Tag Archives: live
I recently had the chance to attend a Nokia Canada announcement event at Air Canada Club alongside a handful of other Toronto music + culture bloggers. The invite wasn’t clear on what the event was for – just that they would be making an announcement, Alan Cross was a guest speaker, and we were invited to stay for The Killers show happening a little later in the evening.
I’ll never turn down a free concert – yes, even a free Killers concert.
Surprise, surprise, I am eating my words from last fall where I talked about how horrid The Killers are live. Yes, when I saw them WAY back in 2004 they were indeed horrible. But almost a decade later, they have learned from all that bad press and found their groove. Thank god. Playing to a stadium sounding the way they did in 2004 – charging what they now charge – would be a joke.
There’s something to be said about road experience. They have it now, along with a huge budget to back it up (and maybe ensure the auto-tuning that happens on the album is in place during the show, so Brandon’s vocals actually hold up).
Beyond the fact that vocally, he sounded worlds better than what I remembered, his stage presence was off the charts. No longer was he just singing songs and not looking at the audience, acting too cool for anyone. No, he was the picture of a leading man – introducing every song, interacting with the audience, building the energy up, running around the stage, having fun with the band – he was in complete control. It was like I was looking at a completely different performer – there really is no comparison with the brooding Vegas douche who needed vocal lessons that I witnessed during the Hot Fuss tour.
They also smartly stuck to the hits – meaning it was still a Hot Fuss heavy set, which made it extra nostalgic and enjoyable for me, since I tuned out after that album.
Anyhow – back to my original reason for being there.
As it were, the event was to announce the release of Nokia Music in Canada.
The speakers for the evening were delayed because the Killers decided to soundcheck at the exact same time the event was scheduled – I’ve never seen a band soundcheck a huge empty venue before (or watched a show from the ACC Club box seats), so that was actually kinda neat.
When it did begin, Alan Cross told us about the future of mobile music, and how Nokia Music has done what (in my opinion) Apple should have done a long time ago, and is offering up free access to their massive music collection with the purchase of any of their Windows smartphones.
I wondered what the catch was, because free music services always seem to have a catch – but the only catch is that you have to buy the phone. As it should be.
Of course, they do need to make money to pay the artists, so if you want to avoid the 6 song skip limit I grudgingly endure with Songza on my Android, you can subscribe for unlimited skips. Definitely worth it.
They gave all the bloggers at the event a Nokia Lumia 520 to take home so we could personally try out Nokia Music – along with an amazing wireless speaker from JBL, Monster earbuds, and a one year subscription to Nokia Music.
I have made it no secret that I do not enjoy Windows 8 and its weird unnecessary app start screen in place of the start button – so I was skeptical about a Windows smartphone to say the least – but after playing with it for a couple weeks I can officially say it’s a solid (and very affordable!) smartphone.
For one – it looks 100x prettier than both the Android, iPhone and Blackberry (all of which I have owned at one point). The way it lets you personalize the screen is, for me, the most attractive of all the smartphones by far. The way that Windows 8 fails as a desktop, it wins as a smartphone. It makes perfect sense to have an attractive app home screen on your phone.
Nokia Music is amazing, because not only can you listen to all the music you want – it will take a look at your personal music collection and recommend artists for you to listen to.
You can also make custom mixes from your favourite artists. I made a ‘Broken Social Scene, Elliott Smith, Nirvana’ mix that purely played only songs I love – something that doesn’t happen so much on my other music apps.
The BEST part? You can download mixes right onto your phone so you don’t need a data connection to listen. Do I need to repeat that? The worst part about Songza is that it cuts out in the subway when my data connection cuts off, leaving me music free.
There’s no need to worry about such a situation happening with Nokia Music. This is particularly awesome for me as it means I can listen to my mixes when I take Mr Bojangles on walks, even though I haven’t switched my phone service over.
The Windows phone definitely wins against my Android in terms of music performance, beauty/simplicity of the layout and homescreen, and touchscreen ability (you can use it with GLOVES ON).
But, I am hesitant to switch over until they acquire an Instagram app. That is the whole reason I got an Android in the first place. They already have all the other necessary apps – Instagram is the only one I would legitimately miss out on. But this is the first incarnation of the Windows smartphone so there is a lot of room for improvement on all the apps.
I can’t wait to see where Nokia and Windows go with these new smartphones. I can definitely see myself switching over soon enough. The music alone is a good enough reason.
Have you tried Nokia Music? Would you consider switching over?
Another giveaway! Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is back with their new album Specter At The Feast, and they’ll be playing Kool Haus in Toronto Thursday night in support of it. I couldn’t be happier. They’ve been one of my favourites since they released the absolutely flawless Howl in 2005 – one of the strongest albums of the decade.
Thanks to Live Nation you can win a pair of tickets to see them play by subscribing to TTRO – just enter your email in that little box on the left sidebar and once you click the confirmation email you will be entered. If you’re already a subscriber and you’d like to enter, just comment below using the email you used to subscribe – where it asks for your email (not in the body of the comment!) – so I can confirm.
Contest ends and the winner will be contacted Thursday morning. Watch the video for the gorgeous new track “Returning” below:
Hamilton, this one’s for you (or those of you in the GTA and surrounding areas willing to make the trip since they’re not playing Toronto for some strange reason!). Courtesy of Live Nation, I have a pair of tickets to giveaway to the Dropkick Murphys show at Hamilton Convention Centre on Saturday, November 17th.
All you have to do to enter is be a fan of TTRO on Facebook and like the status about this contest. Winners will be contacted via Facebook on Thursday November 15th so be sure to check your ‘other’ messages folder on that day.
I gotta say, I’m sad they don’t have a Toronto date, would have loved to see them sing their drunken Irish bar songs in person.
If there were ever a song that should be played at the end of the night at every bar (besides Closing Time, of course) it’s this legendary piece of gold:
I’m a pitiful sight, and I ain’t all that bright
I’m definitely not chiseled from stone
I’m a cheat and a liar, no woman’s desire
I’ll probably die cold and alone
But just give me a chance, ’cause deep down inside
I swear I got a big heart of gold
I’m a monogamous man, no more one night stands
Come on, honey, let me take you home
So, I went to Edgefest this year (my first time back at Downsview Park since 2003 for SARStock) and decided it would be fun to shoot a video documenting the day/highlighting my favourite bands playing the fest – aka those playing the side stage – and I am super proud of how it turned out. BIG HUGE THANKS to the incredibly talented Jake Chirico of the Collective Friction Film Collective for shooting and editing this for me – hire him for all your videography needs! I love the way it turned out, and it’s a nice first attempt at the video format for TTRO. I am the worst at transcribing interviews, so I may stick to video for such things in the future.
The day was hot, sweaty, and filled with great music. Edgefest is an interesting beast, in that the lineup can be quite diverse and therefore include a lot of bands I’m not so into, but the small stage was packed with bands I loved this year, and it was fun to get to hang out with some of them and talk about the day.
The highlights for me were sets from The Darcys, Yukon Blonde, The Coppertone, and Young The Giant, talking to Indian Handcrafts about moshing (they feel the same way about it as I do!), the DFA 1979 guys having a cheer off for their GTA suburb hometowns of Scarborough and Mississauga, climbing up the big hill at the back of Downsview and getting a beautiful view of the whole festival (pro tip – if you don’t care about seeing what’s happening on stage you can hear Downsview shows for free at that spot), and being offered $100 for my backstage wristband from the mom of a tween who was desperate to meet the guys in Billy Talent.
As sweet as that mom was for trying to make her kids dream come true, I know I did the girl a favour by saying I couldn’t. In a few years she will be embarrassed she actually liked this band so obsessively, as I am for running in front of the Backstreet Boys tour bus when I saw them live. Oh, to be a 12 year old girl again (thank god I’ll never be a 12 year old girl again).
The only disappointment was missing out on Hacienda and The Apache Relay’s sets, would have loved to hear them.
If you like it, please spread and share the video – you can grab the embed code at the end.
Hey guys! Here’s my latest guest post for AUX for the Whisky Rocks competition (bands – this is your LAST CHANCE to enter your song to win a spot opening for The Trews and gear from Gibson and Yamaha!), in which the guest bloggers were asked to talk about a memorable opening act we discovered by showing up early – or in my case, sticking around later.
When I was younger, I only showed up for the opener when it was important that I could actually see the stage (so, standing shows). Being short is easily the worst part of being a live music fan.
But, as I’ve become more interested in the local music community in the past few years, I’ve made it a point to show up earlier than usual – or stick around for the other bands playing that night in the case of some local shows – as it can lead to finding my next favourite band.
The most recent example of this would be during NXNE, when I attended the Horseshoe to see some of my favourite locals – Poor Young Things, CATL, and the special guests for the night – Yukon Blonde. As it was a local festival lineup, it wasn’t like a typical concert where the first bands to play are the lesser known ones, the order was a lot more random, and so Yukon Blonde (who would be considered the headliner) were on at 10pm before most of the bands for the night. After their set was over I decided to stick around for Young Empires and CATL, and this meant staying for The Lumineers set as well.
For some reason, I hadn’t yet heard of the The Lumineers, but the Shoe was abuzz about them – the venue was packed and I couldn’t get anywhere near the stage, so I figured I should stick it out and see what they were about rather than heading to another nearby venue for a different band and then coming back as I tend to do during these festivals.
And I am so glad I did.
It was easily the best set of NXNE for me, by a mile.
There is nothing like that feeling of seeing a random band you’ve never heard of, and being absolutely taken away by their set. I immediately had that “where have these guys been all my life?” feeling that always means I’ve found my next favourite band. I was transfixed by their presence, even though I was at the back of the very packed room and couldn’t see too much – that’s how strong the music was. The room went silent all the way to the bar – which, if you’ve ever been to a Horseshoe show – you’ll know what a rarity that is. It was that exact kind of folky, foot stomping, hand clapping, sing along music that fills me with immense joy, and I felt so grateful to have stumbled upon them. They left me feeling that incredible buzz I talked about in my previous article about what makes for a memorable live experience.
Of course, ”Hey Ho” became a massive hit, and their self-titled album became the soundtrack to my summer. It will definitely be making it onto my top 5 albums of the year list.