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Giveaway – See Pretend We’re Kissing at Open Roof Festival

pretend were kissing giveaway

As you might know (despite the rain) summer is here, and that means one thing – outdoor movie festivals are in full swing. One of my favourites of them all remains Open Roof Festival. Not only do you get to watch a great movie you probably won’t find in major theaters anytime soon, you also get to hear a great live band before dusk hits.

I went a few weeks back and watched the hilarious The Overnight and caught a brilliant Toronto band that has become my new obsession – Del Bel.

This week, I get to give you the chance to check it out for free. I have a pair of tickets up for grabs to attend Open Roof Festival at 99 Sudbury on Wednesday, July 22nd – where one of my old faves – Hooded Fang, will be playing before they screen the incredibly adorable and funny looking Pretend We’re Kissing.

To enter, send an email to lisa@turntherecordover.com with the subject ‘Open Roof Fest’ and you’ll be entered to win.

As always, sharing this post will gain you bonus entries.

Contest closes and the winner will be chosen and contacted on Monday July 20th.

Lisa

Tell Me About Your Favourite Live Performer

Bruce-Springsteen

The live performance is something I hold in highest regard. There’s no more pressure a person can be under than when they get up on a stage to entertain a crowd.

If you’re not good live, you’re probably in truth, actually not all that great of a musician. Auto-tune has made fans into fools a few too many times.

Who are your favourite artists to see play live? (Btw, if your fave band is one of those groups that sells out in minutes, check out Ticketbis, where fans sell tickets to shows they can no longer make to those looking for tickets to see them live).

If there’s one live musician who I will always believe takes the cake – it’s The Boss himself. Bruce Springsteen is one of those performers who, still today in his 60s, will play for 3 – sometimes 4 – hours, giving the audiences all the hits they want and all the b-sides he needs to stay interested, without loosing a drop of energy or taking a break for intermission (as some older artists tend to do).

How he does it I’ll never know. Obviously he makes it a point to stay in amazing shape and likely eats healthy – there’s no other explanation for what he does onstage.

Another favourite – though I know I’ll get a lot of flack for this – is Bob Dylan. But that’s mostly because Bob Dylan is my favourite musician/wordsmith, so seeing him live is always exciting because I know I am lucky enough to be experiencing a true legend in real life.

His live shows these days certainly aren’t what they must have been in the 60s, but he still lives for the road and that love for his music and performing is an incredible thing to witness. And I actually don’t mind when an artist changes their songs up to keep it musically interesting. You’d get a little bored to after performing those songs for 40+ years.

When it comes to modern musicians, I will always reference Jack White. No matter what, he always brings it – and if the audience is refusing to give back, he will walk right off the damn stage. He commands respect, and that is hard to find these days. Musicians always want to please fans and give them what they want – and Jack always does – but he also expects the people who show up to actually show up.

The live show shouldn’t just be about the person on the stage – the fun in it for them is the adrenaline rush they receive back from the audience. The point is to feed off each-other, and it’s great to see an artist that gets that point so completely.

There are tons of others I love almost as much – but these three all rank highly on my list.

 Lisa

The Pepsi North American Cup Exposed Me To A Fascinating World

mohawknacup

The world of horse racing isn’t completely new to me – I did write an article for Trot Magazine about my experience at the races as a “first timer” back in 2013 after attending one night at the Woodbine track – but it is still certainly new enough that I don’t feel as though I have any true understanding of how to bet like the pros.

This summer, I plan to change that.

Last weekend I was able to attend the Pepsi North American Cup at Mohawk Racetrack, and it was an eye opening experience about just how passionate the horse racing community really is.

racetrackmohawk

Throughout the summer, I will be attending a couple more events, where I plan to fully immerse myself in the language of betting – and maybe win some coin to take home.

Since the NA Cup (as the locals call it) was my first time visiting Mohawk, the first thing I did was explore the building to get my bearings. It’s a large venue, and lucky for us it was a beautiful day outside.

With seating available inside and out, along with reserved seating in the dining area – there’s not a bad view in the place. While this was easily one of the busiest days of the year at the track, there was enough room to accommodate the large demand of the crowd. Since these events are not ticketed, anyone can show up and place a bet – so I was wondering if it would end up being ‘oversold’ so to speak – but that wasn’t a problem. It was very busy, but not so packed you couldn’t move or get a seat so long as you took some time to check various areas and find some open chairs.

nasqueeze

The thing I enjoyed most about visiting Milton for the first time, was just how friendly everyone was – and how cheap the food and drinks were. I think, after 11 years in Toronto, I have come to expect to pay $8 a drink and deal with rude, unhappy people at events this large. It was refreshing to stand in line with people willing to chat with you, or to accidentally bump into people, who, instead of giving you an angry look – chipperly ask you where you got your delicious looking ($3.50!!) chili cheese fries.

Once I got past my pure joy at the affordable and deliciously fatty food and drink options, I had to get down to the track and watch those horses do their thing.

nachillicheesefries

It is unlike anything you’ll ever experience to watch a crowd this large cheer and sigh and cry out for their horse, all within the span of a minute. Some end up incredibly happy and full of cheers, while others are devastated that the horse they just bet a big chunk of their savings on lost. It’s an adrenaline rush much like riding a roller coaster.

My visit this time was cut short due to prior NXNE obligations, so I’m looking forward to next time – when I will properly be able to bet and get invested in a horse.

mohawkselfie

There’s also something cool in this for you this summer, should you be interested in winning some extra cash. We are a selfie obsessed culture – but have you ever taken a selfie at the races? Well, your challenge this summer is to take one right in front of the track, tweet it out using the hashtag #OffToTheRaces (and mention @MohawkRacing) and you could win $1000 – the most money you’ll ever get for taking a selfie, probably.

This post was created in partnership with Mohawk Racetrack.

 Lisa

Today’s Quote – Courage

Nicholas_Lore

It takes courage to be the author of your life. When you are struggling through one of the difficult parts of turning your dreams into reality, you may wonder why you always get stuck with having to put up with so much fear and uncertainty. Why, you wonder, couldn’t I feel more courageous, like those other people do.

You don’t feel courageous because courage is not an emotion. There is no such thing as feeling “courageous;” It is an imaginary emotion. Courage consists of doing what you said you would do even when you don’t want to. In the face of danger you have a choice to be the delegate of either your commitments or your feelings. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.

Lisa

Toronto’s Music Scene From The Outside

toronto music scene

Today’s post comes to us from Angela Mastrogiacomo, who asked me if she could share her perspective on the Toronto Music Scene as an outsider working in music who lived here briefly. I find her points interesting, especially #2 and #3 which are both big points of contention I’ve heard often from musicians as well. 

Every now and again you come across a city that just gets you. All the stars align, and if you believe in such a thing, you find your city soul mate. For me, that city is Toronto.

When I had a chance to combine my forever love, music, with my new love, Toronto, the opportunity was too promising to resist. So I launched a weekly music industry meet up called Balanced Breakfast, originally founded in San Francisco (by Stefan Aronsen and Andy Freeman), and made it my mission to not only learn more about the Toronto music scene, but to help grow it.

But the more time I spent in Toronto, the more I discovered that the way I looked at Toronto’s music scene was completely different from the way those that had been in it for years seemed to.

There were so many discrepancies that I initially thought maybe I’d been wrong about Toronto. But then I thought, what if being an outsider was actually an advantage? What if I could bring a fresh perspective to the industry, and ignite some spark and inspiration into a scene that I could see was quickly becoming frustrated?

Conflict 1: Toronto’s Music Community is Non-Existent.

One of the first things I noticed was the complaint that Toronto’s music community is non-existent. That while there are great artists, and plenty of talent, the feel of community isn’t there. Almost immediately, I disagreed. Having spent 7 months living in San Francisco (which has an amazing music community) and my entire life in Boston (which has a terrible music community) I felt that Toronto had a strong spot right in the middle. While there was room for growth, the community feel was definitely there.  And more importantly, people want to build it.

Within my first 2 weeks in Toronto I had reached out to and met with several people within the industry who were more than happy to offer me their time, let me pick their brain, and even invite me to events and meet ups within the music industry that I would have never known about otherwise. From there, I made friendships and connections that I still maintain today.

If you’re thinking this kind of generosity is normal, let me tell you—it’s not. My experience in this industry, in the States, has been that generally speaking, people will only meet with you if A) there’s a strong enough immediate benefit for themselves and B) you’re completely acquiescing to their schedule. Everyone is too busy and “important” all of the time—even when they aren’t.

My advice? Appreciate what you have. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be better, or there isn’t room for improvement, but as an outsider looking in, your music community is definitely there. It just needs a little care to grow.

Conflict 2: Inability to Break Into the States

Another major point of contention seemed to be an inability to break into the States. While it’s true this is difficult, I felt like no one was looking at the benefits of being a Canadian artist. To make a name for yourself in Toronto, or even in the entirety of Canada, is a much more attainable goal than an American band making a name for themselves in the States.

The States are not the be all end all. (Come on guys, do you really want to start using us as a model for things?). An American band can pour their heart and soul into their career, and never really make a name for themselves outside their hometown. But in Canada, the opportunity to make a name for yourself is much stronger. Not to mention all the grants you’re offered…

Conflict 3: FACTOR Politics

The third biggest complaint I heard was the complexity and ever-changing politics behind the FACTOR grants. I get it, no one wants to feel like they’re not being heard, like something that is supposed to be about art and true expression is actually about popularity and numbers and all the things that, let’s be honest, matter when running a business—which your band is. But take a moment to appreciate that you’re in a country that invests in its artists that way. That gives money to its musicians to record, tour, get proper PR, and grow your brand.

We don’t have a “direct to the artist” funding system like that in the US. Every time I mentioned FACTOR to any of my American clients, they couldn’t believe it. It never failed to grab their attention…because for all its flaws, and all the things that could make it better, it’s a truly wonderful opportunity that I think a lot of artists are taking for granted.

And look, it’s not that Toronto’s music scene doesn’t have problems. Every strong community has infrastructure problems now and again. But from this outsider’s perspective looking in, it’s a pretty solid foundation, and I have no doubt that with the proper care, in 5 years Toronto could easily be one of the big city names in music. But first, we need to appreciate what’s here, and learn to nurture it. Let’s put this city on the map, and show ‘em what you’ve got.

 

Angela Mastrogiacomo is the owner of Muddy Paw Public Relations, and the free weekly music industry meet up, Balanced Breakfast, which meets Saturdays from 12-2pm in Toronto. Muddy Paw specializes in working with up and coming artists on personalized campaigns designed to bring their careers to the next level. To date, we’ve secured placements on sites such as AbsolutePunk, Substream, Property Of Zack, PureVolume, Anti-Music, and many more. 

 Lisa