night antics of lifeguards. They sing to the incredible achievement of the Blue Jays when they set a new high-water-mark of victory during that magical series in 1993. They sing to the unique and common plagues of monogamy and feeling in the doghouse. They sing to the precious struggles of “sensitive boys”. They have even given us an anthem to sing to ourselves as we choose to “stay in at night” because it is okay to want to go to bed early, play a board game, drink your own beer, and because “There’s no waiting in line and the cover is a blanket”. I bring up these particular subjects because even though they’re part of our every day, NOBODY sings about them as effectively as Blimp Rock.
There are so many songs about love and longing – about heart break, tragedy, destiny, mortality. But while we put on headphones and radios and soundtrack ourselves with these themes, in REAL life we are going to a job, looking at ironic posters in gas station bathrooms, running into an ex we just sort of gradually stopped dating, not really changing our hair style, eating similar breakfasts multiple times a week. I love drama, but I LOVE real life and mundane, reliable consistencies. The fact is, sometimes first kisses are gross and uncomfortable, sometimes first concerts make you want to throw up and, sometimes, seeing the first house we lived in doesn’t fill us with nostalgia. I think it is the hugest feat, and one I can’t stop EXPLODING with love for, that this marketing-team of a band has found a way to sing about these everyday occurrences.
Blimp Rock is powerful enough to break my heart, but because they are singing about how much heart ache can go into staying in a relationship. They sing about conspiracies but not ones that bring in national governments or aliens, but rather ones that touch our lives happening down at the local lake. They tell us what they would do if they ran the government, but in the form of a theme song reminding us to be kind, knit scarves for newcomers, give baked goods to strangers and write apology letters when you’ve wronged someone. “How do you make a dream come to life – do you go get a master in dreams?” I make my dreams come to life by going to see Blimp Rock play. When they pull down their screen to do their power point presentation they project themselves right into my heart.
Jenny Mitchell is a Guelph-based musician who performs as Bird City and Jenny Omnichord. She has also played with numerous groups including the Barmitzvah Brothers, Richard Laviolette and the Oil Spils / The Glitter Bombs and The Burning Hell.