Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Inspired / Getting Inked

One of my favourite artists is Matthew Good. His music speaks to me in so many ways and I have a lot of respect for him as an artist, a musician, an activist and a human being.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
The album "Avalanche" is one of my favourite albums of all time. Matthew Good's tour for this album was the first show that I saw after moving to Ottawa. Safe to say, it was quite a memorable show for me.

Last October, I went to see Matthew Good live, when he was touring for his new album, "Lights of Endangered Species". I believe this was my fifth or sixth time seeing a Matthew Good show.

The shows begins. It is pitch black; there are no lights. The piano begins...

"Buy in it'll shut you up. Try it, it should shut you up..." 

He is playing "While We Were Hunting Rabbits". Instantely I start crying. I cannot believe this is happening.

"While We Were Hunting Rabbits" has been my favourite Matthew Good song since 2003. It's a beautiful song that just gets me every time I hear it. Never in a million years did I ever think I would get to hear this amazing song live. In addition, the piano version of this song was so raw and so beautiful. I was in heaven. Tears of happiness kept falling down my cheeks.

After that, I just knew. I knew I would get some of the song lyrics tattooed on me.

I approached my tattoo artist with the idea of the song lyrics and a lighthouse. I love lighthouses, because they remind me of home, and the Maritimes. Since my artist is quite busy, I had a few months to mentally prepare for this tattoo (and save some money).

This past Saturday, I visited my tattoo artist at her shop outside of Ottawa. Exactly as I was laying down so she could get started, Matthew Good Band starts playing on the speakers. This was a sign. I was meant to do this.
My tattoo, still in the healing process.
Done by Edith Fluet from Blue Blood Custom Tattoos
After five long and painful hours, my tattoo was done. I couldn't be happier with the end result.


Sometimes, it's easy to get lost and stray from our path. But if we look hard enough, there is always something or someone around that will lead us back to where we're supposed to go. That's what the lighthouse represents to me. Sometimes, I may feel like a ship lost at sea, but I always manage to find my way back.

This tattoo is a tribute to the amazing people in my life who have supported me and kept me on track. This tattoo is an hommage to Matthew Good, whose words have always left me inspired.


In a few days, Matthew Good will be playing an acoustic set at the Ottawa Folk Festival. I am really looking forward to the show. Stay tuned!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Looking Back: 10 Years

Last week, I celebrated a very special anniversary. Ten years ago, last Wednesday, my entire life changed.

I made a huge decision to leave home and move to Ottawa, a city that I fell in love with when I was just 13 years old.

Leaving home at the age of 18 can be really scary. I was terrified. Although I wanted to live in Ottawa more than anything else, I was leaving everyone and everything I knew. Two months earlier, I had found out that my grandmother had ovarian cancer. My grandmother was the most important person in my entire life. This piece of news was quite upsetting. Although I was excited to move, I did not want to leave my grandmother behind, knowing she was sick.

I knew staying behind wouldn't help my grandmother get better. So there I was, in my aunt's car, driving to Ottawa on the morning of August 15, 2002. While driving out of my small town in NB, our car passed my grandparents' car, who were driving to the hospital for my grandmother's first chemotherapy treatment.

Although leaving NB wasn't easy, once I got to Ottawa, I knew I had made the right decision. My life has changed so much since moving here and I am definitely not the same girl I was back in NB.

10 highlights of the last 10 years:

10. Graduating university. Going to university was a big deal to me. I found the experience eye-opening and quite challenging. Therefore, graduating was a big deal, especially after a rough first year. Although I might not exactly follow the same path if I had to do things over, I am happy with my experience because I learned a lot about myself.

9. Volunteering. Since moving here, I've had the opportunity to volunteer with some amazing organizations and for some amazing events. It's taught me so much and I've met some amazing and inspiring people. 

Backstage at Ottawa Fashion Week.
Image courtesy of Miss-SLY!
8. Finding my passion. Volunteering for so many events opened my eyes and allowed me to discover my passion for event planning. After graduating university, I kept thinking of going back to school and trying event planning. Although many people were telling me to go back to school and get my Masters' degree, I decided to go to college and try event planning. I don't regret my decision for one second.

7. Amazing people. Through school and through work, I have met some pretty amazing people. Some of these people are still in my life, some are not. However, I am thankful for their role in my life and I've learned a lot from these people. 

6. Music! Being in a big city has allowed me to discover new music and see more live shows than I ever dreamed of. After my first live show (Matthew Good's Avalanche tour), I was hooked. Since then, I've seen some amazing shows.

5. Pretty cool jobs. My career has always been very important to me. Since moving to Ottawa, I've worked everywhere from Parliament Hill to a museum, from non-profit organizations to the Juno Awards. Now, I work as a magazine editor and trying to make it as a freelance writer. Not too shabby, if you ask me...

Me, my dad and my three brothers
4. Family. Although I moved away from my family 10 years ago, I've never felt closer to them. Being away from the people you love definitely put things in perspective and I am actually thankful that I moved for this exact reason. I appreciate them so much more now than I ever did before.

3. Great friends. I've met incredible people and made some amazing friends while I've lived in Ottawa. I've also managed to maintain many friendships that I established back in high school. I am lucky to have some amazing people to call friends.

The day I married my best friend.

2. Did I mention all the live shows?!? :)

... and finally

1. Falling in love. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes... lots of live shows and lots of fun!

I feel like I've accomplished quite a bit in the last ten years. Regardless, I'm lucky enough to have found a place to call home, and I couldn't be happier.

Ottawa, here's to a great decade, and here's to many more!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Feeling a Little Lost

After all those weeks and months of anticipation, Osheaga has come and gone. Now,  I am eagerly awaiting the next set of shows.

Here's my issue: I have no shows lined up until the Ottawa Folk Festival, which is three weeks away. Then, once Folkfest is done, I will be hitting up NYC's Radio City Music Hall at the end of September. After that, I' m hitting Montreal for two shows at the end of October.

Gulp! When I think about it, that's not very many shows... At least, not compared to what I'm used to this summer.

I won't start panicking just yet. I'm thinking that I will get my music fix by hitting some music venues, like Zaphod's and Mavericks and checking out some local acts in the meantime. Or I could just stay home and save some money... but where's the fun in that?!?

Do you guys have any shows to suggest? What shows in Ottawa (or Montreal) are worth checking out this August/September/October?

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Osheaga: A Look Back

After weeks of anticipation, Osheaga finally happened. Although I didn't make it for the first two days of the festival, Gaston and I hit the road early this past Sunday to take advantage of the amazing line-up of Osheaga's last day.

When we first arrived to Parc Jean Drapeau, we ventured to the edges of the earth (or what seemed like it) and headed to the Green Stage area before all the shows got started. At this point in the day, it was not raining. However, the forecast was calling for rain and thunderstorms all day.

After checking out the beginning of Peter Peter on the Green Stage, we walked to the Tree Stage to see Doe Paoro. Her sound reminded me of Fiona Apple, which I definitely like. The song lyrics didn't really speak to me personally. Her style definitely belonged at Osheaga, but her music was a bit too preachy for my taste.

As per my pal Elly's recommendation, I made sure to check out the Airplane Boys at the Green Stage. These guys (who were actually chilling on the bleachers right next to us while Peter Peter was playing) sure knew how to bring the enthusiasm. When their set started, the rain began to pour. Despite the rain, the boys put on a great show to the small crowd gathered at the stage. People were dancing and having a great time. The guys really seemed to enjoy interacting with the crowd between songs. It's just too bad that they were playing so early in the day and that not more people got the chance to see their set.

At the same time, at the Tree Stage next door, Zola Jesus was playing. We walked over to catch a bit of their set. Unfortunately at that point, it was raining heavily and the band was forced to end their set early, only 10 minutes into it. The crowd was not pleased and neither was Zola Jesus. After pleading with the security guard, she and her band walked off stage. She did manage to sneak in a quick acapella verse before getting escorted off the stage. I felt really awful... I think it's sad that Zola Jesus' set may have been the only one cut short because of the rain.

Zola Jesus - Photo: Elodie Desrochers

Lucky enough, I was able to catch the last two songs from Dan Mangan. Since I will be seeing him live in September for the Ottawa Folk Festival, I wasn't completely heartbroken to have missed most if not all of his set. 

Up next, the most anticipated show of the day for yours truly: Passion Pit. I am a huge fan of their new album "Gossamer" and cannot stop listening to it or talking about it. Safe to say, I couldn't wait to hear the new material live. They kicked off their set with "Take a Walk" and the crowd was ready to take it all in. While they were playing, it was raining pretty hard. However, people were good sports and were dancing happily in the mud. Finally, as "I'll be Alright" starts playing, the rain stops and the sun comes out, right on cue. A beautiful moment for me at the festival... Angelakos' words ring so true! The group played some of the most popular songs, including "Moth's Wings", " the Reeling", "Sleephead" and "Little Secrets" from their album "Manners". They also played some new material, including the lovely "Constant Conversations", "Carried Away" and, much to my delight, "It's Not My Fault, I'm Happy", the song that I have been obsessing over for weeks now. In that moment, I could not have been happier. Overall, my favourite show at Osheaga!

Passion Pit  - Photo: Patrick Beaudry

After that amazing show, we ventured back to the other side of the park at the Green Stage to grab some food. Luckily, I was able to catch Austra on stage. They played "Lose it" and "the Choke", which are two songs that I really enjoy. There was a nice sized crowd gathered and there was a great vibe. Unfortunately, I was not able to stay for the whole set because I had to head back to the Mountain Stage.

Rushing to the Mountain stage was definitely worth it so I could check out Santigold. The rain was gone, the sun was beaming down and the dance party began! Santi White and her two bootilicious backup dancers put on a fantastic performance. During her song "Creator", she invited about twenty people from the crowd on stage to dance with her. It was high energy and so fun to watch! Her set list included "L.E.S. Artistes", "Lights Out", "Disparate Youth" and finished on a high note with "Big Mouth". Overall, an amazing dance party in the sun!

Santigold - Photo: Patrick Beaudry

After Santigold, I braved the crowd and rushed near the stage to secure a good spot for The Shins. Once they started, the dark clouds were fast approaching and it started to rain heavily during their first song. There was lightning in the skies and really strong winds but the show continued. I was becoming anxious that something bad was going to happen (also, I'm scared of thunderstorms). The crowd was soaked but remained enthusiastic.  When they started playing "Caring is Creepy", the crowd went nuts. The set list also included "Simple Song", "Phantom Limb", "Australia", "The Rifle's Spiral", "It's Only Life" and "New Slang". The weather eventually calmed down, and the show was good. However, there were a lot of idiots who were crowd surfing (crowd surfing at the Shins?!?) and they kept falling on their heads. It was distracting and stupid. Seriously, people! Despite this, I was thrilled that the group played the songs from the movie "Garden State".

As much as I tried rushing back to the Green Stage after The Shins, Bloc Party had already started their set. There was an insane crowd at the show. The energy was out of this world and tons of people were crowd surfing. They played some of their old hits, including "Banquet" and "Helicopter", as well as material for their new album coming out later this month. The band seemed thrilled to be performing, and so was the audience. My only complaint is the set was way too short.

Bloc Party - Photo: Tim Snow

My evening ended at the Green Stage with M83. Their set included lots of visual stimulation.There was a huge crowd gathered at the stage, which was surprising since the Black Keys were playing on the River Stage at the same time. However, seeing as there was a total of 40,000 people at the festival on Sunday, I guess no matter what stage you're at, there's going to be a ton of people. The group sounded fantastic and I was blown away by the female singer in the group. Overall, I was impressed with the quality of their set-up and their sound. However, after a long day, I decided to leave before the show ended in order to beat the crowd and get my butt on the subway.

My sneakers at the end of the night. Just a tad muddy...
Overall, my experience at Osheaga was great. My top 3 shows of day 3 were: 1) Passion Pit; 2) Bloc Party; and 3) Santigold. Unfortunately, there were some bands that I couldn't check out because scheduling conflicts (and my inability to be at more than one stage at once), including Metric and City and Colour. Although the crowd was a bit on the younger side, people in Montreal know how to appreciate good music and have a great time. I always enjoy myself when I go to shows in Montreal.

To be honest, it was a bit exhausting being outdoors and walking back and forth from stage to stage all day (especially in the mud). However, I feel blessed that I was able to see so many amazing shows in just one day. Despite the crazy weather and the mud, attending Osheaga was definitely worth it!