Mew and the dangers of late nights

December 7, 2009 at 6:55 pm (Concerts, Music, Random Ramblings)

Playlist:  all Mew

She Came Home For Christmas

Snow Brigade

Repeaterbeater

The Zookeeper’s Boy

I went to see Mew play at the Mod Club last night – amazing!!!  Jonas Bjerre has one of those voices that makes me nervous about seeing a band live because you never know if it is going to sound the same or be a complete let down.  I was not let down, his voice was just as haunting and piercing live as it is on their albums.  Magical.  I only caught on to Mew earlier this year when I heard Snow Brigade, I then bought Frengers and became mildly obsessed with She Came Home for Christmas – neither of which were played last night but I’ll forgive them since the rest of it was so fantastic.  I have Frengers, And the Glass Handed Kites and their new album No More Stories… and love them all – very dreamy music.  If you’re interested I would suggest starting with Frengers and going from there – fantastic album!!!!  I almost dragged myself to the Virgin Festival this summer just to see them but I’m glad now that I waited and saw them in a great venue instead of on a second stage at an outdoor event.  Worth the wait for sure!!!!!!!

The only problem with the concert last night is that it is indirectly responsible for what transpired on my way home from work today.  So I’m driving home from work, obviously on autopilot, and I just followed the car in front of me when it turned into my building, followed them into the parking garage and then parked in my spot.  I get out of my car and notice there is a cement step close by that wasn’t there before.  That’s weird I thought, maybe they just put that there today, but not really sure.  So I’m a little confused but I keep walking towards the elevator lobby, once I open the door to go in there I notice that there are completely different tiles on the floor than usual.  So I stood there for a few seconds before it occurred to me – I’m in the wrong frickin’ building!!!!!  O.M.G.  How embarrassing!!!  In my defence my building is one of three in a row that are the same so the layout etc of the parking garage is identical, but still.  How do you drive into the wrong building?  Of your home?  Where  you have lived for two years!!  Unbelievable!  So let that be a lesson to you all on the dangers of lack of sleep and the demon alcohol – you may find yourself  brain dead the next day!

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Andrea Bocelli at the ACC

December 5, 2009 at 3:20 pm (Concerts, Music)

On Thursday I was lucky enough to score a last minute free ticket to see Andrea Bocelli at the ACC – box seats no less – and I have to say that although it was not something I would normally have really thought to go see, it was pretty amazing!  He was joined by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, a soprano Ana Maria Martinez, Aussie pop star Delta Goodrem and David Foster.  So my thoughts on the concert:

  • Andrea Bocelli has an incredible voice and seems like a very gentle, sweet person.
  • I do not like the sound of most soprano voices.  If someone were to ask me if I like opera I would probably answer no and I realized that night that the reason is because I just don’t find the female voices pleasant to listen to.  The men I could listen to all night, but when Ana Maria was singing I couldn’t wait for it to be over.  So while I appreciate her talent and the incredible instrument that is her voice, much like the recorder or the accordion I really don’t want to listen to it.  
  • I love David Foster!  I have loved him since high school when I fell asleep to the soundtrack of Stealing Home every night for about six months.  Between that and St. Elmo’s Fire I have always been a fan and I still am.
  • During the opening song I quickly became intrigued with the guy playing the cymbals in the orchestra, I just loved watching him get all geared up before his big moment and slamming those things together for all it was worth and then just sitting there waiting for the next time.  I am intrigued partly because I always wonder how someone becomes the cymbal player.  Obviously someone has to do it, but did this guy always want to be a cymbal player, or is he just part of the percussion section and that’s just his job?  Do they rotate around and sometimes he plays the drums?  Or do you start at cymbals and triangle and work your way up?  I’m not knocking it by any means, I am always fascinated by any of the percussion instruments because I really think they do take a lot of skill and timing.  I remember being completely transfixed at a Queens of the Stone Age concert a few years ago watching one of the guys shaking some maracas to the beat for an entire song, I couldn’t take my eyes off of him wondering if he was ever going to slip up and lose the beat (he never did) and thinking how tired his arm must have been after doing that for 5 mins straight.  Very intriguing.  
  • Delta Goodrem is phenomenal!!!  I LOVED her voice and I definitely could have listened to her all night.  This isn’t from the Toronto show but here’s a sample – very Celine Dion-ish – only less annoying.
  • I loved watching the bows of the violins all moving in unison while they played and seeing them all scramble and lean forward to turn the page of their sheet music at the same time. 
  • I ADORED the conductor of the orchestra, Steven Mercurio.  What a character.  He was so animated that I spent most of the concert watching him.  My friend and I compared him to Bugs Bunny because he really seemed like a cartoon jumping around and waving his wand.  Very enjoyable to watch.
  • I was brought to tears (shocking, I know) on a couple of songs – Ave Maria, Silent Night and The Prayer, couldn’t help it, the music and his voice were so stirring.

Great concert!!  Great night!!  Definitely something I’ll remember and not bad for free tickets.  And we lucked out and found underground parking for only $15 at Bay and Lakeshore, while the other lots around the ACC were charging $30 – $35 for parking.  I found out the next day that there was an NFL game in town that night which explains the parking prices a little, but $35 is RIDICULOUS!!!!! 

So I will leave you with this……

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Metric + Massey Hall = AWESOME!

October 24, 2009 at 4:41 pm (Concerts, Music)

Playlist:  a little Metric, obviously.

Poster of a Girl

Dead Disco

Help I’m Alive

In my next life can I please come back as Emily Haines from Metric?  I LOVE her!!!!!  She is my one true girl crush!  Not only does she have a voice that I have said on many occasions I would sell my soul for, she’s just awesome!!  I saw Metric on Wed night for the third time this year and I’ve now decided that they are second only to Linkin Park for me as the best live band I’ve seen!  Coincidentally, having seen them 3 times ties them with Linkin Park for second place on my list of bands I’ve seen multiple times in one year.  The reigning champs are my boys in Madina Lake whom I’ve seen 5 times in a year, which is as much a testament to how often they tour as it is to how insane I am.

Back to Metric, first of all, seeing them at Massey Hall – incredible!  That place is magic!!!!  They seemed genuinely thrilled to be playing there, which I think anyone who grew up in Toronto and has been to a concert there should be.  It is without a doubt my favorite venue for a concert!    Aside from the magic of Massey, Emily Haines is magic herself.  She is completely captivating on stage and she never stops moving.  While discussing her dance moves and why she is so engaging while jumping around like a crazy person I think my friend Kelly totally nailed it – she does on stage what we all do at home in our bedrooms when we’re listening to music….jumping, spinning, marching, dancing, bopping, head banging ….whatever your body wants to do.  Which makes you feel like she’s really just rocking out to the music rather than trying to put on a show – I think that’s why she is, as my sister-in-law put it, mesmerizing!  You can’t take your eyes off her and she’s larger than life, but at the same time she also just seems like a cool chick rockin’ out to some tunes.  Accessible and yet a complete star at the same time!  And the while she never stops jumping and is constantly moving – her singing doesn’t suffer one bit – she sounds amazing.  So suck on that all the Britney Spears out there who use dancing as an excuse for why they lip-sync their shows!!!!!  I think if you can sing, you can sing even if you’re dancing.    And Emily Haines can SING!  

This is actually from the show the night before cuz I couldn’t find a good one from Wed show but you get the picture.

 

LOVE Emily, LOVE Metric, cannot wait until they play Massey again!!!  Well done kids!!

One other note, I had the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had the other night at Aroma Espresso Bar on Bloor just east of Bathurst.  OMG, it’s like drinking a chocolate bar!  I wouldn’t say that I’m a hot chocolate expert or anything but I highly suggest it be tried by everyone – just make sure you stir it first.  Damn, now I want one … anyone feel like making a delivery?  Really, no one??  I’ll be your best friend?  No?  Damn.

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Somewhere between 7:30 and 11:00

October 18, 2009 at 12:36 pm (Concerts, Music, Random Ramblings)

Playlist:  One song, on repeat, non-stop, awesome – I cannot wait for this album to come out!!!

Kings and Queens – 30 Seconds to Mars

“The lessons that we’ve learned here have only just begun.”  ~30 Seconds to Mars

Can we please get some kind of consistency with concert timing and when the opening and headlining bands are actually going to hit the stage? 

Generally, depending on how many opening bands there are etc. I assume somewhere around 9 or 10 for the headliner but lately I’ve been to a few that did not follow this trend and it can be frustrating.  Two recently that are at both ends of the spectrum.

The other night I went to see the Silversun Pickups, realizing there were 2 opening bands and being a little tired we tried to time it to get there around 9:30 figuring we would catch the end of the second opening band and then SSPU would be going on around 10-ish.  Well, we got there around 9:30 and managed to catch the end of the first opening band An Horse – dumbest band name EVER!!  Heard a little of them, not bad, sort of background music but okay.  Then we had to sit through Cage the Elephant, which, I’m sorry, I do not get.  I’ve seen a lot of bands live that I’ve never heard before and although I may not always walk away a fan exactly, most of them I can say that I at least enjoyed the show.  Case in point, Hollywood Undead – I will never listen to them, but watching them live – I get it.  Cage the Elephant, not so much.  This meant that SSPU didn’t take the stage until 11pm.  That’s just crazy!  I realize I’m going to sound old saying this but 11pm?  Really?  Had I known before hand that this would be the case I would have extended my evening nap and showed up for 11:00 and everything would have been fine.  As it was I had to suffer through Cage the Elephant and after what seemed like 6 hours of them I was tired and over it. 

Now cut to three weeks ago when my friend and I were going to see White Lies at the Phoenix.  The ticket said doors were at 6pm which I though seemed a little early but didn’t really analyze it too much.  So originally we were planning to maybe stop by a little piano bar for a drink on the way to the show but because it was raining decided just to go straight there and have a drink there and catch the opener.  Um thank god we did that because as we were strolling in at 7:45pm I hear the distinct sounds of the White Lies being played.  I asked the bouncer how long they had been on for and he told me about 5 or 10 mins.  WTF?????  They went on at 7:30??????  And they only played for an hour so the entire concert was over by 8:30.  On a Saturday night!!!  8:30pm!!  If it hadn’t been raining we would have missed the whole thing and I would have been pissed.  Something to keep in mind if you’re ever going to see a concert at the Phoenix on a Sat. 

So I guess somewhere between 7:30 and 11:00 is the norm for headliners.  Great, that’s helpful. 

I’m sure some of the reasoning behind not having actual set times is flexibility and also that it encourages people to come and  check out the openers.  To be honest I often do want to check out the opening bands, in fact, there are a lot of concerts that I go to specifically just to see one of the opening bands – you know who you are Madina Lake!!  However,  the fact that I am NOT 16 anymore means that I have no patience for waiting in line for an hour to get in.  There’s no reason to as I’m not at all interested in being at the front of the stage.  Sadly, for yours truly…that train has sailed.  Some nights I’m totally up for a full night of music and sometimes, like the other night with SSPU, I’m a little tired and not in the mood to be there for hours so it would be nice to be able to show up specifically for the band I want to see and not have to suffer through the atrocities heaped upon us by some openers – yeah I’m talking about you Cage the Elephant!  I just think that if shows are going to deviate from the usual 9-10pm headliner start time they should let the concert goers know so that we can adjust our schedule accordingly.  Or put a note on the ticket with the headlining show time.  Is that so much to ask?

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Best. Story. Ever.

September 14, 2009 at 6:51 pm (Concerts, Random Ramblings)

Current Playlist: 

First of all, Teen Wolf was on tv last night, I haven’t seen it in years and I have to say, I still kinda love that movie.  It’s so ridiculous but how can you not love MJ Fox in it – he rules!!!

If any of you have ever seen The Hour (I love you Strombo, call me) you know that they have a segment on there called Best. Story. Ever. – well I’m totally stealing that idea so here’s one of mine that I was reminded of last night.

I was at the R.E.M. concert at the Molson Amphitheatre last June and my friend and I were in line to get some beverages.  There were two young guys behind us (and by young I mean like 19 or 20 – man, I’m getting old) that I noticed because I could hear them counting out their money and trying to figure out how many beers they were going to be able to buy with their limited funds, it made me laugh.  I also noticed them because I thought one of them looked like Kid Rock – long hair, wife-beater, the whole bit – they looked like your typical young punks.  I started talking to them when one of them dropped some change – I picked up a loonie for him and pretended that I was going to keep it (I know, I know….. I’m hilarious) – they were really funny guys and we were joking around and talking to them for a while because the line was moving sooooo slowly.  So my friend and I got to the front of the line just as Modest Mouse who were the opening band (with Johnny Marr!!) started playing and the two guys were getting anxious because they were missing it.  It wasn’t a big deal to me so I told them they could go ahead of us in line and get served next.  They were pretty surprised and super excited about it and thanked us – like I said, wasn’t a big deal to me.  Finally, my friend and I got to the counter and ordered two drinks, when the cashier told us the price we both looked at each other confused because it was way too low, we asked if she knew we ordered two drinks.  “Yeah” she said, “the guys ahead of you gave me $5 to put towards your order.”

Now I know, because I heard them earlier, that they had just over $20 between them so for them to pay $5 was pretty significant.  We managed to catch them before they walked away and tried to give their money back and tell them it wasn’t necessary but they wouldn’t let us.  The just said  “don’t worry about it, you guys were really cool to talk to and really cool for letting us in line ahead of you, enjoy the show.  Cheers.”  How awesome is that??  So we thanked them and went on our way. 

I love this story because it shows that you really never can judge a person by what they look like.  But also, that you never know how something you do will affect someone else, no matter how small it may seem.  I didn’t know that something as simple as letting them go ahead of us was going to mean anything to them.  And they didn’t know that paying $5 for our drinks would mean that over a year later I would still think about them and be writing about how awesome they are.  Best. Story. Ever.

(You also never know when a random email you send to someone you haven’t talked to in ages will give them the spark they needed to get back to writing on a blog that they have been ignoring for the past few weeks – so thank you Stuart!)

To the Modest Mouse guys if you’re out there somewhere, I know you probably don’t remember that exchange.  But I remember it, and I remember you, and I tell that story every chance I get.  And every time I think about it I smile.  So thank you again, because what you did had an major effect on me.  I hope that $5 has come back to you 1000 times!!!!!

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Purple Hair and Bad Medicine

August 6, 2009 at 10:10 pm (Concerts, Music)

It has been suggested that I include what I’m listening to so here goes (very Canadian apparently, with a retro flair):

I came home today to find one of my favorite things waiting for me in the mailbox.  Concert tickets.  Tickets to see Metric to be exact and it reminded me of a girl who was standing in front of my friend and I during Metric’s set at Edgefest this year.  We named her purple hair, because well, she had purple hair and we weren’t feeling terribly creative standing in the rain and ankle deep mud.  Sample dialog: “How annoying is purple hair over there?’  ‘You noticed her too?  Soooooo annoying!!”  She was one of those girls who spends the entire set trying to show as many people as possible that she knows every word to every song.  So she’s bopping around in front of her friends and constantly turning around to sing to them while they are all just trying to watch the concert.  Every time she turns around she had to scan the crowd behind her to see who was watching her.  One of guys standing with her looked like he wanted to give her a beat down at one point – I was more than ready to help him if he needed it. 

Now I’m all for people doing their thing at concerts and the people I love the most are the ones that completely lose their shit because they are so excited about seeing a band that they love and are in their own world.  Like the guy at the Hollywood Undead concert a couple months ago (I was there to see the opening band but I must say did enjoy the Undead immensely) who was standing there, eyes closed, hands flailing around, singing his heart out and you just knew looking at him that in his mind, at that moment, HE was on stage performing and he was KILLING it!!  I could have watched him all night.  Then there was the guy standing beside me at a Keane concert a few years ago, who was screaming the words at the top of lungs and kept yelling to me how incredible the concert was.  Now I love Keane but even I was thinking, really?  That much excitement for Keane?  Or the guy a few rows in front of us at the Bon Jovi concert last year who was wearing a jean jacket with Bad Medicine and a red cross bedazzled on the back of it, BE-DAZZLED people!  He was jumping around with his friends singing along the whole night – we named him Bad Medicine but the sample dialog was more like “Did you see Bad Medicine?  I love him!”  “That takes some guts to wear that and he is rockin’ it!”  That guy had the night of his life and if I had had back stage passes I would have given them to him because he deserved them.  

So what’s the difference between these guys and purple hair since they’re all basically doing the same thing? 

The difference is that those guys were just in it.  They’re just there to experience a band that they love and getting so caught up in the moment that they can’t contain their excitement.  They don’t care whose watching, they’re probably not even aware that anyone else is there.  They’re just standing there with their eyes closed singing along to music that moves them.  They’re not trying to show everyone what a super fan they are and being all ‘look I know all the words, I’m so cool, do you all see me singing, I can sing along to every song, do you see me?  Are you watching?  Please notice me.’  Okay, you know all the words, good for you, so do 75% of the people here, so just stop begging for attention and enjoy the show if you love them so much.  Concerts aren’t about how many lyrics you know and who is watching you, it’s about listening to the music of a band that you love – or that you may be hearing for the first time – and just experiencing it.  So sing your little hearts out, but do it for the right reasons, do it because you love the song, or because you love to sing, or because you want to feel part of it, or because you’re excited, or because you don’t know what else to do.  Doing it to show off just makes you look like an idiot.       

Let the record show that I am a concert singer.  Yes, I sing along, mostly to myself but I have been known to raise the volume from time to time and I definitely get my groove on.  The thing with me is…..I usually hope to god no one is watching……

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