Sunday, 15 March 2009

CMW Day 4: The Ting Tings are AMAZING.

Saturday was definitely the day I was most looking forward to of Canadian Music Week.  I was SO excited to see The Ting Tings, probably my favourite band that has emerged recently (thank you to my brother, Rick, for the initial recommendation, more than a year ago now!)

I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get in, since the online listing said the show was sold out (though it did say all wristbands/passes were accepted).  I didn't want to chance it, so I ended up at the club super early.  Cute moment - I was driving down a side street looking for parking, blasting the Ting Tings on my stereo, and who is walking by on the sidewalk?  Katie and Jules (The Ting Tings, themselves!) 

My friend that I was supposed to go with ended up not being able to make it (sorry about your car, Catherine!), so I was on my own.  

The first band, Spirits, went on at around 7:30, as scheduled.  They were good.  It's a group of 3 guys, I think they said from Hamilton.  The frontman & drummer were very charismatic.  Fun to take pictures of.  The crowd seemed to be really into it too - they actually got a good chunk of the audience to move forward (tough to do in a Toronto, CM
W crowd!) without even having to ask.  Impressive!

The Ting Tings ended up going on 15 minutes later than they were scheduled to, and they played for exactly one hour.  

The set list was as follows (songs link to some videos I found on YouTube of the show!):
3. Fruit Machine

4. Keep Your Head
6. Be The One

9. Impacilla Carpisung

From the moment they took the stage, to the very end of the encore, both the band and the crowds energy remained high - even during their "slow" song, Traffic Light.  Katie and Jules are incredibly entertaining and fun to watch.  They look like they're having fun, unlike so many bands out there.  Though there are only two of them on stage, their presence could be felt all the way to the very back of the room.

This was probably my absolute favourite gig of CMW this year.  I would see them over and over again (and I've been listening to them on repeat for the last two days now).  I simply can't get enough of The Ting Tings! Pictures are here!

From there, I headed over to the Cadillac Lounge, where the lineup was much better than the night before!  It was a total rockabilly night, which definitely suits the venue more than the bands that played there on Friday night. When I got there, a band called Familiar Looking Strangers, from Liverpool, were playing.  Their set was almost done when I walked in, but I liked what I heard.  (And some guy handed me a little press kit with a promo cd in it afterwards, so I'm looking forward to checking them out!)

Next up was a friend of mine's band - George Westerholm and the Rowdymen.  (And my friend Harry showed up just as they hit the first chord!) They were amazing, and I don't just say that because George is a friend.  Google him and check them out sometime :)

I was going to leave right after George's set, because after two days of staying out until 3am, I was exhausted - however, the next band was intriguing to look at (I noticed a banjo, a double bass, and a guy who was wearing no socks or shoes!), so the guys convinced me to stay for a bit. The band was called Hey Negrita, from London England... and they were great!  I didn't stay for the whole set (but only because I was tired!), but they are definitely worth checking out as well.

That's a wrap on CMW!  I have hundreds of photos to sort through - they'll make their way onto Flickr hopefully sooner rather than later. Hope you've enjoyed the reviews and the preview pics! 
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Saturday, 14 March 2009

CMW Day 3: Good friends, good music, good times

Friday night's Canadian Music Week experience was good times all around.
Met up with one of my favourite new friends and we went on a photography adventure together.

We started out at the Mod Club.  Serius Satellite was putting on an acoustic show that will be broadcast on the radio next week. Saw the Arkells, who I was quite impressed with.  After them came Serena Ryder, who is one of my absolute favourites.  She played probably around 5 songs from her new album (Off the top of my head, I know she played Dark As The Black, Little Bit Of Red, Sweeping The Ashes, All For Love) and she closed with Sing Sing (and brought two members of the Arkells on stage with her to stomp and clap) ... it was great!

Afterwards, we decided to leave the Mod Club, and made our way over to Queen St.  Sat in the Gladstone for a bit, and there was this (non-CMW) band playing, that featured a sitar player as well as a trumpet player.  Super cool sound.  I didn't catch their name though, unfortunately.  Oh, but they also had dancers in cat suits.  Literally.  Cats.  It was kind of awesome.  I wish I had taken pictures.

From there, we headed over to the Cadillac Lounge.  The first two bands were kind of not impressive, for me anyway.  Chiwawa, a band that looked like they came directly out of the 80s, and a band from Australia called Casual Projects.  Neither were really my cup of tea.  At 11pm, Two Foot Falls played.  They were really good, actually.  

After they were done, we headed back over to the Gladstone for Josh Reichmann.  I don't know if we were late, or if they just played a really short set, but we only saw 3 or 4 songs.  I did like what I heard, though.  

Tonight: last day of CMW, and I am SOOOO looking forward to seeing The Ting Tings, and then later, my friend George Westerholm at the Cadillac Lounge.
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Friday, 13 March 2009

CMW Day 2: Oh, to be 16 again...

Day 2 went considerably better than Day 1.  Picked up the media pass at around 3pm (for the record, they did not use any computers.  All they did was pick up a pass out of a box, hand me a Canadian Music Week guide, and have me sign beside my name... and the pass doesn't even have my name on it - it just says Media.  Fail, CMW Staff.  FAIL.)

I still had to line up for an hour outside the Rivoli, but that was my own fault for not getting there earlier (got there at around 8:30 - first band went on at 8, and the "special guest" that everyone was pumped about was scheduled to go on at midnight)

Who was that special guest, you ask?  Well, it was the band that my life revolved around from the ages of 13 to probably around 19 or so: Our Lady Peace.

When I was a teenager, everything I did, lived, breathed, etc... it was all about OLP for me.  I was known to all my friends as "olpphreak" 

I fell out of the scene shortly after their Gravity album was released, and guitarist Mike Turner announced that he was leaving the band.  After he left, nothing felt right about OLP for me anymore, and I closed the door on that chapter of my life.

I bought their "Live" cd which was released a year or two later, but it just wasn't the same.

I saw them at Live 8... and I thought it was the most horrible thing I had ever seen in my life.  I vowed to never see them again, because it was just ruining my youth at that point.  

So, fast forward to a few days ago.  It was leaked on facebook (via Jeremy Taggart, OLP's drummer - who is on my friends list... who, for the record, I had 3 drum lessons with, back in the obsession days.  One of the coolest things I've ever done) that they would be playing a small club show.  I started to think about it.

I still had no concrete CMW plans for Thursday night.  I decided what I would do is go to the Rivoli (where OLP was playing), and if the lineup was crazy long, I'd just go down to the Horseshoe (about 50 feet away) to see the ChartAttack showcase.

I got to the venue at around 8:30, and the line was only about 6-7 people deep.  I asked if they were still letting media in, but alas, no, and he sent me to the back of the line.  They were at capacity for wristbands/passes, but were saving room for guestlist, and people who had actually bought tickets to the show.  The line got longer behind me.  A few people dropped out in front of me.  I texted some friends of mine (who I actually met through the Our Lady Peace message board - the Clumsy Congress - and we've been very good friends ever since then, for more than 10 years now) and they were already inside, so I figured I might as well wait in line a little longer, even if just to see them.

Finally at around 10 minutes to 9pm, I got in.  (Did I mention it was absolutely FREEZING in Toronto last night?)

Saw two bands before OLP went on: Cure Gravity (they were okay, kind of generic, nothing really memorable, but not bad either) and Hail The Villain (reminded me a lot of Billy Talent, but not quite as good yet... WAY too loud - I was standing right by the speaker to get good pics) - and one band afterward: Inward Eye (very good rock, from Winnipeg)

OLP took the stage at midnight.  My inner 16-year-old could barely breathe :)  I remember looking at the pictures that the photographers took at those small clubs, when I was too young to get in, and thinking "some day... that will be me."

That day was last night.

It wasn't nearly as magical as it would have been when I was 16.  But I was still in awe of myself at that moment.  

They played one or two new songs.  A few songs that were on their last albums that I didn't recognize, and then some older songs like Innocent, Clumsy and Superman's Dead (can't help but think of Mike Turner, every time I hear the "ooo ooo ... ooo weee ooo" line in the background at the end of the song.  They closed with Starseed, a perennial favourite.

It was good.  

After the show, Jeremy remembered me... I met the new guitarist, Steve (who complimented my shirt)... and my heart did not skip a beat, as it would have if I were that 16-year-old, meeting her favourite band.

I'm over my hatred of them.

I just don't think I'll ever love them the same way again.

I leave you with a picture :)  (I took close to a million, it seems LOL... It'll take a while to actually get a photo set web-ready... but here's one I snapped of OLP with my wide angle lens)

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Wednesday, 11 March 2009

CMW Day 1: Dumb and Disorganized. FAIL.

It's not even 9pm, and I'm already home. I believe this is poor organization on the part of the organizers of the Canadian Music Week festival. Here's how my evening went:

Firstly, I checked the information email that they had sent to me, 12 days ago (the only communication I have received from the CMW staff), and it clearly states:

Please note: Badges and/or Tickets will NOT be mailed out, you must pick them up at the Registration Office. Your delegate pass and/or tickets can be picked up during the following hours in the Registration Office in the British Columbia Room which is located on the Main Mezzanine Level of The Royal York Hotel Toronto.

Tuesday March 10 5pm-8pm
Wednesday March 11 8am-8pm
Thursday March 12 7am-7pm
Friday March 13 8am-6pm
Saturday March 14 8:30am-6pm

Okay, great. So, my plan was to go to the Royal York, and then head over to the Mod Club to see Sloan & Will Currie and the Country French.  I got to the Royal York at 7pm (and paid an arm and a leg for parking in that area), giving me plenty of time to pick up all necessary documents.  Went to the "A-L" line, and was able to get a wristband, no problem, from the nice lady who was working at that counter.  I asked if she also had my photo pass there.  She told me that it was at the media desk, but she wasn't sure if it was still open, so she would ask someone.

She came back and told me, yes, it was open, and I could just walk over there (it was about 5 paces away, in the same room).  At the media desk, there were at least 4 people sitting at the desk, yet they told me it was closed.  I showed them the email that I received, and they replied saying that "it wasn't the email that the media desk sent out" ... hmmm. Why I had not received any other email, then?  Seemed slightly fishy.  (However, I am talking to my friend Andrew from S&H, and he forwarded me a copy of the email he received.  In it, it clearly states 6pm... but I never received this email.  This is the first I've seen of it.  ARGH)

For the record, I also just logged into the media section of the website, and it simply says, " Media passes may be picked up onsite at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in the British Columbia Room. Specifics will follow. " - it might be a good time to update those specifics, seeing as how the festival has already started.

They told me that all their "systems" were down, and they could not give me the pass (though they could look up on a printed sheet to see that I was, indeed, accredited for a photo pass) - if they do not use some kind of computer network to get me my pass, I will be doubly pissed tomorrow.

They told me to come back tomorrow before 6pm, and they assured me that with my wristband, I would be able to get into the shows that night.


At this point, it was a huge hassle, having to come back, but as long as the rest of the night was okay, and I could photograph the three bands that were playing, I would be fine.

I got to the venue at 7:55.  The first band, of 3, was scheduled to go on at 8, and they're almost always late at the Mod Club, so there was still plenty of time.  Got to the front of the doors, and the security guard says, "We're not taking wristbands anymore."

So... that means I just drove all the way downtown, wasted a quarter tank of gas, for absolutely nothing.

I hope tomorrow turns out better than today.

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