Montreal’s STARS dropped by Sugar Beach studios to talk about their lengthy career making music for the times you don’t feel good. Their words not mine, and they have a point. Introspective, moody lyrics, simultaneously comforting and isolating, set to dreamy art-pop. The journey continues on There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light, their latest release on one and only label Arts & Crafts. STarts have a few intimate shows coming up this fall (Rough Trade Records in Brooklyn, Great Hall in Toronto) so if there are tickets available, you’d better act fast. FASTER!
“Indie Fridays”, sponsored by, oddly enough, Indie 88, taking place on, conveniently, Fridays, brings amazing live Canadian music to the public. For free. At Yonge-Dundas Square under a blaze of neon. The July 21st edition of Indie Fridays brought out one of my favourite bands, The Pack a.d. from Vancouver. The swampy garage rock featuring Maya Miller on drums and Becky Black on lead vocals and guitar is loud and sweaty. yes, the music is sweaty. trust me, go check ’em out for yourselves. They’re amazing!
Also on the bill was a band that had eluded me in the last few years. Lots of buzz can be heard about Ginger Ale & The Monowhales, and it’s good buzz. Justified buzz. High energy, well crafted pop rock and even a megaphone makes an appearance! Toronto-based Monowhales (and Ginger Ale too) are touring Canada this summer, be sure to catch them while you can!
Ginger Ale and the Monowhales
The Pack a.d.
One of my resolutions for 2017 is to increase my wordiness. I don’t enjoy writing, especially about live music. There is no way I can properly convey the sheer energy, enjoyment or spectacle with my verbage. First of all, I have no business critiquing any live performance. However I do want to share my enthusiasm in some way.That’s why I take photos. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, that’s what this whole FOH deal is about!
I didn’t do a count of all the shows I covered this year, but there was alot. My travels took me to the deep south in Tennesee to our beautifully bland nation’s capital, brought to life by the likes of The Red Hot Chili Peppers and remaining two Monkees! Between the clubs, arenas, theatres, main stages, tents and radio stations, I’ve been everywhere, man.
As i stated above, I do not like the written description of live music. I will probably cut and paste this whole preamble across the 4-post recap. The photos chosen represent some of my favourite acts, experiences, visual performances and just the general vibe that i took away from 2016. This isn’t a ranked list, and all acts get equal billing. That’s not to say there aren’t a few personal highlights.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself in the middle of a set because the experience is so surreal. Not only bearing witness to, but being privileged to capture some of my musical heroes and world icons, well it’s beyond words. Robert Plant, The Who, Noel Gallagher, Pearl Jam, Flea, Stevie Nicks…musicians I have admired and enjoyed for decades in various forms, I can add them to my ever-growing collection of digital memories.
The standout of the year has to be, no shocker, The Tragically Hip’s Man Machine Poem Tour. Much as been said about Gord Downie’s work over the year and I do not intend to dilute those words with my own. The experience and privilege was to say the least, humbling.
I’ve already said too much! Just look at the photos. If you like what you see, please feel free to share, tag, reblog or fax them around. Another year goes by and another year I am thankful for all of the readers, followers, friends, supporters and outlets that have allowed me to keep on rollin’. Special thanks to A Music Blog, Yea?, Q107/Edge 102.1, Spill Magazine, Canadian Musician, and Polaris Music Prize for the opportunities and trust.
The Tragically Hip, Hamilton ON August 16, 2016
Denmark’s Karen Marie Aagaard Ørsted Andersen, known by her stage name MØ performed to a packed house at The Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto.