Friday, August 30, 2013

Say Goodbye, Don't Follow

Been spending the majority of my week in St. Catharines - sometimes Toronto and I need to take a break & see other people. It's a relationship that takes work.

As always, it's good to get some time with the family and let the dogs hang out and beat the crap out of each other lovingly. Tonight, as I do every year at this time, I'll be heading to the yacht club in Port Dalhousie to watch my uncle's band play. If you're around, get in touch - you'll like it. I promise.

A few weeks ago, I posted about my trip to Montreal & Osheaga that Canadian Club sent me on. The video, the reason for the trip, is up and ready. As promised, I'm posting it here for your viewing displeasure - it seems my awkwardness is apparent in all provinces and languages.

And on that note, I hope you all have a great Labour Day long weekend.

Party on, Wayne. Party on, Garth.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Take The Wild Ones, They're My Favourite - It's The Side Effects That Save Us

Well, it looks like The Summer of Music is coming to a close. Yup, we're a few days from September and a mere few weeks from cooler weather and a brand new season.

Time to say goodbye to summer concerts.

Riot Fest. My friend Matt's beard holds all the secrets.
 As I've documented, I spent the majority of my summer going to as many live shows as possible. I was lucky enough to be sent to many of them, and given opportunities to check out bands I may not have otherwise been able to see. It's been pretty friggin' great.

And while I thought my last big live music weekend would've been the previous one with The Wooden Sky, and the Bahamas/ Blue Rodeo show, thanks to the always awesome Tracey (and also 93.3 CFMU, McMaster University's radio station), I got to go to Riot Fest this weekend and end the summer with another fun festival.

Rocket From The Crypt

The Weakethans

 Not a bad way to close out the season.

Iggy Pop & The Stooges

The Replacements
And though what I un-creatively named The Summer of Music is pretty much over, I'm not upset - no, because fall is bringing some fantastic shows as well. Aside from local bands that I'm often out to see, the next season of concerts will kick off with Local Natives at the Kool Haus (as well as the Junction Music Fest earlier that same day).

From there, I need to somehow procure tickets to some of the bigger concerts: Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Pearl Jam, Chris Cornell... unfortunately, some of these shows are sold out. But I'll find a way to get to as many as possible; I'm determined. And there is guaranteed to be a slew of other fantastic shows in between - so bring on The Fall of Live Tunes! (Ok ok, so these names are always terrible. At least the music is good.)

So my fellow music obsessors, what shows did you check out this summer? Which ones are you excited to see this fall?

And are you taking me with you?!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I've Been Dreaming About Mountains, & You've Been Dreaming About Gold

Last Friday, The Wooden Sky teamed up with SummerWorks and put on a fantastic show with an awesome format - a travelling concert.

We started off at Lower Ossington Theatre, where they played a few songs then started walking through the streets as the show continued. With band members interspersed through the crowd, we walked through alleys and streets of Toronto and they kept on playing.

Then we stopped again and sat in the grass as a few more songs were played to a captivated audience.

The atmosphere at this show was unlike any other I've ever been to - and I go to see a lot of bands. Every single show-goer was completely immersed in the whole thing and having an absolute blast.

I brought along a good friend who had never listened to The Wooden Sky before. Throughout the night, he kept turning to me and saying "Thank you for bringing me, this is amazing."

He's now a lifelong fan. Especially after he bonded with Gavin (the lead singer) over their matching glasses before the show. He quite possibly developed a mancrush then & there.

After, they jumped on a truck and some of the crowd pushed them around the streets as they played.

At the next stop, sparklers were given out as more songs were played.

This whole show was actually pretty romantic and surreal. All the couples were having an amazing date night.

Second last stop near CAMH, on what looks to be a loading dock for "Real Food for Real Kids".

Here, they passed out bottles of whiskey which the crowd was more than happy to accept. I'd post the photos of me and my whiskey bottles.... but frankly, they're not pretty. Use your imaginations.

...on second thought, please don't.

After we wandered the streets around Ossington/Dovercourt & Queen, we hit our last stop - the lower level of The Great Hall (also known as Blk Box).

There, they did two more sets. (I'd say they were 'fantastic' again, but I'm pretty sure you got the picture.)

The night consisted of about 3 and a half hours of music. That's a pretty stellar evening for a music freak.

Overall, a memorable night.

Honestly one of the coolest live show experiences I've had. If you ever come across a show like this again, I urge you to go. Actually, I insist. And please, bring me with you.

I threw a quick video together to give you a feel for the show (including a little Tom Petty action as their finale).

They're shitty quality phone clips, but you get the idea:

And if you don't yet know The Wooden Sky - fix that here.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

She's Walking Through The Clouds, With A Circus Mind That's Running 'Round

For the better part of this year, I've been doing my best to ensure that I celebrate the little wins. Y'know, those positive yet seemingly inconsequential things that often go unnoticed - the ones that are so small and insignificant that we tend to overlook them? Yeah. Those. Because I'll tell you this much, the little wins count. When all else fails, we need those to keep us sane.

This was all a big part of making myself a more positive chick, to get past some of my old negative bitchy ways. That kind of brain re-wiring takes work.

The dog is (usually) a win.
 Well, these past few weeks have appeared to be one bad luck event after another. Big things, little things, stupid things.... I fell apart a bit. Ok, a lot. It happens. And while everything has been going downhill, I've had a hard time finding any little wins to get me through. So I'm giving my head a shake and locating those tiny positive things among the mess.

For example, take the day I got a laundry list of bad news from my doctor - that was a difficult day. Little win: being sent to Montreal for Osheaga the very next day gave me an awesome distraction so I had no time to dwell.

And last week, when my guitar busted and I was upset because I love my guitar and I don't have another one yet?
Cue the tears.

Little win (make that a big win):  The Betty to my Veronica happened to have a guitar she didn't use, and didn't have room for - so it became the newest member of my family, and I am so happy for it.

Three parts to my live-in family. Daisy approved.

When things seem rough at work, it's difficult because it's my own business. But when that was happening recently, a lovely, thankful letter of gratitude from a client made it all seem a lot better. That was a little win.

See? They're there. Ya gotta look.

For me, because there is a lot going on in my personal life and it overwhelms me to the point that I can break down, my little wins are often very small. Things like a nice compliment, nailing a new song on the guitar, managing to avoid my terrible neighbours on the stairwell, and even something as stupid as a half-good hair day - those are my wins.

Sometimes you have to reach. And most days I do.

When it seems like everything and everyone is slapping you in the face, you do what you need to do to keep standing. Every win counts. Right now I'm working from my couch with my dog at my side. If that's not a win, I'm not sure what is.

What are your little wins? Think about it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I Am A Moth Who Just Wants To Share Your Light

Radiohead is one of my all-time favourite bands. When asked the most difficult question in the world - what 5 albums would you want with you when stranded on an island - I can definitively say that there would be some Radiohead involved (though I can never give a full response. How the hell do you pick only 5 albums?!).

I could easily put together the greatest Radiohead album ever by picking and choosing best songs from each album, because naming one my favourite is damn near impossible. It's a close race that includes OK Computer, Kid A, and The Bends, respectively -  but for this post's sake I think In Rainbows is the one that I feel closest to. (Notice I didn't say favourite?)

In Rainbows is almost like a friend that knows a lot about my life. Like it was there... and in fact, it was. I can throw on any random song from this album and tell you exactly who it reminds me of, what memory it takes me back to, and why it kinda plunges itself into my chest. I can't listen to the album without feeling a crazy array of emotions that would never make sense to anyone but me. And when a record can do that over and over, year after year, you've found something truly special. It holds meaning.

"Nude" was the first song from this album that I was hooked on. I listened to it constantly while driving around in my Protege when I still lived in St. Catharines (not unlike A Perfect Circle's Thirteenth Step, which I mentioned before). Then "All I Need", "House of Cards", "Videotape" and "Reckoner" made their way onto my obsession list. It's an album I can listen to endlessly, and still feel all the crazy feelings it brings. I don't seem to get sick of it; instead it becomes more important, more familiar. (The only thing that would make it at all improved for me would be if they added "Talk Show Host" to the song list. But that's reaching. I know this.)

So this is another album to add to the list of my favourites: Radiohead's In Rainbows.

And maybe it's just me, and maybe it's personal, but I can't watch this and not feel something.

Fantastic album.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

They Know Your Secrets & You Know Theirs. This Town Is Crazy, Nobody Cares.

Through the years I've talked ad nauseum about how I'm happiest in relationships, and that remains true. One of the reasons is because of the support system a relationship brings. In that kind of partnership, you have someone to go through everything with.

Sometimes it's the two of you against the world. You've always got that person at your side.

When I somewhat recently became single again, it was just as I had finally started seeing a few doctors in an attempt to fix all of the things that I knew were wrong with my health. The problem was that I'd go to an appointment and have tests for one ailment, and they'd find something unrelated that was wrong with me. Something I never had any idea about.

This is still happening. The list grows.

My last appointment was to go over some test results, and I went in with a pretty positive attitude. After all, figuring out the problems meant they can get treated, right? But I received no good news. In fact, the news I received was quite bad. New problems were discovered, the issues I had turned out to be worse than we thought, and when the c-word (the medical c-word, that is.) was thrown in as a potential issue, I think I was in shock.

Needless to say, I cried in the public bathroom at my doctor's office after that meeting. A moment of sheer weakness; I was overwhelmed. But more than that, I felt completely alone.

And this is when it's hard to be solo. Before, if I was crying in that bathroom, I would've called my significant other. I would've felt better knowing someone was with me through it all. But my situation went from "we'll get through this" to "I'll get through it by myself". Yup. Damn right I will. It's just harder without that one person in your corner. They give you strength when you really need it.

I'm lucky enough to have some pretty great people to turn to. I messaged my sister and Masuka when the bathroom crying had run its course. They gave very different types of support, both much needed. And when I explained my results to my parents, their responses made the waterworks start again - knowing they're there for me is pretty huge, though I hated giving them reason for concern. No one wants to make their parents worry.

Facing tough health problems, especially those that come as a surprise, have a way of making me feel extremely alone. I may be a tough chick, but scary stuff is just that - scary. Having a partner makes it a little less so.

I'm now realizing that a single chick's support system is a different kind than I was used to. It doesn't come from a boyfriend or significant other anymore. It comes from family. From close friends. And hell, I won't lie... it also comes from the dog. (I may or may not have come home and cried a bit while hugging Daisy. Don't you judge me.)

This post is more personal than I've written in awhile, although I've always been very open about health issues. Anxiety/depression, stomach and otherwise. But this one feels different. It doesn't seem right to share specific details. Some of the procedures and/or surgeries I'll need to go through aren't too frightening. It's just when cancer becomes a "maybe" that you think "Aw, shit. I never believed it would happen to me. What did I do wrong?"

Gotta face our own mortality, I suppose.

And this single chick is more than grateful to be facing it with the support of her favourite people. You all know who you are, and you make me feel less alone. Thanks to you, I can kick some ass.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Setting Fire To Our Insides For Fun, To Distract Our Hearts From Ever Missing Them

Last week, Canadian Club and Matchstick sent me off to Montreal to capture Friday's lineup at Osheaga with a GoPro.

Go to a musical festival I've never been to in a city I've never been able to visit? Yeah. I'm in.

It was only my second trip via flight, so I was slightly worried that my fear of heights would get the best of me. I don't think I did too badly.

I'm ready for more trips.

Plane beer is better than bus beer - it's a proven fact.

We got caught in the rain and ended up at this awesome restaurant, Jardin Nelson. Unfortunately, monsoon weather decided to show up and all the diners had to grab their plates and move to covered tables.

Since the rain was crazy, we stopped into City Hall and caught part of the tour.

I learned stuff. Then promptly forgot it.

I loved the streets in Old Montreal.

I haven't stepped foot in a church in a long, long time. But this time I did willingly.

Chapelle Notre-Dame-De-Bon-Secours was absolutely gorgeous. If all churches looked like this, maybe I'd actually attend sometimes.

But eventually we got down to one of the best parts of visiting Montreal - the beer.

Some Unibroue action at Bières Et Compagnie (because Trois Pistoles is my favourite).

And, of course, the food. Beers and poutine at Frite Alors.

We wandered around all day, as I was a first timer, but eventually the rain got to be too much.

So we packed 'er in, and got ready for Osheaga the next day.

Prepping for a music fest calls for a good breakfast. Behold, the best sandwich ever at Thé mon Café:

Then we finally tracked down the Canadian Club stuff in our hotel.

Like glasses...
And this:

And off we went.
Bonjour, Osheaga!

We started off with K-OS... I'd put his picture here, but he came on, performed half a song, then said "I'm sorry, but I love music too much to do this." and walked off-stage. Apparently there were sound issues, but that wasn't the best way to handle it.

Luckily, Daughter played through the sound problems.

I love Elena Tonra. I have a giant girlcrush on her, and she did not disappoint during the live show.

They were fantastic.

Bowing a Les Paul like Jimmy Page - it's the little things that make me happy.

My sister kept laughing at me because I paid too much attention to the guitars that were being played. Seems every band had a Gretsch in their guitar arsenal. Some pretty cool ones.

I wish I got this on video - they were giving out free IOGO if you caught it out of the machine. The guy running it made my sister yell a few things in the microphone, including "I like your real fruits!" and then this was her making the catch.

Oh, Lianne La Havas.

She is incredibly talented, put on an awesome set, and even covered Radiohead. She is also a babe.

Two Door Cinema Club. The singer reminded us of Conan O'Brien with a nose ring in a suit.

That is not at all insulting. Complimentary, actually.

In a huge crowd of "Brahs" for Ellie Goulding.

It was hot, it was crowded, and some guys were just ignorant and terrible.

But Ellie was great. High energy show, and a good backing band.

They had a "chill" area, where people could sit by the water, lie in a hammock, hang out in adirondack chairs, and use free wifi under pretty twinkling lights.

We nearly fell asleep.

I'm pretty sure that's Phoenix.

Don't judge me, I lost track of my photos.

Beach House.

They sounded really good, and there wasn't a huge crowd for them. I'm happy they played "Norway" before we had to head out to catch a bit of The Cure.

They've been going since the 70's, but Robert Smith sounds the same. I was pretty impressed.

Not impressed by all the weird moths at Parc Jean-Drapeau, however. It's hard to dance or sing along when these strange bugs kept flying into you.

And that was Friday at Osheaga.

We somehow managed to meet up with our cousin who we haven't seen in years, and had a delicious brunch (and beers) with him at Le Cartet.

Look at that brunch. Half of it is hidden. But also please note that fruit was involved.

And that's that. My first trip to Montreal & Osheaga over. (Stay tuned for the Canadian Club video.)

Au revoir, Montreal!

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