Tag Archives: Canada
Last night I had the true pleasure of seeing this lovely lady live for the first time. Sad to admit she’s one of those names I had always heard but never paid attention to, placing her in the ‘probably too CanRock for me’ category just by way of associated acts. The Rootstock show I was reviewing last night only reaffirmed that unfair categorization, placing her in between Steven Page, formerly of Barenaked Ladies fame, and Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea (someone I would normally avoid ever seeing).
Of course, as soon as she opened her mouth to start singing, I realized how far off I was. I was immediately blown away by the sheer tone and beauty of her voice. The most famous pop stars of today only wish they had a vocal as captivating and original as hers.
Making the night even better was how she described her songwriting process, and how she came to write the beautiful songs she sang. This one particularly struck a chord with me as I tried to hold back tears, making it the perfect choice for song of the week.
Give it a listen:
Gotta thank a friend for tipping me off on this one. I’m not normally a fan of this electronic singer songwriter (aka indietronica) domination that’s the new cool in music, but this song is legitimately great. The electronic elements are interesting yet not so overpowering that they take away from the sadness of the vocals and the contradiction of the lyrics. Everything about the song reeks of longing and urge and desperate love. And that intro is so creepy. It’s pretty brilliant.
The only part I don’t like is the “drum” solo in the middle, which is actually overpowering and sort of cuts up the beauty of the song for me.
Video wise, I think the choice to show a guy and a girl playing hockey is interesting. At first I was like, wow, this guy really wants to show off his Canadianness – but it’s actually a smart way to depict the chase and the games guys and girls play when trying to navigate relationships, as the song describes.
Montreal born Thomas Arsenault (aka Mas Ysa) is one to watch. If you’re a James Blake fan, keep your eye on this guy.
Hey! Okay, I know TGIF hasn’t seen the light of day in a very long time – I was spending all my time building someone else’s dream which meant ignoring mine – but the universe was like – no girl, stop that shit right now – forcing me to smarten up, so I am excited to say that, yes, we’re back!
That means this post is gigantic because even though I didn’t have time to blog it – I was still keeping up with the times. So here is many weeks worth of TGIF rolled into one epic post.
- Bob Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ Gets Star-Studded Interactive Video This has to be my favourite video from 2013.
- Listen: The Velvet Underground’s unreleased song “I’m Not a Young Man Anymore” What a gift to hear this after Lou left us.
- Sleater-Kinney Reunite Onstage With Pearl Jam In Portland Um, how awesome was this? Super jealous of everyone who witnessed it.
- Toronto voted “most youthful city” in the world Not surprising, this is definitely a young person’s city. Very cool that we beat out every other awesome city in the world.
- 5 Small Toronto Venues with Big Reputations I have massive love for all 5 of these venues.
- The Americas: Uncool Canada Because I can’t only share happy news – here’s a dose of economic reality.
- The rise, fall and rise again of Rough Trade Records
- Stop Trying To be Happy Aka why do humans over-complicate things so much?
- 10 Rules for Brilliant Women “Filter advice. Most brilliant women are humble and open to guidance. We want to gather feedback and advice. Fine, but recognize that some people won’t understand what you are up to (often because you are saying something new and ahead of your time). Some people will find you to be not their cup of tea. Some will feel threatened. Some people will want to do with your idea only what is interesting or helpful to them. So interpret feedback carefully. Test advice and evaluate the results, rather than following it wholesale.” I’ve recently come to understand this truth in a big way.
- Deformed Freak Born Without Penis Oh the Onion, I can always count on you to make me laugh.
- 5 Steps To Getting Rid Of Stress And Anxiety Very solid advice.
- Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet This article is so scary, yet not at all surprising. Read YouTube comments on almost any video and you’ll understand.
- Here’s Why You Should be Upset about Mindy Kaling’s Elle Cover, even if She Isn’t Love this. Love that she wasn’t upset by it – she’s living the dream and she loves herself and nothing like this could rob that from her – but for the rest of the world, we need to start seeing bodies of women that don’t have a personal trainer on the covers of magazines – not just their pretty faces. And this is why we all love Lena Dunham so much.
- ‘Too Much Estrogen’: The Golden Globes, Chris Christie and Men Who Don’t Want to Share Culture Continuing on the horribly sexist trend that seems to be in full bloom now that women are starting to rule TV, this article is a MUST read. If you only read one link this week, make it this.
- The History of Tina and Amy’s Best Friendship The best.
- Christine McVie to Rejoin Fleetwood Mac YES! Dreams, coming true. Did you guys see Stevie Nicks on American Horror Story the other week? Also awesome.
- Rock’s Silent Majority Rules Again: Bastille will play SNL and Everywhere Else They say indie rock is dead – and it’s certainly not the big thing anymore, but this article proves that yet again, no form of music ever really dies.
- Shut Your Dumb, Stupid Mouth about the Beatles Being Overrated But really. It has to be THEE most annoying thing ‘controversial’ people ever say.
- Ticketmaster, Your Awful Tickets Should Look Like This PLEASE. If only they would take notice. Such awful design should not have made it past the 90s.
- Materialism: a system that eats us from the inside out A great read on why we all really need to stop buying more stuff. Sometimes people come to my house for the first time and wonder why I don’t have 1000 records. In my opinion I have plenty – I own every album I truly love (any many I just kinda love/like). I’m always looking to get rid of anything I haven’t used in 6 months. I hate having too much stuff. Like the article says, it drags us down, depresses us, holds us in one place. We’ve all seen the destructive minds of the people on the show Hoarders. Even if I don’t get to travel as much as I want, I like the idea that if I wanted to just pick up and leave, I wouldn’t have 500000 things to sell/store. Living light is in my opinion the definition of freedom. I am not defined by my possessions, but by my achievements and experiences.
- I Know Who Can Start Rebuilding Toronto I couldn’t agree more. PLEASE RUN FOR MAYOR, OLIVIA CHOW! You are the one who could easily beat the fool.
- 20 Sneaky Rules About Being in a Band That No One Ever Told You Great advice from the lovely Sari Delmar!
- Genetics I kinda want to see what a split-screen of me and my dad/mom would look like so I could compare – very cool.
- The people STILL living in 1951: Inside America’s Rockabilly community Okay, this is a little bit overboard, but I’ve always dreamed that I would one day own a house with a rockabilly 1950′s style kitchen, so this community is kind of awesome.
- 8 Quotes That Prove Adam Is The Best Character On HBO’s Girls If you needed some concrete reasons as to why he is my dream man, read this. “You should never be anyone’s slave.” #bestline
- FaceSubstitute Is The Coolest (And Creepiest) Thing You’ll See This Week This is strange, but awesome.
- Finally, this new iPad commercial is another mark of truly great advertising. Using one of the best scenes from Dead Poet’s Society is a mark of sheer brilliance we’ve come to expect from their ads:
Thanks to the lovely people at Matchstick and my favourite brand of whisky, Canadian Club, I was flown out to BC in July to shoot a video at Rock The Shores (see it below!). Yes, the wish I wrote on the contact section of my About page, half jokingly stating my dream of being sent around the world to cover music festivals, actually (briefly) came true.
They approached me a month earlier, with an option of going to either BC or PEI for the music festivals happening in these locations, and while I’d never been to either province (most of my travel time has been spent in the States) the lineup at Rock The Shores was stronger, and it’s much easier for me to get to PEI than to BC – so it was a fairly obvious choice.
It had literally been over 5 years since I’d last been on a plane, and that last time was my first flight ever, so I was nervous but excited to finally be flying again. If I wasn’t saddled with student loans, I would travel constantly. All I remembered about flying was how much I enjoyed being able to see the world from that height – to see the real life version of the map take shape right before my eyes, and see the clouds up close. And that, surprisingly enough, I didn’t find it scary at all. This time around, the view was even better because flying into BC is incredibly beautiful – the mountains and the ocean make for a scenic landing.
Unfortunately, it seems my sinuses have become an issue since that last time, because I endured something horribly hellish, called aerosinusitis, when the plane landed. Look it up. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Luckily it was only so painful that it brought me to tears on the way BACK to Toronto, so my stay in Victoria wasn’t ruined. I am slightly terrified of flying again because the pain was so crushing it hurt to even BLINK for a day after landing.
When I arrived in Victoria, we went straight to the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Hotel. As you can imagine, it was the nicest hotel I’ve ever been to in my life. Canadian Club also had a package full of the mixed and ready drinks and beach necessities waiting for us. FYI, you can win one of these Canadian Club beach kits through their Facebook page. Upon arriving we also met fellow blogger Randa, of The Unprecedented. Hanging out with her, along with her friend Jordan, was a true highlight of the entire trip.
To get the chance to stay right on the ocean, and wake up to this sight every morning, is something I’ll never forget. I am a water person by nature (water signs ftw) so this is my paradise. I have to thank Tourism Victoria for upgrading me to one of the rooms with a view, and for providing me with attraction passes to experience the city. As we were only there for under 3 days we didn’t get to do too much, but the Zipline experience through the mountains and forest was one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life. I almost backed out after the test line, but there was an 8 year old boy doing it fearlessly, so the shame factor was too high. Now I want to try every ‘extreme’ activity I can. Just like with tattoos, the adrenaline rush is addicting.
Victoria itself feels like a rather small city, but it remains charming and interesting – something small-town Ontario just is not. It is so gorgeous there that you would be foolish to stay inside any more than necessary. It’s also the most walkable city I’ve ever been to. Walking around the harbor is quick and incredibly beautiful – but if you want to take a boat taxi to get somewhere super quick (or just to enjoy a boat for a few minutes) you can do that too for 5$.
The buildings are beautifully designed and carry the charm that comes from being one of the oldest cities in Canada. When comparing to other cities I’ve been to, it reminded me most of New Orleans in terms of architecture, size, and friendliness of the locals (they are quite different cities in most other ways, though, heh).
I will be quick to note that I think Ontario is a beautiful province. We have all kinds of natural beauty here, including one of the wonders of the world, but BC wins overall, because – look at that park. It was like a mini paradise within the city. Add in the ocean, mountains, and the insane variety of trees – and our lakes and maples just don’t quite reach this level.
Now for the reason I was sent there in the first place, to attend their big music festival, Rock The Shores, and finally, FINALLY, see Weezer live.
As someone who’s been to festivals in Toronto, Tennessee and Montreal, I was curious to see how they treat media out there. The nice thing about this festival was that they treated media (almost) the same as anyone working the festival + the performers. We got to hang out backstage and drink – which is unlike ANY media experience I’ve had at any other festival. HUGE points, to say the least. And it wasn’t even just shitty beers – they had my beloved Canadian Club Rye & Coke/Gingers, as well as a variety of cider, wine and beers! Um, as someone who’s been paying up to ELEVEN dollars to have a drink at a festival (looking at you, Edgefest……) this was joyous.
Sadly though, they didn’t treat media so great when it came time to see the actual bands. Having just come from TURF where media were given VIP access and could therefore stay in the pit the entire day to really experience the show, it was fucking shitty to only be allowed in the pit for 3 songs. I know this is industry standard – fair enough – but their rules were very, very unclear and it made the festival look incredibly unprofessional.
Randa had attended the first day (we skipped out to spend a day seeing the city) and she was allowed to sit in the pit divide for the whole show – so we went there expecting that again, but instead when we tried to come back in they sent us out of the entire backstage/pit area and made us walk all the way around the ENTIRE over-packed RTS grounds in order to get backstage again. Sometimes security guards are just bullies. One, upon looking at my Ontario ID, even said “Onterrible.” I know Ontario and BC have a NYC/LA style rivalry, but I wasn’t expecting that.
So basically we caught the first 3 songs of each band and then had to sit backstage and listen, unable to see anything, if we wanted to keep drinking without waiting in line for hours and paying 11$.
We got there just in time for Awolnation, a band I had been curious about because “Sail” is such a fantastic song, but didn’t know what to expect beyond that. It’s fair to say I was shocked when a long haired skinny blonde California surfer dude type came out onstage. I was definitely expecting someone more like Cee Lo Green. It’s also fair to say “Sail” itself is a misleading song, definitely not representative of the rest of their work. After seeing this show and listening to the album, it stands alone as the only song I care to listen to.
This was also my first time seeing Mother Mother, and while the lead singer’s goofy look was enough to turn me off at first, the sheer talent they possess as a group, and the insane love the crowd had for them, easily pulled me in. This is a local band that has had national success, so they go crazy for them out there. Seeing them here in Toronto at Edgefest was disappointing by comparison, not because they weren’t giving it their all, but because the crowd was so different/boring.
I’ve seen Sam Roberts a handful of times now, and he always gives a great, high energy, entertaining show. There’s really not much more I can say about him. I think he is a definitive CanRock artist, and it was interesting to see an Aussie we were hanging with watch him perform, because it gave me such a reminder about how specific this sound is to Canadians. It’s rare a sound like Sam’s will ever break out of Canada, because it is so authentically Canadian.
Last but not least, was the main reason I was excited for this trip. Like probably all of you, I’ve been a Weezer fan since I was a little kid hearing my friends older brothers obsessively play the Blue Album. Along with Green Day’s Dookie, it was my first favourite album. This helps wipe away the shame that, just years later, I became a preteen, and therefore became obsessed with the Backstreet Boys and every other boy band except N’sync. At least I started with relatively good taste, right?
Anyhow, the ongoing joke that Weezer shit the bed after Pinkerton is one I embraced fully, because, give or take an album’s worth of songs, it’s kinda true. That meant I stopped paying attention to them in high school, and have never made the effort to see them live, for fear of hearing a full set of songs from Raditude or Hurley. So, when I got this chance to see them, I was happy to embrace the childhood nostalgia and finally see how they are live, headlining a festival. Especially when I heard that they would be playing the Blue Album in full in Toronto the night before. They had to be doing it in Victoria too, right?!
Well, not quite. But, they certainly did play a ton of Blue songs, and surprisingly, Rivers was in a great mood, and it was the perfect way to end the night. At this point we were happy to give up our free drink access to be able to see the entire set.
Finally, the real reason I was there, was to shoot a video of my experience, so check it out!
Hey everybody. Happy Friday! What are your plans for this weekend? If you need some suggestions, I’m writing a new column for Dose every Monday with 5 of my top picks for things happening in Toronto, so you can always check that out. Beerfest is on the agenda, and I’m hoping to hit up Shakespeare in the Park this weekend as well.
BTW, if you’re wondering, my BC trip was wonderful. It had been 6 years since I’d been near my other love, the Pacific ocean, so boating around in it was all I needed for the trip to be a success. But I also did a whole bunch of touristy things, met some truly awesome people, went ZIPLINING in the mountains (!!!) and of course, went to Rock The Shores and saw Weezer! Lots more about that whole experience in a future post – there will be a video to go with it!
Now, for the links:
- Canada’s crime rate hits four decade low It’s good to be Canadian, and even better (safer) if you’re in Toronto. Yet again, Toronto is the safest city in Canada. I don’t know why this still surprises me, as I’ve always felt super safe here (minus a few incidents many years ago)… it just seems crazy that the largest city is actually the safest? Can you imagine that happening in the States?
- 2013 Polaris Music Prize Shortlist So this was the big news last week. What do you think of the list? I think it’s fair.
- Terrible Short List Revealed for Canada’s Polaris Music Prize Unlike this guy, who is a complete and total idiot, who certainly shouldn’t be writing about music, and really shouldn’t be making music genres into some kind of racially exclusive bullshit. Clueless.
- Great White Nope: On the “Terrible” Polaris Prize Thankfully, this article sums it up quite well.
- LiveNation Invests $100 Million in Ticketmaster Technology Yes. Finally.
- Shazam Moves Beyond Music
- Take a Trip Down Music Start-Up Memory Lane So many failed startups.
- Indie Labels Now Hold More than a Third of the Market in the US #hellyes
- Music on the Mind This is fascinating.
- 7 Insane Ways Music Affects the Body As is this.
- The 5 Weirdest Ways Music can Mess with the Human Brain And this.
- Singing Provides Same Health Benefits as Yoga Who knew? But it does make sense. Releases those good chemicals. I’m gonna sing every day now, alone, to myself, so as not to torture anyone else.
- Amanda Palmer Being Awesome She isn’t always, but this was great.
- Deakin University Surveys Reveal Golden Triangle of Happiness This makes perfect sense, actually.
- Kids Reacts to Controversial Cheerios Commercial Kids, always saner than adults, somehow.
- 99 Problems Because even world famous rappers have problems. This is hilarious.
- 25 Musicians With Tattoos Gone Wrong This is the opposite of hilarious.
- Things Indie Rock Fans Hate I can’t really deny any of this.
- 36 Things Vinyl Collectors Love Or this.
- Finally, watch this full BBC documentary, When Albums Ruled The World: