a day in the life of ...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

05.22.2008 Beirut/Laura Barrett

Laura Barrett, sounds and looks like that stereotypical mousy, art-school musician. She was accompanied by a guitarist for some of her songs. As for Laura, she plays the Kalimba. That's right the Kalimba. Ok I didn't know what it was either until I looked it up here. To say the Commodore, was a larger venue for her is an understatement. However, she played very well and seemed to be right at home playing for the 50 or so people who paid attention. I thought it was pretty cool. I imagine she probably plays for her friends in their living rooms during parties. They must be very lucky.

Zach was apparently pretty drunk drinking freely from a bottle of wine between songs. He mentioned having to buy a ukulele from nearby music store Tom Lee, as his last one was stolen from their previous show in New York. They stopped using the setlist towards the end of the first set. I was a little disappointed to see them leave the stage before the first encore, after less than an hour. My fears of a short show were eventually forgotten as Zach and his band came back multiple times for a total of 3 encores in their 70-80 min set. Thrown in with all the hits were a bunch of oddities and covers such as "Siki Siki Baba" (Kocani Orkestar), "O Leaozinho"(Caetano Veloso) and a few others. One of the band members claimed they were "pulling out all the stops" to make up for not including Vancouver on their previous tours. I don't know whether or not I believe him, but nevertheless, I left quite impressed.


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Saturday, May 24, 2008

05.08.2008 Kate Nash

The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players opened the show up before I got into Richards on Richards. I had checked out their myspace page the day before and figured I'd be better off watching TV and arriving later.

Generally, you know you're evening is in good hands when the artist you're seeing has won awards in their native country. However, I was a little concerned how long her set would be as she only has one album and it totals well under an hour, but when it was all said and done, Kate played for well over an hour, leaving pretty much everyone happy. The solution to limited album material - fill the setlist with B-sides and new songs. As good as she is on album, she really takes it up a notch live. She started off her set with Pumpkin Soup, which, along with almost all her other non-slow songs, was played about 2x as fast as on cd. The FFW button was left on for a couple more songs until she picked up the guitar to do some slower songs. The highlight of my night was probably the end of Mariella. It's fast enough on album, but live it's .. well it's very very fast. The thought processes that go on in her head would probably induce an aneurysm in mine. During a break between songs, Kate recalled visiting Grouse Mountain, eating at Tomahawk and a gift of lemons by someone in the audience ("you must think I must eat so many lemons..." - if you've never heard 'Foundations'). Not to take away from Kate, but her 3-man backing band was pretty awesome as well. They even had an extra drum piece, which they used for a few songs. The drummer has that sound that would not look out of place in a larger venue. Foundations closed out the main set. I would have left happy, but they played a couple more songs, ending with Merry Happy. Baby Love was on the setlist but not played, as was a song called "Punk Song."


Pumpkin Soup
Shit Song
Stitching Leggings
We Get On
Nicest Thing
I Hate Seagulls
Pick Pocket
Do Waa Do
Skeleton Song
Don't You Want To Share The Guilt
Merry Happy


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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

05.06.2008 Progressive Nation Tour 2008

Progressive rock as a genre has often been seen as either much too complex or much too geeky for the average person. Perhaps it is because of this that promoters have shied away from bring such acts to Vancouver. Dream Theater has always stated that most cities that they do not tour in is due to the fact that there is no market for them to play for. I find that hard to believe as evident by the amount of props my friend once got when he wore his Dream Theatre shirt to a Joe Satriani concert. A casual observer would have guessed he was a rockstar due to the amount of times he was approached by fellow DT admirers.

The first act was North Carolina's Between the Buried and Me (I was too late for 3). Previous stints have seen them in Vancouver touring with the likes of Dillinger Escape Plan and Darkest Hour. Tonight had a much bigger venue and larger audience. Stage presence was rather subdued even by prog standards. Other than singer, Tommy Rogers, the rest of the band were content to gazing at their fretboards, which is understandable considering the complexity of music. Musically the setlist was comprised of 2 songs and snippets, all from their latest release "Colors". True to the spirit of the tour, both songs clocked in at well over 10 minutes with the country section of "Ants of the Sky" getting the biggest reaction. They even ended the set with the drummer hitting a giant gong.

Ants of the Sky
White Walls

After a brief change, Opeth took the stage to probably the biggest ovation of the night. The Swedish melodic death metal wizards played an hour of new and old songs and even one off their upcoming album. In between songs, Mikael Akertfert..(sp?) the lead singer, kept the mood light with some witty banter. His voice was spot on as he transitioned flawlessly from a soulful serenade to a demon-like growl (I'm only being half sarcastic). The inclusion of Wreath and Master's Apprentice made their set quite memorable. Wreath, I believe, has not made it to the setlists since the 'Deliverance', if at all. The new song 'Heir Apparent' was similar to the newer material mixing heavy riffs with piano parts. I don't think I was completely sold on it. One other note, the mix coming out of the PAs sounded awful.

Master's Apprentice
Baying of the Hounds
In My Time of Need
Heir Apparent
Drapery Falls

Dream Theater ended the night and proved to be the headliners of the night. Even their stage setup/show was far and beyond any of the previous bands. After almost 10 minutes of intro music (they did play 'Also Sprach Zarathustra live), the band went straight to work plowing through a wealth of material culled from most of their career. Musically they were in top form with plenty of shredding as well as a couple of surprises. At one point, keyboardist Jordan Rudess came out with a giant keytar and traded solos with guitarist John Pertucci. The band even acknowledged the fact that they have not been to Vancouver on several occasions. There were some disappointments however. The setlists during this run weren't as random as during most DT headlining dates, although given the nature of the tour, acceptable. After a couple minutes break and a short but humorous video featuring DT music and a hacked Mario Brothers footage, the band came back out to finish up with an encore medley. Hopefully this isn't the last time Dream Theater is in town. The demand certainly is there.

Theme from Psycho / Intro Tape / Also Sprach Zarathustra
Constant Motion
Panic Attack
Strange Deja Vu
Through My Words
Fatal Tragedy
As I Am
Ministry of Lost Souls
Take The Time
Dark Nintendo Night
Shmedley Wilcox
i) Trial of Tears
ii) Finally Free
iii) Learning to Live
iv) In the Name of God
v) Octavarium


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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Land of Talk - Breaxxbaxx (live 11.14.2007)

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Black Mountain - Stormy High (live 4.6.2008)

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