Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Top 10 Shows of 2013

2013 was quite a busy year, but an awesome one as well. I saw lots of shows and had a lot of fun. However, it wasn't exactly an easy year. There were many big changes that I needed to adjust to, such as a new job, the death of a friend and the birth of my nephew. Despite this, I made it my mission to take advantage of life, and do what makes me happy.

Thus, just like every other blog, I've compiled a list of my most memorable shows of the year. Here are my top 10 shows of 2013:

10) Nine Inch Nails @ Bell Centre
This show makes my top 10 because I didn't think I would ever have the opportunity to see NIN again. The tour was in support of the group's latest album "Hesitation Marks". The album is really good, although some die-hard NIN fans are not too thrilled about it. The show included a lot of new material, which many fans did not like. However, the show was impressive both visually and sonically. Although I really enjoyed the show, it was nowhere near as good as the first time I saw NIN play in Ottawa in support of "Year Zero" (at least I think it was around that time).

9) Plants and Animals @ Ritual
Although I had seen the group a few times, I was particularly excited about this show, which was in support of their third album "The End of That". In addition, I had only seen the band play outdoor venues so this was quite different. The show was great and the venue was packed. There was really great energy in the room. I also really enjoyed the setlist, which features a great mix of new and older material. To top it all off, I had the opportunity to interview drummer Matthew Woodley before the show for Couch Assassin. This was a great opportunity for me, so I was over the moon! In case you missed it, check out my interview here.

8) Ben Caplan @ Mavericks
If you haven't heard of Ben Caplan yet, then you are missing out! I had heard great things about this musician from Halifax, and unfortunately I wasn't able to make it to his show at Raw Sugar Cafe last year. So when he came back to Ottawa to play Mavericks in February, I didn't want to miss my opportunity. Caplan isn't just a great songwriter, he is an all-out entertainer! His voice is out of this world (and so is his beard)! Caplan is also quite charming and loves to interact with the audience. Take my word for it: You will never forget a Ben Caplan show!

7) Heathers @ Cafe Dekcuf
I decided to go check out Heathers' live show because of the poster. Yep. I saw the poster, and thought to myself: I'd probably like that. And did I ever! Their music is catchy... I was hooked after the first song! These Irish twins are impressive musicians, singers and lyricists. Not only are they beautiful and talented, they are so nice! Next time they play a show near you, don't miss them!

6) Rush @ Ottawa Bluesfest
The show at this year's Bluesfest that I was most exciting about seeing was Rush. And they did not disappoint! The sound, the lights, the visuals... Everything was big and over the top! They did play mostly material from their latest record "Clockwork Angels". I wasn't familiar with the group's new material but it was a great introduction. To me, Rush is the ultimate musical representation of Canadiana, so seeing them live was great! Also, I've loved them ever since I started watching Trailer Park Boys (haha). The only con to the overall experience was the really, REALLY drunk middle-aged men in attendance that were loud, rowdy and annoying.

5) Feist @ Arts & Craft Field Trip
My summer began on a high note with the Arts & Craft Field Trip concert in Toronto. Although there were tons of artists/groups that I was excited to check out, the one that stood out the most for me was Feist. I've been a fan of hers for years, but I had never seen her perform live solo. I did see her perform with Broken Social Scene a long, long time ago but that didn't really count for me. There were thousands of people in attendance, and I could barely see the stage. Still, Feist took over the stage and put on quite a show! The energy was fantastic, and the setlist was great, including a good mix of songs from all of her albums (all of which are superb). I really enjoyed how every song was altered and sounded completely different than the original. Although there were so many people around, I felt like I was in my own little world and that Feist was performing just for me. Unforgettable!

4) Avett Brothers @ Ottawa Folkest
There was a few artists that I wanted to check out at Folkfest, although the lineup wasn't stellar, in my opinion. A friend of mine asked me to check out the Avett Brothers. I had never heard of the group but I rarely decline an invitation to go check out a band, especially one that I don't know. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised! First, I assumed that the Avett Brothers were a rock group from the '60s or '70s. That couldn't be farther from the truth. These young, bearded Southern rockers blend many musical genres, including country, bluegrass, folk and rock. I have never in my life seen a live show with so much energy. It was surreal! You could tell that everyone in attendance was having a blast. The only downside to an amazing like show like this: listening to the Avett Brothers on CD is not nearly as good. I can safely say that I am now a fan of the Avett Brothers.

3) Megadeth @ Heavy MTL
In August, I went to the Heavy MTL festival for the very first time. I was quite excited to check out all of the bands that were on the bill. The biggest surprise of the festival was the band that I had been avoiding for years: Megadeth. My partner has been listening to Megadeth since we've started dating, and since then, I've flat out refused to give them a chance... mostly because I'm not a fan of frontman Dave Mustaine. While at Heavy MTL, I decided to finally shut up and give them a chance. Wow! I never expected to actually enjoy their show... but I did! The energy at this show was insane, and seeing all the hardcore fans of all ages sing all of the words to all of the songs was really touching. I never in a million years imagined that I would enjoy this show. Since then, I can now say that I like listening to Megadeth and would love to see them live again.

2) Alt-J @ Osheaga
This past summer, I headed to Montreal to catch the first day of Osheaga. There were many shows that I was excited to check out, but none more than Alt-J. I had been obsessing over their album "An Awesome Wave" for months, and I couldn't wait to see them live. They did not disappoint! Although they only played for 45 minutes, the show was great. The band sounded great, and had lots of energy on stage. I was standing really close to the front of the stage, which was fun being in the mist of the crowd. The highlight of the show was definitely when they played "Blood Flood", my favourite song of the album.

1) Woodkid @ Metropolis
Hands down, the best show I went to in 2013. Seriously. It's hard to describe the experience of that show... On July 1st, the Metropolis was sold out. Woodkid played a show as part of the Montreal Jazz Festival. I've seen many shows at this venue, including metal shows, and no show ever came close to the intensity of this show. The Metropolis was literally shaking. At times, I was legitimately scared that the venue would collapse. The crowd was so intense... which is a bit odd, considering the type of majestic, epic sound of Woodkid. However, that evening was just that... epic! His album "The Golden Age" had officially been released earlier that year, and it is absolutely sublime. Yoann Lemoine was joined on stage by various musicians, including a brass ensemble and two drummers. In the background, a giant screen showed videos and images during the performance. This added an amazing visual element to the performance, and definitely made it more grandiose. There was lots of talk surrounding this show, and with good reason. You gotta experience it to believe it! Woodkid's performance exceeded all of my expectations and that show is definitely my top show of the year.

 

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Forgotten Opportunities

I recently came across some old articles that I wrote for Ottawa Life Magazine. This was my first opportunity to do freelance writing and I absolutely loved it. I got to write about topics that were of interest to me, which was great.

Sometimes, I forget how much I've accomplished and how lucky I am. And although I had forgotten about them, I am really proud of the articles that I wrote for OLM.

You can read my articles here.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

New James Vincent McMorrow

I discovered James Vincent McMorrow two years ago. The musician hails from Dublin, Ireland, and his voice just melts you like butter. Wow...

His debut album "Early in the Morning" is wonderful, and after one listen, I was hooked! By that point, I had already missed his performance at Osheaga 2012. I was devastated...

I recently discovered that McMorrow will release his second LP "Post Tropical" on January 14th. I cannot wait! The first single off the new album is called "Cavalier" and it is fantastic. A second track from the new album was also released recently, untitled "Red Dust". You can listen to it here.

Fingers crossed that McMorrow will be touring in 2014! In the meantime, check out the video for "Cavalier" below. Enjoy!

Monday, 9 December 2013

New Broken Bells

It was recently announced that Broken Bells will release a new album in 2014. "After the Disco" will be released this coming February. I can't wait!

Broken Bells is a project by the Shins' James Mercer and artist-producer Danger Mouse (formerly of Gnarls Barkley). A winning combination!

I really enjoyed their first, self-titled album and I cannot wait for "After the Disco". The group will also be touring in the new year, playing a show at the Metropolis on March 4. It should be a really fun show!

Check out the new Broken Bells video for "Holding on for Life". The music video stars the lovely Kate Mara and the adorable Anton Yelchin. Enjoy!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Photos: White Cowbell Oklahoma @ Mavericks

Saturday night was complete mayhem. White Cowbell Oklahoma definitely left a mark at Mavericks... literally! A good crowd showed up to witness the mayhem and rock out. If you've never seen WCO live, check 'em out in a town near you. You won't be disappointed, trust me.

Check out the pics below. Enjoy!




 

 

In case you missed it, check out my interview with Clem C. Clemsen from White Cowbell Oklahoma on Couch Assassin here.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Anything Can Happen (This is Just the Beginning)

A lot can happen in a year. For me, 2013 has been a year of hard work and self-realization. After losing a friend in January, I began to really understand the importance of seizing the day, and living life on my own terms.

At my age, it feels like everyone around me is getting married, buying houses and having babies. Yes, I may be married, but I don't feel like I relate to these people. I feel this constant pressure to settle down, and lead a normal life. Well, normal equals boring to me. And I definitely don't want that for my life... At least not right now. I've got so much life to live before I settle down.

A year ago today, I interviewed a band for the first time. Safe to say, this was a really big deal to me. Thanks to Sors-tu, I was able to go backstage at the Metropolis to speak to Band of Horses. This  moment was one of my personal and professional highlights. I felt absolutely surreal. I felt excited, nervous and really proud of myself. Proud that I made it that far... Proud that I had pursued my interest passion and that I never gave up. I am extremely thankful for that opportunity and for the others that were presented to me. You can read the interview here.

My interview with Band of Horses was just the beginning. Since then, I've interview a lot of bands, written a lot of articles, and seen a hell of a lot of shows. When I got involved with Couch Assassin in the Fall of 2012, I was looking for more writing opportunities. I never imagined that I would get to live my dreams, see more amazing shows, meet so many awesome people and support local artists by being an advocate for my artistic community.

I cannot even express my gratitude for all the opportunities I've had, and all the amazing artists that I've seen perform and that I've met. This year has been an absolute dream, and I am so thankful.

Here's to another year of living life to its fullest!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Photos: Greg McEvoy, Ilvekyo & Shawn Tavenier

Tuesday night was good night to be at Avant Garde Bar. Three awesome acts took the stage and patrons had an absolute blast, especially me!

The show started with Shawn Tavenier, who was joined by Nick Gauthier, both from local group Silver Creek. I had heard of the group, but never had the opportunity to hear them play live. I really enjoyed the group. After speaking to Tavenier, I discovered that the group plays every Wednesday evening at the Highlander. Check 'em out!


Then it was time for Ilvekyo. You remember Ilvekyo, right? I saw them perform for the first time this past Summer on the rooftop of Jack Pine. Since then, I've seen them play a few times, and the guys are great! This past week-end, the group apparently recorded 3-4 new songs for an upcoming EP. They performed some new songs, and they are great. Seriously, look up Ilvekyo or catch one of their upcoming shows. You will not be disappointed!


Afterwards, it was time for Toronto based musician Greg McEvoy to take the stage. McEvoy was also one of the artists that I saw performing on the rooftop. Not only is he a super nice guy, his songs are really catchy. The first few times I saw him play, it was stripped down acoustic sets. This time, he played with the support of a band, which was nice. Check out his EP "Sea of Yards", released in September.


Overall, a great night of music at Avant Garde Bar. Not too shabby for a Tuesday night.

Friday, 29 November 2013

On My Radar: Sound Of Lions

A few weeks ago, I attended a local craft fair. With my purchase of a lovely mug, I got a free copy of "4:11" by Sound of Lions. I had heard of the band before but never had a chance to listen to their stuff. So I was pleasantly surprised when I got their album as a gift!

Photo: ottawamagazine.com
So far, I am really enjoying this local trip hop group. Their music is chill, and the singer's voice is absolutely sublime!

I am looking forward to seeing them perform live. The group will be playing the famous Black Sheep Inn on March 1, 2014.

I love discovering local bands that are producing amazing music. It makes me so happy! Thanks to Hollow Clay Works for the copy of the CD.

Click here to check out the song "Enders", which is my favourite track off the album so far.  Also, be sure to check out the band's SoundCloud page. Enjoy!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

What I'm Listening To: Jake Bugg

These days, I am absolutely obsessed with Jake Bugg.

This 19 year old British musician has a unique sound that blends many genres of music, including rock, blues, folk, punk and grunge. Last week, his second album "Shangri La" was released, just a year after his debut self-titled album was released. Pretty remarkable...

Bugg's talent as a songwriter is clear while listening to this album. Safe to say, he's got a long career ahead of him!

Check out the songs "Simple Pleasures" and "A Song About Love", two of my favourite songs off "Shangri La". Enjoy!

Also, did I mention that Jake Bugg is playing at the Métropolis on January 12th? See you there!


Check out my French review of "Shangri La" on Sors-tu here.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Photos: Warbringer @ Mavericks

Last night, I hit up Mavericks to check out Warbringer, an L.A. based trash metal band. Such a great show! These guys are absolutely insane, and the show was a blast!






The show also featured Joe Trasher, My Shadow and DIABHOLICO. And there were many mosh pits, and lots of broken bottles and blood. Good times were had by all.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Your Guide to Indie Holiday Craft Shows

Originally published on Couch Assassin.

As much as we hate to admit it, the holidays are right around the corner. You know what that means? Holiday shopping! Indeed, it is that time of the year.

Does the thought of crowded shopping malls make your skin crawl? Don’t worry! Ottawa has lots of indie holiday craft events to fulfill all of your festive needs. You can support local artisans and designers while getting your holiday shopping done. What else could you ask for?

This weekend, check out Glisten! A Handmade Holiday Event. Taking place at the Great Canadian Theatre Company on Saturday, November 16th from 10am-3pm, the free event will feature some of Ottawa's best indie craft designers and makers. The duo behind Urban Craft bring you their third annual holiday themed craft show which will feature 20 local vendors.

Back in 2011, Urban Craft was launched and the Great Canadian Theatre Company hosted the event. In an effort to give back to them for their generosity, the team decided to create a special holiday show. "We wanted to give shoppers an opportunity to shop for holiday gifts and check out some new vendors that might not have been featured at Urban Craft," said Krista Leben, co-founder of Glisten! and Urban Craft. "The response was incredible and we decided to keep the show running even after we moved Urban Craft to a different venue earlier this year."

When asked how vendors are chosen, Leben explained: "For all of our shows, we try to find vendors that are creating unique, high quality products that appeal to people both young and old. For Glisten!, our goal is to introduce you to some new vendors that you've never discovered before -- ones that have awesome gifts for everyone on your Christmas list!"

Next week, Spins & Needles presents Holiday Assembly on November 22nd. The event takes place from 8pm – 12am at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Spins & Needles has partnered with the Museum of Nature’s Nature Nocture series to create a unique night market, featuring 40 designers, makers, artists and businesses from Ottawa’s burgeoning creative scene. Emerging vendors will be selling a diversity of handmade goods for both men and women. Seasonal workshops to be taught by participating vendors. Tickets are $20 in advance.

Spins & Needles will donate Christmas hampers through the Caring and Sharing Christmas Exchange Program on behalf of all those who participate in and attend the event. To donate, inquire at the event.

The next day is the MAC Fair - Not your Grandma's Craft Fair on November 23. From 10am – 3pm, head over to Immaculata High School (140 Main Street). Admission is $1 which helps feed hungry families through the school’s Christmas Hamper program. The admission fee also earns you a free ticket to the raffle with over 100 prizes. There are also door prizes for the first 50 people who arrive at the fair, where 120 local vendors will be showcasing their handmade products.

Later that evening, it's the Ottawa Arts & Crafts BONANZA! The action takes places at the Bronson Centre from 6:00pm – 10:30pm on November 23. The evening will feature a creative lineup of music, dance, theatre, comedy, live art, and of course, local vendors. The lineup of musical acts includes The Owl Eyes Project, Weird with Cats, Dynamite Motel and Tariq Anwar. There’s an admission fee of $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Don’t miss it!

That same week-end, the Ottawa Valley Crafts and Collectibles Show presents Artisans @ the Archives | The Christmas Market. Head over to Library & Archives Canada Saturday & Sunday, November 23-24 from 10am to 3pm. Free admission and free parking means you have more cash to spend on cool stuff! The event will feature 80 artisans and designers from the Ottawa Valley. There will also be a silent auction, in support of the Barrhaven Food Cupboard.

December starts on a good note with the Idle Hands Art, Craft and Vintage Sale: Holiday Edition. Drop by St. Anthony's Banquet Hall on December 1st from 10am to 5pm. With your $3 admission fee, you can access over 50 local vendors from Ottawa, Montréal and Toronto. The event will also feature beats from DJs The Girlfriends. Be sure to check it out!

There are tons of upcoming shows and fairs that will showcase some of Ottawa’s best vendors and artisans. So get out your wallets and support our local talent, all while checking off items from your Christmas list!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Photos: Saxsyndrum @ Pressed

Friday night, I headed to Pressed to check out Saxsyndrum, a Montreal based electro-jazz duo . The group was joined by Bucko and Adam Saikaley as supporting acts.

It was a great show with a great turnout. If you haven't done so yet, check out Saxsyndrum.

Here are some photos of the show:

Bucko
 
Adam Saikaley

Saxsyndrum

Friday, 8 November 2013

New Metric Video!

Those who know me know that I love Metric. It is one of my all-time favourite bands. They can do no wrong in my book (except sell their song "Stadium Love" to the Blue Jays. Don't get me started...)

This week, Metric released a new music video. Last year, they released "Synthetica", which is a really great album. It was nominated for this year's Polaris Music Prize.

Check out their latest video for the "Synthetica", the title track from Metric's latest album. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Paradise (Not For Me)

I recently came back from a "vacation" in Mexico. I use the term "vacation" loosely... Although I love the beach, I am not a resort type of gal. I tend to get bored easily and I don't like to sit around and do nothing.

Despite this, I went to Mexico for 8 days for a family vacation and to take part in my aunt's wedding. It was a good trip. However, while I was in Mexico, I missed a few shows.

Irish pop duo Heathers played at Zaphod's. I was lucky enough to see them live this past summer at Cafe Dekcuf and I was floored. Not only are they gorgeous and charming but they are extremely talented. Check them out; I guarantee that you will not be disappointed!

Image courtesy of entertainment.ie

Plants and Animals played a show at the Museum of Nature as part of the Nature Nocture event.  I really enjoy Plants and Animals and their show last Spring was great. In addition, I was able to interview the band for Couch Assassin before their show, which was awesome!

Another show I wanted to check out was the Darcys and Still Life Still playing at Zaphod's. I had the opportunity to see them live this past summer in Toronto as part of Arts & Craft's Field Trip. I really enjoyed the Darcys and was sad to miss them play Ottawa. Turns out that both the Darcys and Still Life Still cancelled their appearance at the show, and Winchester Warm headlined the show with Loon Choir as the supporting act. Both these bands are fantastic (and local) so check them out!

Although I am happy I went to Mexico, I am thrilled to be back and quite sad about the shows that I missed. Since my return, I've been trying to catch up with all the fun stuff I missed.

Paradise is not for everyone.Here's a song that reflects my feelings well. And, although it's not my favourite Madonna track by a long shot, it's very fitting.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Saint Clare's EP Release Will Rawk

Originally published on Couch Assassin.

Every year, local community radio stations hold funding drives, including CKCU. As part of this year's CKCU funding drive, many sponsored events will take place between October 25 and November 10.

Indie City Madness, a radio show aired every second Tuesday from 5pm to 6pm on CKCU, is hosting 1 Night All Rawk 4: Fun-D CKCU on October 26 at Avant Garde Bar. During this event, many local bands will be performing, including the Apollohs, Tindervox, and Kings Quest, with DJ Eight Cubed from Toronto. The headlining act is Saint Clare, who will be celebrating the release of their EP "Half Holy".

Couch Assassin's very own Julie Cormier-Doiron had the chance to speak to Matthew Clare, singer and guitarist of Saint Clare, to discuss the band's history, their favourites venues and their ideal tourmates.

Couch Assassin: Tell me about the band. How did you all come together to play music? Did you know each other beforehand?

Matthew Clare: Two of the band members are from my former band, the Shakey Aches. Brad Sheffield, who also plays in Loon Choir, played with me in a few bands prior to Loon Choir - The Art Burn and a band that would eventually become Loon Choir (we joke now I was actually Loon Choir for a few days before breaking off to eventually play more punk/garage stuff with The Shakey Aches). Morgan (sax) was a Punk Ottawa ad find and Neil (violin) was brought to my attention through a mutual friend. We started playing as Saint Clare about a year ago and seemed to add members every couple months until we finished recording the EP.

The idea behind Saint Clare is somewhat that I just got tired of playing in "bands." After 10 years of playing in different bands and seeing people come and go for whatever reason, I just wanted a name to record under for the rest of my life - it's a nod to some of my favorite singer-songwriters in that regard: Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. I wanted a way to put out songs I'm writing with lasting power, regardless of who was contributing, playing behind me, or the type of music we were playing.

CA: Tell me about your EP. How long did it take to record?

MC: Way too long [laughs]. We started in April and would have been done in April had we not added sax and violin to the band. The songs have been finished for the last couple months while we put together merch (CDs/tapes) and PR plans. The EP's formal release is October 22 and we're looking forward to headlining the CKCU fundraiser 1 Night All Rawk 4 at Avant Garde on October 26 to celebrate the release.

CA: What other projects are the band members involved with?

MC: I have a long running side project band with a few friends from London and Toronto (Ontario) called Slut Kickin' Fist Mother. Brad plays in Loon Choir and Richard (guitar) plays in a bunch of bands: Mercy Buckets, Chautauqua and Casey Comeau & The Halfmilers.

CA: What are some of your favourite venues to play in Ottawa and why? Is there a venue that you haven't played that you would like to?

MC: Babylon - cause it's always really rowdy. Mavericks/ Café Dekcuf - cause the Spectrasonic guys are just pro and are super great to work with. Avant Garde - cause it's easy to pack. My last band had a dream to record and play a show at Academic Hall at the University. It's one of the oldest theatres in town. I'd still love to make that come true one day!

CA: What's the best part about playing live shows?

MC: I like to believe I give my all to performing, so it's really cathartic for me. I usually end up sweaty, shirtless, and if it's cold enough, steaming outside after the show and that usually is worth a few laughs. In all seriousness though, seeing people connecting with the music and vocals and channeling the energy is the best part. I'm not playing "sit down" or "jazz lounge" type music [laughs].

CA: Can you name some of the bands you've opened for and/or played with in the past? In an ideal world, who would you like to tour with?

MC: So far, we've played a basement house party with Derek from Loon Choir's side project Ballad Fiasco, opened for Loon Choir in Brockville, and opened for Eamon McGrath at Raw Sugar Café. Ideal touring bands would be Islands (of Montreal) or any of the bands from the Elephant 6 Collective - that I'm totally obsessed with (Beulah, Apples in Stereo, The Minders, Neutral Milk Hotel, etc.) Oh yeah, and Kelley Stoltz, cause he's rad.

CA: Why should people attend your EP release at Avant-Garde Bar?

MC: Well, there's no lack of great shows in town this coming Saturday, but I think we've definitely got one of the most diverse lineups in town that night and with CKCU being one of the best radio stations in town, we're definitely the best show in town on Saturday for the best cause!

You can catch Saint Clare at Avant Garde Bar on October 26. Their EP "Half Holy" can be streamed online at http://www.saintclareband.com/.

1 Night All Rawk 4: Fun-D CKCU
October 26, 2013
Avant Garde Bar

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Taking Love and Energy to Another Level

Originally published on Couch Assassin.

Elevate {LOVE} brings two unique events to Ottawa in support of a great community organization. The two events are the brainchild of Sheri Chiprout. Originally from Ottawa, Chiprout lives in Centertown and likes to practice yoga in her spare time. She also likes to organize events that are creative and that promote a healthy lifestyle. Her latest endeavour is Elevate {LOVE}.

The gala event will take place at the Mercury Lounge on October 17. Local queen Eva Darling will be hosting and DJ Acro will be spinning beats. The event will also include burlesque and hula hoop performances, as well as tarot card readings. During the evening, attendees can contribute to the live art wall, led by Kate Durie. There is a raffle with a lot of great prizes from local businesses. Although the evening is called a gala, Chiprout says that it will be more like a fun party with lots of fun elements.

And don't forget yoga! According to Chiprout, yoga is fundamental, because “it raises good energy”. The following month, on November 24, the yoga event will take place at the Orange Art Gallery. The event will feature an acro yoga demonstration, a flow yoga session and as well as well a led mediation. Everyone in attendance will received gift bags, featuring products from Lush and other prizes that can be won.

Chiprout couldn't picture holding the gala anywhere other than Mercury Lounge. “I've been going [there] for many years; it's such a wonderful space.” She was looking for something different for the yoga event. Finally, she found the right venue. “Orange Art Gallery is such a cool, unique space. It’s perfect for this event.”

Chiprout did not want to combine the two events because they are two separate experiences. She also did not want to hold the two events too close together. “In my experience, if you plan two things in one weekend, you're risking people not wanting to do both in case you're take up their entire weekend,” explained Chiprout. “They're two different communities, so I can treat them as two separate events.” Despite being separate, both events are creative and have a connection to yoga.

The idea behind these events is to bring good energy and awareness, and raise funds for Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC). According to Chiprout, elevating love is about empowerment and bringing good energy to a cause that is deserving of attention. “This year, I was looking for a way to give back to the community in the best way that I felt that I could,” she explained. After doing research on women's causes and organizations that work to end violence against women, Chiprout discovered SASC. The centre is a feminist collective entirely run by volunteers. “SASC empowers women because it supports them by offering them choices,” said Chiprout. The centre offers various support groups and runs a 24 hour crisis line, in addition to offering other services.

Beyond the fact that it's a wonderful cause, Sheri has worked hard to bring together great performances and entertainment that are sure to please everyone. Check out Elevate {LOVE} and support an amazing community organization while having a great time.

Elevate {LOVE} Gala
@ Mercury Lounge
Thursday, October 17, 2013
$30 advance $40 at the door

Elevate {LOVE} Yoga
@ Orange Art Gallery
Sunday, November 24, 2013
$25 advance $30 at the door

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Review: Nine Inch Nails @ Bell Centre

I discovered the music of Nine Inch Nails in a very interesting way: at one of their live shows. Some friends of mine had two extra tickets and had asked my partner and I to go. I wasn't remotely interested but my partner told me to shut up and take it. At that point, I assumed that if my partner liked it, it was heavy metal, and at that point, I avoided listening to metal like the plague.

That show blew my mind, and I've been a huge NIN fan ever since. I didn't expect that I would be able to see them in concert again, so I was thrilled when i heard they were coming to the Bell Centre.

Their latest album "Hesitation Marks" was released in September, and their "Tensions" tour is in support of the new record. Therefore, you have to expect that some new material will be played at the shows. However, the show at the Bell Centre was announced before the new album came out.

So last Thursday, we drove to Montreal to check out the show. I was really excited. My expectations for this show were quite high...

The show started off with the first track of the new album, "Copy of a". They played more songs off the new album, such as "All Time Low", "Disappointed" and "Came Back Hunted". They played some old favourites too, including "Terrible Lie", "March of the Pigs", "Piggy" and "Head Like a Hole".

A few moments stood out for me. The band performed "Find My Way", a song off the new album. It was a really beautiful performance. It felt intimate and the visual effects were stunning. The band played "The Hand That Feeds", one of my absolute favourite songs. I was thrilled! Finally, the last song of the encore was "Hurt", which is an absolutely heartbreaking and beautiful song. Well done!

Overall, I enjoyed the show. However, I can understand why some fans might have been disappointed. If you did not like the band's new album, then you most likely did not like this show... My partner sure didn't. And although I did enjoy the show, I was disappointed that they did not play more material from the album "With Teeth" (my favourite). And their last show I saw was so brilliant that this time around, it did not quite measure up.

Check out the video below of NIN's performance of "Find My Way" this summer at the Fuji Rock Festival. Enjoy!


Checking Out Irene's Pub

This past weekend, I went to Irene's Pub to check out bands for the very first time. I had been at Irene's once before with some friends to grab some brunch. However, I knew it was about time I checked out this local musical hot spot.

On Sunday, we went to Irene's to check out Dang Guilty. This trio plays an awesome mix of rockabilly, country and bluegrass music. It's entertaining as hell! Make sure to check them out next Sunday!


Earlier that week-end, I checked out Miss Polygamy and Garden of Weeds at Irene's. Before that, I hit up Ribtoberfest on Sparks street, where Ilvekyo was playing a free show. James, who plays the stand up bass with Dan Guilty also plays with this group. I first saw Ilvekyo on the rooftop of Jack Pine this summer.


I really liked Irene's and I will definitely be back. You can check Dang Guilty every Sunday at Irene's for the month of October. See you at Irene's!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

September in a Nutshell

Can't believe that September is already over! I've been insanely busy this month at work, and in my personal life. Despite the craziness, I still managed to have fun and see some great shows... I was just too busy to sit down and blog about it!

So here's the month of September in a Nutshell:
  • At the beginning of the month, I went to the Ottawa Folk Festival to cover some shows for Sors-tu. I saw some good shows and discovered some great bands, including the Avett Brothers and Matt Andersen. Truth to told, I was disappointed that Neil Young cancelled and I would not have gone to this year's festival if I wasn't on assignment.
  • For the first time, I checked out a show at Raw Sugar Café. Although I'd been to Raw Sugar many times, I had never seen a live show there. When I heard that Eamon McGrath was playing there, I was really excited. I saw McGrath play two years ago at Zaphod's and I really enjoyed the show. This time around, McGrath played a lot of new material. The setting was quite intimate, and it was so enjoyable to see McGrath rocking out in the middle of the living room type space at Raw Sugar. Overall, it was a great show and I was lucky enough to meet a lot of people and even chat with McGrath afterwards.
  •  After seeing the poster, I decided that I wanted to check out indie group Braids at Ritual Nightclub. Yep, I often look at posters and I can just tell whether or not I would like an artist/group. Also, my girl Elly invited me to check it out with her. I was really impressed with the group, and I enjoyed the show very much. Their sound reminded me of Purity Rings, a group I really enjoy. The group recently released their second album "Flourish // Perish". Go get it now!
  •  I participated in festivities in celebration of the 2nd annual Nuit Blanche Ottawa+Gatineau, a "dusk-until-dawn celebration of Contemporary Art and local culture that takes place across multiple venues". This year's theme was SUPERNOVA! Many spaces (both physical and outdoor) hosted events, shows or art installations as part of Nuit Blanche. I loved it! Although it was raining, we had a blast. Starting at 1am, we started our trek in the Byward Market and stopped at the Ottawa School of Art, the SAINT-LAURENT+HILL GALLERY, Upward Dog Yoga studio, Saint Brigid's Centre for the Arts (which is a church!), la Petite Mort Gallery and Saw Gallery. There were some really interesting projects on display. I really enjoyed the video installations at the church. By far my favourite of the evening (or morning). We also got to see a short theater performance taking place in the jail cell in the basement of the Arts Court building. Overall, I really enjoyed seeing people at the different spots, participating in these events. It's obvious to me that people in Ottawa love and support culture in our city! Next year, take a nap in the afternoon and stay up all night so you can be part of Nuit Blanche!
  • Last weekend, my friends and I went to check out Greg McEvoy at Avant-Garde Bar for the release of this EP "Sea of Yards". A singer/songwriter based in Toronto, McEvoy is a nice, down to earth guy. I had met him previously and saw him play on the rooftop of JackPine earlier this summer. Since then, I've kept him on my radar. He played an acoustic set that summer afternoon on the rooftop so it was refreshing to see him play with a full band. The show also included performances by Danielle Knibbe, Brittanny Kwasnick and Papermaps. It sounded like entirely new material. The show was really fun, and Avant-Garde was the perfect venue!
So that sums up my September... At least what I remember of it! Looking back at what I did, it reminds how I truly love this city and what it has to offer.

I wish you all a great October!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Review: Matthew Good "Arrows of Desire"

Image courtesy of hmv.ca
It's no secret: I love Matthew Good. His music has been part of my life for a long time, and I've seen him live half a dozen times. His music just knows how to cut me and make me bleed from my insides out. It even inspired my last tattoo. There's just something about it...

Good's latest album "Arrows of Desire" was released on September 24. This is his sixth solo studio album, since Matthew Good Band was disbanded.

His previous album "Lights of Endangered Species" was very experimental. I know many die hard Matthew Good fans that did not like that album. In my case, I really enjoyed the album and thought it was quite a breakthrough for Good. The album included a lot more instrumental and orchestral elements to it, and the structure of the songs was a bit different than his other albums. To me, it was refreshing and very creative.

Overall, "Arrows of Desire" is a really good album. The sound is very reminiscent of Matthew Good back in the early 2000's. Matt Good fans who did not like "Lights of Endangered Species" will most likely love this album. It screams classic Matthew Good.

For me, a few songs mostly stand out in  "Arrows of Desire", mostly "Garden of Knives", "Guns of Carolina" and "Via Dolorosa".

In my books, Matthew Good can do no wrong. I'll be a fan of his forever. Did you get your hands on "Arrows of Desire"? What's your favourite song off the album?

Check out the video below for the song "Guns of Carolina". Enjoy!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

A Look Back: Ottawa Folkfest

This past weekend, I went to the Ottawa Folk Festival. Weather-wise, it was a pretty cold weekend. However, I was officially on assignment so I put on some layers and got my butt

Wednesday evening, only two artists were on the bill: Patti Smith and City and Colour.

First up, Patti Smith and her band. Honesty time: Although I had heard of Patti Smith, I never actually listened to her music. I didn't really know anything about her and her music. I knew that she was a legend in the punk movement. I had also heard that Smith didn't like much attention being placed on her, especially in the media. Because of this, I was expecting a very shy performer.

Was I ever surprised! Smith is fantastic on stage. So much energy! I was so impressed; she is very charming and likes to interact with the crowd. She won me over instantly.Overall, it was a great introduction to Patti Smith.

Then, the headliner of the evening, City and Colour. Dallas Green's solo project wasn't originally on the festival lineup. The evening's headliner was supposed to be Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

Although I've seen Green play several times, it was a really good show. I really enjoyed the setlist. He played a lot of new material from his latest album, "the Hurry and the Harm". However, I was a bit disappointed that he only played one song from his debut album "Sometimes", a slowed down (kinda boring) version of "Comin' Home".

He played a cover of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold", which was really beautiful. I was really hoping for a cover of Young's "Cowgirl in the Sand", which Green has performed at his live shows in the past.

Overall, a really great night to kick off the festival. Take a look at my French review here.

***

Thursday evening, I decided to take a break from Folkfest and check out another show. Friday, I was back at Hogs' Back Park for an evening filled with rap and hip hop. Yup... Rap and hip hop at Folkfest. Makes total sense... right?

Before the hip hop took over the Folkfest, Born Ruffians was playing early in the evening. I had heard lots about the band, and I was really pleased with their performance. 2013 has been a big year for the group. Their last album "Birthmarks", released earlier this year, has been getting a lot of buzz.  They put on a really great performance, although there wasn't many people there.

Then it was time to check out Shad, the Toronto-based rapper. I had heard of Shad before and was excited to see what he was about. His show was great! I really enjoyed it. He had a great stage presence and his lyrics are very socially conscious. Definitely exceeded my expectations. Be sure to check him out at Ritual Nightclub on November 8th.

Between the two hip hop headliners, there was Matt Andersen. I knew nothing about the maritime based musician. Walking around the site, I was captivated by his larger than life voice. He stayed on the stage alone with this guitar, but his presence was overwhelming. He is an amazing blues guitarist, and his voice is so powerful. Check him out!

Finally, the moment all the 21 year olds at Hogs' Back Park were waiting for: Kendrick Lamar. I knew next to nothing about the young rapper. What I did know is that he is considered the next big thing in the hip hop scene.

The crowd was absolutely insane. Although I'm not a huge fan of Lamar's style of music, I couldn't help but move. The energy at the show was especially contagious. I couldn't help it...The crowd seemed to be enjoying themselves, and Lamar gave a good performance. Although I was impressed with the show in general, it definitely wasn't my favourite style of music nor was it my favourite crowd of people at a concert.

Here's my review of the evening  (en français).

***

Then comes Saturday. First full day of music at Folkfest.

The first band I checked out in the early evening was Hey Ocean! The indie pop group is based out of Vancouver, BC. Not sure exactly what I was expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised with the performance. The group had a great presence on stage and really great energy. There was an overall theme of the band's music is the sea. It's very obvious that being from the West Coast is a huge influence on their music. They played quite early in the evening, so the crowd was not yet warmed up but they did a great job of doing just that. By the end of the show, they got the crowd dancing and singing along.

Then, it was time for the Sheepdogs. I had seen the band last year at Bluesfest, and they sounded great so I knew that it would be a good show. The group put on a good show. It was a standard rock show. Nothing really stood out about the show, but it was a solid performance.

Then, the big headliner of the evening: the Avett Brothers. A friend of mine had asked me if I would check out the show with her, and I agreed. I knew nothing about the band... For some reason, I assumed the group was from the '70s and I expected some old guys rocking out on stage. Boy, was I ever wrong! Their performance was phenomenal and they blew the Sheepdogs and everyone else out of the water. By far the best performance of this year's Folkfest. Yes, these guys were THAT good.

These young musicians from North Carolina really know how to rock. Their blend of folk rock was contagious. The energy from these guys was surreal. They were also great musicians. The band members often changed up instruments but still kept rocking out. Although I hadn't heard of these guys before, turns out they have 8 studio albums under their belts (the new one comes out October 15). Insane! Trust me, do yourselves a favour and check out these guys. You will not be disappointed!

You can read my review for Sorstu.ca here.

***

Overall, the programming wasn't as impressive at this year's festival compared to last year's. However, I did manage to discover some great music. All in all, not a bad festival but definitely not my favourite of 2013.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Julie Goes to Folkfest

The Ottawa Folk Festival starts tomorrow. Yep, it's already that time of year!

Last year's festival had an incredible lineup, and I got the festival pass for the great price of $100. That's amazing for 5 days of live shows. The amazing performers I saw last year include Matthew Good, Patrick Watson, Yukon Blonde, LP and Dan Mangan. Check out my reviews from last year's shows here.

This year's lineup did not appeal to me as much as last year's. The only artist I was really looking forward to checking out this year was Neil Young and Crazy Horse. I have never seen Neil Young live before, so I was thrilled. However, it was announced recently that the band will no longer perform due to an injury to the band's guitarist. Safe to say, I was heartbroken. It was announced later that City and Colour would replace Neil Young's headlining spot tomorrow.

Although I won't be going to every night of the festival, I will be checking out a few shows and writing about them for Sors-tu. Some bands that I am excited to check out are Born Ruffians, the Sheepdogs, the Avett Brothers and Leif Vollebekk.

See you at Folkfest! What bands are you looking forward to checking out?

Monday, 26 August 2013

Chilling on the Rooftop

This weekend, I was happy to spend some time outdoors. Saturday afternoon, G and I met up with my gal Elly to check out some live music on a rooftop. Yep, on a rooftop. This was part of the 4in1 Ottawa Music Sessions, which takes place every month in random spots in the city, featuring local bands and musicians. Great concept! The rooftop that we took over that afternoon was that of the JackPine Agency.

First up was Greg McEvoy, a singer-songwriter from Toronto. I really enjoyed his style of folk music and his lyrics were stuck in my head all day. McEvoy will be playing in Ottawa again in a few weeks at Avant Garde Bar. Go check him out! Also, he's a super chill and nice guy.

Then it was Ilvekyo's turn. The duo from Peterborough was really entertaining. They showed up a bit late, so they didn't play as long as I would have liked them to. Their music sounded like a mix between rockabilly and country. I especially enjoyed the music, especially because of the stand up bass. That usually seals the deal for me. I sure hope these guys come back to town sometime.

Afterwards, Ottawa's own StillNative performed. Their folk sound also included some elements of blues and jazz at times. It was quite interesting. The vocalist has a nice voice, kind of like Tom Petty meets Bob Dylan. I really wanted to check out the group when they played at the Ottawa Fringe Festival on Canada Day, but I had traveled to Montreal instead to see Woodkid. I'm sure I'll get a chance to see StillNative play again soon.

Finally, it was time for Fevers to jam. The electro/indie rock band gave us a tuned down, chilled out, acoustic performance. This show was part of the 24 hour fever event, in celebration of the release of the group's debut album "No Room for Light". They played a couple of shows within a 24 hour span, including a show at Mugshots Friday night, and an official album release party at Mavericks later that night. They put on a great performance, and Sarah's voice was absolutely beautiful! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to catch their show at Mavericks that evening. However, I am looking forward to seeing the group play their material in its intended form.

Here are some pictures that the awesome folks from JackPine took that lovely afternoon.



This summer has been amazing, and I've listened to some amazing music. I consider myself lucky to live the life I live. I never want summer to end...

On that note, check out "Endless Summer" from the Jezabels, a band I was lucky enough to see live last summer. This song seems quite fitting right about now. Enjoy!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Julie Goes to Heavy MTL

*This blog post is way overdue. I've been busy with work since I came back, and I've been finding it difficult to bounce back and get back to my blogging routine.*

Two weeks ago, I headed to Montreal for the Heavy MTL festival. My partner has been attending the festival for a few years, but for some reason, it never occurred to me to join him. This year, I decided I wanted to try it out. Although I'd been to quite a few metal shows, I wasn't sure what to expect. I also got some media passes for two of the three days of the festival, which was exciting for me.

On Friday, we headed out early to go to the Metropolis for the Summer Slaughter tour. This event was the kick-off of the festival. The shows began at 3pm and there were 10 bands on the bill. Kudos to evenko for putting on such a well-organized event.

Most of these bands were more hardcore than what I usually listen to. The bands that really stood out for me are Revocation, the Ocean, and Animals as Leaders.

The headliner Dillinger Escape Plan was a bit disappointing, especially compared to the amazing performances of some of the other bands. Their performance was alright, but it just didn't measure up. Also, all of the elements of their show did not work well together. The crazy strobe lights were just too much and they were so distracting during the whole show. It really took away from the performance instead of adding to it. Sometimes a little goes a long way...

Check out my French review of the show for Sors-tu here.

***

Saturday was a pretty chill day for me. I wasn't writing about any of the shows that day, so we didn't rush to get to Parc Jean-Drapeau. By the time we got there, Device was already playing. We listened to one song and decided it wasn't any good, so we just walked around for a bit.

Later we checked out Hellyeah, a band comprised of half of Muvayne and half of Damage Plan, including of Chad Gray, Mudvayne singer and Vinnie Paul, drummer of Damage Plan and Pantera and the brother of the late Dimebag Darrell. My partner called the style "Hillbilly Metal" and I told him I would probably enjoy that. Turns out, the only reason he used the term "Hillbilly Metal" is because the music is about drinking beers, smoking weed and looking at boobs (I am paraphrasing here). No, the music isn't groundbreaking (especially not the lyrics), but the performance was entertaining and I enjoyed it.

We walked over to see Baroness. After two songs, we left because we were not impressed with the band's lackluster performance. The sound was off and sounded very thin, compared to the full sound that we hear on the albums. I was disappointed because I was expecting so much more.

While we were waiting near the front for Black Label Society, we unfortunately had to listen to Steel Panther. That felt like absolute torture. As a woman, I felt offended by everything that came out of these guys' mouths. Yes, I realize that the band is a "joke" band that makes fun of all other hair metal band but regardless... I think the band is an absolute atrocity.

Finally, Zakk Wylde and the boys of Black Label Society came out on stage and we were right up front. The band put on a good performance. I've seen them live a few times and this was far from being their best performance but it was still really fun. They ended their set with "Suicide Messiah", my favourite BLS song. It's always great to see Zakk Wylde and his bandmates perform.

Later, we saw Danzig with Doyle. I knew nothing about this group whatsoever. Turns out that singer/songwriter Glenn Danzig is one of the founding members of the Misfits. He is joined by guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, also from the Misfits. He was very entertaining to watch. Rob Zombie came on stage to sing with Danzig for one of the songs. For the duration of the song, Zombie's mic was not working, which was unfortunate.

Finally, it was time to check out Megadeth. For years, I've purposely avoided listening to Megadeth because I am not a fan of Dave Mustaine. However, seeing as they were playing anyways, why not give them a chance at Heavy MTL? Well, am I ever glad I did! I was blown away... The group put on a great performance. My favourite part of the show was the energy from the crowd. It was contagious... I couldn't help but smile and look around during the show. Die-hard Megadeth fans were everywhere. They knew the words to every songs and were singing them loudly during the show. It was quite special, and it made the experience that much greater.

We didn't stick around for Avenged Sevenfold, who were the big headliner of the evening. Instead, we went out for some beers aux Foufounes Électriques.

***

Sunday, I was officially on assignment for Sors-tu and I had a big lineup of acts to cover so we headed out really early to check out Huntress. I really enjoyed the performance and their sound was inspired by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (Judas Priest, Iron Maiden). Also, the lead singer was quite entertaining to watch.

Afterwards, it was time for Fintroll. The performance started off with some technical difficulties but that was quickly resolved, and the show progressed smoothly. The band played their blend of folk metal to the enthusiastic crowd. Band members were wearing costumes and makeup, dressing up like trolls (or elves). However, their costumes were definitely not as intense as Gwar. Despite the fact that the lyrics are in Swedish and I couldn't understand anything, I really enjoyed the performance. The crowd was showing them a lot of love. Many fans in the crowd were sporting elf-like ears and costumes, which I thought was great. Their performance was a great segway for the next group.

During the festival, I saw a lot of Amon Amarth t-shirts and had no clue who the band was. I was eager to check them out, seeing as there were tons of fans around. Boy, was I ever surprised! The band members came out on stage looking like Scandinavian gods. The crowd was so intense... The energy was out of this world! The lead singer was polite and quite charming. He won me over right away. By far my favourite discovery of the festival.

Then it was time for Phil Anselmo. He's not as charming as our friend in Amon Amarth... I enjoyed Anselmo's set a lot. The only downfall was that he wouldn't stop talking between songs. This guy is cocky, and he knows it. My partner tells me that this is the brilliant thing about Anselmo: he's full of himself and he doesn't give a shit. Fair enough; I just didn't care much for it. Regardless, people really seemed to enjoy the show (including my partner who was in the middle of the mosh pit during the entirety of the performance).

A while later, I saw Machine Head. I had heard a lot about this band. I was told that Machine Head was one of the loudest band I would see in concert. For some reason, I was expecting something more hardcore than what it actually was. I was pleasantly surprised with the performance and I really enjoyed the group. I hope I get to see them play again.

I was excited to check out Havok. A nice crowd had gathered at the stage, despite the fact that the band was playing at the same time as Mastodon. The band was very energetic and so was the crowd. They played songs like "Scumbag in Disguise", "DOA", "Give Me Liberty… Or Give Me Death" and they ended their set with "Time is Up". Although the set was short, the crowd was happy. One of the best performances of the festival, in my opinion.

After Havok, I rushed back to see the last part of Mastodon's set. I had planned to listen to the last 20 minutes of their set, but I only managed to hear a song and a half. Last time the band played Heavy MTL in 2010, they started their set late. This time, they ended their set early. Also, I was surprised that there wasn't that many people checking out the show. From what I saw, there was nothing extraordinary about their show or their music.
 
We made our way to the front of the stage for Rob Zombie while Godsmack was playing so we watched the show from the giant screens. Honestly, I was shocked at the giant crowd that gathered to catch the show. I was under the impression that Godsmack had not released any new music in a really long time. Regardless, the crowd was really into it. The band played some of their biggest hits, including "Voodoo" and "I Stand Alone". Overall, I wasn't expecting such a good show and I was very impressed with the band's performance and with the crowd as well.

Finally, the person I had been waiting  to see all week-end: Rob Zombie. I am a huge fan of Rob Zombie and I had seen him live twice before and both shows were fantastic. So my expectations were quite high for this show, and I was not disappointed! Although his latest album "Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor" came out earlier this year, he only played two new songs: "Teenage Nosfaratu Pussy" and "Dead Radio". He also played some White Zombie songs: "Thunder Kiss '65", "More Human Than Human" and "Super-Charger Heaven". This show included everything from lights, flames, fireworks, confetti... You name it! The show ended with "Dragula", one of his most popular songs. Overall, great energy and performance from Zombie and his band members. Watching guitarist John 5 in action is always a treat! If you haven't seen Rob Zombie in concert, do yourself a favour and check him out next time he comes to town.

You can read my official (French) review for the Sunday shows here.

***

Me and G before Phil Anselmo takes the stage
Overall, I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed Heavy MTL. I was expecting some good shows but I had no idea how intense and dedicated the crowd would be. This definitely added to the experience, and made the shows even more enjoyable.

I also really enjoyed meeting some fellow bloggers that I know and follow on Twitter, including Montreal Concerts, the guys from Boulevard Brutal and la Musicographe. We decided to gather at the VIP tent so we could actually meet in person, which was very cool! I respect these bloggers, so it was really nice to finally meet them in person.


Again, I had an absolute blast at Heavy MTL and I regret waiting so long to check it out. See you metalheads next year!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

A Thrifty Guide to Pride

Originally published on Couch Assassin.


This weekend officially kicks off this year's Capital Pride Festival, where we celebrate all the colours of the rainbow. This event is the perfect opportunity for the LGBTQ community and its allies and friends to come together and celebrate our diversity.

This year’s festival has something for everyone! In addition, many of the events organized are free of charge! What’s better than that? There’s no excuse to stay home. Get out there and go celebrate!

Here are a few ideas of some free events you can check out during the 10-day festival:

Workshops & Discussion Groups

Our friendly neighbourhood sex shop is offering a free workshop on August 19th. Venus Envy is presenting "Sex Toys for Queers", a workshop for anyone who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, or any or all of the above. Venus Envy is located at 320 Lisgar St.

Pink Triangle Services (PTS) is hosting their bi-weekly “Biamore” discussion group. The bi-weekly drop-in group aims to create a comfortable space to gather and talk about issues related to being bisexual, pansexual, bi-curious and questioning. The group will discuss the visibility of bisexuality within the queer community. PTS is located at 331 Cooper Street, Suite 200.

The Great Outdoors

On August 19th, head out to Hintonburg Park for Capital Pride's Annual Picnic in the Park for LGBT+ families and friends. This event is in partnership with the Ten Oaks Project, a volunteer organization that engages and connects children and youth from LGBTQ communities. Learn more about the Ten Oaks Project here.

Take me out to the ball game! On August 24th, the Dykes take on the Divas in a family-friendly softball game. The action takes place at Riverain Park starting at 2pm. Don't know much about softball? Doesn't matter! This is a great way to spend some time in the sunshine and cheer on the athletes.

Focus on Youth

Capital Pride will feature many events targeted to youth, and they are all free! These events include an Open Mic Night and a Cabaret Prom Night, among others. For more information on the youth events, contact youth@capitalpride.ca.

Marching Together

Of course, we can't forget the parade! No Pride festival would be complete without it. On August 25th, head downtown with your friends and family members to check out this year’s parade. At 1pm, the parade will leave the corner of Bank and Gladstone and march its way to City Hall. After the parade, there will be tons of great programming taking place on the main stage at Marion Dewar Plaza. The programming includes drag shows, burlesque performances and a performance by musical act the Cliks.

Safe to say, there are tons of free events to choose from during this year's Capital Pride. Although not all the Pride events are free, they are still worth checking out. The festival will host many events in collaboration with community organizations that work with Ottawa's LGBTQ community. Be sure to check out some of these events and find out more about what these organizations are doing for our community.

What Capital Pride events are you looking forward to?

2013 Capital Pride Festival
August 16-25, 2013
Various locations

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Friday @ Osheaga 2013

On Friday, I traveled to Montreal to check out the great lineup of day 1 of Osheaga.

Just like last year, I decided to attend only one day of the 3 day festival. Luckily for me, 99% of the acts I wanted to see were playing on Friday. Safe to say, I was absolutely thrilled.

My day started off chilling at la Scène des arbres while Ponctuation was playing. The band, comprised of two brothers from Quebec City, put on a good performance. Their style was very White Stripes meets DFA 1979, grunge style.

Afterwards I walked back to la Scène de la montagne to see Daughter. To be honest, I only heard their music the day before Osheaga. I had heard of the band previously and I was thinking to myself that I would probably like their music. And I was right. The British indie folk band, fronted by Elena Tonra, sounded absolutely divine. Tonra was charming and very humble. You could tell she was overwhelmed by the love from the crowd; she couldn't stop smiling! I would love to hear them play in a smaller, more intimate setting, where you can really absorb the sound. The crowd was way too loud for music so soft and moody.

Up next was Ben Howard. Although I wasn't facing la Scène de la rivière during the set, I did watch from the giant screens. The English singer/songwriter sounded great. He played material from his debut album "Every Kingdom", released in 2011, including this hit single "Only Love". Although the sound was great, it was the same situation as Daughter's performance: the music was too mellow and chill, and the crowd was too loud. It definitely took away from the show.

Finally, the moment I was waiting for: Alt-J. I've been anticipating this show for months, and obsessively listening to their album "An Awesome Wave". They started their set with "Interlude" followed by "Tessellate". They played most songs from their album. The band sounded fantastic! The crowd was very enthusiastic, and the energy was absolutely amazing (especially since I was near the stage). The show was as good as I expected and I was extremely happy.

Right after, it was time for Two Door Cinema Club. The crowd was very energetic, and most people were dancing up a storm. A really fun show with a really good setlist. The band played a good mix of songs from both their debut album "Tourist History" and their latest release "Beacon". I was very pleased with their set and I danced my little heart out.

Two Door Cinema Club. Image - Patrick Beaudry

Then it was time for the lovely Ellie Goulding to take the stage. She began her set with the song "Don't Say a Word". As soon as her show started, the sound was off. There was a loud crackling that you could hear through the speaker. It was beyond annoying. Near the end of her set, the issue was finally resolved. Goulding played a good mix of tracks from both her albums, including "Animal", "Under the Sheets", "Explosions", "My Blood", "Figure 8" and "I Need Your Love". She also played her latest single "Burn", which will be featured in a re-released "Halcyon" album. Her performance ended with "Anything Could Happen" and "Lights". When she spoke to the crowd, it sounded like Goulding had lost her voice. I believe this may have affected her performance. Overall, it was good, but not great.

Afterwards, it was Vampire Weekend's turn. The band started their show with "Diane Young", their first single off their latest album "Modern Vampires in the City". Honestly, it's pretty much the only song that I really wanted to hear. I also ventured to la Scène verte to meet some friends and chill out for a bit. I wasn't bummed about missing most of Vampire Weekend's set seeing as they will be playing at the Ottawa Folkfest.

I walked back to la Scène de la montagne right on time to see Phoenix. Their performance really wowed me. I was expecting a good show, but I did not expect that. It sounded like I was listening a CD; it sounded that good! The band started with "Entertainment", the first single off their latest album "Bankrupt!". They played a lot of songs from their hit album "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix", including "Lasso", "Armistice", "Lisztomania" and "1901". Singer Thomas Mars was absolutely insane! He kept throwing himself in the audience (nearly). Near the end of the set, he actually wandered into the giant crowd with his microphone. The show ended with Mars swimming his way back from the audience to the stage. It was pretty spectacular. Overall, great show, great energy. Very entertaining! By far the biggest surprise of the day for me.

Thomas Mars of Phoenix. Image - Patrick Beaudry

My evening ended with a visit to la Scène verte to check out Beach House. I don't know much about the group, except a friend of mine told me that I might really enjoy their music. And I did! The duo plays "dream pop", which makes a lot of sense. The sound is very synth-inspired and is definitely chill, ambiance music (in my opinion).  La Scène verte was the perfect venue for this performance. The weather, the night sky, the crowd and the music... It was just perfect. I decided to leave after the performance, because it was seriously the perfect way to end the perfect day.

Overall, Friday at this year's Osheaga was absolutely amazing. All the bands put on great performance and I could not have asked for a better day of music.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Countdown to Osheaga: Phoenix

Osheaga starts TOMORROW! Holy crap...

Who I'm excited to see: Phoenix.

First of all, I'm surprised I haven't seen Phoenix live yet. My best friends recommended this band to me a few years back. She also told me that they are fantastic live, so I'm really looking forward to their show.

The French band just released their sixth studio album, "Bankrupt!" earlier this year and it has been getting good reviews. From what I've heard of the album, it's great (still waiting to get my hands on it).

Their previous album "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix", released back in 2009, definitely put the band on the radar and received a lot of accolades. It even won the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Album in 2010.

Check out the video for the song "Entertainment", the first single off their latest album "Bankrupt!". I can't wait to hear this live. Enjoy!