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Bluesfest: Day 6 Bluesfest's sixth day was a weird one. I wasn't expecting to go at all because, once again, I was schedueled to work straight through the night. Strangely - though, I suppose, fortunately - circumstances instigated an argument with my boss which resulted in, well, me walking out.
It's not every day I get to sponteniously quit my job. This was cause for celebration. I strolled over to Bluesfest (a mere block away from where I work - er, worked) and found Jon selling Mobile t-shirts at the Main Stage merch tent. Apparently I missed their absolutely incredible set (is it indeed difficult to pick up written sarcasm?), but I was lucky enough to make it in time for some unknown named Nelly Furtado. Hot.
I once again took advantage of my little press pass, wandering beyond the lowly peons to that cozy nook between the crowd and the stage. My smug sense of superiority was quickly shot down, though: turns out Nelly specifically requested that no press be allowed in their usual special spot - the spot I was making myself comfortable in that very moment - and so I was cast back into the real world, forced to quite literally stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the "normals". Sigh.
I was kind of impressed with that set. I'm not really a fan of Nelly's music, mind you, but she's a solid performer. I couldn't really tell if the crowd was overly into it, but it's tough to tell with these things: for the majority of the people there, this was probably the only concert they would see all year - which is fine and all, but it makes me a little uncomfortable. I'm used to indie rock shows, where every kid present has a very specific sense of how he or she is supposed to act while there - it's kind of refreshing, then, to be at a concert free of empty bullshit facades. We music snobs could learn a thing or two about show etiquette from the soccer moms balancing atop their too-old lawn chairs.
Jon finished work when Nelly finished her set. We grabbed a bite and then promptly headed for what has quickly become our favourite area, the Black Sheep Stage. It was there that we were fortunate enough to see:
The Grande Mothers
Now this was unexpected. It hadn't occurred to me, when I first read the fesitval guide, that this wasn't just some band playing Frank Zappa songs: this was fucking Frank Zappa's band. Thank God I quit my job.
Though it wasn't the best show I've seen this week, it was easily the most pleasently surprising. There can be no replacement for a Frank Zappa show, but this came pretty damn close. The boys (who have all played with Zappa at various stages in his career) emboddied the very essence of the word "charasimatic" - and the crowd was eating it up. Five or six people would yell out various song titles between songs, hoping to hear their favourites - the band's response? "Requests cost ten Finnish marks - not dollars, not euros, not yen - just Finnish marks". Fair enough.
Mocking Music and Revolution Rock Present: Sunset Rubdown Tickets are still up for grabs for this exciting concert event! All you've got to do is send me an email (email@example.com) with "Sunset Rubdown Tickets" in the subject line - or, hell, leave a comment here with your name and email address - and you could be seeing this great live show for free!
Bluesfest: Day 5 Bluesfest's fifth day has come and gone. Once again, I brought my camera and snapped a few pictures -- a few of which turned out alright.
By now, it has almost become routine for me to head straight to the Blacksheep stage. That was exactly what I did last night and, as usual, I (mostly) did not regret the choice.
First up was:
Mark Kozelek Kozelek may be familiar to many of you as the frontman of Sun Kil Moon and Red House Painters. Last night it was just him and one other guitarist on the stage. His most famous solo effort was arguably his album of AC/DC covers, What's Next to the Moon, in which he radically altered the originals. His original work has rested on highly personal themes of loss, despair, memory and geography.
Regrettably, none of those themes really shone through when he played last night. He was just going through the motions. There was no sense of urgency or even agency in his set. In what I hope was an off night his disinterest was reflected onto the audience. Most people chatted away and did not pay close attention to his music.
The experience was summed up when Kozelek left the stage early. A full hour, in fact, before the next band was supposed to take the stage. A veteran musician, Kozelek knew he was not playing to his usual standards (I hope) and ended it. This turned out to be a positive because the headliners were able to play a longer set.
That next band was:
Son Volt Son Volt was that other band that resulted from Uncle Tupelo's split in the mid-90s. When the seminal alt-country band broke up its two founders, Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy, started their own seperate groups that have continued to redifine alternative country. Those two bands were, of course, Son Volt and Wilco.
After the former's Bluesfest performance, I was amazed that they had never achieved Wilco's level of popularity. The crowd's reaction to Son Volt was in stark contrast to the passivity that Kozelek had received. Everyone was involved in their amazing performance.
Son Volt combined the best elements of country, hard rock and folk music with scientific precision. Great ballads and guitar onslaughts abounded their set; and neither seemed out of place or awkward.
In the encore, Farrar played a solo singer/songwriter song that put Kozelek and Ani DiFranco to shame. Everyone was captivated by his words. His bandmates joined him for the next two songs and they finished with a bang.
My friend Candice later commented that: "They owned that stage." I couldn't have agreed more.
Thu., October 26th, Photos by Renee Caissie..... Photos by Ren
Cashmere DisciplesJon EpworthJonny StevensPat Deighan & The Orb WeaversThe Audreys
Thu., October 26th, Photos By Alexander O'Neill....... All photos by Alejandro The Great........
Double Ought Buckshot
Duchess SaysElliot BroodGilbert Switzer
Japanther Nikkie Tala
Catherine MacLellan- With her expressive guitar playing, beautiful melodies, and evocative vocals, Catherine MacLellan pulls the listener into her world of song. She is the daughter of famed songwriter Gene (Snowbird, Put Your Hand in the Hand)
(Added: 4-Sep-2006 Hits: 209 Rating: 0 Votes: 0) Rate It
Tue., September 21st, Notes from the Road - August 2010 Buzz Article It was this July, at Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, Ontario, that I realized the similarities between Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island. Now, you may wonder how I would come to this realiz...
Tue., September 21st, Notes from the Road - July 2010 Buzz Article As my first crop of lettuce was coming up in my garden, the first feelings of summer were washing over the island. Beautiful, warm, sun-filled days, music-filled evenings and appearances of friend...
Tue., September 21st, Notes from the Road - June 2010 Buzz Article I left my fledgling garden, flew high over the Great Lakes and landed in a late spring snowstorm in Calgary, Alberta. It was an unexpected turn of events and when I met up with the Olympic Sympho...
Tue., September 21st, Notes from the Road - The Buzz Article - May Hey Folks, I've been writing for PEI's local entertainment magazine, and thought it was time to share these with you...Starting with May... originally published in the May 2010 edition of The Buzz.Not...
Wed., July 28th, summer changes I went into my garden today, urged by a friend to be attentive of my garlic.Garlic, the one thing in the garden you can pretty much ignore from the time you plant it in the fall until the stalks start...
EdTechTalk - Educational Technology That Talks- EdTechTalk is a community of educators interested in discussing and learning about the uses of educational technology. We webcast several live shows each week. Our 'main' show, hosted by Dave Cormier & Jeff Lebow, features the latest news from the world of edtech and the edublogosphere.
(Added: 6-May-2006 Hits: 204 Rating: 0 Votes: 0) Rate It
While things have gotten a bit quiet on the the EdTechTalk site, Teachers Teaching Teachers continues to have great conversations Wednesday nights at 9pm EST (global times). Below is a playlist of recent episodes. Tune in at: http://edtechtalk.com/ttt
Vinnie and arvind talk about the People of Color Conference, Student Diversity Leadership Conference, and the current state of protests in New York, the show of force by the NYPD outside of arvind's school, and the impact on students and faculty.
Because of the AAC encoding, and the embedded images and links, this is a much larger file than the regular MP3 version (32MB vs. 12MB). But it also sounds a lot better. Feedback welcome on whether this is worth it.
The focus of this episode was on Zap Your PRAM 3, the next incarnation of the Zap Your PRAM conference we organized in the fall of 2003. Zap3 is running February 16 to 19, 2006 in Cavendish, PEI; details forthcoming shortly on the new Zap3site.
There is, alas, an annoying bit of electrical interference that runs throughout the episode -- it's most noticeable at the beginning. I tried various methods for filtering it out, but they all made Dan, Steven and I sound like drunken fish. Here's a rundown of what you'll hear:
Like all other things web, it's deceptively hard to come up with realistic numbers for "readership" or "listenership." Web requests can come from too many places, in too many guises, to each be dependably tied to a real person.
That said, we can get a vague idea of the "listenership" of Live From the Formosa Tea House by looking at the number of times the MP3 audio files have been downloaded. This doesn't mean they've been listened to, of course, but it's better than nothing.
So here are the episode statistics, covering downloads from September 27, 2004 to the present:
This episode runs one and a half hours. It didn't feel "too long" when we were recording it, so we've decided to release it completely unedited to maintain the "three guys having lunch" feel. It may feel too long to listen to. Things we discuss:
Our technical setup.
Recent travels by Dan to Peru and Peter to France and upcoming travel by Steven to London and Paris (for his honeymoon). [starts 2:42]
London bombings, "terrorists are people too." [starts 28:30]
An extended riff on the differences between employees, entrepreneurs and freelancers, the responsibility to be "open" about what we do, charging for "mind share" vs. "billing by the hour," refusing to write proposals for new projects, "adults don't really know what's going on," how we price our services, how we select our clients. [starts 43:50]
Mark Hemphill - Just Audio- Podcasts from Mark Hemphill, an assistant professor at the University of Prince Edward Island. He joined the faculty at UPEI after a ten year career in enterprise software and B2B ecommerce. He is currently working on his phd through the European Graduate School of Media and Communications. His research interests though broad consist especially of the social and commercial forces of the Internet.
(Added: 29-May-2005 Hits: 382 Rating: 0 Votes: 0) Rate It
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Mon., May 1st, Welcome to my myspace. I'm Moe Gorman Well, I've bin reading all about this mysapce thing ehre in The Guardian, about how some of the local music talent are getting well known or wahtnot putting there music up on this blog. Figured ...
Nikkie- Nikkie's music is a diverse blend of folk, pop and rock. She has been writing songs since grade five. Although she has lived as far away as Calgary, Alberta, Nikkie once again calls PEI her home.
(Added: 4-Sep-2006 Hits: 156 Rating: 0 Votes: 0) Rate It
Mon., February 15th, Nikkie Music Survey Hey guys, I would really, really like it if you would take a moment to fill out a survey about my music. It would be much appreciated and will only take a minute! http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RQY72TH...
Sun., February 7th, Nikkie Newsletter New Year Edition Hey hey!
A new year is upon us, and with that comes new New Year?s resolutions (or ?goals-that-I-refer-back-to-at-least-once-a-year?, as I prefer to call them). One of my goals for this year is to ...
Tue., November 3rd, Nikkie Newsletter Version Imperial Excitement! Hey guys!It's that time again for a Nikkie Update.Oh my heavens, it's been a while, hey? I was sure I told you guysabout my going to school, but I guess I haven't. I'm now in my second(and final) year...
Fri., June 20th, Nikkie Newsletter June 08 Edition! Hello all,It's been a while so I thought I should check in with you folks. :)Some of you might have noticed www.nikkie.ca was went down last week, I'm very sorry if any of you were trying to access i...
Fri., June 1st, Nikkie Newsletter - Cusp of Summer version Hey all,Since we talked last, I've bought a house in Charlottetown, and havebeen working steadily at getting it livable. Oddly enough, we'reliving in it now, and it's still not what I'd call livable.H...
Patty and Eugene do UPEI- In this video documentary, follow Patty, a loud-mouthed party animal, and Eugene, his uber-academic roommate, through their days at UPEI.
(Added: 23-Jan-2007 Hits: 104 Rating: 0 Votes: 0) Rate It
Episode 6: The Hair Flip It's St. Patrick's Day, and time to party. Patty finally convinces Eugene to accompany him to the campus pub to celebrate, but not before Eugene gets a few pointers from Derek on how to be a smooth operator. This is the final installment of the adventures of Patty and Eugene.
Episode 5: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun After approximately six weeks of no Patty & Eugene to entertain you, the newest installment of everyone's favorite campus duo is back. Episode 5: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun comes in at a whopping 15 minutes of pure Patty and Eugene entertainment. Since it's too big for YouTube, you'll either have to subscribe to it in iTunes (recommended... use the link on the right) or check it out on Blip.tv.
Episode 4: Boys Will Be Boys Eugene starts to work up the courage to talk to his secret crush as Patty grows more and more frustrated with that "guy from the library."
Rock Snob Radio Podcast- A radio show featuring Al and Jussy and friends as we talk about the tunes that catch our attention and the local music scene around Charlottetown, PEI.
(Added: 2-Jan-2006 Hits: 187 Rating: 0 Votes: 0) Rate It
Rock Snob Radio Episode 5 - The Return OK, so Jussy is still in the hospital, and we're all waiting impatiently for his triumphant return, but until then I've recruited Taylor to co-host the show with me and we recorded a new episode last night as we goofed around the Queen St. Commons before heading over to Indie Dance Night. Doing our best to lower the standard of discourse in every medium we can.
It's a good thing I've adopted the strategy of spending only a small amount of cash when I go out or this week would have killed me, between trivia / karaoke on Tuesday, OFU / Pat Deighan on Wednesday, Walter Shreifels / Bucket Truck on Thursday and tonight's show this week has been pretty much solidly ferocious.
Tonight I was staring down the barrel of an evening shared with a programming book and my NES emulator, which gave me another good reason to leave the house even if I was on my own. I walked past one of those uniquely hilarious displays of rage outside of Myron's, the choice quote was "Oh yeah? Well I'll find the back door then I'm gonna burn this fucking place to the ground!" Apparently he was from Montague so he didn't give a shit. Good to know.
Fortunately Gonzo got into Hunter's right after I did so I wasn't alone for very long. Also, my deciding to stay home and watch a Futurama episode I hadn't seen before ended up leading to near perfect timing as the Officer Girls started sound checking about right when I got there.
Officer Girl (I don't honour novelty capitalizations, sorry, rusty.) started off playing my favourite song of their's from their first batch of songs that they played all over town this Summer. They started off pretty well, playing my favourite song of theirs, "Wreck Rip" I think it's called. (actually you can hear this one by going to officergirl.com and clicking on the big poster image thing.)
The crowd that stood up as soon as they started knew all the songs and were familiar enough with the band to really get up and bop along. These girls are definitely still the hot band in town.
The thing that keeps me listening to Officer Girl is that they seem to have a nack for throwing in very familiar-sounding chunks of some melody or riff lifted from some rock or pop song, and run through a rock tumbler to be punched around enough to fit with their off-cambre style. So your ears keep getting tingly feelings of familiarity while the rhythms keep on changing up and sneaking around to tap you on the other shoulder. There were a bunch of times when I was sure the song was over and they just switch right up into another time signature and keep on playing the same song. Unpredictable in a way that keeps my brain on its toes. These guys have some great talent, and by now everyone who cares about good, original music around here knows it.
That was just the appetizer, though. I have to admit right here that I really didn't know much about the Dean Malenkos. I sort of ignored the PEILocals message board threads pimping their new website or what-have-you. I just figured they were some bar rock band by the sounds of the name. Good thing I stuck around to be proven a complete and utter idiot.
Gonzo's description when I asked him what they were like was "twitchy punk" which I took to mean that they had a drummer who liked to think he was in charge of things. Usually that can be pretty cool, as long as I'm not in the band, in which case the drummer should simmer down and stop getting uppity. But if it's not me having to follow along to the crazy time changes and bizarre stops and starts then it can be pretty damn excellent to listen to. My interest was piqued.
I knew things would be good when the drummer (Jon Empworth, the only member I really had ever heard of before) did his warmup and drilled the shit out of the drum kit like it was just sitting in his way. Before they started they began to taunt the crowd a little, like any good 'fighting against all odds' punk rock outfit should. They complimented Officer Girl, saying if they knew the opening band were going to be that good they would have practiced.
As the Dean Malenkos started the people taking up the little area in front of the "stage" suddenly switched from being a friendly-looking crowd of mostly regulars to a rather more uniformly male and uniformly less sociable bunch, obviously people who had arrived just for them. That's usually not a bad thing except for the guy who thought that hardcore dancing on a 9 foot x 6 foot stage was a totally dope idea.
... behind the scenes as al cobbles together his review...
al says: I'm listening to the songs on the malenkos' website and can't figure out if they played any given one or not al says: stupid punk rock
... that was your exclusive look behind the scenes of al's review embellishing magic.
They did the make fun of PEI thing pretty consistently for most of their set, something I've heard enough times before to not find it all that ironic anymore, but they totally pwned our entire province when they actually played part of a Haywire song. There as absolutely nothing one can say to that. The closest anyone came was when the guy next to me pointed out that Dartmouth didn't really count as Halifax. A nice try, but didn't phase them, natch.
As for the songs, punk rock is punk rock is loud and quick and punchy and not at all constructed to stay in your head. I remember the excellent drumming, and the pretty hilarious lyrics, but they didn't really cohesively form themselves into discrete units in my memory that I would remember as songs.
Anyway, here are links to the songs on their website, to make up for my not being able to slip in names of songs into this review to try and sound like I know what I'm talking about:
Definitely the kind of thing I can never get enough of live but really can't sit down and listen to at home. The lyrics are chuckle-worthy and the energy is there, but it's not quite my thing in that environment, I suppose. Same goes for dance-y techno stuff, really. Gotta be in the right setting. But as live acts go, these guys gave me everything I wanted, and also THEY PLAYED CRAZY TRAIN. And didn't throw in any of that Sum 41 'we're too cool for this' bullshit, either. They played a hard song, showed that it was hard, and played it pretty well. Then later on they played "Panama", and even as the singer did the David Lee Roth "raach down between my legs" bit, you weren't made to feel like a loser for enjoying it. This also put them solidly in the camp of punk rock musicians who can really play their instruments well, for what it's worth.
They seemed to have a good time, the way the stage was set up it didn't really give a lot of people a chance to move around, but then again it can often look pretty barren at a bigger stage like Myron's if it's not totally packed, and I got up as close as I wanted, so I can't really complain. The sound was certainly good. If they keep booking bills like this one Hunter's could really rise to the top of the local venues all on its own. Technorati Tags: Music, Concerts, PEI, Officer+Girl, Dean+Malenkos
This was a really great show tonight. I wasn't really planning on going anywhere or doing anything tonight, had a nice slow day, and was kind of kicking around the house just waiting to get tired enough to go to bed for the night. It's nights like that when wandering off by yourself to see a show really becomes appealing.
Hunter's is big enough that the place can seem a little empty if it isn't brimming with people. That's how it looked when I got there around 10:30.
I had some good conversations with a couple of dudes from Out From Under, especially the extremely attractive Jeff Cameron. We had to cut my diatribe about the PEI electoral system short because they needed to go set up the sound system, I almost said "Oh, good, it's about time." but I kept my mouth shut.
First up was Andrea playing solo. Normally she's the MC for Baba's Open Mic Night, where she's been steadily and humbly doing her thing for quite a while now, playing a few songs each night before the rest of the performers come on. Normally she'll do a few of her own songs and a few covers, her version of “Basement Apartment” left her voice in my head when I think of that song instead of Sarah Harmer's, and I've only seen her do it once. But tonight was a bit of a coming out event for her, and she did all her own songs. Unfortunately her guitar pickup was causing a bit of a buzzing in the sound system (my little guitar does the same thing, a pain I know all too well.) but as long as she was playing it it wasn't very noticeable.
Andrea's singing is very powerful, her voice reminds me a lot of Dar Williams, one of my favourite folk singers. They both have a voice that projects confidence and seriousness without being at all shrill or too high-pitched. Her playing is standard acoustic pop/folk fair, with steady rhythm and lots of interesting quick little chord changes, and her playing never took a back seat while she was singing, she can balance the two very nicely.
And her lyrics are worth paying attention to as well, mostly little sad songs but the few happy ones she has make you really smile. Even the sad songs have their poignant moments that bring a smile to your face. She writes intelligent lyrics that aren't just about boys. One funny moment came when she had written a new verse to one of her songs but didn't have it memorized, so she wrote it out on her arm and had to roll up her sleeve before playing the song. I hope she gets to play more shows in front of more poeple, she's got something good going on to be sure.
Out From Under came on next. The last couple of times I've seen them they've opened for some other band. In my opinion I'd have put them at the end each time, but maybe they're too humble or generous for that. It's OK, though, they still get their groove on very nicely. OFU's country sound storms out of the gates and dominates their other influences enough that I really don't hesitate to call them a country band anymore.
The singing style is pretty similar to the Corb Lund Band, if you've ever heard them. Beefy but lighthearted lyrics about sometimes bizarre subjects. You can tell that they have a total blast writing and performing music, and there's no reason why it shouldn't be all about having fun.
They're all about the shuffle rhythm, really great for getting people dancing, which a few eventually did even though it was a bit of a slow night at Hunter's. Their new bass player could really hold down the fort with his playing, he fit in perfectly with the rest. And their guitar playing is always superb with extended melodic playing through most of a song that is of the skill of most people's guitar solos.
The drumming was nice and lively as well, with the bass and the guitars there was always a bit of a blur between the rhythm and lead sections, with one melting into the other really nicely the way a good jam band is able to.
Last up was Pat Deighan and the Orb Weavers. I've always enjoyed these guys when I've seen them, which was always to open for some other act, most recently they opened for Mark Bragg and did an excellent job of getting people warmed up.
Now that I've seen them about 3 times or so it's to the point where I know their songs well enough to remember a few snatches of verses and remember how the riffs and solos go. They're rather less adventurous than OFU are, perhaps because of the nature of the makeup of the band and the fact that it's much less of a melee.
The drummer kept kind of quiet most of the set, just keeping time and not really making himself noticed. Then in the second-last song he really let loose and pounded out some pretty rapid-fire sequences. I don't know why he saved himself up like that, he could have really been a lot less pedestrian for the whole show. The last song had some more skilled drumming as well with a few tight time signature changes, not something that the band does very much of right now.
The guitar playing is the strongest part of their sound, very aggressive and tight with good interplay between rhythm and lead. You can tell that the creative force behind the band is nearly all in the guitar playing. That leaves the bass to just take up following the melodic line and not really mark its own territory.
If I was a manager and this band played a tryout in front of me the first thing I would do is match them up with some little guy who's completely off his nut crazy to sing for them. Someone who could really let loose and show some real feeling in his singing. The singer seems like he's concentrating more on his playing and almost doesn't have it in him to really put the same punchiness into his vocals as he so naturally does in the guitar playing.
I think they'd do a great job backing up some unhinged maniac singer. If anything it would grab people's attention and be a real stage presence to be reckoned with. That's not to say that they're not enjoyable to watch now, but right now it's more an exercise in watching a great guitar player show off his stuff with a band and try to sing at the same time than to really watch a group of players flourish to their full potential. Technorati Tags: Music, Concerts, PEI
(17:34:05) Can't Keep A Good Pants Down: Just got a call from Nick(Justin's Brother). Justin woke up today, is recognizing everybody. Trying to talk, but they still have a tube in his throat. They're hoping to take that out and put him on a mask tomorrow, so we all may be able to see him in a few days, hopefully
also... just in case some don't know Justin is suffering from ards..
more info here... http://args.org
Yippie Justin is improving!!!! tell whoever should know.. :)
Roy Johnstone, musician- Roy Johnstone has been a vital force in the East Coast musical community for the past twenty seven years. Not only is he one of the most accomplished fiddle players in Atlantic Canada but he has also received accolades for both his music compositions and his studio production.
(Added: 3-Dec-2005 Hits: 251 Rating: 0 Votes: 0) Rate It
The new work Abeqweit: Symphony for an Island received a standing ovation ! Thanks to conductor, Karem Simon and the orchestra and to Richard Covey who co-composed the work with me. photo by Dar MacGregor.