Thursday, February 25, 2010

NEW PHOTOS : Constantines & Wintersleep at LiveCity Yaletown

The Constantines and Wintersleep both played sets spanning their entire discographies, pleasing fans and intriguing new listeners. Both sets saw the crowd singing along to choruses. The Cons had fans clapping in rhythm to the thumping bass while lead singer Bry Webb barked out the powerful pieces of lyricism that the Cons are known for-- whether it's "can I get a witness?" "love can be a shower of stones," or "you do what you can do with what you got," Webb's gravelly growl was forceful and commanding.

For the whole photo set, visit my Flickr.

Below are some live clips from the Constantines' set at LiveCity Yaletown on February 23, 2010 as part of the Cultural Olympiad in Vancouver.

"Hotline Operator"

"Nighttime/Anytime (It's Alright)"

The videos thanks to NxEW, courtesy of

FREE DOWNLOADS : Dan Mangan to perform with Shane Koyczan on NBC's Today Show

From Dan's blog:

I am incredibly proud to announce that I am performing with dear friend Shane Koyczan on NBC’s “Today Show” with Matt Lauer, airing 8am (PST/EST) on Friday, February 26th!

If you perhaps found your way to this site via the magical interweb on behalf of this broadcast and are seeking confirmation that you’ve found the right place - you most certainly have.

I watched Shane blow the world away with one of his poems “We Are More” at the 2010 Winter Olympic Opening Ceremonies. An undeniable highlight of the event, Shane Koyczan just stepped up to the proverbial plate. How many people watching? 2 Billion? 2.5 Billion? Some say 3 billion? I’d seen Shane tame a crowd of thousands with words alone before, but never with the added power of modern television. Koyczan 2.0.

I’m completely honoured he has asked me to join him for his performance on NBC.

To celebrate this event, I wanted to offer a free two-song download to new (and old) visitors to the website.. "Road Regrets" is the lead-off track to my new album Nice, Nice, Very Nice, and "Tragic Turn Of Events / Move Pen Move" is a fairly heavy piece that Shane and I originally recorded for his album A Pretty Decent Cape In My Closet and was eventually released again on my Roboteering EP in 2009.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Live Blogging Olympic Music : Coeur de Pirate & Great Lake Swimmers

February 21, 2010

La Maison du Quebec and Ontario Pavilion sure have stellar musical line-ups despite their horrible lack of getting the word out. Quebec House featured acts such as Malajube, Les Trois Accords and last night's Coeur de Pirate, while Ontario Pavilion rivaled with acts such as the Arkells, Broken Social Scene, and last night's Great Lake Swimmers. It's clear that whomever the artistic coordinators are deserves great kudos. The vast talent of central Canada is further displayed via the Ontario House soundtrack, which featured the likes of Jill Barber and Jason Collett.

Where they differed, however, were the line-ups out the doors. Ontario Pavilion always had at least hour-long trails of people out its doors, as well as a separate line-up for its 4D theatre. Quebec House, in contrast, saw a steady flow of people in and out of its white cube, save for during performances. This meant some finessing when going from show to show; thankfully, they were within 2 minutes walk from one another within the larger Concord Pacific Place, which worked out very well when I went from Coeur de Pirate's set to that of Great Lake Swimmers'.

I try to keep commenting of artists' appearances to a minimum unless it adds in some way to the performance, but it's safe to say that Beatrice Martin, aka. Coeur de Pirate, is a very worthy winner of the CBC Radio 3 Bucky Award for Sexiest Musician. A petite blonde coming in at a similarly petite 20 years old, Montreal's CdP dazzled the forlorn Canadian hockey crowd after a 5-3 loss to the US hockey team.

It's tough coming on stage right after a deflating game, but the sweet piano melodies and charming voice of Martin soon had the audience rapt and grinning. She also encouraged spirits by bantering in both English and French, frequently commenting how she loved it when we clapped to her songs-- before, during and after. She wrapped up her lovely set with 3 gems-- a cover of fellow Montrealers Malajube, the big hit "Comme des enfants" and a cover of Rihanna's "Umbrella." Yes, you heard me right. The latter song got an energetic kick as a piano ballad, complete with an adorable french accent. Coeur de Pirate ended by informing us that she was doing another set at 8pm, which was a short 15 minutes later. Although I didn't stay for that set, I'm sure many others got to enjoy her once more.

A somewhat unrelated note: Martin seems to like writing in 3/4 time, which is good news for all you waltz dancers out there.

For the complete Coeur de Pirate photo set, visit my Flickr.

After waiting a short while in line for Ontario Pavilion, I was soon within its reddish-glow bounds waiting for Toronto's Great Lake Swimmers. The crowd was considerably more low key than for Broken Social Scene the night before. Unfortunately, I was standing in between two people who seemed to enjoy their self-proclaimed favourite band by talking loudly through the set. Of course, when security escorted them away from the front, there was a collective sigh of relief.

Outside of some problems with feedback during opening track "She Comes to Me in Dreams," Great Lake Swimmers was as usual-- wonderful, incredibly tight, with Tony Dekker's voice soaring quietly above the beautiful instrumentation of his bandmates. Miranda Mulholland once again joined the Swimmers and, decked in an "I <3 Parkdale" shirt, proved to be a favourite with the audience. Not only that, judging by the time that the spotlight person and cameramen graced her with their attention, the technical crew saw a star in the redhead as well.

After a set representing their entire discography, Great Lake Swimmers were cheered back on stage for an encore, which was not even granted to the rowdy Broken Social Scene crowd of the night before. They obliged by covering Neil Young's "Harvest," and closing off the night with a lullaby "Concrete Heart."

All in all, a great concert, although lacking somewhat in the intimacy that made the show a month ago at the Vogue Theatre so unforgettable.

Here's the set list for the show:

For the complete Great Lake Swimmers photo set, visit my Flickr.

News from the New Pornographers : New Album, Free Download, Tour Dates!

It was on May 29, 2007 that we released the first music from Challengers. One of our favorite songs called "My Rights Versus Yours." (Rosie O'Donnell also announced she was leaving "The View" that day. Coincidence??)

Nearly three years later, we proudly present to you the first song from Together, entitled "Your Hands (Together)."
You can download it here:

The inspirations for the song is a magical trifecta of Black Sabbath's War Pigs with ABBA's Waterloo and Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Christine." Please feel free to tell all of your friends about it and make sure to play it LOUD!

We are also in the works of confirming our full touring schedule for 2010 and plan to traverse a good part of the four corners of the world. To satiate you right now, the following tour dates are now confirmed and on sale.

Tour Dates

19 May London, UK - Electric Ballroom
21 May Berlin Germany - Magnet 'Club NME'
22 May Hamburg, Germany - Molotow
23 May Amsterdam, Holland - Melkweg
25 May Brussels, Belgium - Orangerie
26 May Paris, France - La Maroquinerie
27 May Toulouse, France - Cafe Rex
28 May Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound
31 May Quincy, WA - Sasquatch Music Festival

Go to our website for full ticketing information.

We're also now on twitter! Connect with us in every imaginable social networking way possible!

NEW LIVE VIDEO : Mother Mother unveil new song on CBC Radio Q

From their yet-unreleased new album, here's Mother Mother with "Simply Simple," performed in Studio 40 at the Vancouver CBC Broadcast Centre for the Q taping.


NEW VIDEO : You Say Party! We Say Die! - There is XXXX (Within My Heart)

Vancouver-based dance punk band You Say Party! We Say Die! has released another video off their latest fantastic album XXXX. This video, for the first track of the album "There is XXXX (Within My Heart)," takes more conceptual risks than the other video for "Dark Days." And it succeeds in creating a certain mood. But judge for yourself!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

NEW PHOTOS : Broken Social Scene, Feb 20 at Ontario Pavilion

For the complete photo set, visit my Flickr.

NEW PHOTOS : Stars & Hey Rosetta!, Feb. 19 at the Orpheum

No reviews for this show; because needless to say, it was breathtaking and awesome. The only thing I have to say is that when people demand an encore, and you don't give it to them, they will boo! This is what happened with Hey Rosetta!'s set.

Tim Baker of Hey Rosetta!


Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan

For the complete photo set, visit my Flickr.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

NEW LIVE VIDEOS : Off the floor of CBC Radio Q taping

Enjoy two recordings from musical guests of CBC Radio Q on February 18, 2010 -- Vancouver's Mother Mother and Montreal's Stars.

Apologies for the poor video quality, but the sound should be just fine.

Mother Mother performing a stripped down version of "O My Heart":

Stars performing "Dead Hearts," a new song off of their yet-unreleased new album:

Live Blogging Olympic Music : Karkwa, Jill Barber & Hawksley Workman

I assure you the belatedness of this live blogging business is due to obligatory bodily demands such as sleep and food. I'll try to have a blog entry or Flickr photo set for every night that I attend shows for.

At this point, Canada was 4th place in terms of medal count. 90+% of Canadians had watched at least part of an Olympic sporting event on TV. And by Wednesday, February 17, 2010, the cultural component of the Olympics brought out the big guns with one of Canadian indie's hottest exports Feist and Chilly Gonzales playing a paid show at the Orpheum, and hurtin' Albertan Corb Lund playing LiveCity Yaletown. And of course, the shows below.

It's fair to say that I had no expectations whatsoever of Karkwa when I entered the Air Canada Stage at la Place de la Francophonie at an early 6pm. I had heard raving reviews of them from good friend Kirk at 3amrevelations and decided to venture out to Granville Island, on a sort of blind musical date. It's more than fair to say that Karkwa got a second date; they were a shock and a delight. Like fellow Francophone rockers Malajube, the members of Karkwa have a knack for knitting together elaborate, dazzling rock compositions that astound you with their beauty but knock you backwards with their force. And what a force! They had both percussionist Julien Sagot and drummer Stéphane Bergeron pounding on floor toms for many of the songs. Lead guitarist and vocalist Louis-Jean Cormier complemented the complex musical backdrop not by an overpowering voice, but by using his voice as another layer.

Next up, we have the lovely Jill Barber at the Richmond O Zone. After Karkwa, my company and I rushed from Granville Island to the nearby Vancouver suburb to catch Barber as she wraps up the first song in her set. With only a keyboardist and guitarist accompanying her, Jill Barber put on a stripped down show consisting equally of songs from older albums, as well as from her jazz-infused latest Chances. Her sultry presence and set full of romantic songs about love and loves lost had couples slow dancing in the audience, and the rest of us feeling kind of nostalgic.

After Jill left the stage, the crew hands set up the stage for the last anticipated act-- Hawksley Workman. Fronted by Ryan Corrigan (aka. Hawksley Workman) and backed by his companion Todd Lumley, aka. Mr. Lonely and full backing band, Hawksley put on not only a musically entertaining show, but showed his prowess as a performer with a hilarious and banterful stage presence. Always engaging, with stories that range from sexual dreams to moving to Amsterdam for a lover and so much more, Hawksley engaged us for the full hour and a bit that he was on stage. The set was heavy on new material off his newest Meat and Milk, with only the last three songs being older favourites-- "Smoke Baby," "Your Beauty Must Be Rubbing Off On Me," and "The City Is A Drag."

For live tweets from more Olympic shows, check out my Twitter.

Friday, February 19, 2010

NEW VIDEO : Two Hours Traffic - Noisemaker

This upbeat rocker is from Charlottetown's Two Hours Traffic's latest album Territory. I'm very partial to this song in particular because of the distortion effects right at the end of the song. The video features the boys of THT playing to an animated, frightening looking city.

Two Hours Traffic just played two nights in a row at the Vancouver Olympics, rocking out in Atlantic Canada House. They'll be playing two more shows in Metro Vancouver for the Olympics before going up to Whistler and then back to central Canada.

25 Feb 2010 20:00
Minoru Park Richmond, British Columbia
26 Feb 2010 20:00
Holland Park Surrey, British Columbia
27 Feb 2010 16:30
Village Square - Whistler Live! Whistler, British Columbia


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Live Blogging Olympic Music : Jenn Grant & Kathleen Edwards

Since I'm writing this a day late, I can also add-- first female gold medal for Maelle Ricker of North Vancouver in snowboard cross! My mom and I were watching--no, wincing-- throughout the preliminary rounds because of the choppy snow and heavy fog that lingered, necessitating a second qualifying round. And it was in this second round that Ricker came in third, sending her to the race which saw her beat her competitors by a mile and garner the third medal on the troubled Cypress Mountains. Very well done, Maelle, and what a big, contagious grin she bared to the TV cameras!

In a lot of ways, Ricker echoed a lot of the energy that dedication that Jenn Grant and Kathleen Edwards (and bands) demonstrated the night before in their shows at the Richmond O Zone on February 15th. Although the weather had been nice or overcast the entire day, the rain trickled in and came to a downpour once Grant's set began at 8:30. It wasn't just the rain; winds pelted sideways, bringing piles of accumulated rain down from the tarps above the outdoor stage onto the heads of front row listeners. Throughout the sets, especially Edwards', the band had to warm up their hands in between songs, and occasionally in between striking chords. Jim Bryson of Kathleen Edwards' band seemed to wince because some of his riffs simply couldn't happen because of his rigid fingers. But, needless to say, both bands stuck it through the set, and so did the soaked and shivering audience. So whether you were the ski officials up in Cypress or the fans down in the Cultural Olympiad, weather was the foremost thing on your minds.

Jenn Grant opened the night with her quirky voice and light pop. The show in Richmond was the second last of her 14 date Cultural Olympiad tour. Hailing from Prince Edward Island, I previously knew of Grant superficially from a few singles and the glowing recommendations from artists such as Hey Rosetta!. Unfortunately, the weather did not work in her favour, and the intricate and pretty pop orchestrations were largely distracted by the elements and the sheer size of the O Zone compared to the relatively small crowd. I wouldn't write off the show however; the crowd was still very pleased with her music, as well as her jovial banter. I would love to see her again in a smaller, more intimate venue-- indoors.

Kathleen Edwards and band stepped onto the stage amidst roars and applause, which was somewhat more muted than expected due to frozen hands. Edwards was warmly dressed in a poncho-- Peruvian and from her mother, as we were informed in between songs. Guitarist/keyboardist Jim Bryson (and established singer-songwriter in his own right) sported a toque and according to my friend, somewhat resembled Seth Rogen. It's fair to say that no layers were shed in this show. What was frequently shed were guitars; Edwards must've had no less than 5-6 guitar changes. She and band amped up the energy for the show, proving  to be better suited for the venue than their opening act.

Edwards kicked off her hour-plus set with the hockey-inspired "I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory." The show was filled with hits spanning from Failer in 2003 up to her latest, and the few times she went slower tempo, it worked in her favour. "Asking For Flowers," the title track off her latest 2008 Polaris short-listed album, was dedicated to the tireless Olympic volunteers. "Goodnight California" showcased Edwards' formidable fiddle skills, which was demonstrated in this one song in the whole set. That's not to say the band didn't pull their weight comparatively; both Jim Bryson and Edwards' husband and lead guitarist Colin Cripps switched between killer guitar solos and riffs and rhythm guitar alternately. Bassist Kevin McCarragher and drummer Joel Anderson kept the rhythm strong and thumping, and bodies in the crowd if not dancing, then at least shuffling enthusiastically.

It's perhaps apt that Kathleen Edwards played the day after Valentine's Day, as her songs are often filled with anguished love stories and fun kiss-offs. It's safe to say that it's always satisfying to listen to Edwards, whether on your iPod or in concert. And I'm very glad to have caught her live in one of her few, sporadic shows.

And of course, it's always nice to get a customized thank-you tweet from the band. Come back anytime, y'all.

And here is the set list for Kathleen Edwards' show. As you can tell, there are 2 new songs, "Mint" and "Empty Threat."

For some free tracks off her older records Failer and Back To Me (2005), check out Edwards' website under the Music section.

For more photos of the sets, check out my Flickr!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Live Blogging Olympic Music : Mother Mother, Elliott BROOD and GOLD!!!

Gold!!! Alexandre Bilodeau got the first gold medal in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics in Men's moguls! 7.3 million people watched Bilodeau's winning run and approximately a third of the Canadian population watched the run at least in part. Wow. That's a good trivia fact to remember kids. February 14 --Valentine's Day -- first Canadian gold medal on Canadian soil ever.

I found out about this great piece of news through the mesh fences of LiveCity Yaletown, the venue which Vancouver's own Mother Mother was to be playing at 8:00. The lineup around the site exploded with cheering and spontaneous singing of O Canada and the excitement was contagious. A man walked through the streets with a full-sized Canadian flag perched on his back, flapping in the wind. What a sight; the uncharacteristic exuberance and patriotism I'll never forget.

Mother Mother was introduced to the stage by one of the Olympic emcees. Although generally cheesy, this one seemed to know and be quite enamoured by MM, declaring that the reason why the band sells out venues nationwide with lineups winding around street corners is because "they're fricking AWESOME!" It was a highlight for sure and got many yelps and cheers from the crowd.

And awesome, they were. Every time I see Mother Mother live, I'm reminded why they were the recipients of the 2009 CBC Radio 3 Bucky Award for Best Live Act. The inventive, unpredictable chord progressions and harmonies explode in real life, and the confidence and style which the band execute their hits bring me back time after time. Lead guitarist and singer Ryan Guldemond stirred the crowd into an insane frenzy with wiry solos and his characteristic falsetto. Jasmin Parkin got some unintentional solos in the first part of the show due to some poor sound mixing; Molly was inaudible for a good bit and the typical three-part harmonies weren't restored until about 4-5 songs in. But there's no use dwelling on a short part of what was otherwise a killer set. The crowd was jumping and flinging about in no time, and of course a couple of crowd surfers graced us with their presence as well.

Seeing as it was Valentine's Day, the choice of "Arms Tonite" for the opening track of the set was very suitable. Mother Mother then blitzed through, hit after hit, their two albums Touch Up and O My Heart. Overheard in the crowd: "if they don't play 'Hayloft' I'm going to cry." Well, there was no need to fret, as MM saved the best for last and had the whole crowd go bananas with their latest single.

Much like the set by fellow Vancouverites Hey Ocean!, Mother Mother's set was sprinkled with new songs. Two, "Simply Simple" and "Eureka," were played previously in their live shows. Another new song, which started as a normal love ballad, got MM'ed rather quickly and turned into a rock out dance-fest a verse in. Can't wait for the new album, whenever that's slated to be out.

Toronto's Elliott BROOD played in LiveCity Downtown shortly after at 9:30; this LiveCity had a fraction of the capacity compared to LiveCity Yaletown. This resulted in two separate lineups- one to get into the plaza, and another hour long line within the plaza to get into the venue where the BROOD boys were playing. Lame, I know. Most of the set was spent outside watching the boys on a large screen, hearing the enthusiastic crowd banging their wooden spoons and cookie sheets to hits such as "The Valley Town" and "Write It All Down For You" from EB's latest Mountain Meadows. Not to be outdone, the 20-30ish people watching the screen outside, as well as some in the lineup, danced, jigged, and swung about to the music filtering out from the venue and the large TV outside, yours truly included. And boy, was it good dancing music. My legs were jelly by the end of the night.

For the very last song of their set, Elliott BROOD dedicated "Miss You Now" to their good friend Dan Mangan of Vancouver, saying  that they hope to see him soon. Dan, of course, returned the love via Twitter. By last half of the song, the lineup had disappeared, and I was able to run in quickly and snap the photo you see above of the dancing, enthusiastic, noisy crowd.

What a night; running from the show of the winner of Best Live Act to one of the finalists. Maybe next time I'll catch EB in real life real life, as opposed to on a screen, separated by glass and a lineup.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Said the Whale - Bear Bones EP & Tour

(Said the Whale playing the UBC torch relay)

Beloved Vancouver-based indie-pop quintet Said The Whale announce the digital release of Bear Bones their new five-song acoustic EP available February 16, exclusively through iTunes. The mini-album was recorded in band member Ben Worcester’s bedroom and features a stripped down version of "Emerald Lake, AB" - the track that won the band a 2009 CBC Radio 3 Bucky Award for Most Canadian Song. Bear Bones also features previously unreleased Said The Whale songs, "Pretty City," "A Song For Me" and "The Fish And The Stars."

Said The Whale are currently taking preorders for the vinyl version release of their Islands Disappear  sophomore album. The disc came out last year, but the 12” vinyl release will be available nearer to Said The Whale’s upcoming Canadian tour this spring. You can place a preorder through the bands website,

Said The Whale will be playing in their home province of B.C. over the upcoming Olympic Winter Games. The band will be on the road again in March with In-Flight Safety and have confirmed April and May tour dates across Central and Western Canada with Plants and Animals.

Bear Bones EP Tracklisting:

1. Pretty City
2. Strong Swimmers
3. A Song For Me
4. The Fish And The Stars
5. Emerald Lake, AB


February 19 – Robson Square – Vancouver, BC
February 20 – Surrey House Stage – Surrey, BC
March 25 – Green Room – Montreal, PQ^
March 26 – Zaphod’s – Ottawa, ON^
March 27 – El Mocambo – Toronto, ON^
March 28 – Casbah – Hamilton, ON^
March 29 – Mansion House – St. Catharines, ON^
March 30 – Music Hall – London, ON^
March 31 – Blind Dog – Windsor, ON^
April 01 – Red Dog – Peterborough, ON^
April 28 – WECC – Winnipeg, MB*
April 29 – Amigo’s – Saskatoon, SK*
April 30 – Starlite Room – Edmonton, AB*
May 1 – Royal Canadian Legion – Calgary, AB*
May 2 – Habitat – Kelowna, BC*
May 4 – Sugar – Victoria, BC*
May 5 – Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, BC*
^ - dates with In-Flight Safety
* - dates with Plants and Animals

Live Blogging Olympic Music : Hey Ocean! & First Canadian Medal!

February 13 marks the first Canadian medal - a silver - in the 2010 Olympic Games. Jennifer Heil won it for women's moguls skiing. Congratulations! When the medal was announced, a loud sustained roar rang throughout the O Zone, briefly confusing Hey Ocean! on stage.

Onto the music; Vancouver's own Hey Ocean! braved the pelting rain and wind, playing to a massive crowd at the Richmond O Zone. They were opening for Bedouin Soundclash. As the Dutch filtered out from the Holland Heineken House (ridiculously full), HO! saw their crowd size swell throughout the set. Not to say that they didn't draw a sizable crowd of their own; it was clear from the adolescent crowd that many had ventured from Richmond and nearby Vancouver and its suburbs to see this young and energetic band put on their famed live shows. And although they weren't able to bring out the sunshine in actuality, they sure kept the crowd warm with spirited pop songs guaranteed to move feet and shuffle bodies.

Hey Ocean! played a long set which featured a large amount of new songs, including the delightful "Bicycle Song" and "Uh Oh" which they had previously played live, as well as other ones that were brand new to me. And of course, they played mainstay favourites such as "Beatboxer (Who Broke My Heart)," "Alleyway" -- which inspired the obligatory lighter-waving -- and "A Song About California."

They even busted out a very enjoyable cover of The Cardigans' "Love Fool," which was very apt for the eve of Valentine's Day. If the crowd around me is any indication, many boys were smitten by Ashleigh Ball, who oozed her characteristic unassuming sex appeal, which was especially evident during this cover.

They also took the time to introduce Adam Cormier, their new drummer. Adam won over the crowd with an extended drum solo which ended with him doing a somersault. I assure you, with his afro-like mass of hair, it was very endearing.

Hey Ocean!, as one may have guessed by the sheer amount of new material, are in the process of releasing a new album, likely sometime in later in 2010. Until then, you can hear them in one of the two other Olympic shows they're playing-- February 19th at Robson Square, or Feb. 20th at Surrey 2010 Celebration Stage.

As for those of you wondering about Bedouin Soundclash, sorry to disappoint. I had to leave the crowd after HO!'s set because when you mix teenagers with alcohol, you get another different beast altogether-- a really annoying one.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Live Blogging Olympic Music : Malajube & Opening Ceremonies

I kicked off my Olympics celebrations at the cozy, kitschy corner of Vancouver known as Granville Island, where la Place de la Francophonie was located. After dinner, we caught the beginning of the Canadian anthem and bolted out the doors (after paying, of course) and ended up at the outdoor PdlF just in time to catch the last sustained note. What followed was 3 hours of standing in the pouring rain with about 150 other people, mostly francophone, in the outdoor plaza as we watched the visually stunning pageantry known as the opening ceremonies. Music-wise, it was a bit disappointing to note that all the performers were lip-syncing, although some were very, very good at it. The most touching moment was definitely when the entire stadium stood to honour Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, who had passed away earlier in the day due to an accident during practice. A minute of silence was observed, which resulted in a silent BC Place, as well as silence throughout our plaza.

All in all, the highlights of the Opening Ceremony can be summarized thus-- killer whales, Koyczan and k.d. lang. The visual effects simulating our wildlife drew gasps throughout the audience; BC slam poet Shane Koyczan delivered an impassioned poem highlighting the place of Canada in the world, and k.d. lang performed a spotless and thoroughly worthy rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." (was that really lip-synced? don't believe it) A tweet I read post performance summed it up quite nicely; "That's Canada for you. A vegan lesbian from Alberta singing a song written by a Quebec Jew."

Thankfully, the set by Montreal's Polaris-nominated Malajube was indoors at Performance Works theatre. The theatre was standing room only by the time we arrived, half an hour before their set was slated to begin. And by the time they took to the stage, the wide wooden floors of the theatre were covered with the bums of an eager audience. And they did not disappoint. Mixing sparse English and French banter in the beginning of the set, Malajube quickly got down to business, interspersing their trippy, nudging hardcore and prog-rock with only a few "merci, merci"s. 

Guitarist and lead singer Julien Mineau's vocals were in top-notch form, and in the few songs where he and keyboardist Thomas Augustin screamed the lyrics, the crowd went absolutely ape-shit and it was amazing. Augustin also reminded me of Foo Fighter's Dave Grohl with his demeanor and mustache. Instrumentally, the set was near flawless, with a few technical difficulties in the beginning soothed out a couple of songs in. The two songs that I knew well, "Porte Disparu" and "Luna" from their latest Labyrinthes were played back to back in the beginning of the set. The band was not afraid to take the audience on a ride, often stretching out the songs into long, instrumental freak-outs. The audience more than happily returned the favour by slam dancing and crowd surfing. All in all, it was a fucking concert.

What made the night special, on top of Malajube in their top form, was seeing the most eclectic group of fans rock out gleefully in Performance Works. Myself, my Mexican friend, his francophone boyfriend, the nearby group of teen Chinese girls were all singing along at the tops of our lungs. Middle aged couples were front and centre, in the middle of the most enthusiastic and non-hostile mosh pit I've seen. When someone pushed, they pushed back with big grins. Some up front (like me) had their wet shoes off from being outside and were dancing without worry. When an older lady side stage was flinging her arms about and sending voodoo arms toward the stage (so looking generally awkward), two high school girls jumped from in front of the stage to join her in her strange Macarena-like dance. The crowd was bloody brilliant, and very Canadian.

As my friend Cody at @cdnmusic would say, Malajube pour le gagner (PLG)!

Here's the set list for the night:

For more photos from the Malajube set, visit my Flickr!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Daily Music Blogging from Vancouver 2010 Olympics

The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver is set to start with the Opening Ceremonies tomorrow night (Friday Feb 12). And with the blow of the whistle, so begins a relentless two weeks of Canadian (and international) musical talent as well. I'll be bringing you a short show recap, hopefully everyday, of the shows that are flowing through this fair city.

If you have yet to check out the list of handy handouts I've made of the upcoming two weeks of concerts, make sure to check it out here. If you want to track the highlighted shows I'll be covering, check out this schedule.

This upcoming weekend (all shows are free):

Friday: Montreal's Malajube will be playing at la Place de la Francophonie at Granville Island at 9:00 pm. Come see what these twice-Polaris-nominated rockers have to offer.

Saturday: Toronto-based Bedouin Soundclash headlines the Richmond O Zone, with openers Hey Ocean! from Vancouver. Guaranteed to be a sun-soaked (-sounding), Caribbean/raggae-inspired dance-off.

Sunday: Hopping venues-- Vancouver's Mother Mother play LiveCity Yaletown at 8:00pm, and Toronto's Elliott BROOD are at LiveCity Downtown at 9:00pm. Expect to be hit by walls of sound; first by MM's three-part harmonies and surprising compositions, then by EB's rousing, foot-stomping pots & pans rock.

Make sure to follow my tweets for up to the minute show updates!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Rah Rah Announces Tour Dates & New Album


Rah Rah are currently putting the finishing touches on their follow-up, as yet untitled, full-length album, set for release this summer on Young Soul Records/ EMI. This new album was recorded and mixed in Montreal by Kees Dekker (Plants & Animals). A companion EP will also follow later this year.

Having previously shared the stage with Wintersleep, Holy Fuck, Mother Mother, Malajube & The Rural Alberta Advantage, Rah Rah are embarking on a tour through February and March to continue the reach of their debut, Going Steady.  Conjointly, over the next month the band will finish work on their forthcoming album. Release details for the new Rah Rah record will follow soon.


Feb 10 – Broken City – Calgary, AB
Feb 12 – Railway Club – Vancouver, BC
Feb 14 – Pawn Shop – Edmonton, AB (with Hot Panda)
Feb18 – Lo Pub – Winnipeg, MB
Feb 19 – Black Pirate’s Pub – Thunder Bay, ON
Feb 20 – Townehouse – Sudbury, ON
Feb 21 – This Ain’t Hollywood – Hamilton, ON
Feb 23 – Phog Lounge – Windsor, ON
Feb 24 – Blackshire Pub – London, ON
Feb 25 – The Garrison – Toronto, ON
Feb 26 – The Green Room – Montreal, PQ
Feb 27 - Café Dekcuf – Ottawa, ON
Mar 02 – Exchange Community Church – Winnipeg, MB
Mar 05 – The Exchange – Regina, SK (Haiti Fundraiser)
Mar 06 – Amigo’s – Saskatoon, SK

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Olympic concert iCal (.ics) files for your calendar organizer

All of these are courtesy of Alex Cameron, who made the iCal files and so graciously shared them with me. If you encounter any problems with them, or even better, are absolutely astounded by them, give him a tweet.

Thanks also to North by East West for hosting these files. Check out NxEW for the most comprehensive coverage of independent music all across Canada.

LiveCity Vancouver:

Whistler Live!:
Surrey 2010 Celebration:
Robson Square GE Plaza:
Atlantic Canada House:
Various Granville Island shows:
Ontario Pavilion:
Free CBC Events:
Richmond O Zone:

NEW VIDEO : Matthew Barber - "Revolution of the Sun"

From North by East West:
Matthew Barber performs "Revolution of the Sun" from True Believer - his new album due out February 23 on Outside Music. The performance was taped at the Gibson Showroom in Toronto and directed by Jason Owens.

If you're a sap for romantic, heartfelt piano ballads, it doesn't get much better than the older of the Barber duo (the younger being Jill of Polaris-nominated fame).

If you like what you hear, you can pre-order his latest album from Maple Music. The first 80 orders are autographed.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

NEW VIDEO : Joel Plaskett - You Let Me Down (Alternate Version)

Joel Plaskett doesn't let you down.

From his website:
Hey Everybody,
When we made the video for You Let me Down a few months ago we didn’t end up using this footage we shot in the hockey rink at the Forum in Halifax.  The director, RT, edited together an alternate version from the footage and here it is for your wintertime perusal.  We shot it at about 1am and I was freezing cold.  I had to sing the gals lines too…  Check it it out!

And here's the official video too.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Handy handout #9 - Ontario Pavilion

This table consists of Canadian artists who are playing at the Ontario Pavilion during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. If you're asking by this point if I'm tired of awful Olympic-related websites, yes, yes I am. However, judging by the sheer amount of you coming across this site for these schedules, someone needs to do it. So if you happen to run into me at one of the shows and appreciate the schedules, I'd more than happily accept a hug. Or a drink.

*** Update: iCal file now available for Ontario Pavilion (Feb 4) ***

If this is helpful to you at all, please share it / forward it on with a link back to this blog. All of the information courtesy of their respective websites.

If you would like a Word document forwarded to you, please email me at brendahlee [at] gmail [dot] com.
Ontario Pavilion. Free. All Canadian acts. All shows at 9 pm.
Feb. 12
Bedouin Soundclash
Feb. 13
Downchild Blues Band
Feb. 14
Keshia Chante
Feb. 15
Swing/Serena Ryder
Feb. 16
Elliott Brood
Feb. 17
The Arkells
Feb. 18
Jully Black
Feb. 19
The Constantines
Feb. 20
Surprise performance announced later
Feb. 21
Great Lake Swimmers
Feb. 22
Alex J. Robinson/The Junction
Feb. 23
Feb. 24
Ontario Day at the 2010 Olympic Games. featuring Justin Hines, Damien Robitaille, God Made Me Funky
Feb. 25
The Wooden Sky
Feb. 26
Molly Johnson
Feb. 27
Feb. 28
Crash Parallel