New Artist Alert: Mark Munroe

Like many people, Mark Munroe says he had dreams be an entertainer since he was a young boy, however unlike many people, he’s making that dream a reality. When asked he says “at a certain point in my life, about 5 years ago, I decided to follow those dreams with everything I had.”

So Mark embarked on fulfilling a dream, with the support of his family of whom he says “…my Parents have been 110% behind me all the way, and are my biggest cheerleaders and fans”, he left the stability of 9 to 5 banking world behind.  Mark dropped some weight, got in shape and sculpted his body to achieve his first goal of becoming a top male model.

Mark Munroe - Model

Success followed, working for clients like BOSS, Motorola, Lush, Colgate as well as UMM, Company, DNA and Cosmopolitan Magazines.

Next the opportunity to lead and write a full length album with a band marked his first foray into the music industry. While writing, touring and promoting the album the third step in his entertainment domination presented itself.

This time TV beaconed, with a lead in episodes of Body Language and a judging stint on …Last Bride Standing“, various music videos, guest spots and reality shows followed.

This all leads us to today and a new solo venture into pop music. …Secrets and Lies“ is the first single from his forthcoming independant solo debut …The Life That I Designed“.

What a great title, not only a play on his model’s life but of a man in control of his own destiny.

Singles & Lies

After an initial hesitant listen ‘Secrets and Lies’ has grown on me to become an incredibly catchy retro sounding pop song. It’s the type of song that begs for a great dance-floor filling remix, which appears in the works since Mark recently tweeted his search for a DJ to assist in the task.
Coming from a family background of professionals hasn’t stopped him from leaping head first into the entertainment business, learning on the go.  A diligent self promoter Mark is constantly filling his fans in on his activities via Facebook Twitter and his Blog, including a recent revelation about his sexuality, a long term relationship and the industry’s view point of keeping him in the closet. With his single for sale on iTunes and getting radio airplay around the world it’s time for Model-Actor Mark Munroe to add another hyphen: -Popstar to his resume. Perhaps the time isn’t far off when he won’t need a hyphen at all…everyone will know his name.

Movie Review- TRON:Legacy

Spoiler Alert: depending on your level of anticipation you may not want to read anything about Tron: Legacy before it opens so stop reading.

TRON: Legacy

The buzz and anticipation surrounding this release is huge! Mobile phones & cameras turned into security before the movie, bags searched and magnetic wands before entering the theatre are just some of the measures taken at the Vancouver Cast and Crew screening to prevent movie piracy of this upcoming Disney blockbuster. The movie was principally filmed in and around Vancouver last year, luckily a crew member invited me to come along to the preview.

A follow up to the 1982 Disney live action/animated sci-fi classic TRON, which you don’t have to have seen in order to enjoy TRON:Legacy. This sequal advances the story of Jeff Bridges character Kevin Flynn as we and his adult son, Sam (played by Garrett Hedlund with a perfect combination of boyish enthusiasm and manly bravado) find out what’s happened over the last 20 years. Through amazing animation effects Jeff Bridges also reprises his role as Clu, his cyberworld equivalent who hasn’t aged at all over the last two decades. On the other hand Bruce Boxleitner, also reprises his original role of Alan Bradley; who, having been on the outside of the game, is now a senior member of the Encomm board of directors. Another excellent addition to the cast is Micheal Sheen, in a small but scenery chewing role as a nightclub owner.

Without giving any storyline away, I will say that the visuals on this film were stunning, every artistic detail from set, to costume and hair to the amazing technology used in their Light Bikes and Light Jets. By blending 2D and 3D in the filmmaking akes the film seem somehow more ‘real’ while not being over the top and distracting with the every little shot in the movie ‘coming out of the screen’ in 3D.

The original soundtrack by electronic mega stars, Daft Punk fit perfectly into the movies score. The dynamic duo even had a cameo during a club scene.

Speaking of cameos, see if you can figure out the future villain of the ‘in the works’ TRON: Three.

Overall the sights, sounds, solid acting by the leads; Bridges, Hedlund and female lead Olivia Wilde were a great combination to make us laugh, cry, cheer and leave  wanting more!

Go see it!

The Posies – 20 Years On

The Posies – Venue – December 10, 2010

Hard to believe Bellingham’s The Posies have been together over 20 years but that explains their comfort and ease onstage.
They’re hardworking too, not only are they headlining their current tour but they’re also playing backup for support act, Brendan Benson.

Having been together through so many trends in music their sound has adopted many of them. Their set is like an encyclopedia of music genres: grunge, pop, hard rock, lounge. All together it creates the most melodic mashup of sounds!

Being so close to home for their second last show of this tour the band seemed to have an extra vigour in their performance that the small but dedicated crowd loved.  If only this were a later show and not competing against holiday parties & other big name concerts this would easily have been a much talked about gig…at least I’ll be talking about it

Brendan Benson

Brendan Benson – Venue – December 11, 2010

Witty banter, brilliant musicianship and great vocals highlight Brendan Benson’s set at Venue. Backed by a tight sounding three quarters of The Posies, Brendan’s folksy lyrics are perfect early evening listening. Being an early show (2130) and supporting headlining act The Posies, the crowd was a bit slow to grow to capacity but that didn’t stop the band from delivering an excellent 35 minute set.

Having only ever seen Brendan headline as part of The Raconteurs I hope to get to see a solo headline gig sometime soon. Until then I’m very happy with what’s delivered tonight!

The Dandy Warhols – Fine & Dandy

 
 
The Dandy Warhols
The Dandy Warhols

Dandy Warhols – Commodore Ballroom – December 2, 2010
The Portland OR based quartet is nearing the end of a tour in support of their current release anthology “The Capital Years 1995-2007”. Saving the west coast for the final leg they stopped in Vancouver recently to play for a sold out crowd at the Commodore Ballroom. After nearly two decades of releasing great rock they’ve amassed a great following eager for a live listen of their large catalogue.

Courtney Taylor-Taylor - lead vocals
Courtney Taylor-Taylor - lead vocals

The very varied demographic in attendance showed the mass appeal the Dandy Warhols have developed. A blend of modern and classic rock melodies you can hear and feel the influences of the Sixties era Beatles, Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground and Beach Boys. The Dandy’s aren’t about making a big show or being over indulgent rock stars it’s just well written, sung and played music for the people. The People love them, cheering enthusiastically throughout the entire set, singing along at the right moments, dancing when the moment and movement struck them. It’s refreshing to be in an audience that isn’t all hipsters who are too cool for the band or suburban burn outs just looking to get high: this was a blend of all parties, here for the common love of the Dandy Warhols.

Roger’s Santa Claus Parade

Here comes Santa Claus! Here Comes Santa Claus! Right down Georgia Street…

Sunday December 5th is the Seventh Annual Rogers Santa Claus Parade in Vancouver.
Family fun pre-parade activities can be found at the Christmas Square in the Vancouver Art Gallery grounds from 1100 until parade time at 1300. Face Painting, Gingerbread Tent, Write a Letter Santa stations and performance are all part of the festivities.

After having fun at the Christmas Square get ready for the man in the big red suit as the parade begins at 1300. The Parade route begins at Georgia and Broughton Streets, running along Georgia to Howe and finally ending at Howe and Davie Streets.

Make sure to dress warmly as you’ll be standing for quite a while, bringing something warm to drink it always a good thing too. Stake out your prime viewing spot early as it will be crowded!

Have Fun!

Black Mountain with Black Angels – A Dark Night

Black Mountain with Black Angels – Commodore Ballroom – December 1, 2010

It was a dark and stormy night…

Oh, wait that’s another story but in this case it was a dark and rocking night!

Both Black Mountain and opening act Black Angels bring a classic rock feel and sound to their audience.  From the wide ranging demographic and the haze in the air this show definitely had a 60’s rock show vibe to it.

Black Angels
Black Angels

Nearly selling out two consecutive nights at the Commodore Ballroom is quite a feat for any band and these two showed their worth it by delivering a wall of sound that clearly pleased the crowd. Being a local band, Black Mountain clearly brought out the bulk of the boisterous fans who cheered the band on with extra vigour.

Black Mountain
Black Mountain

Supporting their third full length album vocalist Amber Webber brings an aura of Grace Slick & Janis Joplin to her performance, this combined with the semi-psychedelic musical arrangements really take one back several decade to when rock was still an experiment.
Being part of the Black Mountain Army collective of Vancouver bands this artists really are carrying on the experimental nature that infuses their work.