Hey all, here is our Top 5 musical moments since we started the blog.
Unlike my bolster buddies, I hate lists. My excuse is that I like to remain in the
moment and not spend time reflecting on the past, but in reality it’s simply that I
have a terrible memory and find it painful (and overly dependent on Wikipedia) to
remember all the musical moments I enjoyed over the past year. Nonetheless, as
Kris has an almost pathological love of categorizing his music loves; I acquiesced
and compiled a list. At least it was good incentive to start thinking about the top
albums of the year I know they will insist we write.
Number 5: Calgary Folkfest, watching the Avett Brothers.
This was my first Calgary Folk Fest and I was charmed into submission; it might be
better than Edmonton. Well let me qualify that, Edmonton has nostalgia, an amazing
venue and actual folk music. Calgary however has a great vibe, a sweet venue, more
indie bands (which isn’t really a folk fest…) and way better food. Beyond that, it
was my second go at the Avett Brothers who put on a fabulous show. It was a good
people, good music and good food.
Number 4: Jay Z, Empire State of Mind.
The album didn’t really do it for me, but this song and how omnipresent it was really
did. During the summer my car had no tape deck, no ipod port and no cd player,
which means I listened to the few options Edmonton radio has to offer. Luckily this
song was on heavy rotation on three of my five presets. I rocked out a lot.
Number 3: DJ set in Beirut.
I have no idea who the dj playing was, or even the name of club, but it was one of the
best dance parties I’ve had. Some converted bunker in Beirut and a lot of Arab men
dancing the night away. After calling it quits at 6 am we made our way to the beach
to watch the sun rise.
Number 2: Arcade Fire, The Suburbs
I love this album, I even wrote a post about it, but mostly I love it because it has
been my Montreal album. This city has so much music to offer which I am doing my
best to take in but with this album I just keep hitting repeat.
Number 1: Nouvelle Vague concert in Istanbul.
I really only got into these guys this year and as luck would have it, right before I
flew home from Turkey they were playing. Tickets were sold out, but at the last
minute I figured I’d try and found some (overpriced) tickets from a man outside
the club. They were the sexiest, most energetic women I’ve ever seen live. As I walk
in, they start up “dancing with myself” and it’s all worth it. I don’t think I stopped
smiling during the whole set.
I came up with this idea, and now that I’ve sat down to write about it, I really have no idea what my Top 5 music moments have been over the last year. I don’t really remember what happened between last November and February and then I was out of the country. There have been some great albums released and some decent concerts, but have there been awe-inspiring moments? I guess it’s time to decide…
5. Songs about Oceans.
Since I couldn’t think of anything I decided to look over some of the posts on the blog fro some inspiration. I decided that songs that are about oceans or have oceans are awesome. Right now I’m thinking of ‘Shelter’ by the xx and ‘Terrible Love’ by The National (the alternate version may be the greatest song ever). I love songs that feel like they came from the Ocean, this may also explain my love of sea creatures. I also spent a lot of the past year around the ocean and listened to lots of music there as well. ‘Ocean Size’ is an awesome Jane’s Addiction song that feels like your riding the waves of the ocean. How about the Verve’s ‘Life’s an Ocean’, or ‘The Ocean’ by Led Zeppelin. All awesome. To sum it up: There were songs great songs with lyrics containing oceans or ocean-like things; also listening to songs about the ocean on the ocean = set adrift on memory bliss.
4. Mekong Delta songs
It may have just been a tourist set-up to make some quick cash, but it was also very thoughtful to have a small concert of traditional Mekong Delta songs on one of the $20 tours around the region. I was in Vietnam, near the Cambodian border in either Chau Doc or Can Tho receiving a tour and then we were informed that there would be a short musical performance by some locals. A few singers, an electric guitar and a traditional Vietnamese instrument that I don’t remember the name of. They played two songs and then the power went out mid-song. They didn’t stop though, the girls kept singing and the electric guitar player casually put away his electric guitar and brought out an acoustic, made sure it was in tune and joined back in. It looks like the power goes out more often than you would think. I recorded some of the music on an ipod touch using the headphones that have a mic (you can tell when the power goes out). Not as bad quality as you’d expect: check it out here: Mekong Delta songs.
3. IT’s a Blog!
I think a music blog had been in the cards for years, but we finally decided to have one. Sure it has had ups and downs, but when we’re on, we’re on. That we’ve been able to keep it up for a year proves that we can keep making it better and better with a bit more dedication. I enjoy it, I think the others enjoy it, and I hope you enjoy it too.
2. Random Concerts
So I didn’t get to see any mindblowing concerts this past year, but I did see some that were good times and the Edmonton Folk Festival was great as usual. There were some great artists like Van Morrison, John Prine and Calexico, but it is the people that make the Folk Fest, and I had a blast hanging out with lots of friends, old and new. Black Mountain, Blitzen Trapper, Crash Test Dummies, Stars and the New Pornographers were some of the other concerts I saw this year, all good, but none were epic. Going to try and see a few more bands this year, I’ve already got my ticket for U2 (I know they haven’t released anything good since the 90s) this Summer.
1. A Funeral in Laos
Spending a week in Si Phan Don, Laos, was one of the best decisions on my recent trip to Asia. We stayed along the banks of the river in two different huts, but each were within distance of a funeral of a local woman native to the area. We arrived on the day they were making the coffin and as is tradition the funeral was a celebration of her life. Therefore music was to be played constantly for at least four days around the funeral. The music ranged from traditional Laotian to psychedelic folk and rock, late night karaoke sessions and more. Nothing like waking up at 3 in the morning to a man singing off key to a song you would usually here on a bus during karaoke video hour. Sure it got disturbing as times, but it was an experience that I’ll remember forever. It definitely shows how important music is to every culture in the world and how it helps us in every situation be it one of ecstasy, tragedy or anything in between.
5. Number 5 on my top 5 would be this year in general.
It has been an incredible year for me for music and life. There has been a lot of new music discoveries, great concerts and festivals, a house show, my wedding which was filled with great music and dance (thanks to Martin Kerr and his band for the awesome performance), and of course this blog. This blog has given us the chance to share and discuss. I hope the next year proves to see me/us more disciplined in this regard, and I look forward to another year of great music.
4. Calgary/Edmonton Folk Festivals
One of a few trips to Calgary this year for music related purposes led to my first Calgary Folk Fest. Highlights included the Avett Brothers, the Swell Season and the festival surprise, the hugely dancey Coolooloosh. We only made it two days unfortunately, which meant we had to miss Laura Marling and Cat Empire, but it was definitely an amazing festival experience. We then had 4 day passes to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. Highlight bands included Van Morrison, a special Ben Harper acoustic performance, Calexico, Basia Bulat, Jakob Dylan, and lots of side stage goodness.
3. Jamie Lidell
Mere days before we left for Iceland we had the opportunity to drive down to Calgary to see Jamie Lidell. If you ever get a chance to see him. GO! It is a fantastic show. It’s upbeat, full of energy, and a large dancefest. Unfortunately for the band, the show was small on attendance, but very beneficial for us as we were right next to the stage. He played songs from all of his albums, and showed off his mastery on the boards. Throw in some good friends, autographed vinyl, a personal shout-out mid show, a post performance donair, and conversations with band members and you have a very memorable evening in calgary.
We went to Iceland on our honeymoon. It was somewhere we had both wanted to go for a very long time. When we saw that there was a music festival there we knew we had to attend. Airwaves is like SXSW in that it features lots of up and coming bands seeking exposure along with other established acts at varying venues throughout the core of Rejkyavik. With over 600 performances in 5 days, there was a lot to see, and unfortunately too much to not see. Highlights included an energetic performance by Robyn, 2 performances by Olafur Arnalds, and great sets by international acts Junip and Tuung. Local standouts included Lay Low, Retro Stefson, Andvari, Mammut, amiina, and for a minor reflection. Perhaps one of the biggest highlights was when we were standing in line for a performance in the rain and we decided to jump into the nearest pub for a pint and this amazing band of teenagers called Lockerbie took the stage and pushed out some killer post-rock tunes. Can’t wait for their first album to be released very shortly. And in Rejkyavik, every building is a venue whether it is a hair salon, swimming pool, hostel, tent, or even the famous “Blue Lagoon” where we saw a DJ set in a rain storm. Definitely a festival worth checking out.
1. Jonsi live in Vancouver
The Sigur Ros frontman Jonsi went outside of the confines of a traditional concert experience and succeeded in creating one of the most innovative and entertaining musical experiences. This show featured every song off of the amazing album “Go” as well as several new tracks and converted the entire set into a projectable canvas (see my earlier post). “Go Live“, which chronicles the last dress rehearsal before the tour, is slated to be released very soon.