Coming to the end of nearly two years of touring to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of the landmark album, Doolittle, The Pixies wowed the sold out Vancouver audience. Performing a nearly two hour set starting off with B Sides and the entire Doolittle album from start to finish, the quartet reminded us of why this was album launched them into international fame and acclaim. From the first strains of Debaser to the howls of Gigantic the audience was hanging on
every note as though they’d not heard them in 20 years. Perhaps they were taken back to that time when ‘grunge’ was in its infancy and the ‘quiet/loud’ sound that the Pixies gave birth to, and bands like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins adopted, was innovative and amazing. The animosity between members that lead to their early 90’s break up seems to have withered with age but none of the skills that these four brilliant musicians possess has faded at all. For four middle aged Bostonians they can still produce a wall of sound that delights and amazes. The Doolittle album tracks seemed to wiz by, possibly due to their incredible short length, the longest being not even 4 minutes long. The B sides allowed for more experimentation as some had never regularly been played live so were rehearsed just for this tour. The opening set of four obscure B sides and
the closing two encores filled out the show and made us appreciate the Pixies that much more. Hopefully it’s not another 20 years before we hear those tracks again!
Seattle’s Fleet Foxes kicked off their world tour in Vancouver with two sold out dates at the historic Vogue Theatre. An intimate theatre is the perfect setting for this critically acclaimed sextet. Lead singer Robin Pecknold’s beautiful vocals filled the theatre and kept the audience completely enraptured throughout the 90 minute set. In addition to the excited audience, all the members seemed ready and excited to be on the road again. After achieving such huge acclaim and popularity of the back of their debut album, their second full length album, “Helplessness Blues”, which debuts on May 3rd, has a lot to live up to…and they more than live up to the hype. The new songs fit in seamlessly even though this was the first public play for many of them. The only telling moments may have been the sometimes lengthy pauses between songs as the band tuned their next instruments. The band’s musicality gives you a sense that each member is such an accomplished musician that they could exchange instruments and not miss a beat. Often those instruments are ones not commonly seen in a modern rock band; flute, mandolin, double bass, tambourine and sax. However, Fleet Foxes is no common band, their blend of folk, rock and pop feels timeless and familiar while at the same time seeming new and cutting edge. Up next for the band are tour dates in: – May 1 Crystal Ballroom Portland, OR – May 2 Moore Theatre Seattle, WA – May 3 Moore Theatre Seattle, WA – May 5 Fox Theater Oakland, CA – May 6 Spreckles Theatre San Diego, CA – May 7 Hollywood Palladium Hollywood, CA – May 8 Rialto Theatre Tucson, AZ – May 10 Stubb’s Waller Creek Austin, TX – May 11 Palladium Ballroom Dallas, TX – May 13 Ryman Auditorium Nashville, TN – May 14 The Tabernacle Atlanta, GA – May 15 DAR Constitution Hall Washington, DC – May 17 Orpheum Theatre Boston, MA – May 18 The United Palace Theatre New York, NY – May 19 The United Palace Theatre New York, NY – May 21 Tower Theatre Upper Darby, PA
Friday April 29th If you aren’t too tired from staying up to watch the Royal Wedding check out; – The amazing Fleet Foxes are at The Vogue (also playing Saturday night) – Across the water in Victoria, Current Swell are playing Sugar Nightclub – continuing until May 14 is the Arts Club Theatre’s production of The Graduate
Wrapping up a 30+ North American date tour, Janet Jackson performed to three sell out audiences in the intimate Colosseum at Caesars Palace. At just 4082 seats The Colosseum is a great venue for such an intimate and personal tour. Number Ones: Up Close & Personal Tour is just that, an up close and personal view of Janet. From the opening of the “Escapade” video and voice over “…this is the story of Janet Jackson” it was 90 minutes of the history of Janet. With just a simple stage set and costume, the songs from the last 25 years since her first #1 single brought back floods of memories for the audience especially as Janet and her seven back up dancers recreated the dance moves from the music videos. In between the set of 35 number one hit singles Janet included vignettes of her other endeavours and personal moments. Video clips from her acting career included segments from “Good Times”, “Different Strokes”, “Poetic Justice” and “Why Did I Get Married” seemed chosen to tell the story of Janet as well as the characters on screen; an abusive parent, teen relationships and marriage proposals, sexual awakening as a young woman and finally domestic unrest and divorce as an adult. In between other hits was a break featuring a selection of images of Janet from her various photo shoots during a career that’s spanned nearly 40 years. Other touching personal moments included Janet singing “Scream” with late brother Michael via video. Also during the closing song, “Together Again” the video screens showed images of Janet with Michael. Judging from the audience reaction, Janet wasn’t the only one missing Michael. As she thanked the audience for making each of these singles number one the audience repaid the thanks with endless cheers and applause. Everyone wishing there were 35 more singles so the night would last much longer.
Anyone who’s read this blog probably knows that music is a huge passion for me. I’m not sure where is came from perhaps my parents giving me a guitar and lessons as a child, having a brilliant music/choir teacher in elementary school or teachers having a record (yes I’m old enough to remember vinyl records) or cassette player in the classroom and encouraging us to bring our music for recess and lunch breaks. Maybe all of these factors encouraged my fondness for music but as you can see music was part of growing and was promoted in schools. Nowadays with tight budgets, crowded classes and more pressure for schools to have high academic grades, music often takes a backseat. To help enrich children and society as a whole, the Arts should be encouraged just as much as sports and knowledge based education. I stumbled upon a website, Music Makes Us, and organization who’s mandate is just that; The Coalition for Music Education in Canada is dedicated to raising awareness and advocating for the contribution music education. Take a look at the website and see if you can help encourage music education in your area, then participate May 2nd on Music Monday, the coalitions annual awareness day. With shows like Glee making school choir popular again and YouTube creating new music sensations, like Justin Bieber, each day perhaps now is a good time to ensure that music education stays on the curriculum and an option and outlet for young people’s energy.