Fran Healy – Mr Nice Guy

Fran Healy leaves the mic aside

Fran Healy – The Vogue Theatre – August 17, 2010

Without a doubt this has to be one of the most special shows I’ve ever been fortunate enough to attend (a big thank you to my friend, David).
I’ve seen Travis on numerous tours but this was lead singer Fran Healy’s first solo journey into Vancouver in advance of his upcoming solo album, Wreckorder.

Unfortunately the audience was quite small, only about 250 people. But fortunately, this allowed us to hear the songs in a way they were truly meant to be. The Vogue Theatre is a classic old theatre with acoustics built for pure sound, Fran took this opportunity to step out from behind the mic, unplug and perform completely acoustic for an entire set; a mix of classic Travis, new solo work along with engaging stories about the origins of songs.  It felt like we were just a few people in a coffee house with the artist in the corner chatting with friends in between performing some songs. It was amazing!

As if treating us to an amazing set wasn’t enough, after the performance he took another 45minutes to chat and take photos with the fans signing anything put in front of him.  I’m sure the venue staff were anxious to close up the theatre and get home but Fran kept chatting and didn’t rush anyone. So engaging and genuine on and off stage…a great guy.

Desert Island Disc – Disc 4

The ongoing journey through my TopTen must have discs continues:
(Find disc 1, disc 2, disc 3)

Scissor Sisters – Scissor Sisters
Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters
This is probably one of the more recent additions on my list but I think will stand the test of time and still be worth a listen years from now too.
In 2004 the Scissor Sisters burst onto the scene like the 70’s lovechild of Elton John and Cher. They were a refreshing departure from the other chart topping (middle of the road) artists topping the charts at the time.
A blend of disco and glam rock (heavy on the glam) one can’t help but be sucked into the rhythms and beats.  Their breakthrough single a disco infused cover of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” is the best selling Pink Floyd cover in spite of being thought a sacrilege by diehard Floyd fans. Like other albums on my Top Ten this one also has a variety of sounds, although all the tracks have a 70’s tinge and disco hooks they range from thoughtful slow tracks like “Return to Oz” to twangy mid-tempo on “Take Your Mama” to full on floor-fillers like “Filthy/Gorgeous”. One thing is certain this album is never boring, there is always something fun and new coming up on the next track.

Desert Island Discs – Disc 3

Welcome to our next installment of my Top 10 Desert Island Discs again, this is in no particular order.  (Find the introduction to disc 1 here, disc 2 here)

George Michael – Faith George Michael - Faith

Yes, I will admit to loving this album when it came out…actually it was probably a cassette tape that I wore out in my car.
Faith was George Michael’s first solo album following the success of Wham! and it marked a more mature, funky sound than the pure pop Wham! was famous for delivering. It debuted in scandalous fashion with the release of the single “I Want Your Sex” which despite (or possibly because of) censorship and controversy still managed to become a #2 single. Five more singles were released, 4 of them went #1 making him the first British male to have 4 chart topping singles off of one album. An appealing factors of this album is how diverse each of those singles and the rest of the tracks are from each other, “I Want Your Sex” sounds nothing like “Father Figure” which again sounds completely different than “Kissing A Fool”. You can listen to this album over and over without it becoming repetitive or boring (unless maybe, you keep playing the same track over and over and over and over like we did as kids)

Chromeo – Won Over!

11Aug2010 – Chromeo at Commodore Ballroom (I forgot my camera so you’ll have to get a taste via the Momma’s Boy video instead)

One word! Awesome! Such a fun show. I’d heard of and listened to Montreal based Chromeo a bit before and like their blend of retro style dance-pop so thought I’d take the opportunity to see them live.  Boy, was I happy I did! My friend Grady and I ended up knowing a bunch of other people there and as soon as I tweeted that I was at the show…a few other friends started replying how much they liked Chromeo and wanted to be there…I had no idea they were so big (I’m not usually this clueless).
We got there in time to catch the opening set by Holy Ghost , also a good act but cursed by not having as good a sound set up as the headliners.
Once Chromeo took the stage to audience chants of Cho-ME-oh-WHOA-oh! It was a fun, bouncing, dancing, entertaining solid hour+ show.  I can’t imagine anyone not having a good time.  For one of our other friends this was his fourth time seeing them…I can see why. I will definitely be back and suggest you do the same!

Desert Island Discs – Disc 2

Welcome to our second installment of my Top 10 Desert Island Discs again, this is in no particular order. (Find the introduction to disc 1 here)

Blur: The Great Escape
Blur: The Great Escape

I don’t know what it is or why but I loved this whole album from the very first listen. This was Blur’s 4th studio album and they’d had some great songs up to day but somehow everything on this one ‘clicked’ to produce an overall great hour of listening pleasure. This disc came out at the height of the Britpop wave of new young bands. With the simultaneous release of the first single from this album; “Country House” and rival Britpop icon’s Oasis’ single; “Roll With It”, the Battle Of Britpop (to see which band claimed the coveted #1 spot on that week’s chart) grabbed headlines all around the world, propelling both bands even further into stardom. In the end, “Country House” (in my opinion a far superior single) grabbed the number one spot ahead of number 2 “Roll With It”.
This was the first of a string of great singles released from ”The Great Escape”; “The Universal” (one of my favourite songs…ever), “Stereotypes” and “Charmless Man” all followed “Country House” into the top 10 singles charts.
For those singles alone this is a great album and worthy of being on my Top 10.

Desert Island Discs – Disc 1

As mentioned last week I’ll be introducing my Top 10 Desert Island Discs over the next while.

In no particular order we begin the journey with a soundtrack compilation.

Singles: Original MotSingles: The Orginal Motion Picture Soundtrackion Picture Soundtrack
An iconic soundtrack that perfectly captured the sounds of the times. Released in 1992, this compilation includes a who’s who of 90’s indie rockers.  The early nineties saw the birth of the ‘grunge’ scene in Seattle and Pacific Northwest.  This movie cemented the grunge movement’s place in the history and brought the music to the mainstream.  Many of the artists featured on this soundtrack would go on to long term success and gain icon status over the years since; Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Chris Cornell & Soundgarden to name a few.
Every listen, to every song takes me back to my long-haired, plaid shirt, long-johns over shorts, Doc Martin wearing youth.  If you were around in that era, you know what I mean!

Desert Island Discs

Recently a friend asked me what my top ten “Desert Island Discs” would be. 
Our rules for picking our top ten must-have discs were that they had to be by one artist or were a soundtrack compilation (no other compilations allowed) and you had to be love every song on the album without ever skipping over a track. 

It really made me stop and think about my music collection and tastes over the years. Of course I could have been all uber-cool music geek and named off a list of ten hipster albums that show up on list after list from the critics but for this exercise we wanted personal faves, not pop-cultural faves. 

Before I expose my shockingly varied taste in music I thought I should put the question to you readers…what are your top ten must-have disc that you can’t part with in your record collections. Let’s share them, no judgment, just interest in knowing what spins your turntable!
I’ll reveal my discs randomly over the next week and I hope to hear from you.