Scissor Sisters

Scissor Sisters – Malkin Bowl – September 16, 2010

Mother Nature fought hard but the Scissor Sisters still won over the capacity crowd at a very rain soaked Malkin Bowl.
Even though the rain came pouring down the audiences still had a great vibe in anticipation of the Scissor Sisters largest Vancouver show to date.  When the band finally took the stage; people in varying levels of rain protection, from plastic bags and styrofoam take out containers to North Face and Gortex danced and sang like it was a beautiful sunny dry evening.
Lead by the incredibly fit, Jake Shears and glamour vixen Ana Matronic, the Scissor Sisters’ infectious blend of 70’s Elton John meets 80’s Yaz synth-pop gets under your skin and makes you want to dance, dance and dance some more. 
In weather that has made other acts whither and hide under the sheltered part of the stage Jake and Ana were troopers and continued to perform over the whole stage.  After a couple of songs, practicality got the better of Jake and he traded in his latex singlet for a Gortex raincoat.  Amazingly this didn’t take anything away from the show, in fact it seemed to make the night that much more special as Jake and Ana were “one of us” partying in the rain. 
This continued into the night as the band joined fans at the after-party at Five-Sixty. Rather than sticking to a VIP area and partying on their own the band was out on the floor with the rest of us celebrating the wrap of their North American tour.  Just another reason to love this band!

Desert Island Discs – Disc 10

(Read disc 1, disc 2, disc 3 disc 4, disc 5, disc 6, disc 7, disc 8, disc 9)

Michael Jackson – Thriller

Not only is this the best selling albums of all time it is one of the most important albums of the last 30 years.  I know music isn’t important in the grand scheme of things but as far as the music business goes, this was a game changer. Thriller broke new ground with each single and video.  Thriller helped break down colour barriers, no longer was Micheal Jackson a ‘black’ artist…he was an artist, period.  After the end of disco, audiences were looking for a new sound to dance to, Thriller provided new, more urban but accessible R&B.  Artists today still sample snippets from Thriller’s singles.
Coming at the dawn of the music video, Michael Jackson became synonymous with ground breaking videos.  You cannot think of the songs, Beat It, Billy Jean or Thriller without picturing the accompanying videos. This was one of the first records to completely combine images with sound and in doing so propelled Michael Jackson into the stratosphere of stardom.  A place he would not be able to recover from, sadly.

Davie Day 2010

Sept 11th marks the third annual Davie Day in the West End. From Burrard to Broughton, Davie Street is closed to traffic and is taken over by entertainment, activities, information, food & beverage vendors.

The event really is for the while family, with something to keep every age (and attention span) interested: 
     Great entertainers are on the main stage (near Burrard); especially the very  popular Kim Kuzma and Shawn Hlookoff
     Movies and lots of activities for the younger crowd are in the KidZone at the Jervis end of the festival site. 
     Heritage & Arts displays for those looking for some culture and eductation with their day out. 
     Of course what street festival would be complete without some great food from the local merchants.

Come out and support the Davie Street and West End and be a part of the community!

(sadly I’m not there this year so have fun for me!)

Live At Squamish Music Festival

Live At Squamish Music Festival – September 4, 2010 

The inaugural edition of Live At Squamish (LAS) occurred over the Labour Day Long Weekend. This new multi-stage music and arts festival took over the Logger Sports Grounds and Hendrickson Fields in Squamish, BC for two days of good times.

My British friend Jim, who is a veteran of music festivals back home in England, and I both thought it was a really well organized, well run event. (Could have used a couple more signs on the highway guiding vehicle traffic to the site but that’s easily fixed next year).  I’ve been to a few festivals both in England and Canada and found LAS to be better than most.

with "Square The Bear"

Even though the ticket sales weren’t as high as I’m sure organizers, brandLIVE would have liked, I really admire their strategy of having a 5 year plan to make LAS a success. It shows they are in it for the long haul and are determined to do it ‘right’.  This year’s music line-up was a fairly low key mix of local and foreign acts like: Said The Whale, Jon & Roy, Seb Fontaine, Matthew Good, Dirty Vegas, Mother Mother, Bad Religion, Devo, The Decemberists.
Although a ‘bigger’ name would have sold more tickets I think they were wise to keep it simple.  This allowed them to work any kinks out without being overwhelmed by massive crowds. 
The whole vibe of this event was very chill and relaxed.  The venue itself was beautiful, the main stage had The Stawamus Chief as the backdrop, the smaller stages were set amongst the trees. There was lots of room between the stages too which meant there was very little overlap of sound, an issue with some other festival sites. The sound at all the stages was excellent, the clubZone dance stage has a great light show as well from Tony Pantages.
The layout of the whole site was very well done too. The vendors were set up around the edges of the field so no matter where you were you could still see/hear the main stage or they were in the transition areas between the stages to you passed them on the way between.  There was a great mix of artisans, corporate (Asus, Telus etc) and food vendors throughout the site. Each stage also had a beer garden along side, so it didn’t look like anyone was waiting very long if they chose to have an adult beverage.  Plenty of washrooms were located in a couple of areas and there was a set of sinks set up so people could fill up on clean tap water for drinking. The organizers encouraging people to bring their own containers to drink from eventhough there was beverages sold by the food vendors. I say kudos to brandLIVE for encouraging the use of tap water and reusable containers!
I cannot say enough good things about the organization of the whole event.

I’m looking forward to having plans on my Labour Day weekends for at least the next few years! See you there!

Desert Island Discs – Disc 9

(Read disc 1, disc 2, disc 3 disc 4, disc 5, disc 6, disc 7, disc 8)

The Eagles – Their Greatest Hits

Again, I know this is a compilation but it’s too good of one to not be included. So good that it’s one of the best selling records ever, tied with Micheal Jackson’s Thriller.

Like Madonna’s Immaculate Collection (mentioned in disc 7) this is a greatest hit package of the songs that defined The Eagles. Witchy Woman, Desperado, Tequila Sunrise, Take It To The Limit, One Of These Nights are all amazing songs.  Each one is definitively an Eagles song, although many have covered them, there is no denying the sound when you hear it, it can’t be performed any other way (or at least shouldn’t be).
These songs set the standard for country/rock.

Vampire Weekend & Guests

Vampire Weekend with guest Dum Dum Girls & Beach House – Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park – August 28, 2010

Malkin Bowl is a diamond within the jewel that is Stanley Park in Vancouver. A small scale version of the Hollywood Bowl, Malkin has hosted a number of great concerts in addition to being home of Theatre Under The Stars. Nestled amongst the trees, there is no where better for an outdoor gig on a nice summer evening!
Three buzzworthy bands came out on this warm August night to entertain a sell out crowd.

Dum Dum Girls

Dum Dum Girls started things off in a swirl of dark hair, clothes and makeup.  I’d been told and heard many things about this band but didn’t really know what to expect.  In spite of their almost goth like appearance they came out sounding like a modern, slightly harder version of the GoGo’s.  They didn’t really interact with the audience but then with a short opening set you want to hear what their music is like not the sound of them talking. I can see good things coming from them.

Beach House

Beach House followed, this very buzzed about band played Vancouver in the early spring but we missed that show due to too many other concerts on the same night (we couldn’t manage to catch three in one night).  I know a lot of people came early specifically to catch Beach House.  Dream pop is probably the best description of this duos sound. Singer Victoria le Grand has an almost ethereal quality to her voice, perfect for a beautiful outdoor venue.

Vampire Weekend

By the time Beach House finished their set Malin Bowl was truly packed and ready for the headliners, Vampire Weekend.
Having seen them on their first visit to Vancouver supporting their debut album I had high expectations of what I should be seeing…they did not disappoint!
Although they look like they’d be at home on the set of the tv series “Big Bang Theory” they know how to show the crowd a good time! I challenge anyone watching them to not smile and bounce along to their infectious blend of ska/pop/rock.  Playing an almost 2 hour set they definitely gave the crowd their money’s worth and were appreciated for it with great feedback as they rolled through hit like Mansard Roof, A-punk, Cousins.  Sadly the sun set and the 10pm curfew put an end to the fun evening leaving the crowd looking forward to their return.

Desert Island Discs – Disc 8

(Read disc 1, disc 2, disc 3 disc 4, disc 5, disc 6, disc 7)

ABBA – Super Trouper

I know, I’m revealing my inner ‘pop-tart’ with these last few discs but these are important for memories as much as quality.
This album came out in 1980 just as music started to ‘matter’ to someone my age (figure it out for yourself) we luckily had a teacher who allowed us a record player in the classroom. With a little censorship for our ‘young ears’ we were allowed to play records during recess and lunch. I also recall, Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 soundtrack and John Lennon/Yoko Ono being played occasionally as well but ABBA seemed to meet the most consensus amongst the young audience.
Fueled by hit singles; The Winner Takes It All, Super Trouper, Lay All You Love On Me plus On and On and On this record got a lot of play in class as well as out of class on radio. It just always seemed to be ‘there’.
For that matter, ABBA songs, always seem to be there, even after all these years, you still hear them.  As cheesy as they might be have that great ‘something’ that makes them perfect pop songs; they’re simple, you can easily sing along to them, they’re catchy without being too annoying.

I bet you’re humming right now!