a day in the life of ...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Favs of 2007... and Gift (of sorts)

Well, it's almost the end of the year and the upcoming shows list is pretty bare. It's time again to make a list of the best shows of 2007. The 2006 list if you are curious http://firmdragon.blogspot.com/2006_12_01_archive.html Pretty good year in terms of music, maybe even better than 2006. But I digress...

Wintersleep - Welcome to the Night Sky
Tegan and Sara - The Con
Bison - Earthbound
Between the Buried and Me - Colors
Stars - In Our Bedrooms After the War
The Shins - Wincing thte Night Away
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Dilliger Escape Plan - Ire Works

Wintersleep - 11/03/07 @ Richards on Richards
After years of relentless touring and the release of their most solid album yet, Wintersleep played what would amount to their coming out party to a sold out Richards on Richards. Playing for well over 90 minutes and in front of a rabid Vancouver crowd, they cememted themselves as Canada's priemere rock band.

The Shins - 02.19.07 @ Commodore Ballroom
They hold up to their hype, even after 3 years.

The Roots - 02.02.07 @ Commodore Ballroom
Near 3 hour shows are the norm for them. Crazy jams and live instrumentation make this legendary Philly
crew the only must see Hip Hop show this year. (Well for me anyways)

Silversun Pickups - 04.12.07 @ Richards on Richards
Another sold out Richards show. Drawing from their infectious single "Lazy Eye" and debut album "Caravan", The Silversun Pickups blew through pretty much their entire catalogue of material. Pretty good for a band with just one album and an EP.

Mew - 04.03.07 @ Richards on Richards
Something I really wasn't expecting from Mew was how much they sounded like an arena band. Even their drum sound had that sound that just fills the room. I was also pleasently relieved that singer Jonas Bjerre could reproduce his vocals in a live setting.

Secret Chiefs 3 - 05.31.07 @ Plaza Club
Although I was pretty much on the fence about going to this one, I decided to go on reputation alone. I was glad I did. Playing for almost 2 hours, I really couldn't get enough. Combining intricate melodies and an array of different instruments, the result really was quite captivating

Explosions in the Sky - 05/05/07 @ Croatian Cultural Centre
After 2 previous attempts to play a show in Vancouver, Explosions in the Sky finally get the job done. Despite playing to an oversized room, EITS made it seem as intimate as a house party. Although they sitll don't play any encores, 70 minutes was more than enough to satisfy my EITS fix.

Stu Hamm Clinic - 10.15.07 @ North Delta Firehall Centre for Arts
There are a lot of people who believe that the bass guitar is a secondary if not lesser instrument. Those who had the pleasure of attending this know that this simply was not true. And those who truly appreciated something like this were floored.

Fake Shark Real Zombie - 09.07.07 @ Library Square
A not so classy band, playing at a classy venue = a messy floor at the end of the night. I feel sorry for anyone who has to play after them. I actually liked their halloween show better, but at this one I didn't know what to expect beforehand.

Honourable Mentions
Stars Secret Myspace show - 11.18.07 @ The Media Club
Despite the shortened set, it was pretty rare, bag o tunes and you know... secret and all

Just Missed the Mark (or shows that really disappointed me)
Deftones - 07.10-12.07 @ Commodore Ballroom
There are many reasons why theses shows should have been near the top of the list, but there are a couple of big reasons why they fell very far from the mark. First thing is 3 shows and no covers, no snippits and nothing really special. And don't forget the whole choose your own setlist debacle.

Final Fantasy / Great Lake Swimmers / Basia Bulat - 10.20.07 @ Richards on Richards
The show probably didn't disappoint that much, but the crowd was beyond awful. All three of bands on the bill aren't of the loud noisy rock variety, and yet there is incessant chattering from the audience. Even hearing the 2 song that I have not been able to get out of my head (GLS - Your Rocky Spine, BB - In the Night) could not save this show.


Gift of sorts:
I'm thinking of torrenting something out by the end of the year. I have something in mind, but I would like to hear what any of the readers here (less than 10?) would suggest. I'll post it up on www.dimeadozen.org or www.thetradersden.org
Deadline near Christmas? Oh and if anyone has a waffles invite.....

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Monday, November 19, 2007

The Blood Brothers

In case you've forgotten about them. The Blood Brothers are done. R.I.P

Dear Friends,

After 10 years of making music as The Blood Brothers, we have made the collective decision that our time together has come to an end. We feel extremely fortunate to have spent such a deeply memorable and amazing part of our lives with each other. At this point, however, we feel it's best that our futures move forward on separate paths. We'd like to express our sincerest thanks and gratitude to all the bands we've played with, individuals who have helped us make our records, and fans who have come to our shows and picked up our music throughout the years. Your friendship, support and love hold such a profoundly special place in each of our hearts. We hope that the memories you attach to our music are as fond as those you have given us. Thank you and take care, we'll miss all of you.

The Blood Brothers

They'll always hold a special place in my heart because they were one of the first bands who got me into indie music. The first time I saw them was in the summer of 2003. I decided to see the Blood Brothers after hearing 1 song, 'Ambulance vs Ambulance'. I tried to find more songs to download, but couldn't find any. I decided it was worth taking a chance, just hearing that one song, everything else would be a bonus. Well I went and was just floored. I suddenly had to re-evaluate what I thought was 'good' music after that.

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11.17-18.2007 Stars / Miracle Fortress

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Almost from their infancy, Stars has been a favourite among Canadian bands, especially within the indie community. Being associated with Broken Social Scene and the Arts & Crafts label certainly did not hurt matters either. Cut to present day and it is not surprising that they are playing 2 sold out shows at the fabulous Commodore Ballroom. One show would be an all ages affair and the evening show, 19+. In some ways this is even a homecoming show as it is their first show in Canada for quite some time and singer Torquil Campbell residing in Vancouver.


Miracle Fortress is a Montreal based indie rock band opened the show. Red hot from their recent 2007 Polaris Prize nomination, they played to a slightly more than half full crowd. I'll need to hear them again before I make a more sound decision on these guys and girls.

After a brief set change, Stars hit the stage to a giant applause. In comparing their previous appearences in Vancouver, this was definitely the better show. The band, and especially Torquil Campbell (he lives here), seemed to genuinely want to be there. Bouquets of flowers adorned the stage. Throughout the show flowers from said bouquet would be thrown out into the crowd. Songs were played from each of their albums and even some of their older EPs. Even the casual Stars' fan had their fill with songs such as "Your Ex-Lover is Dead", "Ageless Beauty" and "What I'm Trying to Say". Torquil even came out with a light bulb covered jacket for "The Ghost of Genova Heights". They turned out all the lights for that one. After a short break, they came out for a 4 song encore. They played around 90 min to a appreciative all agers crowd.

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Stars played pretty much the same setlist, and I'm running out of witty musings so I'll keep this portion short. I've decided that I only liked Miracle Fortress about half the time they were onstage.

The only thing I remember that set this show apart from the early one was that Amy crowd surfed during one of the songs. (no stage dive, at least not the hxc version)

After about a quarter of the crowd had left the building, Stars came out for a true encore. True, as in I don't think it was planned. They played their Smith's cover of "This Charming Man". I am pretty certain they did not do this for the afternoon show. In fact, I don't think they played "The Aspidistra Flies" (labeled as Umbrella) at the AA show either.

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OH SHIT! I actually attended this. This was probably the worst kept secret show I've ever gotten wind of. Actually I've only heard of one other, that being a Wolf Parade one that supposedly happened at someone's house after their opening slot for the Arcade Fire in 2005. Anyways, the details were:

MySpace Secret Shows Canada Presents
Free / All Ages
Sign up to check your bulletins to find out WHERE!!!
How To Get In:
All shows are FREE. Entry is on a first-come, first-serve, so arrive early to get in line to ensure success! You don’t have to bring anything, just show up, and if we can fit you in, then you’re in! Tell Your Friends! doors 6:30

If you were like me, you'd be thinking, If I wanna see this I'll have to get there around 3 or so to guarantee entry with all the high schoolers who'll no doubt do the same thing. Well I've got better things to do, but still, this was intriguing. I was in downtown at the time anyways, so I detoured over to the Media Club around 4:30 to find a very sorry looking lineup with around 40 people (Media Club has a cap at 150). I stood in line for about a minute, when this guy comes around with wrist bands. At this point I ask him if I could leave and come back and he said sure. So I arrive at 6:30 to find that the lineup had gotten a lot longer. Long story short, when I got in, there were about 20-25 or so people who were left out in the cold without a wristband. Well not really, because I think most if not all of them were let in eventually. So I'd say that you could have gotten in even if you had arrived at doors.

The show itself was a pretty fun affair. The setlist was comprised of songs chosen at random from a brown paper bag with the words "Bag O Tunes" on it. They didn't play all the songs in the bag, just an hour's worth. Between every song, Evan Cranley and Pat Mcgee they would do a "Bag of Tunes" jam. There was a lounge version, reggae, punk, and a particularly funny mock-Emily-Haines-doing-Anthems-of-Seventeen-Year-Old-Girl version, if that makes sense. Really funny stuff. You could tell the band was having as much fun as the crowd was. At one point Torq noticed a girl shooting some video on a digi cam. He took the camera and then started to film the crowd and the band, making faces.


Your Ex-Lover is Dead
My Favourite Book
The Aspidistra Flies
Bitches in Tokyo
Calendar Girl
Set Yourself on Fire
This Charming Man
Take Me to the Riot
Elevator Love Letter
One More Night

leftovers in the bag were:
-soft revolution.
-midnight coward.
-the ghost of genova heights
-on peak hill

Not bad for a free show.

As I was leaving they gave out limited (to 350, which is more than capacity...twice as many... huh...) posters of the first picture. Go ebay. haha... hrmmm..


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Friday, November 16, 2007

11.16.2007 ISIS / These Arms are Snakes / 27

27 are a band from MA. I guess people outside of MA wouldn't normally care about them had they not had an association with ISIS. For those who don't know, 27 lend an extra guitar and vocals to 'Weight' from ISIS' 'Oceanic' album. As a band they aren't bad. Very atmospheric/spacey, (suprise suprise). I thought they fit right in with ISIS' less metal sound.

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I didn't really like TAAS' last album. Loved the first 2, but just couldn't get into their latest. That doesn't really matter though, because their live shows are always on fire. (Wow, I could have swapped TAAS with The Blood Brothers and that last bit would have still been accurate) Anyways, the singer made a remark about how they haven't been in Vancouver in 2 years. He then took a swipe at himself by saying it was because they were too busy with America's Next Top Model. If you're looking for a visual, I'll just say that someone in the audience made a joke that TAAS all shopped at H&M. As expected the singer went from well groomed stylish guy to "10 beers under, shirts-off, on x, intense dancing guy pretty fast. It was pretty
awesome. If you're going through The Blood Brother's withdrawal, TAAS is your methadone.

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I was really surprised how many people showed up for ISIS. In 2005, Mesa Luna was only sparsely filled. This time it was sold out and there was also lots of moshing, something I didn't miss in 2005. Since it was their 10th anniversary tour, they played songs from their entire catalog. Which is nice because if you've seen them in the last few years, stuff off of Celestial and pretty much anything pre-Oceanic was hard to come by. A lot of Oceanic material was played, including Weight, which included Maria from 27 doing the vocals. I never thought I'd ever hear that song live, let alone with the singer on the album. She sounded better on album though.


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11.14.2007 Land of Talk / Said the Whale

Said the Whale is a local Vancouver indie pop/rock band. Recently, they were flown in to Toronto for a youtube.ca launch party after having one of their videos profiled or something on the youtube.ca front page. I know all this because I happened to be talking to one of the singer's dad. How about that for unexpected street teaming? As for the performance, I thought it was just ok. There's potential in there though.

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I really really like Land of Talk. So, I can't really see myself ever saying anything bad about them. Today is no different. The band seem to be having a real string of bad luck as they had their gear stolen last month, and most recently Elizabeth's guitar pedal "crapped out." In place of the latter, she was using a borrowed blues driver, which they referred to as the "Blues Traveler." It was funny seeing Chris abandoned his bass to adjust the settings on the Blues Traveler during the solo in "All My Friends". There were also a couple of new songs that I've never heard. There's one they were calling 'Speed', and well ... it kills. I talked to the band before the show a little bit and was told their "new album" has been recorded (twice) and is being mixed or something. They also recorded "Applause..." acoustic when they were in London.

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I left before Cuff the Duke.


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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Secret Chiefs 3: The Three / Brazen Serpent (live 5.31.2007)

we didn't mix this but we were involved with the filming.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

11.03.2007 Wintersleep / Wooden Stars - Victoria

This little trip to Victoria, wasn't a spur of the moment thing. It's not like I saw Wintersleep in Vancouver, got blown away and then decided to go to Victoria. Nope, this was planned. I decided I wasn't satisfied with just one show and since Calgary and Kelowna are too far away, Victoria would have to do. I went in expecting I'd be taking a heavy hit with a ferry and hotel fees. What I wasn't expect was to find quite a large number of Vancouverites taking the trip to Victoria as well to see Canada's finest in action in Victoria.

On the ferry over, I was flipping through radio and by chance, landed on the zone 91.3, who had, at that very moment, Wintersleep doing an interview and a performance of an acoustic Weighty Ghost. I believe it was just Paul and Loel. In Vancouver, it was just Paul and Tim. Poor Paul, he must be so sick of playing Weighty Ghost by now.

Sugar Nightclub is actually a pretty nice venue for a nightclub. Highlights of that venue was a well lit room and a sunken dance floor. Real estate up at the stage lip is pretty limited however. This created a very tightly packed crowd with lots of pushing. This seemed to fire up the band, as they were on fire tonight. Every chord and note seemed to played with an emphasis on loud and hard. Somewhat suprising, the university town based crowd even took to moshing during just about every song. They played pretty much 90min on the dot. The setlist was pretty much the same as the night before but in a different ordering. No Danse Macabre. Suprisingly the crowd didn't even put up a fight. There were people near the front who had been yelling out 'Danse' all night, yet headed for the door as soon as the band said goodbye. I was talking to Jon, after the gig and he said that they normally play either Nerves or Danse and not both during the encore. The two 10+ min songs of heavy jam-ery can be a little too much even for the band themselves. I guess Vancouver got lucky. However, I'm still convinced that without a tight curfew, the band probably could have indulged those who had asked during the set, had people only stuck around.

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Lastly, some tidbits from the last 2 days. Wintersleep could be back in the states as soon as January. They'll also be in off to Japan for the first time in Febuary. The song "How you lie", which they were playing about a year ago, will be a b-side or import only song. As with one more, which I don't know.

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Adrian from One Geeks Opinion also has a video of Dead Letter over at his site.


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Monday, November 05, 2007

11.02.2007 Wintersleep / Wooden Stars - Vancouver

I've seen Wintersleep a handful of times now. I've even seen them at Richards on Richards, the same venue that they were playing the show. But as the saying goes, that was then and this is now. 2 years ago, they played to a half capacity crowd, so much so that they closed the balcony. They even had their headlining spot stolen by the band The Ladies and Gentlemen, who later became Small Sins. Fast forward 2 years and Wintersleep has now had 2 major radios singles on the radio and have recently put out a remarkable third album, "Welcome to the Night Sky". To top it off, I'm informed that the show is well sold out with about 35 media people on the guestlist.

The Wooden Stars were the opening band for the nights show. Interestingly, the band has been around for over ten years. In fact, they even had quite the media buzz back in 1999 when they won a Juno award for best alternative album. Having recently reunited in 2005 after a 5 year hiatus, the Wooden Stars sounded good and showed a definite sense of maturity in both their music and live playing. Most of their songs were up beat and had a decent groove to it. Although, I wasn't blown away by them,
they certainly warmed up the crowd.

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There have been a couple of changes to Wintersleep since I last saw them. Jud Haynes their former bass player has moved to handle more of the website and behind the scenes duties. In his place is Contrived and sometimes Holy Fuck bassist, Mike Bigelow. Incidentally he was also a touring member playing keyboards and whatnot during the last Dependent Music Tour. Jon Samuel looks to be a permenant member as well. Immediately starting the set with "Drunk on Aluminium", the band set the tone for the night. The sold out crowd was very much into the music. Pretty much every song off of the new album was represented at the show. Despite the overwhelmingly large crowd, the band seemed very humble in regards to interacting with the crowd. Musically, however they rocked the show with as much confidence as any band that I have seen. Songs from their older albums were also well recieved, especially "Jaws of Life". The band finished the night with a 3 song encore that included "Nerves Normal, Breath Normal" and "Danse Macabre". Both included extended jams, the former featuring the exquisite drumming of Loel Campbell. Although both of the aforementioned songs were crowd favourites and finely done, having two 10+ minute songs, back to back I might add, seemed almost too over the top and self indulgent. Regardless of all this, nothing could have spoiled this fantastic show.

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Drunk on Aluminium
Jaws of Life
Dead Letter and the Infinite Yes
Weighty Ghost
Search Party
Faithful Guide
Laser Beams
Miasmal Smoke & the Yellow Bellied Freaks
Nerves Normal, Breath Normal
Danse Macabre

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As an aside, the entire show was filmed by a 3 person crew for what appeared to be, according to a piece of paper taped to the wall in a few places, a dvd release. From what I gather, the people(s) responsible was 'Transmission.' Maybe related to the Transmission festival in December? I doubt it will be in wide public release however, as production seemed stripped down. If I had to guess, I'd say the footage would be used as some sort of promo type material for the Transmission Festival.

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$25/$15 SOLD OUT - So good I may have to see it again...

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