Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Accessing Concert Information / 3 Doors Down Review (March 18th, 2017)

I think access to information is a good thing.

Let me elaborate this and give back ground.  My girlfriend and I were knocking another amazing band off the bucket a few Saturday nights ago.  I recalled many conversations in the past with music fans about the amount of access you can get either with the band (aka social media) or the tour information, such as who's the opening act, what time are the sets, and what songs they will likely be playing.  A fair amount of people I had this discussion with generally like the element of surprise when it comes to their favourite bands.  And who could argue?  Who doesn't want a touch of magic to sprinkle on the evening when some of your favouite bands grace the stage.  So the reason I find a lot of this information is useful is not for the sake of knowledge, but can sometimes be beneficial to your evening.
(*No photo pass for this concert, so my girlfriend snapped a few shots from her phone.*)

Take this night for example.  A date night filled with delicious food, drink, and sights to view.  While the night was ultimately reserved for the boys in 3 Doors Down, we read on our tickets that the show as going to be playing until almost 2am.  That had me constantly looking for information to support this theory that they weren't on stage till later in the evening.  I have had many encounters where we get in early for bands, and subjected to 3, 4, 5 opening acts.  One would argue that's all icing on the cake, but sometimes i can be very time consuming for the evening, especially when you have no interest in the opening acts.  Sorry to say it music lovers, but even opening acts can get a little stale at times.

So going back to the show, we decided to forego the hockey game we had planned prior to the concert, simply because we couldn't understand why 3DD was going on so late in the night.  Turns out it was for a good reason.  I have found that if you are having a hard time finding information on the ticket sales site or the official venue website, social media is a great place to find some of that necessary information you might need.  After scouring multiple event pages and official websites, we saw that the show was starting at 8:30pm SHARP.  With finally finding out there was no other opening acts except the one listed on the page, we knew this show would not be running till the 2am time like on the tickets we ordered.

(*No photo pass for this concert, so my girlfriend snapped a few shots from her phone.*)

Thankfully we managed to find out this information on our phones as we're having a drink across the street.  Bill paid, coats on, and across the street juuuust in time to catch the fourth song of their set.  While we were still late to the game, it could have been a lot worse had we followed the information on our tickets.

So what was the reason for this post?  Well, to explain that this information you can find online is a double edge sword.  I completely understand the need to keep things suspenseful, but can also help if you are in a bind.  Places such as Facebook, Twitter, and serve as great tools for information that you may or may not need.  Use at your own discretion.

(*No photo pass for this concert, so my girlfriend snapped a few shots from her phone.*)

As for the concert itself.  I turned to my girlfriend, and said to her "you can tell these guys have been playing together for many years", as the sound, timing, tone, and interaction were all top notch.  Not necessarily going down in the books as one of the most amazing, but damn did they hold their own.  The venue, The Palace Theater, was also a great venue for this show.  The intimacy felt like it was a big family all waiting around to sing songs together.  The acoustics were great, and got a first hand view of the sound guy doing his thing as we hung around the sound board.  I mean, where else in the venue are you going to hear the show the way it was tweaked to be?!

 I got to relive a lot of songs I sang in my youth ("Kryptonite", "Here Without You", "When I'm Gone", etc.), and came to many point where fans were drowning out the band from singing.  That always makes me feel like it was a successful evening.  The energy and happiness in that place couldn't be more apparent!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Spotify For The Win!

Call me late tot he game on this, but I am really enjoying the versatility of Spotify as a streaming source for music.  I at first was skeptical of using the service because of the cost versus artist availability.  That was until I was given an invitation for a premium account from a family member (Thanks Simon!) to try it out without any ads, or introductory time frames.

What won me over was a combination of many things, especially for the mobile devices.  The accessibility to a huge selection of artists to start.  Spotify has obtained quite the roster of bands and compilations over the years.  This comes in very handy for me when I make my playlists.  So not only can you search for other people's playlists, but you can following top trending ones, radio stations, and also create tons of your own!

(Photo courtesy of Spotify: Design Resources)

Another bonus feature that sealed the deal for me was the ability to download as many songs as I wanted (on the premium account) for offline use when I am in an area that doesn't have WiFi, or signal issues, which can be frequent in the mountain areas nearby.  It's a relatively easy process to download, remove, and add new downloads.  You can do them as a whole playlist, a whole album, or individual songs of your choosing.

So far, the playlists have been a hit. I have been sharing them with a few family and friends, and hoping to add to them as I discover more and more artists.  Add me if you are a member (afgallagher86).  I believe it's also free to sign up!

Alexisonfire - Live At Copps

A wonderful flashback occurred recently.

It was a crisp, cold GTA evening in the end of December, 2012.  After returning from holiday festivities in my hometown, I grabbed our whack of tickets and took off for three nights of Alexisonfire at the Sound Academy.  Being that it was supposed to be their farewell tour, I was looking forward to the band and crowd energy at each show.  Needless to say the GF and I suffered a few bruises and bumps in the mosh pit/entire crowd (haha).

So after they depart from the city after four days of havoc, I received a text message from my buddy John, asking if I was available that evening.  With no idea what he's got planned, or any real plans myself, I was happy to tag along.  I had a slight suspicion anyways, being that he attended previous shows with us.

(Courtesy of

We ended up in Hamilton for Alexisonfire and their [apparent] farewell show after 10+ years as a band.  While St. Catherines is the guys hometown, Copps Coliseum felt the perfect venue for fans all across the Niagara region and the GTA.

With Moneen warming up the crowd as we entered the venue, there was a great vibe in the air, and a huge crowd screaming, eagerly awaiting what would eb the final time anyone was going to see these five on stage together.

Shortly after an energetic show from Moneen, the five gentlemen took the stage, and gave it all they had.  I would normally find myself in the moshpits for something such as this, I decided to lick my wounds from previous evenings and watch the night unfold by the sound booth.

So the flashback came from John a few weeks ago when he shared that concert with me (Thanks John!).  I had noooo idea this was being filmed, but remembered saying something along those lines when I was in Copps.  So, here is that full concert, courtesy of Dine Alone records!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue Review

So here I am sitting at a computer with a great review in my head to write about, but lacking the creativity to word it together.  I think it's best to start from the beginning of the evening.  Last minute decision by my girlfriend Allison, we luckily snagged tickets hours before Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue was to take the stage at the Jack Singer concert hall.  I like to think it was good karma as I tried to enter a promo password, and managed to knock a couple of bucks off each ticket.  Now thinking about it in hindsight, I would have gladly paid full price for this concert.

We managed to find the entrance quite easily, despite the ongoing construction outside the venue.  I have to say I was both impressed and taken back by the layout of Jack Singer.  It had the aesthetics that resembled both a modern touch, and a throw back to something I would have seen in the 80s.  The gold plated railings I think helped this vibe.  Regardless of aesthetics, the place was beautifully set up, the bar staff were friendly and fast, and the sound barriers were awesome!

As we got to our section, we were greeted by an usher who was very helpful in us finding our seats, and explaining rules of entering/exiting during performances.  We waltzed into the concert about 10 minutes late of starting time.  Needless to say the show was already off to a great start, with a handful of fans.  Both myself and my girlfriend were instantly connected with the tunes going on inside the hall.  The trumpet was flying, the drum beats were getting faster, and everyone was up and dancing in the venue.  Did I mention it looked close to a sellout?  Very impressive Calgary!

(Snapped this from our seats on my phone.  Not a bad view!)

Being that I am not overly familiar with his work, I didn't know many of the songs.  However, there were many times where the improv started to seep through the saxophone or trombone, and seem like it wasn't going to stop.  We loved it!  There was a point where the boys even busted out their own rendition of "Give It Away" from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  It clicked in afterwards that they recently announced a tour with them in the US, with two Canadian dates (Toronto and Vancouver), so it seemed like a nice tribute to them.

The show lasted just under two hours all together, which seemed a lot shorter than we wanted.  Call us selfish for it, but we have consistently enjoyed Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue so we are always ready for extended performances.  This made it our third time watching his highly energetic performance (the other two were in Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square, and Washington DC's RFK Stadium).  While most of my show reviews tend to be hard rock and metal shows, it's very refreshing to have a change of beat, and get down with something that you can dance to.  The style and approach that Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue give is both throwback, with a modern personal spin.

I would highly recommend this show to most of my readers who are able to appreciate a good love of jazz, blues, and big band.  He has been consistent in his tour schedule, so let's hope he makes a speedy return to Calgary for another performance (coughsummertimeoutdoorscough).