October 28, 2010

Halloween Guide :)

Have you guys decided what you are gonna be for Halloween? Most  people get their costumes ready a few days before. Many people decide what they're going to dress up as for Hallowe'en. But...! what they plan on going out and doing is another matter! As Halloween falls on Sunday, you get to party throughout the weekend. So this is what you need to know to party like a rock star on Halloween :)

Oct 28th Thursday:

Angus & Julia Stone @ Opera house- This Acoustic/folk band is coming all the way from Sydney. Doors at 8p.m

Bruce Peninsula,and  Minotaurs @ Horse Shoe Tavern- Bruce Peninsula, the Toronto Based band, with Steven McKay as the drummer ( Click here to read the post). The bluesy rock band is playing with the Minotaurs, who I also featured in this past post! 

The 24th Street Wailers @ Reservoir Lounge 7 pm-9p.m - the winner of this year's Toronto Blues Society Talent Search is hitting the stage at the legendary Jazz bar, The Reservoir!

Oct 29th, Friday:

Matt &Kim @ Phoenix - Brooklin based Indie pop/electronic due will be stopping by T.dot with their new album released last week, "Cameras". Doors at 8p.m

The Golden Dogs @ Horse Shoe Tavern- Toronto Pop Rock band is a perfect opener for the Halloween weekend! if you haven't checked out their wild energetic performance, you know where to go!

Yacht Rock @ the Boat- the weekly Jazz/electronic event will be held this Halloween weekend as well. Of course it's a special version of the weekly event for Halloween! Shandy and Jordan Kern from the band,  "Escalate!" will be  rocking the stage! Click here to check out the details of the event

October 30th, Saturday:

The city will be full of Halloween Parties everywhere. My recommendation on this night is to party out: Where? check out NowMagazine. (Click here for the list)

Oct 31st, Sunday: Halloween! 

The Black Mountain @ Phoenix: BC psycho rock band, is returning to T.dot with their fellow band, The Black Angels. I love The Black Mountain's new album   ( I consider this album as one of the best albums of the year.) It has grown on me so much as I anticipated in my CD review ( Click here to read the post)

....But I know, a lot of people will be saying that " I can't party out late at night cuz I gotta work on Monday!" I know I feel your pain.  I  have the typical Monday-Friday job. I have a solution to the problem. Who said that we can't party during the day? Our beloved Toronto indie instrumental band, Escalate! is playing in front of Embassy for the Pedestrian Sunday between 2p.m-4;30p.m. It is gonna be epic! So why don't you make a brunch plan with your buddies and check out the awesome music??

Please feel free to comment on the post if you think you have a better Halloween party idea!

Speacial thanks to Jon as a guest editor :)

October 27, 2010

Escalate Interview Part 2

Let's continue with the awesome interview with Escalate!

B: With song writing, you've mentioned that one of the tracks that you guys jammed on became a song on the first record. With the other songs, was it that easy again or was the process a bit more drawn out? How did you guys go about it?

T: It's weird - it's very hit and miss. It's been different every time.  
G: Sometimes its a bit more methodical, like "Let's try and work on some stuff." And other times, it's just been very sudden; out of nowhere. Three or four songs might just came out from on or two practices. And then that might be it for 6 months, until all of a sudden it happens again. You get worried sometimes. Sometimes we wonder, "Have we ran out of ideas?" and then a couple weeks later an album worth of material just appears! 

J: Yeah, its pretty crazy. It is interesting that it does vary in terms of writing process. Some songs happen quickly, and as Grant was saying it comes out so naturally and so easy. Sometimes we develop songs part by part by part. And sometimes nothing comes at all. 

G: But I found the best ones are the ones that just kinda happened. It just usually comes out while working on something else and other people just really catch on in a collaborative way - a great way. Remember when we landed on?

J: What is it called again?

G: "I can't believe it"

All :hahaha

B: Speaking of funny song titles; some song titles are weird for you guys. With "the Beep" the reason for its title is obvious. hahaha

K: Beeeeeeep

G: It's just a matter of hanging out and all our stupid humour. And someone says some really silly jokes and but some of the one-lines come out and stick though. I guess all friends do it - have that one joke that just lasts. And that's how some titles are developed. A one liner might last for a while and then something about it reminds us about what the specific song sounds like. Yeah what is the song,,, ah "Blood, Sweet and Tom Jones"

B:That's a pretty obvious references

G: We used to have a riff that was way too close to what Sigur Ros sounded like; and we called it "A Little Sugar Rose"

B: I like it! Let's talk about influences. You listed them on My Space. But what about your individual influences? I'm sure everyone is a little different, right?

T: Similar, and very different

B: Do you have any that would surprise people?

J: Sure!

T: Maybe.

G: Compared to our sound, people might find it weird that we like hard core gangsta rap?

All: hahahaha

B: I definitely got that with Alpha Beta Kappa Donna (EDITORS NOTE: for the less Gangsta Savvy that is a reference to Cappadonna, a Wu Tang Clan Affiliate)

J: Good eyes

B: Yeah, I was listening along and I was just like ",,,yeah" hahahaha

G: It's all over the place. We all like crazy different stuff. 

B: In terms of a instrumental band, is there anybody particularly that you find yourself often compared to?

T: Yeah, there are different ones. When we first started what we thought was that we may be similar to the Meters.

J: and when it comes to an instrumental band, it may be Tortoise? 

G: yeah, Tortoise is definitely another one! Yeah, but you may have a song and it could be any genre, and you know one part where you might say, "Let's try to make it totally like this band" or something. Or we might write a song like a band that we all like. 

B: Almost everyone does that anyway. Everything is derivative now of what you'd like anyways.

G: Homage! It's not stealing!

B: According to Led Zeppelin, you're right! But according to lawyers and agents, its a totally different story. Is this something that you guys are looking to pursue at a professional level?

G: Well, we are all getting up there and we might have when we were really young. But obviously priorities have changed.

B: Yeah, as a father I imagine they would.

G: Well any of us and all of us, really. Every decade that goes by you have a new set of priorities.

J: for sure

B: It could be every few months

G: And you know, a year long or six months long world tour if we ever achieve the level is not really what any of us want to do anyways, right? I mean, sure I would love to go play in Japan or play here or there or wherever, but it's down that road and we'll come to it if we get there.

B: A lot of people find themselves disconnected from reality when they do that.

G: For sure. I think when being grounded is what keeps us grounded and keeps as us musicians. But a film and TV and releasing records, and doing shows are kinds of our home base. And that's what we are doing right now and we are really enjoying. A film is definitely another thing though altogether.

B Would you like to do a whole soundtrack?

G: Sure.

J: Yeah, that would be cool

T: I would actually love do track it live while the show or movie is playing on a big screen in the middle of a recording studio. I'd love to just kinda play tunes over the course of practising, and actually write a full score. I would love to do stuff like that. But even just to have your song in a movie is pretty cool!

G: Yeah we had a couple of minor successes in a past couple of years. We have a song coming out in a movie due in this year, but I haven't heard or seen the actual take yet.

B:Can you say what it is?

G: Yeah. It's called, "Love Child" but also called, "Con artist" , yeah ,"Con artist- Love child". With Donald Sutherland and Russell Peters.

B: That's pretty awesome! What kind of movie is this?

G: It did well in the festivals apparently, but its due out here this year. It supposes to be like an action-comedy. It got interesting reviews. Who knows, hopefully it does well and they will give us a song for the credit that's great success for us. Cuz it was what we wanted to do.

B: Is that one of the new tracks on....

J: that ones actually off the last record.

G: We did some systematic things like the green peace thing; we did as small online film, we gave some music for that and a couple of blogs. Stuff like that. That's the avenue that we are working and like we said, we're just enjoying playing and releasing music. As long as the band keeps supporting itself. That makes it easy to keeps us doing it.

October 25, 2010

Escalate! Interview part 1

It was back in August when me and my ET fell in love… with the Toronto based instrumental band; Escalate! at their Pedestrian Sunday performance in Kensington Market. (Click here to read the post!) Grant (bass), Jordan (Guitar), and Tyler (Drums) joined us for our very first interview at the cozy Imperial Pub. We loved interviewing Escalate so much that we have decided there would be three parts of this interview released “bi-daily” (Oct 25th, 27th and 29th...)  Here is the "Toasty warm" interview with  Escalate! That you can't miss!

Bryen (B): Thank you guys for being here! This is actually our very first interview. So thanks for being the interview subject!

Jordan (J): Nice!

Grant (G): This is kinda our first interview, too. (laughing)

B+ Kanae (K): Oh really?

Tyler (T): We'd never had a review with Exclaim! That's for sure!

J: We had a couple of reviews with Exclaim!, actually.

B: That’s pretty big! How did that come about?

J: It was through a friend of mine. She works with many of the weekly newspapers; sort of like a freelancer. Anyways, she was kind enough to give us some sort of chance as far as like, "Let me see if I can get a few record reviews for the first one."

B: That was in 2005?

J: Yeah, and you know, it was like “let me see if I can get into like a magazine", something like that. I remember the first time, they had a column that explained - I can't remember what it was called at this moment - but it was like “launch pad” for new music or something like that. A group based section. At the time it was only every other issue, so I remember like, “OH, I am excited for the next issue to come out" and I read it and...

B: You read it and it's not there, right?

J: Yeah. I was like, “Oh that's cool. She went to bat for us. But I guess we didn't get in. Apparently, it wasn't in the next issue or one after either. And then it came as a surprise - It wasn't till like 3 years that I discovered the review. I was like, “WHAT?"

B: No kidding. That's pretty awesome!

G: That's our creative nutshell.

J: Pretty much just like that.

B: Many years later!

G: Oh! People know who we are!?

B: "We are from Escalate!” (Bryen doing intro as the band), “OMG!"(Bryen doing the fan's voice)

T: We are looking for a new introduction though.

G: We have a working play list that isn't necessarily ready to start now.

B: We wanna hear that first!!! (Guys make sure to send us more requests to hear from Escalate!)

B: Anyways, I guess it’s kind of a standard interview question - how did you guys come up with the band name?

G: It kinda goes hand in hand with how we got together too. We had all kinds of jams at parties; playing with each other and just fooling around for something basic - but nothing serious. And at the same time, Tyler and I always played in bands with each other.

We were in a rock band with two other guys; a girlfriend of mine the time asked us to play at an art party. It was actually for a fashion show for her school. The guitar player and the singer of the band were like “No way man, like it’s gonna be all about us or nothing”. She kinda wanted us to be the background and just play while people mingle like stuff, right?

When the band was out of the question, she also asked me like "Well, would you wanna do something for this on your own?” I was like "Sure, I’ll put something together." We met with Shandy and Jordan, I kinda ran the idea and passed it by them and they wanted in.

A part of what she was doing in school was a fashion brand that she developed. A part of her thesis was called “Escalate” but it was spelled “Escal8” So it sounded really cool to just to be “Escalate."

T: It was gone to sort of, how our music was at the same time, too. We kinda had a song idea, kinda started jamming on how the song went and talked about what we should do.

G: Yeah we were kinda just jamming. We practiced for 4 hours and then we went to play the four hours show.

J: Yeah, we played like all night!

B+K: Wow, that's great!

G: Yeah - and actually a complete song, "Foreign one" came out from that! That’s a song on out "Grooves. Beats. Science. Soul." album. The 2005 record. It's a product of our first jam ever.

B: That's epically cool!! Not too many bands can say that a complete song is actually a product of their first jam ever!

G: It’s an old song too - we played the song when the cassette was still sticking around.

T: It was recorded on like an old school ghetto blaster. An older silver one, the one of these (Explaining how it looks to Bryan)…

G: …and Tape recording. That's how we recorded

B: Oh it was like A-B in kinda thing?

G: It was really the only thing we had to record with.

B: Ahahahaha awesome!

G: We were trying to take it apart later.

B: People wanna talk about being lo-fi. Here you go!

T: Yeah totally, extremely lo-fi!.

G: We still kinda have the same problem though during a rehearsal. We always like… we even got to the point of setting up a phone or a laptop to make sure we are recording it somehow. Just to record our rehearsal, we do that every time.  So we are always looking for a cheesy way to call people’s voice mail or something to record a new song idea.

October 18, 2010

Hollerado @ The Horseshoe Tavern on Oct 16th

It was back in the NXNE in June when I came to know about the Manotick born indie rock band, Hollerado when they opened for Hot Hot Heat. (Click here to read this post.) Right after the show, I got their first album, "Record In A Bag" As I have fell in love with their enthusiasm and insanity, they recently have gained a number of interest from the Media, including the featured artist on Edge 102 (for those who aren’t local, that is Toronto’s première alternative rock radio station)and the most recent YouTube video of "Americanarama" - which made them be called as the second OK GO.

I was able to set myself right in front for the show at the Horseshoe Tavern, just like when I saw them at Mods club. Fulfilled with excitement, I stood there with my friends waiting for the band members to show up on the stage. They started the gig with a song “Hollerado land"- a recorded song playing while the members were getting ready to rock the stage. My excitement has reached the peak, as I was screaming loud with friends. They easily fired up the stage with their well-known songs; Juliette and Americanaramana- which made me wonder which song they would use to close the show. It is because usually a lot of bands saves these "hit songs" to the end, including them in their encore.

Likewise the last show and Ok Go, the confetti paper colored the stage like a rainbow while the members were performing on the stage.  But did Hollerado actually need it in order to entertain the audience? -probably not, as their energy and catchy dance tunes brought to the stage; it was nothing but extraordinary.

Not only did the Hollerado performance make the night, but also the special guest from the audience added a spice to the show. The guitarist and singer of the band suddenly pull a person from the audience - it was David Foley, from “Kids in the hall."  The audience was wowed by the appearance of the Canadian comic actor. (Unfortunately, growing up in Japan for 20 years, I was not sure who he was, but I sensed his popularity. He looked famous, too. Hahaha, well my friend told me that he was super famous...) this sudden appearance also surprised the band members too!

Continued the gig with more minor songs, and they were rather more mellow and slow-tempo songs, I was paying extra attention to the stage to truly enjoy the sounds generated from the stage. To my surprise, I realized that the drummer was only wearing his underwear.. “Hold on,,, wasn't he wearing a T-shirt and jeans when he showed up on the stage??" - this was due to his tweeted message He stated in Twitter that he would play naked if a hundred of people retweet the message he posted. So I guess he got 100 people retweeted it! At the end of the show, he was almost naked. Well you know, he can't really be naked, and I did not wanna see his junk... but I guess it entertained lots of people by the fact that he was put duck tapes and paper around it and hid it somehow. 

Anyhow, they closed the main part of the show with a song, “do the doot da doot doo" (Love the title), which includes a crazy jamming at the end of the song. During the song, Menno, the singer, who happened to be right in front of me, pointed his microphone to the audience and then came down from the stage. I got to sing along and jump around with him too, which was pretty epic! It reminded of me that when I first saw Butch Walker- who did the exact same and I happened to be right in front (yes, “happened to be") I screamed like a baby! My friends, Boris and Martin even said that my facial expression when Jake came down from the stage was priceless. Damn it, I only have burly picture that I can share with you all.

As I was extremely content to be the part of the gig, David Foley came back on the stage by himself and engaged the audience to be ready for the encore!!! Once the audience screamed like crazy, asking Hollerado to be back on the stage, they of course same back with a BIG smile. I was wondering again, which song they were going to play as they played all songs from the album. Then this song hit the stage- "Rocking in the free world", a song of Neil Young. A couple of people from the opening band, Free Energy, David Foley,  two back singers, and even a guy who was in charge of firing up all the confetti paper were on the stage with the band, dancing around singing along. It was just insane! The song echoed aloud in the entire venue-everyone was just signing and jumping around. Well you will see what I mean if you watch the video below.

The show was insanely good. I can't recall when was the last time that I sang and jumped around so much during the show. Some people might criticize them being immature (a good example is the drummer being in naked in the venue) But so what!? They can bring it onto the stage. They have lots of fun during the show ( they may be the one who is having a fun the most) They just proved with this show that no matter how old you are, you get to loose up with great tune sometimes and just have fun. Nothing is wrong with that at all. I was just so impressed with the band's ability to make me feel the way. It was indeed a magic that they put on everyone.

To close this post, I would like to quote a message from my friend, Martin, who was at the same. 
"Record in a paper bag is much better live then recorded :)"

Hollerado! Good luck on the very first U.S tour! I am 150% sure that you guys would rock the hell out from them! Cheers!!!

Foxy Shazam opening up for Hollerado on Oct 16th, Toronto

Don't get the wrong impression from what I’m about to say... Hollerado totally rocked the show at the Horseshoe Tavern on Saturday – their energy blew my freakin’ mind!

But there was somebody else who completely shocked me like, "HOLY F*ck - mother f*cker!!! What the heck was that!!!!!" Well, I literary said that to my friend when the band finished their performance. Not lots of bands can make a sweet little Japanese girl swear like that!!! It is Foxy Shazam that I am talking about. (I can totally see some people would nodding right here.) Did you actually see it coming?? DID YOU?

When they showed up on the stage after Free Energy, I thought it was a joke: A band named “Foxy Shazam", with their Freddie Mercury-esque front man and super long bearded keyboard player – not to mention all the weird costumes!?... “this must be a joke" - that was all what I was thinking...

They quickly changed my mind as soon as they stated playing. The Cincinnati based experimental rock band completely blew my mind. As you can guess from the band name and the look of the front man, good time 70s rock songs are what these folks are serving – I hope you’re hungry for them! But it is not enough to just say "70's rock". Despite their comical look, the performance was very acrobatic. Yes, you heard me right-"Acrobatic". The keyboard player was playing the keys with his feet while head standing, the front man was flipping around the microphone stand - just like Freddie, the horn player was jumping on to the guitarist's shoulder.. It was insane. So let's call this genre as “Acrobatic glam-rock. I almost felt like I was watching a circus show. I think they should totally name their album or tour as a Circus tour. (I don't think Brittany Spears deserves to use the title. but Foxy Shazam!!)

I guess I was a bit behind from the indie music scene. The spin magazine already listed them as "10 bands to watch in 2010" and one of their song, “Unstoppable" was aired during this year's Super Bowl. What makes me so upset was that they actually played at the Lollapalooza this year... If only I have known them by then, I would have totally checked their performance...

In addition to the crazy performance, I liked the little stories the singer told us before each song. I can't recall which song it was, yet, he told us when he had an interview with a major magazine, which he had read throughout his life. He had a phone interview and the editor described himself gay and criticized about the band so harshly. Eric Sean Nally, however, claimed that despite the bad review and interview, he has the best band in the world and played the song. Other stories that he told us before was different along with the songs the band was playing right after; some were very comical, others were very serious. It just added a taste to the song by knowing what the song actually means to the band.

They successfully ended their performance at the venue and successfully made me swear so loud after the performance. My heart was pounding so fast when it was the end of the performance. I just couldn't believe what just happened.

Click here to check out their website and here is a video of their music! So you got no excuses to check them out!!

Taylor Momsen and The Pretty Reckless

Last night proved that we really are living in the information age. The Pretty Reckless, a band fronted by 16 year old Gossip Girl star Taylor Momsen and without a full album to their credit; played what felt like a capacity show at Toronto’s Bovine Sex Club.

The crowd at the Bovine Sex Club is usually more punk rock than Haute Couture – it is what it is. Different bands draw different crowds.

The opening band was a brilliant group from Connecticut called The Queen Killing Kings. The influences I heard from their brief but remarkable set were quite diverse. They gave us a taste of Elton John, Oasis, Scissor Sisters, and “…a Night at the Opera” era Queen. I picked up their CD – be sure to look forward to a review very soon!

After The Queen Killing Kings exited the stage – which took forever due to the poor setup of the venue – we waited about a half hour before The Pretty Reckless was even able to set up their gear. Even when they finally were ready to play the night was fraught with technical difficulties – their guitar tech and roadie was noticeably absent and he was dearly missed. For one song the guitar had cut out entirely. To be fair – for someone who had never done live sound for a band, their road manager Ronnie did a decent job.

Anyway – once all the gear was in order; we heard shouting from the back of the venue. Taylor was about to hit the stage.

It must be weird to be a 16 year old in a bar. You’re the only one not drinking and you have to be kept away from everyone until it is your time to hit the stage. And when she did she was flanked by 5 security guards.

From the start of the show - even though I enjoyed their music – I thought it felt like it was all an act. She has vocal chops better than most and her stage presence was exactly what she wanted to convey – but to me Taylor’s angst didn’t seem real.

But then I thought to myself – why should it? Her band is good, her writing is good (yes – she has writing credits on every song), her performance is good (sexy enough to send me to jail) – so what the hell? A lot of credit is given to being real. So what if she hasn’t experienced the life of the person she is singing as. Some of the best authors don’t write about the life they live.

Once I got past that and saw her as a performer doing what she wants to do I had a newfound respect for her and her band. They are really quite good. Their set was a little short – but they don’t have too much material to work with just yet. It will get better as they progress – and I do look forward to that. I’ll be reviewing her next show too – let’s look forward to progress!

(Photo Credits: Copyright Dani Dee 2010)

October 15, 2010

OK GO @ phoenix on Oct 14th, Toronto part 4

When OK GO hit the stage, it was already at 11p.m. It'd been about 3 hours since I got to the venue. However, with the help from opening bands, Company of thieves and Summer Darling, I kept myself entertained and the entire time just felt like a second. It went by so fast.

They opened up their show with their old tunes including “Do what you want" and "Don't ask me", which I didn't expect them to play at all. It was really a good mix with their old beloved songs with new songs from their new album. I know all the songs from their 3 albums as they are one of my favorite bands. The lead singer, Damian kept saying that he should move to Canada, where it is more civilized. His witty jokes kept the audience entertained for between songs. 

They used a quite lot of confetti, which made the stage so colorful. They did the same at the last show in Toronto as well, but I still like it as it is very fun whenever it blew in the air! I wonder how much paper confetti that the members consume. 

What I like about the band is that the centre of the show is always the audience, not the member themselves. They kept entertaining us throughout the gig. They played a song with bells (click here to watch the video) and Damian also invited a fan to play the guitar with the band.

When they played “Get over it" to close the show before its encore, I just couldn't wish it would last forever, but realized that the show would be soon to be end. But it didn't entirely make me sad as I knew they would do something for the encore. 

Of course they did. They played three songs for the encore. When then came back to a stage, they were wearing a jacket, at the back, it was the flashy laser logo of “OK GO", which made me laugh so hard! While playing the first song, the laser beans spotlighting the audience! I was just wowed when the band came back to the stage. My mouth was completely opened for a while.

Before close the show, we sang “This too shall pass" they made us sing. Finally when we were so loud, Damian claimed that we just passed the Michigan level, which made the audience blast into laugh. 

"Let it go this too shall pass"- it echoed in the entire venue as we became one. It was a fantastic experience to be the part of the show. I hope I am in the photo that Damian took ( They take pictures of the audience each show and post them on Facebook so that the audience can "tag" themselves, and hopefully they put their phone number so that OK Go can be the first band who also offers the dating service.. hahahaha)

Nothing surpasses their creativity and I could say that they would be always the one to be the first. I would love to be in the loop of how OK GO will blow our mind in the future. 

I will make sure to keep you guys posted as well! but if you haven't seen them in live. You have to; otherwise, you are missing out for sure!! The band created a show tonight, which could be fully enjoyed from the beginning to the end, while brining amazing opening bands and also brought the best performance by them.  This is why I think it was the best show in 2010 that I have seen. 

Anyhow, after all the four posts in 2 hours of writing after the show, I am still somehow awake, and intoxicated with the feeling. I hope it won't disappear anytime soon. Good night people :) peace!!

OK GO, Company of thieves, and Summer Darling @ Pheonix on Oct 14th Part 3

Summer Darling - the opening band - successfully kept the audience entertained before Ok GO hit the stage. But it was the Chicago based band, Company of thieves, who took my breath away.

Even from when they were just setting up, I was instantly in love with the guitarist - who happened to be right in front of me. It wasn’t just his hipster look, (glasses, a plaid shirt with a light brown jacket, and messy beard and long hair) - it was definitely the guitar itself. I strangely found it very attractive- it has an old wooden look. I loved the guitar the moment I saw it. I took quite a few photos of just that.

Their petite vocalist completely blew my mind. She was a little girl who was wearing a shiny dress on the top of a casual T-shirt. She just looked so innocent and loveable as she was freaking out how many people were there to see their performance. 

But it was right when she was testing her microphone which completely changed my impression of her after all: very vigorous and enticing. It was nothing close from what I expected how she sounded like. Thus, my expectation for this band just hit right at the top and they didn't betray me at all. 

It must have been from the charismatic character of the singer. I literally couldn't take eyes off from her. She sounded and looked so lively that I just couldn't help thinking that she has such a gift. It is almost like seeing her as an actress on the stage. Her facial expression, gesture, and the voice, all of them together, I felt like she was telling us a story using a means called "Music" Whatever they played, it was like I knew all the songs as I was so into listening to them. Therefore, it almost felt awkward to fell such a familiarity when I first heard their songs. Furthermore, it was the singer's smile that made me even happier to be there. She was truly enjoying playing a show on the stage. I think she was the one who was having funs the most. 

In terms of their music wise, some songs were very jazzy songs, while others are very melodic. I was fond of the beats of their songs. 

Here are a couple of songs from the YouTube that I found. You know what I mean once you see the videos. Click here to also check out their music. They played one new song (though all of them were new to me as I didn't know them at all) which they just finished recording their second album. This means that their new material should be coming out very soon. It was the third time for them to be in Toronto. I would LOVE to see them again for sure with their new material!

This is what I said to Boris when Company of thieves finished their gig. I was so fulfilled with the performance of Summer Darling and Company of thieves that I actually would have been happy if OK Go did not play their show. This is how much I loved the performance of these opening bands!! I was so content with them! They made my day for sure. But you know what? OK GO of course performed and blew me away.

OK GO, Company of thieves, and Summer Darling @ Pheonix on Oct 14th Part 1

1:30 a.m on Friday morning...I finally arrive home. Didn't I leave my place at 7am this morning? It was indeed a long long day. But something is still keeping me awake- the excitement from tonight's experience. I have to say that tonight was the best show among all the shows that I have seen so far this year! 

It was tough to decide who to see as other great bands including Gorillaz and Bad Rebellions were also playing in town tonight. However, I am extremely content with the choice that I made. Their performance was even better than most of the bands that I saw at the summer music festivals. I wanted to write it down before the intoxication I felt from their show wears off. So here I sit, in my empty apartment,writing while I listen to the CDs purchased tonight.

I'd rather keep blog posts shorter as I have the inclination to go on and on. So I have decided that there would be two parts for the show review: one for the opening bands, the other is for the headliners - OK GO. I hope I can convey some of the shear awe I felt tongiht while reading these posts of mine.

As a quick sneak-peak, the below is the video that I recorded during the OK Go's show. Pay special attention to the awesome use of bells. A brilliant and novel idea!!

Reunited and it feels so good!

Has Duff McKagen come to reclaim his throne as the Bassist for Guns 'n' Roses?

That is a question going through many Londoner's minds after last night's show. Duff suprisingly made an unannounced appearance and wowed the audience with classics like "Nice Boys", Paradise City" & "You could be mine" (editor's note: one of my all time favourite G'n'R songs)

So is he back in the fold? We don't know yet - but I'll keep you posted.

As much as we want it; don't expect a full scale reunion. Axl and Slash have not made it a secret as to their differences. Axl has been quoted as saying: "One of the two of us will die before a reunion. However sad, ugly or unfortunate anyone views it, it is how it is."

On another note: Slash has revealed to Rollingstone.com in an artcile posted on October 12th 2010 that Velvet Revolver is playing together and are currently testing the waters with new singers.

OK GO, Company of thieves, and Summer Darling @ Pheonix on Oct 14th Part 2

I knew it would be worthwhile to be on time for the show to check out the opening bands due to my previous excellent experiences with OK GO's show back in April. (Click here to read the post about the show.) What amazing about this indie band is that they always bring the best opening bands.

So me and my friend Boris got to the venue just on time while sipping a cup of coffee. We were both very surprised by the number of people who were already in the line to get in. When we got in - we made our way to the left corner,  right next to the huge bass speaker… definitely not the smartest idea; but I wanted to be close to the stage, so I guess we had to pay in someway right?

We probably waited for 30 minutes, just chatting before the California born band Summer Darling hit the stage. They are a very ordinary indie band - probably all in their late in 20s. Their melodic guitar created a harmony with the vocals. It was very easy to listen to. The band members were certainly fun though – they wanted to play a drinking game with the audience. They decided that whenever the audience or the bands say "OK GO" people have to drink up. It indeed created a great atmosphere with the audience as they engaged them.

It wasn’t not only the music, but also the intensity of the performance that caught my eye. I loved how their guitarist was so into it. The atmospheric presence of the guitar allowed the vocals to soar. Most of the songs were really mellow – but I like that. There was one song which was more up-tempo though, and when they played it they had a guest - the bassist from the OK GO played guitar! Three guitars with bass and drums. It was quite fun to see them play together.

Overall, they are a perfect band to warm up the stage for main bands, while promoting their own music. They will be still opening up for a couple more OK GO shows and I got their EP after the show. So if you haven't check them out, please do so and stay tuned for my album review coming up yo!

October 8, 2010

X JAPAN live at MASSEY HALL October 7th!

When I first fell in love with X Japan and their beautiful music; I never thought I’d ever get to see them play. I discovered them in high school about 8 or 9 years ago. I was just learning how to play the guitar and was looking for “guitar solo” video’s to worship while I fumbled my way through learning them. I was a metal head – but what drew me in – and set X Japan apart from their heavy metal contemporaries -was how well crafted the songwriting was. It was both sweeping and epic; but the songs had a pop sense at the same time. They initially disbanded in 1997 – a full five years before I discovered them. Their most famous member Hideto Matsumoto – best known by his stage name hide – was found dead on May 2nd 1998.
Yes. In my mind – this was a band I would never have the pleasure of seeing.

That all changed yesterday. I never thought I would see the band in their home country of Japan; never mind in Toronto! When I found out they were doing a world tour I booked tickets right away!

Everything from last night is surreal. It feels like a dream. A dream that I wish would never end. It is hard to describe being both so happy to have finally seen them yet unbelievably sad that it is over. This band has been through every moment with me in my life since high school. It brought me and my best friend back together after we had a terrible falling out. X Japan is beauty – X Japan is love.

The show was a smaller scale than that of their shows in Japan; but let’s face it - they are quite used to playing arenas in Japan and this was Massey Hall, one of the most intimate venues in Toronto. That doesn’t mean the show was small by any means. It just made their show seem so much bigger up close!

It was amazing to see them all in person. Most people in Japan never get to be so close to them! We were less than 15 feet away from our heroes! The whole show was a rush of emotions that I am truly unable to describe. I am not ashamed to say that tears welled up in my eyes three times throughout the show. It was such an experience for everyone there. I’ve been to a lot of shows – I’ve seen nearly all my favourite bands (with the exception of Jane’s Addiction and Led Zeppelin). I’ve experienced the intense excitement that seeing a concert brings at all of them. But I have never felt the intense emotion that X Japan’s show brought last night. I’ve never felt a room full of love. It was amazing.

The whole venue felt as one last night. We are X – You are X – We Love X.

October 7, 2010

Are you Ready for X Japan?

The day has finally come...

I and Bryen are extremely excited about tonight's X Japan's show! We have waited way too long for this.

Click here to check out Kanae's review of X Japan's performance at the Lollapalooza! and Here is the Interview with Yoshiki by Now Magazine Toronto!!!

Bryen will be providing you all with a show live... So stay tuned...

October 6, 2010

The year of 1984

Happy Birthday Cake Topper PopTopHello Music Psychos, how are you?

Thank you so much to everyone that wished me a happy birthday. It is a pleasure to know that amazing people like you care enough to say it!

Since midnight I’ve been receiving messages with the warmest of words. Yes - I am now in the homestretch of being a twenty something. I know I don't look like it at all. (I still get carded anywhere I go. Yesterday when I went to pick up some red wine, I was called "Honey" by a 19 year old cashier and had my ID checked.

Anyways, to celebrate my birthday for myself, I decided to check out the top music and movies from the best year – 1984.There is even a book called "1984" by George Orwell (according to his book, 1984 wasn't the best year) Considering the fact that most of my best friends were born in the year, here is some fun facts of 1984!

When Doves CryTop 20 music from 1984:

1. "When Doves Cry".....Prince
2. "What's Love Got To Do With It".....Tina Turner
3. "Jump".....Van Halen
4. "Karma Chameleon".....Culture Club
5. "Like A Virgin".....Madonna
6."Hello".....Lionel Richie
7. "Owner Of A Lonely Heart".....Yes
8. "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)".....Phil Collins
9. "Footloose".....Kenny Loggins
Stevie Wonder - The Definitive Collection10. "Ghostbusters".....Ray Parker, Jr.
11. "I Just Called To Say I Love You".....Stevie Wonder
12. "Out Of Touch".....Daryl Hall & John Oates
13. "Say Say Say," Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson
14. "I Feel For You".....Chaka Khan
15. "Missing You".....John Waite
16. "Let's Hear It For The Boy".....Deniece Williams
17. "Time After Time".....Cyndi Lauper
18. "The Reflex".....Duran Duran
19. "Dancing In The Dark".....Bruce Springsteen
20. "Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run)".....Billy Ocean

I can't believe that a song like “Like a Virgin" by Madonna and " Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper is actually from the year that I was born. My favourite song from the list is "I just Called to say I love you" By Stevie Wonder!.. And you can't forget the Ghostbusters' theme song, eh?  What about your favourite?

Ghostbusters [Blu-ray]Top 10 movies from 1984:

1. "Once Upon a time in America"
2. "A Nightmare on Elm Street" 
3. "Ghost Busters"
4. "The Karate Kid"
5. "The Terminator"
7. "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom"
The Neverending Story8. "Sixteen Candles"
9. "Dune"
10. "The Neverending Story"

Click here to check more details of the top 10 movies from 1984!

This list actually blew my mind! We had such good movies released in that year! Ghost Busters, eh? Bill Murray is that old!!

So a day before my birthday, October 5th, STS- 41-G, Mar Garneau Became the very first Canadian in space. According to Wikipedia 1984
Anyhow, It is very interesting to know what actually happened in the year that I was born. I couldn't find anything in the North American history to see if there was a significant event on the day that I was born, Oct 6th 1984, well I guess I can put my name there right?