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    Local Diva Danielle Todd’s New Single “Crazy” Release

    Local Guelph country/folk singer Danielle Todd‘s new single “Crazy” has been released! Check it out via https://danielletoddmusic.ca/ or…

    Lowlands: On Guelph and Fundraising

    When I was first introduced to Lowlands by Spencer Shewen of Fortnight Music, it was one of the first times that I was really surprised by the quality of music coming out of Guelph. I don’t get surprised as much anymore as I’ve come to know some of the amazing musicians from around the area, but I am always blown away by the level of professionalism from certain local bands, and Lowlands is no exception. If you’re looking for a great Guelph act, you need look no further. Lowlands is playing at the end of the month on March 28th at the eBar and it’s a special event to help them fundraise for their next album. I caught up with Gord to get some info on the band as well as the event.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ircPtHDuAs0

    Music Lives: Can you give us a brief history of Lowlands? How did the band come to be and how have you grown over the years?

    Gord Auld: Back in Toronto we were playing covers at art openings, backyards etc. One day I brought a song I had started writing into the mix. Everyone was into it so we started writing and playing originals. The song was Black Mask if I’m remembering correctly. I would say that was the birth of the band. Lowlands has been a revolving door of really great musicians. The current line-up is Myself, Abe Del Bel Belluz, Joseph Gallo Jr., Matt Monoogian, Mike De Paola. Back in Toronto we had Tamsen Fields (Dentata), Matt Buckberrough (Invasions), Hugh Mater, and Nima Navab. We moved to Guelph and released our first record. Around that time we had Dan Beeson, Zac Macarthur, Brian Schirk, and Dave Riedstra in and out of the mix. Around that time Huron was recorded. I would like to say that touring and making records with these people has been the best part of my life for a better part of three years. The things we have done with this band and way the music has changed baffles me. To listen to our record or see a live show now is such a far cry from hammering on an guitar outside of a Toronto butcher shop for beer money. But it feels the same.

    ML: Lowlands has been a core part of the Guelph music scene over the last few years. How do you think the scene has changed? What is working well and where is there room for the scene to grow?

    GA: So many factors come together to make Guelph such a good place to live in for music. I’ve only been a part of it since I’ve been back here. The last few years I’ve been just getting to know the ins and outs. I am always amazed at people’s dedication and creativity here, along with the mixing of music and visual art. Like right now I’m looking at Marc Bell’s amazing poster and the killer line-up of Kazoo Fest this year. Alternative venues, new bands and music, collaborations, labels, festivals etc. – so much is happening. There are always great promoters, organizers and other people stepping up to keep things interesting and support the music and art here. I can say I’ve never had a bad experience working with anyone in this city. As far as room to grow I think it all comes down to getting involved. It’s easy to feel excluded in any small music scene but what it really boils down to is that you have to support the scene to be a part of it. Any music scene is just a group of people, you have to BE the scene. I think I’ve sufficiently overused the word scene.

    ML: You’ve got a fundraiser show coming up at the end of March. Can you give us the details?

    GA: Yeah! Friday, March 28th at the Ebar. We’re going to play a big set. Maybe two. We’re trying to raise funds for our new record so if you want to be a part of that and support, now is the time! I’ve got some really special posters lined up for this too.

    ML: Where can people learn more about Lowlands and connect with you?

    Well our website is lowlandsmusic.com but here is the full rundown:

    www.facebook.com/thelowlandsband

    @Lowlandsband

    soundcloud.com/lowlandsmusic

    lowlands-music.bandcamp.com

    Don’t forget to check out Lowlands and help them by contributing to help them record their next album! They’ll be playing a fundraiser show on March 28th at the eBar.

    Music Lives Goes Print Update 1

    This is a BIG THANK YOU to everyone that has already contributed or helped spread the word about our campaign to go to print.

    The last couple of weeks we have seen a lot of great live music in Guelph and we’ve been to almost every show. Attendance has been great! Summer usually means show attendance drops a little with a lot of people away on vacation or home for the summer, but this year attendance is steadily climbing each show. Working with the bands, from Guelph or abroad, local promoters and live music fans, there is a positive momentum in our scene I think everyone can feel building. For us specifically, we are already really excited with how things are going but we also feel that we’re just getting started.

    20130610195816-indiegogoBannerThe Music Lives Mix Perk is coming along great! We’ve already received a half dozen songs from Guelph musicians and have confirmed a half dozen more. Ambre McLean (she’s got some unreleased material!), Arkham Awaits, Bowjia, Breadfan, brand new Good For Naughts, Jordan Raycroft, Barrett’s Privates and more, have all graciously donated songs. With such a diverse talent pool of Guelph musicians getting on board we might have to make it a double disc!

    We couldn’t be happier with our campaign‘s progress so far and we are a little overwhelmed with gratitude. Thanks you so much for the support so far.

    Alex Ricci & The Still Nothing: Imprints Album Review

    Alex Ricci is a man of many bands and styles. He’s been an active part of the Guelph music scene, attending shows and playing in many bands, over the years.  Imprints is the first full length album by his newish band, Alex Ricci & The Still Nothing. It’s already available on their Bandcamp for digital download with the official Guelph CD release party happening June 20th, at The eBar.

    While listening through Imprints the first time, a few songs jumped out at me immediately, but I got lost in the middle somewhere so went back, plugged in my headphones and really listened.  Alex Ricci & The Still Nothing have started with great indie/pop/rock songwriting and didn’t let those fundamentals get away from them. Imprints is produced with a raw consistency that was lost somewhere in the late 80s or early 90s, before Bass Boost and modern sound compression. The warmth you feel from listening to Imprints is in the details. Yes, at first listen, you might confuse the record with any DIY album from someone with above average production or recording skills. What you should actually be listening for are the horns used on Mysterious Words,  Take The Pen and others. The want to jump in a car and take a road trip when the opening track, Moving On, starts. The way Living In the Past makes me smile for no reason at all.  You should be paying attention to the vocal harmonies and harmonica in the song End Of The World.

    I’m sure some of these songs have been rattling around for a while but I’m glad Alex Ricci & The Still Nothing recorded and released this album as quickly as they did. Imprints has it everywhere it needs it without anything sounding hurried OR over done. At a time where DIY bands with studios are too often left to their own devices, it’s great to hear that Alex Ricci & The Still Nothing know how to use them.

    Come see them perform live at GAIN Music presents Alex Ricci & the Still Nothing ‘Imprints’ CD Release.

    It’s Always All Just A Kiss Away

    I have one fond memory of Let It Bleed. I got it at Music In Orbit (I looked for a picture of the store front on the internet, but couldn’t find one) on vinyl for $8, because I was the only one to bid on it, during one of their weekly silent auctions. I also got the original pressing of Sticky Fingers, the one with the actually zipper on the cover, the same way. If you have the same version of Sticky Fingers take notice, the zipper will put a dent in the cover and the vinyl of the record next to it if there is enough weight on either side.

    Let It Bleed is a record I put on when I have the blues and want to stay that way. No stories of high school or discovering myself this week. Just straight up moodiness and good tunes. When people talk about the Rolling Stones, or Keith Richards, being blues based, they are talking about Let It Bleed.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ih4JcAaocs
    The album starts and ends with two of my Top 5 Rolling Stones songs, Gimme Shelter and You Can’t Always Get What You Want. Neither are classic “blues” but both songs are right up there with The Rolling Stones‘ greatest. Song two, side one is a Robert Johnson cover, followed by Country Honk, a stripped down version of Honky Tonk Women, played country-style, with a fiddle and such. The second side starts with an almost 7 minute version of Midnight Rambler, the harmonica and super-blues remix, and ends perfectly with YCAGWYW.

    Being 3/5th through the Guelph Music Club‘s first assignment, I’m not actually surprised that no one else has named any Stones record as a favourite. It’s okay. I’ve always been outnumbered when answering that important question.

    ENJOY LIFE!!!

    This HAS to be done at some point. But which album? Black Sabbath had five albums in three years that were better than most bands whole catalogue. Their self-titled debut has the creepiest intro you’ve ever heard, to this day. It also created the genre of Heavy Metal. It’s just not quite enough to make my Top 5 from 1963 – 1973. Master of Reality was the first record I bought when I decided to start collecting vinyl. Not in my Top 5. Metal got boring to me at the turn of the century. When a lot of bands coming out were trying to be either Pantera or Korn, I stayed in my high school years, listening to my favourite CDs, rather than seeking out anything new. One day while listening to one of my favourite albums, The Real Thing by Faith No More, I noticed one of the songs wasn’t written by them. War Pigs was one of the most epic songs (any Faith No More fans see what I did there?) I’d ever heard. I grew up sheltered and Baptist. But now that I knew I liked a Black Sabbath song, it was time to find more of their music. And I had some, right under my nose.

    How hard is it to check a box and throw something in the mail? I could never do it. That’s how lazy I was/am. I had Cracked Rear View, GordonUnder the Table and Dreaming all sent to me as the “Alternative Pick Of The Month”. The guy at Columbia House had no idea what “Alternative” music was to us in high school. So I had a rather large stack of CDs I’d never touched, I always assumed they sucked, which was my bad. One of the picks had been Nativity In Black: A Tribute To Black Sabbath. I played it. Loved it. Went down to the Beat Goes On, bought the sequel. This Pantera cover is amazing, and I just had to buy Sabbath‘s greatest hits, We Sold Our Souls For Rock N Roll.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gBg_EXBpKc
    I really start getting into Sabbath until I got into collecting vinyl. Here’s the list I have now:

    Not too shabby if I do say so myself! I’ve got most for between $4 and $10 at record shows over the last 6 years or so. You just have to know where to look.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avgMaWsJcRM
    So after all of this, I am choosing Paranoid as my second of five. The cover songs posted above are originally featured on the album, plus the title track and a little song called IRONMAN! There has been some controversy surrounding Paranoid that I want to help clear up.  The lyrics near the end of the song, are NOT, “I tell you to end your life. I wish I could but it’s too late.” I want you to actually think about the words for a second. IF those are in fact the lyrics, it means the narrator is singing from beyond the grave. A theme that wouldn’t be a stretch for Sabbath. The narrator can’t “end his life” because he’s already dead. That’s why, “it’s too late”. But we know he’s alive, “I need someone to show me the things in life that I can’t find,” he says so. The other line that, if thought about, support the “enjoy life” over “end your life” claim are, “Finished with my woman ’cause she couldn’t help me with my mind.” If our narrator is already dead, why is he worried about breaking up with his girlfriend?

    Guelph Music Club: First Week Wrap-Up

    Guelph Music Club had our first round of sharing this week. It’s not too late to join and it’s not just for Guelphites. Click the following links for more info on the assignment or the rules, Our first writing assignment, which ran for this, and runs for another 4 weeks, is Top 5 Albums from 1963 to 1973. So far, I’ve only been surprised by a few choices. But it’s only Week One! I’ll do this every week, but this week is important so you can follow us all on Twitter, and get a brief introduction. Here is how the first week shaped up.

    Tuesday

    220px-Ascension_albumMegan or @MMBRIS ‏started the assignment, making the first post of the week, choosing  John Coltrane , Ascension as one of her Top 5.  When Megan writes “I was 16 and decided to go grab a copy of the cd from my local HMV, having had to have it ordered in at that time. Read More… I actually had to stop reading to think about what I was getting ordered, to my local record store at, 16. Probably Pop Will Eat Itself albums, because I had heard Trent Reznor liked them.
    220px-Machine_Head_album_cover

    The same day, Pat AKA ‏@Type1DIABEETUS picks Deep Purple’s Machine Head as one of his albums. “My dad was the first person to play this album for me when I was a kid and it has stuck with me ever since. Read More… If you’ve read my post for this week you already know I also have a father with impeccable taste in music, even if mine turned his back on it for a while. And yes, there are more fatherly themes to come. Pat can also eat a cooking onion like an apple. I’ve seen him do it. It’s impressive.

    Wednesday

    220px-TheDoorsTheDoorsalbumcoverOur Metal/Punk contributor ‏@Chucky667 picked a record by a band that has been on every music lovers mind this week as keyboardist Ray Manzarek of The Doors passed away. This album isn’t in my Top 5, but I do know what ‏Chuck means when she says, “They were ahead of their time, and continue to stand apart from other bands, even to this day. Read More…” The Doors‘ sound was never duplicated, especially that keyboard/organ. You know a song by The Doors as soon as you hear it.

    Thursday

    NurseryCryme71Rob over at Sound In My Memory talks about one of his favourite bands, Genesis. I’m not surprised that ‏@soundinmymemory picked a prog band for his first entry. I’ve been reading his blog longer than I’ve had my own. What actually stood out to me was, “I regret that I allowed Genesis to be dismissed as a pop band for as long as I did. Read More…” Bands evolve over time and Genesis are a perfect example of that. I actually got into the band’s back catalogue because of a live DVD I’d seen, and was impressed by, during the Gabriel years. Otherwise, I also would have “Thought of Genesis as if they were just Phil Collins’ back-up band.”

    Friday

    220px-Pious_BirdThe end of the week scramble beings on Friday, first with ‏@kirstmck2 picking Fleetwood Mac – The Pious Bird of Good Omen. A lot of people forget that Fleetwood Mac were around long before  Rumours. They had a few different changes before settling with the “classic” Mick FleetwoodJohn McVieLindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks line-up. “Santana later popularized the album’s “black magic woman” and most listeners are none the wiser to its origin. Read more…” What?! My whole life has been a LIE! My favourite Santana song, is actually a Peter Green song! MIND = BLOWN! Thanks for crumbling my universe Kirstie.

    220px-The_Band_(album)_coverartI didn’t really get into The Band by The Band,  @MatCalverley‘s first pick, until I was in my late twenties. They had a hippie stigma attached to them, in my mind anyway, and I was metal. I had long hair and was called a hippie all the time. So after the long hair went, I was able to appreciate The Band. “It’s an album of sitting around, drinking bourbon, cold nights, and warm spirits. Read more… I agree with Mat‘s sentiment exactly, except I prefer a smokey Scotch to bourbon.

    David_Bowie_-_Hunky_DoryWho starts with David Bowie‏@MikeGamble that’s who!  Hunky Dory to boot. As some of you know, David Bowie is my favourite recording artist of all time. Mike pretty much sums up why when he says, “The catchiness and accessibility of every song, the guitar playing of Mick Ronson and just the overall “feel” of the album as a whole. You can really start to hear where Bowie was going to go in the future with his music. Read More…” Bowie did take a lot of chances with his music, some of it was good, and some was bad, but it was all fascinating on some level.

    Led_Zeppelin_-_I wrote some words too, picking Led Zeppelin’s IV as my first album for the assignment. I talk about being grounded, Lord of the Flies, tape trading and  more! Read it here.

    Saturday

    I guess I should be flattered that @Bejulip totally copied me! Just kidding. Her reasons for liking Led Zeppelin IV are completely different than mine. My favourite being, “It was an album so cool it didn’t even need a name. Led Zeppelin IV should totally beat Prince up for pretending he was the first one to think of it. Read more…

    220px-StoogesRawPower@whiskysodacider finished up the week one posts with her choice, Raw Power. An album I didn’t discover until late into my musical journey.  “Raw Power is exciting and hyper music that you can dance to. Read more…” You can dance to it, but I probably shouldn’t.

    Week two is already well underway, with about half of Guelph Music Club already having posts done. If you want to read those, check out #GuelphMusicClub on Twitter and follow this list!

    Waiting For The Angels Of Avalon

    I got grounded a lot as a teenager. My parents thought it was the only form of discipline that worked. You know, to teach me a lesson. I’m not so sure it was, but in hind sight, I’m starting to believe that’s where my love of music started. I’d lock myself in my bedroom with my Dad’s record collection, which was small compared to my collection now, but filled with amazing classics.

    Led Zeppelin’s IV (1971), Zoso, Symbols or whatever you want to call it, was one of the albums I discovered. This was probably after Grunge had run it’s course. I was a late bloomer in a lot of ways and music was one of my outlets to deal with that. Without being able to go to the record store after school, I had no new tapes to throw into my Sony Sports Walkman. My friends and I did trade tapes, but without me having anything new to trade with them, that was a resource that dried up pretty quickly. $1 for a tape was a lot of money back then, minimum wage was $5.65, so I couldn’t blame them. Really, digging through my Dad’s vinyl became a necessity.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqDLVR2I5QE
    I first heard Led Zeppelin‘s, Whole Lotta Love on a compilation record, which I turned it off as soon as the song had finished, to throw on Zoso. I’d been read Tolkien as a kid and my Dad told me that Led Zeppelin had a lot of songs about the books. So you would think I’d read them again right? Nope. Another thing that I started to do, while being grounded, was my homework. Album on repeat, reading Lord Of The Flies not The Rings. They suited each other perfectly, and I fell in love with reading too.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHJH0ETi8D4
    I’m not doing my Top 5 Albums from 1963 to 1973 for #GuelphMusicClub in any kind of order, but this is one of those stars aligning, timing being everything, type of things. Sure, I like a couple of their albums more now, but had I not been grounded at a time when my my musical curiosity was at it’s peak, I may have never have discovered Led Zeppelin at all. Wrap your head around that for a minute.

    American Hell, Anu Beginning, Unbowed, and Jetpacks to Jupiter at Red Papaya

    The long weekend kicked off with a bang, with GAIN Music and KronikNoise hosting American Hell, Anu Beginning, Unbowed, and Jetpacks to Jupiter at Red Papaya on Friday, May 17.

    Red Papaya is a large Thai restaurant – and bless their hearts, they also host metal shows! It was my first time there, and I must say, it’s a pretty cool venue with ample space for bands and fans. The restaurant has a few tiered levels of seating, and that makes for some unique vantage points for seeing a show.

    Between working the doors, catching up and making connections with other local metal heads, I was able to take in enough of the show to let you know that if you weren’t there … you missed a good time! This was a high energy show and a good size crowd came out to see some excellent Ontario metal.

    Stoney Creek’s Jetpacks to Jupiter kicked off the night with their rock/pop/alternative sound. Surprisingly, this was only the band’s second show, and I can’t think of a better way to say this – man, do these guys really have their sh*t together! They sounded great – very polished (in a good way) – and have obviously spent some time crafting their image, with a slick logo and a set of backdrops for their live show.

    Hometown melodic metal band Unbowed took to the stage next and delivered a powerful set consisting mostly of songs from their upcoming album, and WOW does the new stuff sound good! Last time I talked to the guys they said the new album was being recorded this summer, so keep an eye – er, ear – out for that. Unbowed drew the largest crowd of the night to the front of the stage, and were even successful in getting a little circle pit going. That’s right Guelph, there was a circle pit at Red Papaya. I think we need to give some credit to the boyz in Noiz A Noiz for that too.

    4/6th of Mandroid Echostar look on as Anu Beginning get the Red Papaya jacked up!
    4/6th of Mandroid Echostar look on as Anu Beginning get the Red Papaya jacked up!

    London’s Anu Beginning kept the energy rolling and prepped the stage for the main act.

    Niagara-area metal heads American Hell finished off the night and delivered some seriously satisfying headbangs. The current lineup has been together since 2010 and American Hell has been working the festival circuit and sharing the stage with some big names. Their experience shows – riffs were tight and frontman Craig Laro really knows how to get the crowd worked up. A full-length album is expected from American Hell sometime this year.

    If you like it loud, don’t miss the next GAIN Music & KronikNoise event on Friday, May 31 with Skynet, Partycat, Seducing Medusa and Kennedy.

    Guelph Music Club Homework Assignment #1 – Top 5 Albums from 1963 to 1973

    Our inaugural topic for #GuelphMusicClub! During a chat on Twitter last week, a pile of music fans, bloggers, Guelphites thought it would be fun to read/write their own opinions on a weekly set topic. For the rules and break down, read this.

    So The Bookshelf News mentioned a Top 5 list based on decade, with the first decade being 1963 to 1973. We were going to start with bands, but most of us agreed that albums would be easier, especially for our first run at this. I also believe it will be easier to do ONE ALBUM PER WEEK rather than all five at once. Justifying why you love an album could take up to 500 words. Multiply by five. 2500 words. That’s too many for most of us to write in a month, let alone a week. Plus, now you know what you’re writing about for the next 5 weeks. Which, with peoples summer schedule, will be easier to manage.

    2013-05-16_18-47-51So, if I’ve made any sense here, for the next five weeks we’ll be exploring each others favourite albums from 1963 to 1973. Again, check out The Rules of Guelph Music Club if you want to join, and remember to use the #GuelphMusicClub hash-tag when you make your post so the rest of us can find it.

    I got a list together on Twitter for making participants easier to find.

     

    Guelph Music Club

    Oh Twitter. Make one comment and next thing you know, #GuelphMusicClub is born.

    Tweet-1

    It started with The Bookshelf & Mike Gamble.

    Tweet-2 Tweet-3

    With the last reply I tried to open it up, just a little.


    And then the ball really started rolling…Tweet-6

    Tweet-5 Tweet-7 Tweet-8 Tweet-9
    Tweet-4Tweet-8.5There are a pile more screenshots, but you get the idea.


    So if a dozen of us, give or take, are gonna contribute to this, we will need some guidelines.

    Guelph Music Club Rules

    1st RULE: You do not talk about GUELPH MUSIC CLUB.

    2nd RULE: You DO talk about GUELPH MUSIC CLUB.

    3rd RULE: GUELPH MUSIC CLUB is FREE to all! Meaning we are allowed to re-post to blogs, Tumblr, Facebook etc. Rob Brown can re-post my favourites to Sound In My Memory, and MMBRIS can share Teresa Eh‘s favourites on Tumblr. If  The Bookshelf is selling one of our favourite albums in their music section, and want to use a quote from one of us in their monthly newsletter, Off The Shelf, they can. The catch here is that everyone has to give the author credit for their work. For example: If it’s originally posted by Rob, I’ll add a line at the top of the post including Sound In My Memory and his twitter handle. We could also only post segments of posts with the link to the original source like Alan Cross does. Agreed/Ideas?

    4th RULE: If you do NOT have an outlet for publishing, one will be provided for you. If you’re just a regular Joe or Josephine and need a place to publish your posts, there are a few of us on board already that could hook you up. Even if you send us an email with your post, I can create a profile for you, linking to your Twitter account, so you get the credit.

    5th RULE: If someone missed the deadline for their post, they are not removed from GUELPH MUSIC CLUB. It just means that they’ll have nothing contributed for that week’s theme. Summer is coming and I’m sure we all have different things going on. For example: If you don’t have time to post your favourite album from 1966. Cool. See you in 1967. Let’s try to keep this fun!

    6th RULE: Deadlines for GUELPH MUSIC CLUB start and stop at 12 AM each Sunday. Each week we’ll have a different goal. You can share your post whenever you like and others can share your post whenever they like, within that week. For example: I’ll try to feature at least one post a day on Music Lives, but never more than three a day.

    7th RULE:  #GuelphMusicClub is the hash-tag. Use it whenever you post a link in regards to the club, no matter what! I’m guessing we’ll all be using different Fan Pages, Blogs, etc. for our posts, but considering this started on Twitter, I know we all (so far) have one. Note: We’ll get a list together and I’ll do a quick introduction post to make sure everyone knows who to follow and which sites you might want to bookmark once we have a better idea of who is going to participate. 

    8th RULE: GUELPH MUSIC CLUB will go on as long as it has to. We’ll agree on different topics to discuss as we go. Also, posts may be as long, or short as the author sees fit. Note:I think we’re starting with Top 5 albums, by decade. I’m not sure which decade we are starting with. Should we do one album a week for the next five weeks and then pick a different topic or decade? Or Everyone do one post for ALL of their Top 5 of that decade at once? The later will be harder for people to stay dedicated to. 

    9th RULE: NEGATIVITY is THE ONLY WAY to get KICKED OUT of GUELPH MUSIC CLUB. This is supposed to be a open forum for music lovers. I’m fully aware that liking Meatloaf‘s, Bat Out Of Hell, is tacky. It’s one of the reasons I love it. And the album art is bad-ass! I just don’t need to be made fun of for it. Note: Anyone notice what I did there? 

    10th RULE: If this is your first night at GUELPH MUSIC CLUB, you HAVE to write.


    We’ll get feedback from everyone that wants to be involved over the next few days and try to have everything set up to go by Sunday. If you think The Rules for GUELPH MUSIC CLUB need amending, or if I missed something, let me know. I’ll make a separate post for them too, once everyone has weighed in.

    Just keep using the hash tag #GuelphMusicClub so I see everything. You can also comment on this post below, email or comment on the Facebook post

    Now off to see some Live Music!

    Mokomokai Are On My Radar

    Mokomokai is a band that I would have loved when I was thirteen. I would have had posters on my wall, T-Shirts, all of their cassettes. I would have followed them into my twenties, with the extra income I would have as an adult, I would have seen them live on all their Greatest Hits tours. Maybe Mokomokai are time travelers. As it turns out, they’re an up and coming band and I got to see them last Sunday at GAIN Presents (U) the Band, Mokomokai, Jeremy & the Pink Band and Waterbodies. A great all around line-up, down at the A.N.A.F. Club 344.

    What I noticed about Mokomokai right away, before I even entered the A.N.A.F., is that their singer John Ellis had the old-school Metal style. Tight jeans (not in the hipster kind of way), bullet belts (in the LMG kind of way), loosely tied high-tops (the FUBAR kind of way) and long hair (in the hair I used to have kind of way). John was a good twenty feet ahead of me while I struggled to get up to the venue door with my crutch (yeah, still on one crutch some of the time) and he held the door and waited for me to get in. Mokomokai people, are a courteous people. Then they hit the stage and became so much more than that.

    Mokomokai singer John has a angelic voice made of steel!
    Mokomokai singer John has a angelic voice made of steel!

    Have you ever been to a show where the audience high-fives each other as soon as a band starts playing? Because that’s what happened! As soon as the power-trio from Peterborough were grooving on the first song of their set, and John let out his first Rob Halford-esque wail, members of the whole audience looked at one another with giant grins and nodded. Mokomokai‘s whole sound is a throw back to the Classic Metal I grew up on, before the lace, lipstick and perms took over. They’ve compensated for the extra guitar players (a lot of NWOBHM bands have three) with speed and power. Simply put, Mokomokai play as loud and as fast as their bodies will allow. Drummer J.P. Contois nails a Led Zeppelin song. Who can say that?! Jeremy Pastic jumps around and makes the most insane faces while laying down a bass groove that kept the smiles on our faces through Mokomokai‘s whole set.

    Mokomokai---Metal-Faces
    Mokomokai: Rock so hard it turns to METAL!

    On stage, Mokomokai are aggressive, without being negative. Fun to watch, without being gimmicky. Different than anything new in The Metal you’ve heard in a while, without ignoring the fundamentals in The Metal‘s history. But mostly I’m a fan of Mokomokai because they ROCK SO HARD!

    See Mokomokai with Dance Laury Dance, Hellbros! and Little Foot Long Foot at Hard Luck Bar, Toronto, Thursday, May 16.

    See Mokomokai with Dance Laury Dance, Hellbros! and Little Foot Long Foot at The Atria, Oshawa, Friday, May 17.

    OR AS…

    Part of Pouzzafest at Pub St-Ciboire, Montreal, Canada.

    Grab their EP, Justice And Chrome, from their Bandcamp page.

    Hoodie Good – Show Review

    Hoodie Good is a name I recognize from posting shows in Guelph for almost two years but, up until Saturday, hadn’t had the opportunity to see live. Based on what I’d read, I expected a solo singer/song writer. I walked into The Cornerstone for week two of Hoodie Good’s May residency (brought to you by Fortnight Music) guessing they’d have their regular set up, guitar, amp, microphone. I was wrong. Drum kit, a table with some electronics, guitar, were all set up. Each musician’s spot was also set up with a vocal mic. Now I’m expecting at least a 3-piece. I grab a seat to the side of the stage, as The Cornerstone was very busy with Hoodie Good fans, and waited for the band to take the stage.

    Hoodie Good utilizes all of the gear on stage seamlessly. A modern take on the One-Man-Band.
    Hoodie Good utilizes all of the gear on stage seamlessly. A modern take on the One-Man-Band.

    A member of the band starts what I think is sound check and slowly the crowd starts to quiet down. What I didn’t realize, was that this IS the BAND. Hoodie Good gets on the drum kit and starts playing a beat, nothing fancy or complicated, just something to get the show going. As he stands up from the drum kit, I understand what some of the gear is to the side of the stage. The beat he was just playing continues in a loop. He stops at the table with the electronics and starts singing. Layering some subtle vocals over the drum beat. Finally, Hoodie Good moves to the front of the stage, straps on the guitar, and starts playing away and singing. One man, four instruments in a matter of minutes. I’m impressed.

    PWYC $5 or more and get a copy of Strange August. Do it!
    PWYC $5 or more and get a copy of Strange August. Do it! It’s great!

    As his performance continues I notice how efficiently Hoodie Good uses each station set up on the stage to add layers and loops of vocals and percussion to create a sound, that if you had your eyes closed, you’d swear a four or five piece band were making. Most of the songs performed have a firm foothold in Pop. Great hooks, sing along choruses, upbeat and heartfelt. If Hoodie Good weren’t so multi-talented, he’d need a full band to do his songs justice. Hoodie Good takes the if you want something done right, do it yourself attitude to a place where it’s perfectly executed, fun to watch, AND listen.

    Don’t miss Hoodie Good‘s last two nights of residency at The Cornerstone, Saturday, May 18th and/or Saturday, May 25th. Each has a different opening performer.

     

    Band Spotlight: Unbowed

    I recently got a chance to sit down with Alex Snape (guitarist) and Nick Lennox (drummer) from local metal band Unbowed, to talk about their recent EP and future plans. Though I would’ve preferred a Viking ship as the location to conduct our interview, they’re a little hard to come by, so me and the guys settled into the Red Brick Café for our chat.

    Unbowed was birthed in 2011 when Alex and lead singer Ioan Tetlow started working on the project in their basement. A lot of lineup changes ensued over the next few years as the band went through some growing pains. But as of January 2013, they finally have the lineup they feel will be successful in moving them forward.

    Unbowed

    Self-described as “epic melodic metal,” Unbowed touches on a few other sub-genres, including viking, folk, black, and death metal. Where many of the local heavier bands tend to fall into the core and progressive sub-genres of metal, Unbowed definitely stand apart. But the guys don’t seem to mind, as the music community here is tight knit. “We’re aware that we’re pretty different. We know there’s no other band like us in Guelph … but all the [core] shows are so fun, and people receive us well.” says Alex. The guys credit local bands such as Mandroid Echostar, Arkham Awaits, and Wakeless with re-awakening the metal scene in Guelph within the last couple of years.

    A few months ago Unbowed released their first self-titled EP to much success, and the recording was well-received by metal heads across the country. The EP is a powerful, heavy, and beautiful set of cohesive songs. Most of the work was done by Alex, Nick, and Ioan, and was started when they were all in their early teens – which is an incredible accomplishment, because the EP sounds amazing. Upon first listen, the riffs are immediately catchy. After a few listens, you’re a solid new Unbowed fan. The music is big, and full, and exciting. Get ready to don your armor, because you’ll want to suit up for battle after you hear this.

    One of the elements that often sets melodic metal apart from other sub-genres is the inclusion of keyboards, and Unbowed say they always intended to include the instrument in their mix. “It opens up what you can do, you can have guitars playing the usual heavy stuff and then bring in a whole other atmosphere and bring in other layers of music” says Alex. Nick chimes in “Adding keyboards in gives it that grandiose kind of feeling.” And I completely agree – listen to the EP and you’ll see how well the keyboards compliment and don’t distract from the composition.

    Another great element of Unbowed‘s first EP that can’t be ignored is the artwork. The band came up with the concept, and then reached out to Polish artist Marta Sokolowska to put their vision to work. The idea behind the image of the man with the burning city in the background was about moving on – personally and professionally – having been through an exhausting couple of years with the lineup changes and getting the project off the ground. “Burn it and move on” was the general idea according to Alex.

    UnbowedEPArtwork

    And the band is doing just that – they’re booking shows and working on recording a new album later this summer. According to the guys, it’s shaping up to be 13 tracks of all new music. When asked what the new album will sound like, Nick says “You can tell it’s Unbowed, but it’s a different vibe. The EP was a lot of Alex, but now that we’ve got six people in on this writing process, it’s just a different blend of sounds.” Impressively, the guys plan to record the new album themselves. I was curious why they would take the tougher DIY route, when today, many bands find success in crowd-funding projects through sites like Kickstarter and Indigogo. Their response was not that it was a money issue, but that they wanted control over the music and recording process. They prefer the recording process to be more casual, rather than having to be pressured by studio time constraints. And because sometimes creativity strikes at 3 a.m.

    After chatting with Alex and Nick for a while, their commitment to the band is clear. From booking, to promotion, to recording – Unbowed is doing a lot of the heavy lifting themselves. And after a few years of struggling, the guys are happy to have all band members on the same page and be able to take the projects to new heights. “We all want to do other things in our life, but we have the drive to keep at this, and we’re not going to put other things in front of the band. We all want to be a touring, professional band; record and play live – for a long time.” says Alex.

    Unbowed is a talented and hardworking young metal band. They’re important to the local metal scene because they offer something different – and they’re very good at it. I expect to see great things from these guys in the future as they play more shows, release their first full-length album, and continue to expand their fan base. And just in case you needed another reason to support them, they’re really nice guys too.

    Be sure to catch their next show this Friday, May 17 at Red Papaya in Guelph.

    May-17-11x17

     

     

    Bill Killionaire – Loose Noon EP Review

    Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Guelph band Bill Killionaire play several times, at several different venues. Over the last while, they’ve gone from a four or five piece band, down to two, and back up to a four piece. Singer and chief songwriter Scott Haynes and drummer Nathan Campagnaro were the whole band, for at least one show I remember. Alex Ricci (Pure Joy, Texting MacKenzie) and Dan Loughrin (Bare Claws) have come in on Bass and Lead Guitar, respectfully, to fill out the roster. The four piece spent some time recording the band’s debut EP, Loose Noon, in 2012, and released it at an event in January 2013.

    Right away the opening track, Healthy Chunk, grabs you with it’s upbeat tempo. The vocals are down in the mix, meaning on the same level as the instruments. Really listen though, lyric wise, it’s a very clever song. Rather than using multiple instrument tracking and overdubs, (they could be there, but done subtly) the band uses some great vocal layering to add texture to the song. This, paired with a great guitar solo at around the 2 minute mark, make Healthy Chunk the type of song that is catchy enough to get stuck in your head (it’s been stuck in mine every morning this week), and a great opening track.

    Bill Killionaire Album Release Show
    Bill Killionaire Album Release Show

    Yours & Mine is a great, straight forward, pop song and is what a second track on any album or EP should be. It is less frantic than Healthy Chunk and at no point is there any conflict or competition in Yours & Mine.  This whole song just meshes together perfectly.  It’s good, old-fashioned, songwriting. Yours & Mine just goes to show how talented Bill Killionaire are, they’ve created a song with perfect balance that almost EVERYBODY could like.

    IMAG3823The BIG song on this EP is River Rat. It’s not big as in long, or the best, but big, as in dynamic. The song starts loud and noisy, settles into a groove, gets loud again, then quiets right down, to an almost A Capella chorus. The loud/quiet dynamic really brings out the talents of all four members of the band and also makes all of the parts of the song stand out on their own.

    Dan "Shoeless" Loughrin
    Dan “Shoeless” Loughrin

    Loose Noon ends with The Windshield And The Frost. The final song of a record can be a make or break deal. There is nothing worse, to me, than an album finishing abruptly, like it’s unfinished. The Windshield And The Frost is a perfect closer. There is a certain sadness or better, desperation, behind it. When the song, and EP, is over, I’m still thinking about it. Sitting in silence. Completely satisfied.

    You can stream or buy Loose Noon from Bill Killionaire on their Bandcamp page or this weekend at Kazoo! presents Legato Vipers, The Highest Order, The Skeletones Four, and Bill Killionaire.

    LP Review: Bowjia (Self-titled)

    Electro, Dance, EBM, House. Guelph band Bowjia is all, and none, of these things. What they are is part of all of these genres, with added influences, and all mixed together. Bowjia have created a sound a little similar to a lot of things you’ve heard before, without duplicating it exactly, which makes their genre almost impossible to nail down. This gives the listener a curiosity about every song on this album. You wonder what genre or boundary Bowjia will incorporate or deconstruct next.

    I was grabbed immediately by the opening track, Should’ve Been My Lover ft. Emma Aurelia. It fades in quickly and doesn’t make you wait for the momentum to build. The detail to production, for the whole LP, is great. Each song sounds as big or busy as it can, without being cluttered. Something I imagine could be very hard to do these days, when adding an extra synth track is as easy as clicking a mouse.

    If you have any sense of imagination or adventure you’ll love this album. I’m not quite sure if this will make sense, but it is a very visual album. To explain, I found myself closing my eyes during Bloomoon. There are so many subtle textures to the song that I found myself imagining stars in the sky. The type of sky you can only see up North in the middle of no where. The stars were twinkling in and out, in time to the music. The next song, Swagger Scale ft. Old Pal Brentskiis, goes the complete opposite direction. It has one of the dirtiest, crunchiest, sounds I’ve ever heard. It’s the kind of song that made me feel a slight panic, escalating my heart rate and making me a little nervous. Fresh Prints follows that and is a quieter, slower song, allowing you to calm down and reset your imagination before the bass pumping, dance song, OFY.

    Bowjia have made an album makes you curious about how the next song will differ from the last, without upsetting the overall feeling or style of the album as a whole. Every song is in it’s right place and has context to the songs before and after, giving you forty minutes of continuous music you won’t even think about turning off.

    There are different ways to enjoy this album; Turn it up, turn off the lights and close your eyes OR go to a club, they’ll turn it up, and you’ll dance the night away OR get in your car, turn it up, and hit the highway OR…You get the idea.

    Bowjia have given birth to something deep and textured, start to finish. Listen to this album anyway you can.

     

    Catch Bowjia LIVE!!! tomorrow night, October 6th, as they open for USA!USA!USA! Click here for more info!

    Your Neck Of The Woods Farewell Show

    I’ve been a fan of Your Neck Of The Woods since the first time I got to see them play live. I’m not exactly sure when that was. I’m not sure if I was at their first show, or if I’d just randomly come across them at one of Guelph‘s many venues for live music. All I do remember is the energy they brought to the stage and how it, somehow infected, everyone else in the room. I will talk about it a little, but now that I have great new phone (HTC One S, I love you!) I can show you as well.

    As you can see. The place was packed. Actually Van Gogh’s Ear stood at capacity for the entirety of Your Neck Of The Woods set, which ran almost an hour and a half. I’m sure they played every song they recorded, wrote, and songs they added into a medley at the end of their set (See video two below). Everything about the night was exceptional.  There were no drunk girls crying over their boyfriends. They were all dancing. There were no guys being macho and fighting, although, the front row of male fans did get topless near the end of the set. Everyone was just having the time of their life. I mean, body surfing, at Van Gogh’s Ear, at a country show. Really?!

    There was no real highlight to the evening. The whole show was the highlight, with Your Neck Of The Woods bringing up friends as backing vocalists for the last song they’d ever play together as a band. It’s very safe to say that Your Neck Of The Woods went out with a bang and will be one of Guelph‘s most missed bands.

    Visit our Facebook page for a Gallery of photos from the event with lots of crowd shots. If you were there, tag yourself and your friends!

    I’m glad to report that Ben Doerksen, their six foot plus lead singer, has formed a new band and will be playing Jimmy Jazz August 11th. Check out our event page!

     

    Welcome to V2.0!

    Welcome to V2.0 of Music Lives! It’s been almost 16 months (but who’s counting) since this project was started and a lot has changed. What hasn’t changed is the musical talent that comes from and through Guelph on a weekly basis.

    When we started talking about a site refresh we looked at all of our data for the first year to see what people were using. Then decided to put it almost everything right on the home page. We looked at what was the most time consuming part of maintaining the site, so Kelly at Oaktree Media built a custom calendar for the events page. If it takes us less time to list each event, we can post more events. That was our logic anyway. Getting our traffic up, was also a crucial component of the redesign. You might notice every event is it’s own page now, it also stays on the site so you can look up the Bands you might have seen on the weekend. We also added a Bands section, allowing us to link within Music Lives. These few things will cut down on time for us, but add a lot of things Google looks for when you search for something. Also, in the Bands and Events section you’ll find forms to be filled out. We get invited to a lot of Guelph‘s music events through Facebook but some still slip through the cracks. If you’re throwing a show you want up on the site, or you’re a local band that wants that extra bit of exposure, fill those forms out!

    Something else to look at is in the bottom left corner of the Home page. We are starting a weekly newsletter! Sign up and get the low down on the week’s upcoming events, updates from our blog and a quick note or two on how the shows over the weekend went. We always try to keep you as up to date as we are. This will help remind you to check out our site at least a few times a week.

    As for the blog, it will be growing as well. We’ve got a short list of people willing to lend their talents to help keep the blog busier than ever. You’ll still have Teresa supplying you with Music Monday. Teresa is great at exposing fantastic, under-the-radar, bands. A few of us will be tackling more show and album reviews, along with some amateur and professional photographers that could lend us their lens for future posts.

    We’ve got amazing support from Guelph‘s music community, performers and fans alike, and for that we couldn’t be more grateful. Thanks Guelph! We hope everyone enjoys the changes to the site, and we’re sure you can still easily find the information about Guelph‘s live music scene. With all of these additions to the site we can’t help but be excited about everything to come. Now, to fill the brand new events calendar…

    Catl Live Review

    I had the chance to see Catl and Jimmy Jazz, Guelph, on June 2nd, and am I ever glad I did. Their Bandcamp page describes them as “…a dirty, stripped down, juke-joint blues band that likes to drink, fight, and grind.” but that’s just the tip of the iceberg for this trio from Toronto. Here’s a studio/official sample, which is still great, but doesn’t quite paint the whole picture of what this band does, and does well.

    Catl is driven by the consistent pounding of Andrew Moszynski on drums that are loose sounding in style but driving in perfect rhythm. It’s almost as if the drums are being played in the bottom of a deep canyon, echoing all the way to your ears. The other members of the band, the guitarist, named catl (according their CBC Music page) and organ/percussionist Sarah Kirkpatrick share not only vocals but also engage the crowd in a way most bands can’t. Vocally they share their parts, either working together in harmony or trading off lyrics in what can only be described as a beautifully controlled wail. Catl, the guitarist, not the band, gets right into the deep groove of the drums, rocking in his chair so hard he almost falls out of it, only stopping to look at the audience when he has a lyric or slide guitar part he really wants you to pay attention to. His guitar sound is muddy and deep which adds an integrity to their Delta/Dirty/Dancing Blues style. There is no Bass player in the band but the sound of the Organ, Maracas, Tambourine playing Kirkpatrick, with her well timed audience engagement, doesn’t give you a chance to miss it. At times her stage personality is as big as her hair, or her heels, joining the crowd on the dance floor whenever she has a chance to.

    I like my blues when they’re a little loose or underproduced and I want to feel attached somehow. Catl‘s live sound makes me believe, that deep down, they really do have the blues, and so do I. I’ve just never had as much fun realizing it before. Don’t miss them if they come to a local watering hole near you.

    Catl are touring all throughout southern Ontario July & August 2012.

    Find Catl Online
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    Show Review: My Son The Hurricane

    What happens when you cross R&B, a Marching Band, a little Ska and a pile of Hip-hop? St. Catherines’ My Son The Hurricane happens. Thanks to Fortnight Music I was able to see this great band live, for the second time at eBar, Guelph, May 10th, 2012.

    Some of you might be familiar with MSTH from Hillside 2010. I first saw them open for U.S.S. last summer courtesy of GAIN Music. They were slightly (members of U.S.S. were body surfing two songs in) upstaged by the headliner so I couldn’t give them a fair revue then. Now I can say that MSTH are anything but just fair. In fact, I think that FANTASTIC should be the only “F” word associated with the act. I know how hard it is for most bands, being three to five pieces, to co-ordinate themselves in the process of writing music, recording it and performing it live. I can’t fathom what MSTH must go through, playing with a ten to a staggering fourteen person line up, on any given night. Your standard rock band instruments are there. Bass, Drums, Guitar, but add to that, extra percussion, Trombone, Sax(es), Trumpet(s), Tuba and not a singer, but an MC. Maybe I confused you. I was confused the first time someone tried to explain to me what MSTH were like. Are they Hip Hop? Not really. Are they R&B, Soul or Motown? A little. Here’s a taste of what My Son The Hurricane do so well. CAUTION: INDUCES DANCING!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rK2_wi-lqAA&feature=plcp
    I usually try to pick a highlight of the night or favourite part of a performance but in this case it’s biased. From start to finish My Son The Hurricane were high energy, great sounding and most of all fun. During their performance the whole band engages the audience, with  Jacob Bergsma, the MC, sharing the spotlight with whichever horn or stringed instrument is being showcased during any given song. The crowd, which should have been sold out for a band of the calibre, started dancing within the first song and didn’t stop until the show was over. Even the rhythmically challenged in the back were tapping their toes and bobbing their heads in perfect time. As I said however, my highlight is biased. About halfway through the set they dropped a cover of Metallica‘s “For Whom The Bell Tolls”. One of my favourite Metal songs. Most the crowd didn’t know this.

    My Son The Hurricane have a sound that is full, fun and most importantly original. Their subtle fusion of so many styles and their engaging and in-your-face live show should have you coming back every time they play in your area. Just remember your dancing shoes.

    Connect with My Son The Hurricane
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    EP Review: Mandroid Echostar

    Almost two years in the making, Guelph band Mandroid Echostar‘s first EP was released on their Bandcamp page for free download (I highly recommend donation, though) on April 22, 2012. I was lucky enough to get an advanced CD copy of this 4 track EP and have listened to it almost constantly since.

    Right out of the gates, Kingdom And The Crown, starts quickly and surprises the listener. Maybe not every listener, but me anyway. The song, and whole EP actually, is clean and uncluttered sounding. Nothing seems mixed down too low or up too high. Every instrument is clearly heard and balanced, including the vocals. This gives the EP a fresh dynamic, or at least one you haven’t heard in a while. Instead of everything being drenched in distortion and overdubbed to make the music stand out or “Heavy”, Mandroid Echostar have taken a different approach, using riffs, balanced production and a vocalist that actually sings rather than whines. Kingdom And The Crown grabs you with it’s uptempo riff right away and within a minute thirty, of the 5 minute opening track, you’re already treated to a really understated, but perfectly situated guitar solo. If that’s not your kind of thing it’s okay, you get a blistering fast solo about half way through Kingdom And The Crown.

    Were Mandroid Echostar bold enough to launch with a concept EP? Lyrically you start to notice certain themes woven throughout. Lost Luminaries gives you a completely different flavour musically. Tempo/tone changes, almost choir-like vocal backing at some parts, that growl that only, guest vocalist Adam DL Lambert of Farewell To Freeway, can deliver, and bongo drums(?). You might be able to hear The Precursor on any rock radio station. It’s hook is simple and catchy but also has all the elements of a great rock song. It makes you a little sad or thoughtful about two minutes in, but turns those emotions into hope or determination, with a guitar solo and a sing-a-long, chant-like, fade out, lead by singer Michael Ciccia. And then there is HEXATON!

    The intro to Hexaton is like a guitar telling you the saddest story it knows, but you lack the empathy to understand why the story is sad. So the guitar, bass and drums build into desperate frustration to explain, getting faster and more intense. You still don’t understand. The vocals come in, calming everyone else down, to try to mediate the situation, but to no avail. Now all the members of Mandroid Echostar are working together in a passionate frenzy in hopes that you may have the emotion within you to understand WHY the intro guitar’s story was so sad. And then it happens. Mandroid Echostar slap your ears across the face (yep, Adam DL Lambert again). And then it’s over. It’s silent and you suddenly realize how sad the story was but it’s too late.

    Is that kind of story telling is too dramatic for you? Then you might not be ready for Mandroid Echostar. With dynamic musicianship, production and song writing that is refreshing  this EP was worth the wait. Mandroid Echostar use their imagination to take you on an adventure that you won’t regret.

    See Mandroid Echostar live in Brantford, May 11, and Guelph, May 30th, 2012.

    Download Mandroid Echostar for free on their Bandcamp.

    Mandroid Echostar

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    Album Review: Alberta Burning

    I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing Your Neck Of The Woods live about a half dozen times over the past couple of years, so to be asked (I was going to do it anyway) to review their first full length album, Alberta Burning, for them is great for both of us. The album was released at the band’s favourite watering hole, Jimmy Jazz, at a sold out event on March 30, 2012.

    Alberta Burning opens with Prairie Ontario. A song that you would almost expect to hear on any one of Canada’s great East Coast bands albums but the lyrics switched around to celebrate their home province. As a song, Prairie Ontario has all the foot stomping energy that YNOTW bring to all of their live shows. Some might say that Alberta Burning as a whole sounds slightly under produced. I would disagree. In a day and age where everything could be perfectly mastered digitally, it’s nice to hear an album that sounds professional, without sounding mechanical, matching their brand of alt-Country perfectly. Dare I say the production imperfections make it sound better, adding a great human sounding element. I want this album on vinyl (hint, hint), all it’s missing is the odd crackle or hiss from an old turntable.

    Speaking of which, I love an album that you can listen to start to finish. This is one of those albums. At just over 41 minutes long Alberta Burning is the perfect length. The album starts off fun and upbeat gradually slowing right down in the middle with the heartfelt ballad Wintry Heart. The next song, Cabin In The Woods, almost had me thinking it was another ballad but gets counted in at the 45 second mark to be a great transition into on of my favourite tracks on the album which sets up the largest sounding song on the album, Liar. If you’re a band reading this, and are putting out a full length LP, remember, song order is important. Although some songs aren’t as strong as others on Alberta Burning, every song is an important piece of the experience, taking you up and down in waves of tempo, fun, intensity and vulnerability.

    Alberta Burning, and YNOTW for that matter, have something to offer any listener. Clever lyric writing, songwriting maturity, a well balanced album, vocal harmonies to rival Fleetwood Mac and a fun and energetic live show. With all this going for them I look forward to more great things from Your Neck Of The Woods.

    Key tracks: Sleepwalking, Alberta Burning, Cabin In The Woods, Liar

    Your Neck Of The Woods – Playing Van Gogh’s Ear, Guelph, June 23rd.

    Booking – YourNeckOfTheWoods@Live.ca

    Buy Alberta Burning – hard copy CD Universe, download iTunesemusic.

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    In the Kitchener Record

    Music Monday April 16th

    (Editors Note: This post was written Monday. We realize it’s Wednesday but I had some technical difficulties. It’s my fault it’s just going up now. Also, since the original post the video has been taken down but I’m sure you saw it. I selected the photos for the post to replace the video. Anyways, Teresa (@thebandiswithme) is a great addition to our blogging team as she has a lot of knowledge on the inner-workings of the music scene. And she loves music. That’s kind of a prerequisite around these parts. Please welcome her with me. – Aaron)

    If you’re a music nerd I’m going to expect your opinion on this….

    When Aaron reads a sentence containing ‘music’ and ‘nerd’ this photo gets posted.


    Music Monday: I know I already posted this video today, and it’s all over the internet everywhere, but I’ve been thinking about it all day and I’d love to hear some other opinions. This past weekend at Coachella, after a killer set with Dre and Eminem, Snoop performed with a life size hologram of Tupac, and it was pretty damn good. As someone heavily involved personally and professionally with live music, I’m intrigued/worried about the ramifications of something like this, not to mention the amount of labels that are probably salivating over the acceptance of such an advance. No actual artist on stage means lower compensation, no crew, minimal tour overhead, and not to mention that very little actual musicianship is needed to make a hologram of someone who sounds and plays better than they do in real life. All that said, it doesn’t change the fact that the performance that stole the show at the renowned festival this weekend was from someone who isn’t even alive.

    I don’t think I need to tell you how much this changes fan interaction with someone after they die; will living on through just music be enough in the future, or will a physical connection always be important? All this has led to me to wonder: Would you go see a hologram concert of your favorite artist? What about ones that were deceased/no longer performing?

    My Life: Autobiographical Vol.5

    OH WOW! 35 was a couple of weeks ago and I honestly thought I had posted this already. If you need to read My Life: Autobiographical Vol.1,  Vol.2 , Vol.3 & Vol.4, DO IT! Also our YouTube channel has a playlist of all the songs in the series so far, plus the ones included in this post. Skip to video 20 if you’ve already listened to the previous tunes from the series. WARNING! The most dangerous music I’ve ever heard is included in this post. Well, minus all the danger I already listed in parts 1-4.

    Finally, I’m In High School
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSPeg5Nw9Tk&feature=fvst
    During the summer before high school this gem came out. It spoke to me in a way music never had before and was a hybrid of what were becoming my two favourite genres of music, rap & metal. This song made me listen to all my Run DMC, Beastie Boys and Guns N’ Roses tapes even harder. Any just when I thought mainstream music couldn’t get any more, well, non-mainstream, September happened and I started high school and this little record came out…

    This album (movement really, read my Grunge blog post) caused a shift in all social circles. Guys grew their hair long and greasy. Girls shaved their heads. Everyone dressed in plaid, wore Dr. Martins and started smoking. There were the freaks and the sportos (meaning athletes). There were only a few people that could handle the cross over. OMG!!! Remember that time that Cathy started dating one of the sportos during winter break and then there was a huge brawl in the foyer of school when all the students came back because her new boyfriend was a sporto? (I think that’s how it happened, remember, it was about 17 years ago) Good times. FYI, MetallicaTenUse Your Illusion I & IINo More TearsTrompe le MondeCeremonyNevermindBlood Sugar Sex MagikBadmotorfinger and others all came out within the first 6 weeks of starting high school. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

    High School Dance

    First song I ever danced to in high school, with a girl! This song really would be awkward to slow dance to near the end and because the song is so long I’m surprised I didn’t get dizzy. What I really do remember about this song, and dance with said girl, was that I really wanted to see the video. I was a huge Gunners fan, but didn’t have cable and hadn’t seen the video AND the VJ’s played the WHOLE thing! My apologies to said girl for being more into music than you. Somethings never change.

    Not A Country Boy

    I’m surprised with myself. I had no idea that losing a friend to New Country had such an effect on me. I guess it could have been worse. I could have lost him to death. So cleanse your palette before more danger.

    Crush With Eyeliner

    One of my favourite bands of all time is Nine Inch Nails. I got Pretty Hate Machine from a friend that ordered it through Columbia House but didn’t like how “synthy” it was (I later found out he thought he was buying their follow-up album Broken, which is WAY heavier). I loved it! I liked Depeche Mode and INXS but I felt this had more edge and honesty. I traded in my Alternative Rock plaid for black jeans (which later evolved into leather pants), black band T-shirts, and in my early 20’s, black nail polish and eyeliner.

    Next On My Life…

    Look at that mane!

    We get funny. Cover my first job, my late teens and early 20’s. And don’t forget church!

    My Life: Autobiographical Vol.1

    Looking for a playlist the other day, mixed with watching High Fidelity, again, I found a round of Name That Tune I had done for my birthday a few years back. An autobiographical playlist is way easier than reorganizing my records that way, not to mention it’s way easier to share a song at a time. The goal here is to get through all 40 songs before my birthday, March 7th. I did do some narrative between songs when I did this round of Name That Tune two years ago and I’ll try to recreate those points as best I can. I’m going to dedicate this first post in the series to my folks. Thanks for having such great taste in music!

    Birth!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm0nopK1BQM
    Three of the greatest things in the world happened in 1977. First, Fleetwood Mac‘s Rumours came out. I remember being around 20 years old and reading somewhere that it was one of the best albums of all time. I picked it up on a whim, mostly because it was in the 2 for 20 bin at HMV, or something like that anyway. As soon as I put it on I realized I knew almost every track. I had recently moved to Guelph so I had to give my parents a call to see if they played it a lot. Apparently I could hum/sing the words to the whole album, before I could actually talk properly. In 1977/78 it was the go to album whenever there was a gathering. I still love this album now, having traded in my CD for vinyl. It’s one of the three albums I listen to, by myself at 3am, on my actual birthday. I have a special, discontinued, bottle of scotch that I only drink at this time. It’s been my ritual for the last 8 years or so. I’m almost out of scotch. I’d be willing to try this one. Hint hint, nudge nudge, wink wink.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMOhsvhF4Jw&feature=fvst
    Of course the second best thing that happened to 1977 was STAR WARS. Nobody really knew what it was and nothing had ever been done like it before. I’m lucky enough to have seen the film in it’s original glory, when it was re-released with Empire as a double header, before the explosions had giant rings, Jabba was C.G.I., and before DarthVader/Anakin Skywalker was a whiny little twerp!

    The last thing that happened in 1977 that was awesome? I was born!

    My First Concert

    In 1982, at the tender age of five, my parents decided that it was time to take me to my first concert. Actually, I’m pretty sure they didn’t have a choice. My Mom’s cousin, my second cousin I think, is Skip Prokop of Lighthouse. Meaning that all of my Aunt’s & Uncle’s, also known as babysitters, would also be attending their triumphant return to the stage. I know the show was at the old Ontario Place Forum, I know the stage spun around the whole show, and I know that the bass made me have to pee a lot. Uncle Skip is still touring with Lighthouse and making new music with his new band Mercy Train.

    In 2011 my Uncle Skip Accepts his SOCAN award for 100,000 radio plays 

    For My Folks
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k3JVfxluFU
    The Autobiographical playlist also included a song each for my folks. For Dad, I picked Supertramp. They were one of his favourite bands when I was a kid. For Mom, it was a little more difficult. I don’t remember her being ‘attached’ to any one artist or band. We lived in a town of 400 people (Kirkfield, ON) and had limited access to radio and TV. I do remember this next song being played often. I’m not sure if it was just constantly on the radio or if there was a copy kicking around the house. I just remember it then, and still know all the words now.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9abYzI9ycjk

    Next Time, On If My Life Was A Musical…
    My first concert disappointment, My first records and memories of the Grandparents player piano.

    Read it here!

    Stuck In The 90s

    I may very well be stuck in the 90s. That’s where I first heard 75% of the musicians I still regularly listen to. So last week I was hanging with none other than THE Dylan Awesome from GAIN Music. Somehow we ended up listening to 90’s tunes and taking turns on Youtube trying to what only can be described as “Out 90ing” eachother.  Here’s a few tunes we played that day that you may have forgotten about.

    Where’s My Self Control?

    What a great pop song. It’s pretty much perfect in all aspects but for me I love when it’s over. Rather than dragging the song out repeating the chorus twice at the end like a lot of songs do, it sounds like Age Of Electric is about to start another verse. Then the song is over. Timing is everything…Or not.

    Fade Away

    Moist’s Silver came out right around the same time I started driving back and forth from Guelph and Bradford. One of my favourite driving CD’s for sure. What I really like about this song is the delivery. There is a certain desperation or panic behind every syllable. The video performance is amazing as well. Learn your craft, rock singers, delivery can make or break you. I feel the words because of the emotion put forth, behind the voice and the facial expressions. It makes me believe every word David Usher says. This can be essential for your audience to feel connected with you. To see this in action, check out Joshua Doherty (be ready for the 1:50 mark of the video) of Among Millions. They play every couple months in Guelph, I’ll make sure I give you lots of notice for their next show.

    Left Behind In A Troubled Time

    I remembering buying Scenery & Fish on impulse, because it was on the charts at Sunrise Records next to Alice In Chains Unplugged, which is the album I had gone in to the store to buy. It quickly became one of my favourite records. Somewhere along the line though, I lost the record. I forgot about it. Until the big breakup of 2006. I took all the money I intended on spending on my ex, it was her birthday shortly, to The Beat Goes On. It was the only time I’ve ever gone through the store A to Z and through the discount bin. I may have walked out with over 30 CDs. Scenery & Fish was $3. $3! I ran into THE Aaron Levy on my way home. We grabbed a few beers and went through the big bag of music. He liked my choices. I miss that guy! What a great music conversationalist.

    Strong & Free
    I just realized this whole list is made up of Canadian artists. Nice to remember the how good the pre-Nickel Back era of Canadian music was. Actually, if you live in the Guelph area, you should check out our homepage. Tonight’s shows are amazing and I’m still having a problem deciding which one I’m going to go to. What a great problem to have!

    What are your favourite 90’s tunes? I need more nostalgia!

    OFF THE FLOOR FEST!!!

    Eleven Presents…

    The fourth annual OFF THE FLOOR FEST!!!

    Last week I posted two shows in my blog. Both had a lot of readers. The 100 Mile Riot happened already, and was a huge success (I’ll try to get you details on $$$ raised, people through the door, etc.) and Ladies Of The Canyon, The Heartbroken & Ben Caplan happens on Sunday, so we’ll see how effective these posts are. Music Lives is here to try to support the music loving community so here is a bit of info on this weeks Off The Floor Fest!!!

    This event features eight (8!) bands spread out over 5 hours (at least). It also utilizes both first AND second floors of Van Gogh’s Ear. It’s also this Thursday, January 26th. The price is modest. $10 the door or $8 advance available at Hempire. Or $1/ band advanced, or $1.25/band at the door if you can’t be bothered to do the math. Doors are at 7:30pm. Go out for dinner first, you’ll need the energy. It is a 19+ event. Get a babysitter. We already gave away a pair of guest list  passes at Jimmy Jazz, Name That Tune, last Wednesday, and we’re going to do it again this Wednesday (the 25th)!

    Here’s the list of bands performing at set times:

    8 pm –> Hinindar (1st floor)

    8:30 pm –> The Dirty Nil (2nd floor)

    9 pm –> The Folk (1st floor)

    9:30 pm –> Sam Coffey & the Iron Lungs (2nd floor)

    10 pm –> Greys (1st floor)

    10:30 pm –> The Sweet Mack (2nd floor)

    11:10 pm –> Whale Tooth (1st floor)

    11:50 pm –> Teenage Kicks(2nd floor)

    According to the Facebook event, Off The Floor Fest has these people to thank:

    • GAIN Music – who are helping with production, which means this year is going to sound amazing.
    • Hempire – who have helped out with their generosity and overall radness.
    • Blake Stevenson – who has created the Off the Floor poster (that you see here) and logo for the second year in a row, and who is just a sweet dude whom we love dearly here at Eleven.

    So there is the run down on another great Guelph show. Remember you can WIN your way in to this show by attending Name That Tune Tomorrow at Jimmy Jazz, hosted by yours truly. If you have to do it the old fashioned way, and pay for your tickets, get them at Hempire or at the door and I’ll see you all at Van Gogh’s Ear.

    100 Mile Riot!

    This show happening, Saturday, January 22, 2012 @ Van Gogh’s Ear is on our site but I thought that it deserved a special mention for three reasons. The first one being that is for a really good cause, or causes. I’m just going to quote the Facebook page here and add some links because I can.

    ” 100 Mile Riot is an all-day, all-night festival celebrating the amazing diversity of talent of woman-identified people from Guelph and surrounding area.  The festival is a fundraiser for the local Women in Crisis Centre as well as a revolutionary national program in Haiti, lead by a coalition of women activists, that is addressing sexual violence through art, advocacy, safe shelter, and legal services. This festival will be organized in collaboration with the V-Day campaign, which was started by activist Eve Ensler. V-Day has raised over $60 million and distributed the funds to grassroots, national and international organizations and programs that work to stop violence against women and girls through yearlong events such as this festival and culminating performances of The Vagina Monologues and MMRP (A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and a Prayer).”

    So there is one reason to support this Saturday. The second reason is (and I pulled all these links myself to make sure I got the best ones possible) the music is amazing! If I had another two hours I’d post every Twitter,  Facebook, CBC Radio 3, etc. link I could for these bands and solo performers. Here’s the list! SheezerRougeJenny OmnichordOlenka & The Autumn LoversThe FolkSarah MangleD Eve ArcherAriadne’s ThreadAmy BronsonNabi LoneyDJ Jungle Cat, DJ Madam D, and Meme Smith. That should keep us beautifully entertained for eleven hours!

    The third and final reason to come to the 100 Mile Riot  is the price. Tickets are ONLY $12! Having seen some of these artists live already and listening to some of there links I’ve posted here, you really can’t go wrong.

    So grab your tickets for Saturday, January 22, 2012 at The CornerstoneUniversity Centre #217, and ticketbreak.com. This event runs all day so you really have no excuse. If you live out of town it’s worth the drive in. 3pm start! All Ages until 9pm. 19+ 9 pm- 2 am. Thanks to V-Day Guelph and Fortnight Music for organizing this event and I hope to see everyone at Van Gogh’s Ear!

    Show Review – Ben Caplan, Graydon James & The Young Novelists/Harlan Pepper

    Ben Caplan, Graydon James & The Young Novelists/Harlan Pepper

    January 5th & 12th, 2012. Jimmy Jazz.
    Two shows. Two consecutive Thursdays. Same venue. Same opening act. Based on the last two points I figured I roll my first two live show reviews into one. I’m consolidating the two shows featuring Ben Caplan, solo, as the opening act that were brought to us by Kaleidoscope Promotions, and performed at Jimmy Jazz. The first show saw Hamilton band Harlan Pepper closing out the night on January 5th, 2012 and the second being January 12th featuring Toronto band Graydon James & The Young Novelists.
    That Crazy Gypsy

    We’ll start with the opener both bands shared, Ben Caplan. If you already read my 2011 wrap up, you know how I feel about him. He’s not marketable in mainstream ways, but he doesn’t have to be. His hair, beard mostly, is almost so long it’s ridiculous. With some performers this could distract you from what most live music fans would call the important things, the music & the performance. But with Caplan it actually makes you curious. As soon as he walks on stage you’re intrigued, and then the music starts. His songs start with great storytelling that would make some of the greatest song writers jealous. Then they are mixed with an arrangement that allows the music to be performed on piano, guitar, sometimes banjo (if someone in the audience has one handy), saxophone or with his full backing band, The Casual Smokers. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing all of these things happen and the music was perfectly executed, not necessarily played, every time.

    Ben Caplan performing as Harlan Pepper look on.

    Which brings us to stage presence and performance. Ben Caplan is overflowing with both and his energy spills out onto the stage and out through the audience like he’s trying to drown you. I was at his November show in Guelph by accident and couldn’t take my eyes of him. I can’t quite put my finger on what he does to demand your attention. It could be the way he shakes his head, losing his glasses at least three times per show. It could be the way he emotionally tears his undersized suit jacket off at the peak of his second last song. I really can’t say. What I can say is that everything about Ben Caplan is unique in a way that that you know you were entertained, start to finish, throughout his set, but you’re not really sure why.

    The Young Novelists Do More Than Write Great Songs
    Featured as the headliner for the January 12th show, were Toronto band, Graydon James & The Young Novelists. I had seen the band open for Guelph band Among Millions, back in November. I have to say, I wasn’t a huge fan. I’m not sure if I was off, or maybe they were off. I have no idea. What I can say now is that my first impression was wrong! It seemed on this given night in January that a lot of people came to see Ben Caplan, as the crowd seemed to thin out considerably. If you stayed, good on you. If not, you missed out. Their music is an acoustic mix of rock that could be cherished by rock, folk and country fans alike. They mix up the faster tempos to keep people dancing and swaying until it’s time to slow things down, before they take you back up. I really love a live performance with a dynamic set list. Veteran bands will tell you. You can’t play at 11 all the time. Graydon James & The Young Novelists nailed it!

    Toronto Band Gradon James & The Young Novelists

    Musically they had improved by leaps and bounds about the previous time I had seen them. I know they are currently recording an album but they could have saved themselves the trouble and just recorded their set this past Thursday. They couldn’t have sounded tighter. As I said, the crowd did seem to dwindle, but it didn’t seem to matter. The Young Novelists played with fantastic energy, playing for thirty or fourty like they were playing for two hundred. A great performance, that kept my eyes on the stage, connecting with them in a way I couldn’t before. If Graydon James & The Young Novelists are going to work this hard to improve as a live band, there is no doubt in my mind that they’ll be around for a long time. I look forward to seeing them again and I have a feeling they’ll be even better!

    The Kids Are Alright

    Relax everyone, I am not using the word ‘kid’ as any kind of negative connection with Hamilton band, Harlan Pepper, and they are more than just ‘alright’. [Editors Note: For those of you that are musically challenged, ‘The Kids Are Alright‘ is the name of a song, recorded by The Who, in 1965.] Jimmy Jazz saw a packed house on January 5th, with good reason. Harlan Pepper‘s song-to-song styles vary from blues, folk, rock & country that are all done with a sound I can only describe as BIG! Their songs, while sometimes thoughtful and slower paced, have an anthem quality to them.

    A packed house for Hamilton band Harlan Pepper

    For a four piece band, barely 20 years old, they write and perform at a level beyond them in years. They keep their subject matter close to what they know, the Great Lakes, for example, but the music that accompanies the lyrics is nothing short amazing, no matter their age, or the listeners age. If you closed your eyes and listened you would probably picture a veteran band, like The Sadies, in the place of Harlan Pepper. They have a song-writing maturity and live sound that takes most bands years to perfect. The band’s stage presence is amazing as well. On a small stage, like that at Jimmy Jazz, they were a well oiled machine, always knowing where the other members were and sharing the spotlight accordingly. If you get a chance to see them opening for Elliot Brood in the next little while I highly recommend it.

    Find Ben Caplan performing @Van Gogh’s Ear, Guelph, January 29th.
    On Twitter @bencaplanmusic
    On Facebook Ben Caplan & The Casual Smokers
    On The Web http://bencaplan.ca/

    Find Graydon James & Young Novelists
    On Twitter @graydonj
    On Myspace www.myspace.com/graydonjames
    On The Web www.theyoungnovelists.com/

    Find Harlan Pepper
    On Twitter @HPHarlanPepper
    On CBC Radio 3
    On The Web www.harlanpepper.com/

    Find Us too!
    On Facebook Music Lives
    On Twitter @MusicLivesCa

    Resolute This

    Have you got your list of New Year’s resolutions? I’m generally not a big believer in resolutions, but I’ll make some up special, just for you. All I really want to do is make sure you listen to good music while reading my blog. Here are a few songs to motivate you through the delicate starting stages of your resolutions.

    Make ‘Em Scream & Shout

    First thing I need to do this year is get more focused. Music Lives seem to have a great umbrella effect taking place. We’re listen to the community we’re serving and trying to adapt. How can we better facilitate musicians, bands and promoters. How can we help get more people to more shows, allowing promoters to throw even BIGGER shows? Being able to bounce ideas off of bands like Wakeless & Among Millions, and promoters, like GAIN Music & Fortnight, has been of huge value. Thanks for having the patience with answering all my questions about the biz! I think a great goal for 2012 is to make Guelph a non-stop tourist attraction, just based on our thriving music scene.

    He’s Ordinary

    Maybe I’ll be more brave this year. I think I’m too scared in a lot of situations. In the past I think that I’ve associated quick thinking and reacting in the moment with increased odds of making mistakes. I’m starting to think that sometimes mistakes can be fun. How am I going to learn anything if I’m afraid to commit to new things? I’m pretty sure I’ve missed out on more opportunities because of my approach then I’ve actually taken advantage of. This year I’ll put more of myself out there and stop over thinking. Like RUSH said, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” I do this all the time. No more!

    Like A Tiger Defying The Laws Of Gravity

    So my last fake (but real) New Year’s resolution is to be more awesome. Less dark, more fun. I will turn down the suck knob and turn up the good. I hate negative people, which I’m not. I rarely ever complain aloud. I keep all my negativity all pushed down deep inside me to fester. This year I’ll try to live exactly like this Queen song. The lyrics are amazing!

    Same In The End
    So it turns out I do have so real resolutions. What started as a joke, as always, managed to become thoughtful and reflective. For me at least. Thanks readers! You’ve helped me out once again. Have any great resolutions you want to share on the internet for all the world to see? Have any ideas to make mine easier to accomplish? Share away! Let’s have a great 2012 and go out with a BANG!

    2011 The Review

    I don’t know about you but my 2011 was nuts. I left my first career, started working for Oaktree Media (Thanks for saving me Kelly!), started Music Lives. I’m sure I did some other stuff too but let’s get down to the good stuff. The music we saw, the hits we loved or plagued us and some of the musicians we lost. Me being me, I’ll start with the sad part.

    The Day The Music Died…

    This year we lost a pile of great artists but here are just a handfull. Gerry Rafferty, hopefully you’re playing now, of Stealers Wheel, and solo fame. Clarence Clemons, who played sax with Bruce Springsteen & The E Street band forever, and also had a #1 hit this year performing the sax solo on Lady Gaga’s Edge of Glory. Losing Amy Winehouse wasn’t a surprise to many although it’s always sad to lose such a talented person. Warrant‘s singer, Jani Lane, and Alice In Chains original bass player, Mike Starr , both fell victim to previous addictions mixed with depression. Check out Rolling Stone’s Memoriam for a better run down. Now, on to happier pastures.

    We’ll Do It Live!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rK2_wi-lqAA
    I have to admit that I’m completely spoiled to have such an amazingly vibrant and diverse music scene right at my doorstep. Guelph rules for several reasons but this is one of them. There is at least 8 live music venues, all within a 5 minute walk of one another. I love it. Some of my favourite shows this year were as follows. Ben Caplan is the the east coast of Canada’s answer to Tom Waits, but a gypsy. A crazy, running around the venue without missing a note, kind of gypsy. I came to this show just to lend a hand to the promoter with almost no intention of actually paying attention to the show as I had other work to do. I could not take my eyes off of him. If you missed the show, which most of you did, you’re in luck. Ben Caplan will be opening for three different acts in January, Guelph. Get out and see him at least once. Two of my favourite live music moments came courtesy of local promoters GAIN Music. One was My Son The Hurricane, that opened for USS. Twelve people on The Vinyl stage. A full horn section. An MC?! Seriously, just watch all their videos and you’ll see the energy and awesomeness that is this band. The other moment I have to mention from this year is the Cancer Bats. AND I got to see them twice! Crazy energy, crowd interaction, great sounding, metal maniacs. The whole place erupted when they busted out their cover of The Beastie Boys, Sabotage, and with good reason. See these guys live before they get any bigger! Just check out this gallery. In fact this whole card was stacked.  Starting Music Lives has really opened my eyes to what makes a show or band connect with people. I could list all the amazing shows I got to be a part of this year, but then I wouldn’t finish this post until next year! Thanks to everyone that let me be behind the scenes of the scene I love so dearly.

    Big Ones

    Now we get to the actual charts. I keep a vague on these but take them with a grain of salt. It was a notable year for a few artists. Katy Perry tied Michael Jackson‘s record for most Billboard number one hits from one album with 5 (and she’s single again! I so have a shot!). If the video I posted, which is stuck at number four, hits number one, she’ll win. That’s quite an accomplishment for any artist. The fact that she writes her own songs makes it that much more impressive. Korn, a band I loved in 2000, was given a lot of metal honours this year, even though they released a Dub-step album. I guess sometimes it pays to take a risk. I’m not the keenest on the album, but I don’t mind the lead off single. You really can’t mention anyone in music this year without mentioning Adele. Not only was her album #1 on every notable music publication and listeners choice awards, but it also spent 50 weeks on the Billboard charts, with over 20 weeks at the top spot. It’s not too often that such a young person can sing with so much soul and put together a whole album that is fantastic start to finish. I believe every word she says.

    Happy New Year!!!
    Have a safe one everybody! I’m really looking forward to what 2012 brings to the table. It’s an exciting time for me in my life and I hope that Music Lives can continue to grow as I am. See you all in 2012. Thanks so much for your readership and support! Feel free to list your favourite albums, songs or concerts of the year below!

    P.S. I have a feeling I’ll be fist pumping to this later!

    How To Make A Mix Tape/Playlist Part Two

    So we concluded our first post in this series, How To Make A Mix Tape/Playlist Part One, with a question. Who’s it for? Who is your intended audience?

    I also revealed the first two songs on the tape, so here is the current track listing:
    1. D’yer Maker – Led Zeppelin
    2. Love Rollercoaster – Red Hot Chili Peppers

    The RHCP song leads me right into….
    Rule #3: Cover songs are important.
    I know that I’m totally breaking Rob Gordon’s rules. I’m okay with that. His “Rule #3” is to “Cool it off a notch”. I didn’t do that on this mix.
    Best Mix Tape Ever Track 3: Eruption/You Really Got Me – Van Halen

    Cover songs are super important and this one takes me right where I want to be. I really felt I could still go higher after Track 2. WAY higher! Eruption? C’mon! But there is also something else to consider. Did I have my whole audience on board with the mix so far? With this track I pick up rockers, Kinks (and other British Invasion) fans and people from Sault Ste. Marie. I did go a little Cover heavy on Side 1 of this tape, but they are a great way to introduce people to new bands without making them feel stupid for not knowing the words. Now we’ll get back on track with Rob Gordon….

    Rule #4: Cool it down a notch
    I totally broke this rule. I probably won’t put this song on a mix now. Come to think of it, this band would have trouble making the cut. There are two reasons for this song existing on this mix. One, it was intended for parties and road trips. And two, my friends all liked Eve 6 in 2001
    The Best Mix Tape Ever Track 4: Open Road Song – Eve 6

    A funny thing just happened…Listening to the song to try and find a good sounding one for this post, I still would take this song, just not in this spot. I’m rockin’ out and missing the friends I used to listen to this record with constantly. Music can be funny that way. Attaching a certain time and place with special people and events….

    So, back to the Rule #4. What would I pick now? I’d go a little more modern. Less epic, less tempo. Maybe a little deeper lyric wise. It’s important to bring people back and re-ground them. Something that everyone knows the words to would be great. I think Pink Floyd’s, Wish You Were Here, is a great song, but too deep. I want to scratch the emotional surface for my audience, with out making them cry. Sweet Child O’Mine would work, but I’ve already classic rocked this mix to death. I’d probably go with this one…
    *NEW* The Best Mix Tape Ever Track 4: Like A Stone – Audioslave

    I picked this song mostly because I didn’t want create a splinter in the mix tape continuum, this song still works with the next song.

    Be ready this week, we’re going to take our audience dancing!

    To be continued….How To Make A Mix Tape/Playlist Part Three

    Lunch Up Guelph, Playlist

    Here is the list of background music from Lunch Up Guelph. If you don’t know what that is, get a Twitter account! I know I broke some rules along the way, but I did only have a few hours this week to dedicate to this playlist. I’ll highlight a few of my favourites along the way.

    Lunch Up Playlist
    1. Need You Tonight – INXS
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhvbRZWEtd4
    2. Sussudio – Phil Collins
    3. Heart Of Glass – Blondie
    4. Call Me Al – Paul Simon Had to be added to due to previous discussion on Twitter. VW bus what?
    5. Suspicious Minds – Elvis Presly See what I did there? Paul Simon’s album is Graceland. Get it?
    6. Little Deuce Coupe – The Beach Boys
    7. Uptown Girl – Billy Joel If the music had been louder we intended to do a sing-a-long flash mob/Glee style
    8. Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen
    9. You Can’t Always Get What You Want – Rolling Stones
    10. She’s Electric – Oasis I know Candice hates me for this one!
    11. Love Spreads – The Stone Roses
    12. Orange Crush – Editors (R.E.M. Cover) I played the studio version of the cover but had to post this one. If you’ve never seen Editors live, you are missing out!

    13. Just Like Honey – The Jesus & Mary Chain
    14. Wave Of Mutilation – The Pixies
    15. Pride & Joy – Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
    16. Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry
    17. Earth Angel – The Penguins Yep! These two back to back = Back To The Future reference.
    18. Superstitious – Stevie Wonder
    19. ABC – The Jackson 5
    20. Higher Ground – Red Hot Chili Peppers Stevie Wonder cover
    21. Empire State Of Mind – Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys
    22. It’s Like That – Run DMC
    23. Council Estate – Tricky
    24. Angel – Massive Attack Yeah, Rob Gordon would totally play this too!

    25. All These Things Things That I’ve Done – The Killers
    26. Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    27. Connection – Elastica
    28. The Passenger – Iggy Pop
    29. Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie
    30. Have A Cigar – Foo Fighters Pink Floyd cover

    31. Limelight – Rush Played this because Rush rule and they came out and played YYZ with Taylor Hawkins on drums last time I saw the Foo Fighters live!
    32. Like a Hurricane – Neil Young This is where I started slowing things down, to take us all home, so to speak.
    33. Hungry Heart – Bruce Springsteen
    34. Straight To Hell – The Clash Yep! MIA stole the intro for Paper Planes
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQwm1v1R-qM

    There you go everyone! Thanks to Candice and TRC for organizing the Lunch Up, and to The Bookshelf/E-Bar for having us.

    Happy Monday!

    So I had a bit of a downer week last week. But last night I was listening to some Bobby Darin and it put me in such a good mood I actually had trouble sleeping. Sure, there are a lot of silly songs that make you laugh, but I’m talking about mood changers. Here is a few songs to change your mood, and get rid of your “Case of the Mondays”.

    I Have Been A Fool For Lesser Things

    Yeah, Billy Joel! Seriously though, can you control yourself from not snapping or singing along in that intro. Chuck Klosterman actually dedicates a whole chapter of his book Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs to how uncool Billy Joel is, and how cool that makes him. I find Uptown Girl also works.

    Oh, She’ll Make You Flip
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En1hI1iAtSY
    If you’re truly trying to beat the blues, clap along to the intro. The Cars wrote precision pop extremely well, for one album. They’ve had nuggets of genius along the way, but nothing as good as their debut. If you collect vinyl, you can find all their best albums, in mint contition, for $2 or less.

    Wouldn’t It Be Nice?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsPtOkaQKww&feature=related
    Great song! Maybe one of the best Side one, Track ones, of all time, from the classic, Pet Sounds. I can’t hit that high note, even in my imagination, but I will try and fail and laugh about it every time.

    I hope I helped cure your Monday blues and your day wasn’t nearly as bad as this guys!

    Name That Tune Answers, Oct. 19,2011

    I know I was supposed to post this yesterday, but I got too busy seeing live music! The first 7 questions were taken directly from my blog posts A Special Tribute, and Once More…With Feeling! respectively. I do get silly by number 8 though. The number after the artist is the length of time, in seconds, I played the track, for our live studio audience.

    Songs For My Funeral
    1. Amazing Grace – Leann Rimes – 14
    2. Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen – 14
    3. Angel – Sarah McLachlan – 14
    4. My Way – Frank Sinatra – 8
    5. Hurt – Johnny Cash
    6. Pictures Of You – The Cure – 16
    7. Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd – 6
    So this is where I went silly and started adding conditions for songs to be played…
    If I were to die, and never marry, and my League Of Evil Exes are at my funeral, and are mad I never married them, you could play this song…
    8. Single Ladies – Beyonce – 2

    If that song were played, this should be played right after, as a reason why I didn’t marry them. I would never say this in real life. So don’t mess with dead me, I go low-brow!
    9. Bitches Ain’t Shit – Ben Folds – 10
    If, for whatever reason, I’m buried in my leather pants (Yes, I have leather pants), play this song.
    10. I Remember You – Skid Row – 13
    I would be so lucky to die involving a misadventure involving the song title, and if I do, play this song at my funeral.
    11. S&M – Rihanna – 2
    If I died and went to heaven….
    12. Get The Party Started – Pink – 12
    Everyone I know would insist this be played at my funeral….
    13. Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) – The Offspring – 6
    If I found myself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the mythical creatures from the Twilight series were having one of their battles, and I accidentally got killed. You could play the next two songs.
    14. Drain The Blood – The Distillers – 8
    15. Werewolves Of London – Warren Zevon – 9
    If I were killed by Zombies…
    16. Eat My Brain – The Odds – 9
    Died in a time machine accident…
    17. Power of Love – Huey Lewis & the News – 2 (That’s a Back To The Future joke BTW!)
    If I died today…
    18. Sexy And I Know It – LMFAO – 18
    Assassinated…
    19. Sure Shot – Beastie Boys – 6
    If I were to die in an explosion, from one of these, play this song…
    20. Time Bomb – Rancid 5

    Top Score 17.5/20            My Score 20/20

    Round 2
    The second round of Name That Tune involved dead artists/musicains including the five from my post The Show Must Go On.
    1. Foxey Lady – Jimi Hendrix – 9
    2. Riders On The Storm – The Doors 32
    3. Woman – John Lennon -12 Bonus Name his killer: Mark David Chapman
    4. Baba O’Reilly – The Who 4
    5. Dream Lover – Bobby Darin 9
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdLn-QhRSB4
    6. Jesus Don’t Want Me For A Sunbeam – Nirvana – 8
    7. Got My Mind Set On You – George Harrison – 6
    8. Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin – 8 Bonus Who wrote it: Kris Kristofferson
    9. Them Bones – Alice In Chains – 3
    10. Bang A Gong – Marc BolanT Rex – 16
    11. Crying – Roy Orbison – 13
    12. Beat It – Michael Jackson – 8 Bonus Guitarist: Eddie Van Halen
    13. Baker Street – Gerry Raferty 25
    14. California Love – Tupac & Dr.Dre 5
    15. Who Wants To Live Forever – Queen – 25 Bonus movie: Highlander
    16. 5 Seconds Alone – Pantera – 8 Bonus Name his killer: Nathan Gale
    17. I Walk The Line – Johnny Cash – 10
    18. Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye – 10 Bonus Name his killer: His Father, Marvin Gaye SR.
    19. I Got You (I Feel Good) – James Brown – 1

    Top score 20.5/25 My score 24/25

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