for the crowd


Great Big Sea: Concert Review, Yo
December 3, 2008, 6:23 pm
Filed under: Music | Tags: , , , ,

My reviews are a joke, mostly I just talk about what I did that night. Haha… oh well. This is another of those times, because on Sunday night I had the pleasure of seeing Great Big Sea… again.

The great thing about these guys is the fact that going to one of their concerts isn’t actually a big event. I don’t stress about it, wondering if I’m going to have a good time, if I’ll be able to see them again a year from now, and et cetera. GBS is always around, ever since I was a kid. They swing by about once a year, and going to their concert is like going to a party where you vaguely know the people throwing it, but it doesn’t really matter (and unfortunately you have to pay for your drinks). After the first couple shows, you get the feeling that these are guys who would be just like any regular guys if you ran into them at the pub, probably because they would be.

If you’re unaware, Great Big Sea is a folk music group from the East Coast, and listening to their music always makes me want to quit whatever it is I’m doing, move to the coast, and start up a bed and breakfast and then spend my life in blissful harmony by the sea. And… yeah, pretty much that’s what the music makes me feel like doing! Lately, with their newest album, they’ve hedged away from cheerful Newfie music and are all over the board, with a bit of rock and country thrown in, which certainly stirs things up a bit.

So the concert was at the Jubilee Auditorium, which is a very nice venue and actually where my graduation ceremony was held, not that I really recognised anything (It’s not like I cared enough to pay attention at the time). I ended up buying two drinks – gin and seven, and then Grand Marnier over ice. I wasn’t about to overdo it, because I was with the same person I hung out with at Halloween, and I was both miserable and embarassed on November 1st when I called her from work in between bouts of throwing up behind the counter, exclaiming “I am SO SORRY I got that drunk last night.” so I wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice. Anyway, that still cost me like twenty dollars. Sigh.

It was a great night for a concert, the weather wasn’t harsh; in fact, the weather was perfect. My pal and I were pretty close to the stage, just enough that we could see the boys performing but not so close that we were craning our necks. We were still seated next to a pair of women, though, who actually had pre-prepared dance movements (hands waving and so on) for most of the songs that they would perform, in sync. My friend and I took note not to become them in ten years. But whatever: the band sounded completely amazing. Possibly it was the way the amplification was set up in the theatre, but also they looked very fresh and energetic, which also probably contributed to the amazing performance.

They were also incredibly weird and silly; possibly the tour is making them loopy (… loopier). Of the boys, my friend and I always have a little crush on Sean, a bit soft spot for Alan, and complete awe for Bob, because he can play anything. He’s like the folk version of Trent Reznor, only, like, more wholesome. There’s also Kris and Murray, who, unfortunately, my friend and I always have a tendency to forget about until we actually see them onstage, just because they’re relative newcomers, but of course they’re both fantastic as well.

With the exception of Kris, it seems, everyone in Great Big Sea sings, and they all play. And they’re all incredibly talented at it. They live and breathe music, honestly. They pull out guitars, bass, flutes, various percussion, violins, accordians… and they play it all with panache. I love it. They’re such good performers, and last night they were over-the-top with Newfie goodness. Generally, half the time when they stop to talk to the audience, they actually play little riffs so their dialogue has a soundtrack, and they did that last night. And then they started composing songs out of nowhere. They did this one long poem/song near the end about how cool Edmonton was, how Calgary sucked, that time they first played Edmonton, and that they ate Cadbury cream eggs that entire first tour because someone gave them a giant box and they couldn’t afford anything else, etc. Also there was a point during the concert when Murray tried to lick Sean. Good times.

Back to the music itself, a lot of the songs they played off their new album (Fortune’s Favour) sounded way better live. I heard their song ‘Straight to Hell’ live at Capital Ex last year and loved it, but hearing it on the album wasn’t as great. Usually the songs sound great both on the album and live, but with the new record mostly it’s awesome live and okay on record. Not too bad a thing, though; the music is still good.

So really, to you Americans out there, if you ever have Great Big Sea pass through your town (because they do, with very little fanfare), give ’em a chance. They’ll knock your socks off, and you’ll leave feeling happy.

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Samantha Schultz
August 20, 2008, 10:33 pm
Filed under: Music, People | Tags: , ,

I met Samantha when I volunteered at Edmonton Fashion Week in the Spring. I thought she was nineteen at the very least. She looked mature and sweet and gorgeous and she had what looked like a slightly younger version of herself tagging along with her that turned out to be her sister, Emily. When I talked to her for just a little bit, I asked Samantha how old she was. “Seventeen,” she replied, and I couldn’t believe it.

I still couldn’t believe it when, during the gala, she got up to perform. She brought Emily with her doing some very light percussion, to help keep time to the song. “This is a song I wrote when I was thirteen,” she said, and then proceeded to wow every single person in the hall without further ado.

Apparently, this girl’s been playing guitar since she was eleven, and she is pretty freaking talented. I’m actually not sure why she isn’t sickeningly famous yet. She’s got a beautiful voice, and a real handle on a tune. Maybe she wants to graduate from school first.

Don’t know why, but yesterday night I youtubed her. Between the gala and now I’d seen glimpses of her on local TV stations, but always kept forgetting to look her up. While cleaning my room (it’s still a mess, harr) I came across a brochure for Fashion Week and checked out the schedule to get her name again. So I decided to give her a quick link on this ole blog here. Really, you gotta support local talent, right?

And the proof of that talent is right there for all to see.

Now, her recorded stuff doesn’t seem, to me, to be wholly complete and dynamic and so on yet, but 1) I can be really hard to please, and 2) she’s sure a Hell of a lot better than half of what’s playing on the radio these days.



The Slip: Canadians Pay More?
July 19, 2008, 1:29 am
Filed under: Music | Tags: , , , ,

I’m a loser and really, really want a physical copy of the limited release of The Slip. Why’d it have to be limited, Trent? Now we’re all freaking out about getting one and they’ll fetch ridiculous amounts of money on ebay once they’re all sold. Thanks a lot.

But anyway, that’s not what’s getting me. What’s getting me is that I preordered the record on amazon.ca, because I am Canadian. Usually being Canadian has all sorts of cool benefits, like better beer and people not mugging you in foreign locales, but right now we’re being screwed over.

While the price on amazon.com for The Slip has dropped yet again to $13.99, over on amazon.ca it is still at the low low price of $25.99. It’s much the same with amazon.co.uk, with the Brits and the like paying significantly less than Canadians when it comes to this record.

When Austalians were charged ridiculous amounts for plastic discs, Trent got all outraged and told everyone to just steal the music. That was back when he was still with Interscope, but he’s independent now and has more control over his production. Now, obviously I can’t go around stealing this thing (physically… and, well, I can’t steal it digitally either since he’s giving it away) so now I’m quite disgruntled. What gives, Trent? Don’t you like Canada? We invented the zipper. Do we really have to pay the extra ten dollars? I mean… we invented the zipper!

And concerning my last post: My haircut turned out fine, though I suspect I now look like a boy from certain angles. Hm. Whatever, I can rock it.



Slippin’s got me Trippin’, yo
May 28, 2008, 11:36 pm
Filed under: Music | Tags: , , , , , ,

watch out, trent! it's marilyn manson!!1

It’s been three weeks since Reznor released The Slip, so maybe I should talk about it? Hell yeah! I feel like all I’m talking about is music, lately. I apologise for this, only not really because this is my blog. So there.

Anyway. This isn’t going to be a review, because, well, seriously, wander somewhere else if you want a review. Why don’t you listen to the album and form your own opinion? But keep it to yourself because I probably won’t care what you think (hey, I’m just being honest. Sorry). Yeah, all you gotta do is download the thing (oh, if you haven’t found out by now, Trent is giving it away because he’s pretty much the bee’s knees) and then spend forty minutes of your time listening to some of the best music ever. I mean. I’m not biased.

I’ve peeked at a few reviews (ok, so I only linked to two… but whatever) that have been linked to on The NIN Hotline and I have to say, I’m not getting where all these people are coming from. I mean, some of them listened to the album for once, which is cool. You can tell because they actually have tried dissecting the songs, suggesting they heard the songs in the first place (a = b = c). What I don’t get is how people are describing the album in terms of Trent Reznor’s mental state and his current actions towards record companies, figuring he’s just whining about himself again. While people have listened to the music, they obviously haven’t taken a look at the graphics that came with the album. Presentation is everything, y’all.

Observe:

 letting you

Yes, that is a piece of artwork from the album, for the “Letting You” mp3. You know, when I saw that… call me crazy, but I thought it looked a bit familiar. Wait – hold on a tic, I’ve got this INSANE idea. I’m going to rotate the image. Be prepared.

 letting you version 2.0

Wow! You may remember something similar. Maybe you saw it all over the internet. Or maybe if you lived around some weird NIN fans, this might have been spray-painted somewhere or posted up by people who forgot that this was an alternate reality game and, as a result, not real. The design I am thinking of, of course, is this:

 the bane of janitors everywhere

What a resemblance! Actually, those two images are so similar I daresay they might be connected in some way, especially since they are coming from the same people (Trent Reznor, his art and design slave, NIN in general, etc). The second image, if you were unaware, is actually the flag symbol for ‘Art is Resistance’, a lovely fictional movement running rampant through Year Zero, a very sweeping, fan-friendly Alternate Reality Game started up by Trent and 42 Entertainment to explain the story and concept behind his album. Actually, I recall Trent saying how his album Year Zero was part one of a two-part story, and that we could expect a second album in future.

Hmm! Something to think about. You know, I actually think The Slip might be connected to Year Zero in some way! I know, I know, it seems crazy, like deciphering code from the back of a concert t-shirt or finding a song in a toilet. But something tells me Trent isn’t above that kind of stuff, like taking the AIR flag and rotating it 90 degrees and then replacing the star with a blood spatter (symbolism!?!?11).

This makes me more than excited for the tour because I’m wondering if Trent is going to start up another ARG again for The Slip. Or maybe The Slip isn’t supposed to be a final chapter for Year Zero, but like… a middle chapter. ‘Cause I am telling you, listening to the album doesn’t tell me what happens after all the hands come down from the sky, or maybe I’m just not listening close enough. So maybe the story hasn’t ended yet, or something. Or maybe while on tour he’s going to release the rest of the music that tells us the end.

Or maybe Trent is like one of those people that write for Lost and is just screwing with our heads and planting clues that aren’t there and making us think crazy things, and there isn’t really going to be an end, and Kate’s going to keep being a fickle, unlikeable person and will never choose and we’ll never find out what’s up with Jack’s dead father chillin’ in Jacob’s cabin and Aaron is never gonna get Charlie’s family ring and Walt is going to stay shadowy and unknown because of the actor’s growth-spurt. Oh, well, them’s the breaks. Man, I used a lot of ‘maybes’ in this post.



A Not-So-Comprehensive Concert Review: Nightwish
May 18, 2008, 8:17 pm
Filed under: Anecdotes, Music | Tags: , , , ,

nightwish 2.0 

Friday night, I had the considerable treat of attending a concert put on by the band I used to listen to in high school: Nightwish. You know, the crazy goth band from Finland where the members all have long hair and they’ll sometimes sing songs about elves. My friend is still a huge fan of them, but while my musical tastes have moved on, I still like to sometimes sit and listen to the ole goth music.

My friend was so die-hard, she wanted to be right up at the stage so she could get covered in Nightwish’s sweat. Which is kind of gross, but in concerts everyone gets crazy anyway and the crowd thinks nothing of ripping each other apart to get the guitarist’s water bottle or whatever. Eventually she made it and was delightedly crushed against the stage. Later on, I was as well. And boy did that band sweat!

The concert was at the Starlite Room, which is a pretty popular venue. Last time I was there was to see Raine Maida. Unfortunately, the floor is slanted, effectively killing your back, whether you’re wearing heels or not. And of course, I was. But the show was pretty damn good regardless.

They’re great performers. I’m not the biggest fan of that kind of rock, like all the spread-leg power stances when playing guitar and so on, but my god did they have energy. So did their openers (Sonic Syndicate). I listened to Nightwish back when they had Tarja Turunen, and I hadn’t really bothered to listen to their stuff with the new vocalist Anette Olzon, so I was interested to see what she was like. In the end, though, it didn’t matter too much, because I was right near the stage, between the speakers, meaning I wasn’t able to hear her voice at all. Damn! At least she was super cute. You know, I’ve been to a couple metal and metal-ish concerts in my time, but I’ve never seen anyone have fun like Anette did. She’d have this great big smile on her face half the time as she rocked around the stage, and there was a lot of chemistry between her and the other band members, too. They obviously worked really well together and had fun doing what they did. See! You can still like vampires and fallen angels and goblets and tombstones ‘n’stuff and still enjoy yourself. About three songs in they were sweating so much they looked like they would pass out any second, but they still kept at it.

Being me, I have to start talking about clothes now. Anette’s outfit was very, very flattering, and I wanted her boots, which looked like a pair of Converse but went up and covered her shins, I believe (my memory es muy terrible). Anyway, her dress was very simple and filmy and just Goth enough with a huge silver clasp between her boobs. Very classy.

On my own outfit: Usually I don’t mind showing up at places and standing out, but I wasn’t about to a) get beaten up or b) get shown up by the goths, whose outfits can get a little insane. I was up for the challenge. What I wanted to do was blend in, and sort of dip back into my old goth-y roots, but I ended up wearing a black corset over a bright pink and orange outfit, and I was showing off my legs, too, because I knew if I showed up in long pants I’d regret it. The result was that I stuck out like a glow stick in a cemetery. 

 A note on their openers: It’s rare when you get a band onstage, and all the band members are cute. With Sonic Syndicate, that was how they rolled. They also played with a lot of energy, rushing about the stage and just rocking out. They’re probably building a great fanbase through pure performance grit alone.

Storytime with Mars:

Of course, the biggest downside at any concert is the (drunk) asshole in the crowd, or, worse, like at Friday’s concert, when there is a lot of them concentrated in one place right next to you. There were three of them right by me that I would end up pressed against. No one wanted to be near them, and they were right by the stage, too. They were soaked in their own sweat and it was beading off of them, and being that sweaty is only attractive if, well, you’re attractive, like in that one Britney Spears video. Call me shallow, but if you were in the same situation as me, you’d feel the exact same way. Admiiiiit it.

Unfortunately, not only am I a girl on the small side, but I’m pretty decent-looking, a really bad combination when you’re crammed in a mosh pit. For reals, dude. I was repeatedly hit on by, and forced to be smooshed up against, this fat bald drunk white guy who was a good fifteen years my senior. When a bunch of people tried to fight their way through and I was bowled over, fat bald drunk white guy tried to help me up (I didn’t need it; strange as it sounds, girls can take care of themselves sometimes) and put his arm around my waist. I did not ask for it to be there. I didn’t want to come off as a complete asshole, but after shouting “I’m fine!” for the third time I had to spend twenty seconds wriggling away from this guy’s hold. Seriously. I’m not retarded, I know the whole pretend-to-be-helpful-but-really-just-cop-a-feel move. Halfway through the concert he said “So, what’s your name?” “I’m too young for you!” I snapped back. About a song later when I was getting propelled into him again, he said something along the lines of “It doesn’t matter how old you are, I can still show you a good time!”

Luckily, there was a gap in the crowd ahead as two of the drunk idiots were kicked out by a pissy staff member. I made my exit fast, managing to get around the guy that was a good four heads taller than me and previously had kept clipping me in the face with his elbow, and slipping in front of the nice boy from Calgary, so I could get behind my friend at the stage. “Smooth move!” said nice boy from Calgary. I know, right. See, I get pretty tired of not only being pressed against people who are soaked with sweat, but when those people are unattractive, drunk, and creepy. Call me crazy, but that doesn’t really rev my engine. I know, how strange of me.

And that was the Nightwish concert. Thrilling! I know you all felt as if you’d been there. My work here is done. For Nine Inch Nails I think I’m going to wear a flower-patterned dress and bring a muscly guy along to protect me.



happy birthday, you awesome bastard
May 17, 2008, 1:23 pm
Filed under: Music, People | Tags: , ,

birthday boy

Today is Trent Reznor’s birthday. He turns a lovely, dignified 43.

I’m one of his fans, and yeah, I adore the man’s guts. He’s one of the coolest musicians out there right now, and he’s a veritable whirlwind of talent. I happen to think he’s a great role model, among other things. He kicked drugs and alcohol when he finally stopped being stupid and realized they were destroying everything; he does his best to be honest, and doesn’t compromise himself or his music to fit anyone else; he’s ridiculously patient and thoughtful towards his fans, even though most of them have got to be the most unstable maniacs that I’ve ever had the misfortune of being in contact with. Also he’s super-muscly. Yum.

Gala Darling (also a very lovely person) figures that one should live a celebratory life. She celebrates Salvador Dali; I celebrate Trent Reznor. Both are artists in their own rights. So today, I’m going to be a bit more happy and joyful than I usually am, because today is a day for celebrating.

Today, Trent, I celebrate you and the fact you’re around. I celebrate that you didn’t die alone in your house three years ago after all the drugs caught up with you. I celebrate your very manly, imposing figure, and your freckles. I celebrate your giving away of music. I celebrate you being a complete nerd, with your video games and the fact I have no idea what you’re saying when you start talking about the technical aspects of your music. I celebrate how you always sound like you just woke up. I celebrate your hazel eyes, because along with Ben Linus you’ve got one of the most intense stares I’ve ever seen. But finally I celebrate you because you taught me by example to create art the way I wanted, to experiment and learn and to do things to please myself, not others. So thanks, bro.

yo
(flickr)

Happy Birthday. I hope you have a good one. But watch out for flying cakes.