Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Book Review (Gord Downie)

Have had this book for a few months now and finally got around to reading it. It is the Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip coffee table book (190 pages) written by Steve Newton, and published by Sterling Publishing out of New York. This book is an indie release and not authorized by Gord Downie or the Tragically Hip.

The writer of this book Steve Newton is a writer out of Vancouver who writes for the weekly entertainment paper there called Georgia Straight. He's been with the paper since 1982 and first interviewed Gord in 1989. If you are a fan of The Hip you really won't learn anything you don't already know about the band, but it is a good read. The book consists of clips of interviews he has done with Gord and the other members of the band.

There are a lot of great pictures in the book from their earliest days of playing bars in there hometown of Kingston, Ontario and right up to their last gig in Kingston August 20th 2016. Also in the book are pictures of memorabilia like backstage passes, ticket stubs and gig posters.

I was contacted by the senior photography editor Stacey Stambaugh to contribute some pictures of my Tragically Hip memorabilia for the book. Much to my surprise they actually used four of my posters for the book. In return I got a free copy of the book.

This is a must have for any Hip fan. In the back of the book is a list of every show they have played in their career and list of all the albums The Hip and Gord Downie have released.

The book is available at Chapters/Indigo bookstores and am sure many other book stores as well. Check it out, I am sure you will enjoy it.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Rod Stewart Live in Edmonton April 6th 2018

On Friday night Janis and my buddy Buzzard and I went to the Rod Stewart concert at Rogers Place here in Edmonton. This was my second time seeing Rod in concert, the first time being in 1991. That first time my buddy Geddy and I spent more time running for beers through out the show whenever there was a song we didn't like being performed. Well this time was a bit different as I respect Rod Stewart that much more, but there were still plenty of times where I did go run for a way over priced beer.

I was kind of hoping this time Rod would play more of his old stuff, tunes from The Faces and from classic albums like Gasoline Alley and Every Picture Tells A Story. But sadly only one song got played from either album and that was "Maggie May" from the Picture album, the last song before the encore.

The show started with a what looked like a big old checkerboard shower curtain around the stage. The first song of the night was "Infatuation" which got the 14,000 people (my guess) up and singing and dancing. That was followed by the song "Young Turks" from his hugely popular 1981 album Tonight I'm Yours. Rod's voice sounded a little rough, not that he has always had the best voice but at least you knew it was him singing and not some piped in vocals. Rod did mention how dry it was here and it was messing with his and his female backup singers voices. Rod seemed in good spirits though saying how much he loved a Friday night show, and saying he would be playing for an hour and forty-five minutes in which he did. And with no opening act, this show was done before 9:30 which seemed pretty lame for a Friday night show, but I guess at the age of 73 and still looking good, Rod may be a little old for late nights now.

Other songs that he played were "Ooh La La" a Faces song, that was good, as well as "Tonight the Night", "Forever Young", "Downtown Train" a song that Tom Waits actually wrote. My favorite tune of the night was the Muddy Waters song he did "Rollin' And Tumblin'", he sounded great singing this gritty blues song as his voice really seems to work with this type of rock n' roll, it's more along the lines of his Gasoline Alley songs.

For the encore he played "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?", I was really hoping he wouldn't play that song, but I guess I knew it was coming with it being one of his biggest hits. What was weird though was for the last three songs the big curtain or shower curtain whatever you wanna call it would come down, then go back up and they would do another song, and then finally it never went back up, show done, over. No good night, no bow, nothing, all over, seemed like a weird way to end a concert. And especially when it's not even 9:30 on a Friday. All and all the show was a bit schmaltzy but still a fun night out. Good times!!!

Rod Stewart at Rogers Place.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Bronx Live in Edmonton April 4th 2018

Wednesday was a fun filled evening of punk rock with The Bronx, No Parents and Counterfeit Jeans at the Starlite Room.

The first band of the night was Edmonton band Counterfeit Jeans. This three piece band hit the stage rocking playing their style of punk music. They were good at what they do, but didn't play anything that really caught my attention.

Counterfeit Jeans.

Next up was band out of Los Angeles called No Parents. I had never heard of these guys before but have to say I was impressed with them. They are three piece band that play a punk rock style of music, they reminded me of early Green Day with a mix of Scatterbrain. A real fun band singing songs with titles such as "Buy Us A Van", "Bully Girl", "Two Beers", "Die Hippie Die", "Dick City" and "I'm A Dildo", as you can see by the songs they don't take themselves too serious, yet the band was good. It was a lot of fun watching and listening to these guys.

No Parents.

And for the main act was another Los Angeles band The Bronx who play punk rock as well. This was my third time seeing them live and holy fuck these guys just keep getting better. The band is on tour in support of their album V which came out last year and was one of my favorite releases from 2017. As much as I like that album the songs sound even better live.

The band led by singer Matt Caughthran, who has got to have the best screams in rock n' roll, and in my opinion one of the best lead singers around these days, actually the whole band is probably one of the best live acts on the road right now.

After about a half dozen songs Matt came down on to the dance floor and played the rest of the show amongst the crowd, slam dancing, moshing and jumping around shaking his head like a mad man. You couldn't help but get caught up in the music. I tried staying on the outskirts of the pit, but every once in a while I found myself among the moshers and dancing and singing along with Matt. Lots of sing alongs, shout outs and picking people up off the floor. At one point Matt got bounced in to me and almost went down but I stopped him from falling, he put the mic in front of me, I sang along with im and he gave me a pat on the back and a hug. Matt is just one of the best front men since Gord Downie of The Hip.

Some of the new songs played on this night were "Two Birds", "Sore Throat", "Night Drop At The Glue Factory", "Side Effects" and "Broken Arrow". And all of them sounded absolutely amazing. And for old stuff lots of classics like "Six Days A Week", “They Will Kill Us All (Without Mercy)”, "White Guilt" one of my faves "Knifeman", "Shitty Future" and "Heart Attack American" oh man, just so many great songs. And the whole time Matt is among the crowd the band is on stage tight as fuck and holding down the fort. The band was super tight, the crowd was amazing. Matt made you feel like you were at something special in which we were. The feeling of a tight knit community brotherhood. If you like your music loud and on the punk hardcore side this is a must see band live. There is no doubt this show will be in my top three of the year. So much fun. Good times!!!

The Bronx.

Some merchandise I picked up at the show.

No Parents vinyl and t-shirt.

The Bronx hockey puck and two seven inch singles.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Ministry Live in Edmonton March 31st 2018

On Saturday night I went to the Ministry concert at Union Hall here in Edmonton. After hemming and hawing whether to go or not, as I had never seen Ministry in concert before and really wanted t go, I managed to score a ticket for the show 45 minutes before show time for 20 dollars under face value. So at that price I figured I can't miss seeing Ministry this time.

I got to the show just before the first band of the night started. The first band being The God Bombs out of New York city. The venue was pretty much empty when this three piece band hit the stage. But that sure didn't stop them from performing like they were playing to a packed venue. Their music is a mix of metal, punk, with some electronic beats and a tribal kind of beat. The lead singer was a mad man, at one point he was on the dance floor writhing around on his back singing or more like screaming. I didn't much care for them, but have to say they put on a performance.

The God Bombs.

Next up was Chelsea Wolfe from California. I had never heard of her before, but by the time she came on, the place had filled up a lot. Seemed like a lot of people were there for her as much as Ministry. I'd describe her music as kind of Goth, folky music. I didn't much care for her either. But she got a great response from the near full bar.

Chelsea Wolfe.

Now for the main act out of Chicago the industrial metal pioneers Ministry led by Al Jourgensen on vocals. I believe he is the only original member left. I had never seen Ministry before and have always loved their album from 1992 Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs. By the time Ministry came on the place was packed. Ministry is currently on the road promoting their latest album AmeriKKKant, which is somewhat of a throwback to their old industrial sound. I actually think the album is quite good.

The band opened with a couple from the new album "Twilight Zone" and "Victims of a Clown". And what a wall of sound that came from the stage. I had read a few reviews of their shows and heard a few complaints about Al's vocals, but I thought he sounded really good. They did a called "Punch In The Face" from the album From Beer to Eternity, while doing this song they had images on the screen behind the band of Trump being punched in the face repeatedly. There were a lot of images of Trump on the screen and not in a good way. The band also brought out Burton C. Bell of the band Fear Factory to do vocals on a couple of songs. That was cool and he sounded great too, he actually performs on a couple songs from the new Ministry album.

About a third of the way through the show I ran in to my buddy Metal, who happened to have an extra set of ear plugs that he gave me as I had forgot to bring mine. That made a huge difference in the music for me, I was able to really enjoy the rest of the show. Thanks Metal! The last third of the show is when Ministry finally did a couple of songs from Psalm 69, them two songs being "Just One Fix" and "N.W.O."back to back, that was when the crowd was really losing their minds.

My only complaints about the show, was the venue, not a fan of Union Hall, too few songs from Psalm 69 and Ministry only played for 70 minutes. Still a good time was had. Good times!!!

Ministry at Union Hall.