Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Respect Given, Respect Earned

It was the perfect setting for the summer.  Family and friends paying their visits to our home in Calgary, the weather was sunny, the BBQ was ready for cooking, the fire pit in the backyard was roaring, and on the television we tuned in to the final show of arguably Canada's greatest band.

I was one of 11+ million Canadians that tuned into the CBC to pay respects and watch the farewell that The Tragically Hip gave to their fans.  Now I am sure most of you heard SOMETHING about this before reading this article.  Lead vocalist Gord Downie was unfortunately diagnosed with terminal brain cancer (to lay it out as easy as possible).  Being the true musician he is, he decided, along with the band, to say goodbye in the best way they could...they went on tour!

After a few weeks of sold out concerts across the country, they said their final goodbyes in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario.  It was a pretty memorable moment to say the least.  Our Prime Minister showed up in a typical Canadian tuxedo (aka jean pants and jean jacket), the 6000 person venue was packed to the limit, as well as twenty thousand spectators outside the venue, and our beloved CBC cut live feeds from Rio's Olympics to give Canadians what they really wanted to see that night.
(Photo courtesy of The Tragically Hip Blog)

Let me be honest with you all though, I was never a real Hip fan.  I had numerous opportunities to attend their final shows in Calgary, but thought it would be rude of me to grab tickets for a band that others have waited endlessly to see.  Their tunes were fun, but never in my playlists or catalogue.  However, I ALWAYS sing along to "Ahead By A Century" when it hits the radio waves.

Once the show got underway on Saturday night, and reading multiple articles about this farewell tour, I'll admit I got a little emotional, much like the rest of the country.  Gord and the gang was giving 120% all evening, and they themselves could not hold back a few tears towards the end.  This was a turning point for me, and goes back on a belief I have always had about music.  You may not like the band, the music, or even the musicians, but you HAVE to respect what they have done for millions of their fans, and the effort that goes into their 30+ year career.

In the end of this lil rant, I just hope someone is reading this and thinking "You know what, I may not feel that connection to the music, but I equally respect what they have done over their career".  That is what music should all be about.  Different strokes for different folks, but a sense of respect for a legendary band who have brought smiles, hopes, and dreams to fans.

Now after saying this, I am feeling the urge to go back to my PVR tonight and watching the farewell one last time.

Ticket Stub Doormats?

I am sure that many of you readers have collected ticket stubs from the various concerts you have attended over the years.  I have spent a good portion of my life collecting these artifacts from my teens and early twenties, some of which are residing in pictures frames due to frailty.

So if you're like me and want to try and keep these stubs in your memory, a company based out of Metairie (borderline New Orleans) is now able to print those ticket stubs onto mugs, mats, etc.  While I understand it seems like we've been able to put photos on almost anything, this was on of the first times I have seen a company do this with ticket stub.
(Photo courtesy of Lakeside Photo Works)
I know what you are all thinking at this point.  You don't want to part with that stub that has been sitting in your collection for 10, 15, 20+ years.  That's quite OK, as I myself had doubts at first.  As it stands, there are three options they provide, which all look pretty safe and secure:

1. Capture your stub using your smartphone.
2. Mail your stubs to Lakeside Camera Photoworks.  Mailing in your tickets is the best way to ensure a quality mat. All tickets will be returned with your completed order.  All work is done in house by real live humans. Normal service turnaround is three business days + shipping if we ship.
3. If you're in the New Orleans area, bring your stub(s) in to Lakeside Camera Photoworks at 3508 21st Street in Metairie, Louisiana 70002. We are located across Severn Avenue from the Lakeside Mall, right next to Phil’s Grill.
Now there isn't any indication on the website that these items can be shipped internationally, but I am almost willing to give it a shot and see how much the shipping and handling costs.  If anyone has the chance to order from them, we'd love to hear your thoughts on the experience!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Show Review: August Burns Red @ MacEwan Hall, Calgary

So despite me attending at least a handful of shows in Calgary so far, I have yet to do reviews on them.  It's kind of that debacle between paying attention to the details of the show, or having a couple beers and just enjoying the sights/sounds/people.  More often than none my laziness has taken over and I just want to be one of the fans enjoying music.  On the other hand, August Burns Red's performance on Tuesday night (March 29th) invoked a response.

While touring across Canada/US on a co-headlining tour alongside Between The Buried and Me, August Burns Red hosted many eager fans at the University of Calgary's MacEwan Hall.  Me being the party pooper I am, I missed the opening acts of the show due to my day job.  However, we (the girlfriend and I) managed to make our way in for the tail end of BTBAM's performance, which ended amazing due to their dueling guitar solo(s).  While not being a major fan of BTBAM, this was definitely worth the price of the ticket.  Hint hint, they are some major talented artists!

(Photo courtesy of August Burns Red, and Wikipedia)

Now we move onto the main attraction of the evening.  Being that it has been many years since I have seen them take the stage, I had a million different thoughts going through my head.  My first thought was 'they better play some of the tunes I want to hear', like any other selfish music lover would want.  Despite them not playing "Truth of a Liar" or "A Shot Below The Belt", the entire show screamed of professionalism.  The lighting for the show was perfect, the sound was almost perfect the entire time, the crowd energy was very apparent, and the band had equal tons of energy to expel in their fourteen song set.  Check it out below:

1. Martyr
2. Identity
3. Empire
4. Everlasting Ending
5. Spirit Breaker
6. Cutting the Ties
7. Provision
8. Back Burner
9. Ghosts
10. Marianas Trench
11. Composure
12. Majoring in the Minors
13. Drum Solo
14. White Washed

From "Martyr" to "White Washed", the five members seemed like they were both enjoying themselves, and giving 110%.  All in all, a win in my books, and a reminder of why I pay to see them every time they come through town.

Crystal Lake - Rollin

Well good morning/afternoon to all you fine people out there!  I trust you all have your headphones blasted, and your car speakers pumping out the good tunes.  While life in Calgary has me away from the computer for weeks at a time, I felt the need to drop a well needed video for this Thursday.

(Photo courtesy of Crystal Lake, and Artery Recordings)

Hailing from Tokyo, Japan, Crystal Lake have made quite the splash (all puns intended) in the metal world, especially after their newly inked deal with Artery Recordings.  Now I must admit that so many bands fly past my radar, this one might have been on that list.  However, me being the closet Limp Bizkit fan I am, I couldn't help but blast the shit out of their "Rollin" cover.  It was just released back in September, so still rather fresh on the internet.  Check it out below!

If you like what you heard, then be sure to check out their other material on their official website.  Cheers and enjoy the good tunes!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Audrey Horne - Pure Heavy

OK, so there has been one band on my playlist for some time now, and I cannot seem to bring myself to deleting it.  Despite the fact that band members had previously played in black metal bands such as Gorgoroth and Enslaved, Bergen, Norway's Audrey Horne has been honing in their classic rock band sound since 2002.

Their latest album, Pure Heavy, has been a staple on my playlist for well over a year.  I think the overall groove of the album has made it rather fun, even after multiple plays.  For those that find the name familiar, the band was named after famous fictional character Audrey Horne from the ABC show Twin Peaks.  I have not watched the show to find the reason why they did so.  haha

I was rather surprised to find out the group was from Norway after hearing the first couple of tracks, but who knows, maybe their is a huge underground market I have yet to discover?  Pure Heavy is one of those albums you can spin from start to finish, as the tracks all tend to flow together quite well.  The band currently consists of:

Torkjell Rød/Toschie - Vocals | Arve Isdal/Ice Dale - Guitar | Thomas Tofthagen - Guitar
Kjetil Greve - Drums | Espen Lien - Bass

"Audrey Horne are a band that have very much sailed their own vessel since launching and ‘Pure Heavy’ is another strong album on this remarkable voyage." -Planet Mosh

(Album artwork courtesy of Audrey Horne and Napalm Records)

1. Wolf In My Heart
2. Holy Roller
3. Out Of The City
4. Volcano Girl
5. Tales From The Crypt
6. Diamond
7. Into The Wild
8. Gravity
9. High And Dry
10. Waiting For The Night
11. Boy Wonder

Pure Heavy is the fifth LP from AH, and was released on September 29th, 2014 via Napalm Records.  I think any rocker that appreciates a good melody, and a solid riff can appreciate these guys.  They're my go-to group when I need a morning pick me up, or my after work cruise home.

So if there was one album you can get antiquated to this coming spring/summer, it has to be Pure Heavy.  Cheers!

"Pure Heavy is pure joy and if I have a complaint, it’s that it didn’t drop three months ago so it could have been the soundtrack to the summer. Music this much fun almost had to be conceived and recorded by guys half in the bag, and it’ll make you feel like you need to catch up toot sweet." -Angry Metal Guy