Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Danny Michel Live in Edmonton Jan.12th 2018

Last Friday Janis and my buddy Buzzard went to the Danny Michel concert at the Myer Horowitz Theatre here in Edmonton. This was my fifth time seeing Danny in concert. We missed the opening act local artist Erin Kay as we were out having a few beers before the show. I heard she was quite good, it's too bad we missed her set.

As for Danny Michel, once again he put on a very fun and entertaining show, playing for about an hour and a half. Danny played solo, no back up band. Danny mixed up the set with material from most of his career, playing some oldies like "Tennessee Tobacco" from his 2006 album Valhalla, "Feather, Fur & Fin" from his 2008 album by the same title. Also played were "Wish Willy" and "Who's Gonna Miss You?" from the album Sunset Sea. And of course between almost every song Danny has a story to tell, and these stories most times are fuckin' hilarious. I have heard most of these stories a few times already, but he tells them with such enthusiasm you can't help but be engaged and laugh your ass off. One of the stories he told on this night was one I had never heard before, a story about meeting Paul Simon backstage at a show in Toronto. Another great story full of laughs, if you should ever get the chance, ask Danny about his Paul Simon apple tree. he had the audience in stitches at times with the stories. But it's not the stories that your there for, it's the music, and Danny does an awesome job on those as well.

The subjects of Danny's songs are so full of adventures he has been on, including his latest big adventure on the Russian icebreaker ship Khlebnikov. Danny was invited on this 18 day adventure by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield as it went through the Arctic Ocean. Danny was the music guest among as already said astronaut Chris Hadfield, scientists, filmographer and photographers. The album Khlebnizov is very Russian music influenced as you would imagine after recording this album on the ship. He then brought the recording to a studio and added orchestral arrangements to make a very cool album. Danny did a couple of songs from the album including the song "24,000 Horses". And because the venue had a huge screen behind him on stage, Danny showed some really cool film footage from the adventure. Also on stage with Danny this time was a grand piano in which he did a few songs on, something I had never seen him play before, that was cool.

Danny also did some songs from the recording he did in Belize with The Garifuna Collective, a very Graceland like album called Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me. Songs from that album he did were "What Colour Are You?" and "Sad and Beautiful World".

All and all this was a really great show by Danny Michel, I love how Danny just comes across as a very genuine man and really seems like someone that wants to make the world a better place. Kudos to you Danny Michel! Good times!!!

Danny Michel at the Myer Horowitz Theatre.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

My Top Ten Albums of 2017

New year already, I better get on my top ten list for 2017. Lots of decent albums came out in 2017, and these ten are the ones that got the most spins between the turntable at home and on my phone.

1. The Bronx - V
A full on catchy punk rock album. Love this band and album.

2. Worst Days Down - Elsewhere
An awesome catchy melodic punk album from this Edmonton band fronted by Ben Sir. Reminds me of a mix of Gaslight Anthem and Social D.

3. Dave Hause - Bury Me In Philly
A melodic personal album from this veteran punk rocker. Little bit punk, Americana and a bit Bon Jovi-ish, but so good!

4. Gregg Allman - Southern Blood
The final album from the late great Gregg Allman. Not a bad song on this classic.

5. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit - The Nashville Sound
The sixth solo album by one time member of the Drive-By Truckers. Jason's song writing is strong yet again on this album.

6. Leeroy Stagger - Love Versus
Leeroy just keeps getting stronger with each release. A great roots rocker of an album with great lyrics and musicianship.

7. Bash & Pop - Anything Could Happen
Tommy Stinson fronts this band, he also at one time played bass for both bass The Replacements and Guns N' Roses released this album early in the year. A fun rock n' roll album with attitude.

8. Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series Vol.13: Trouble No More 1979-1981
An interesting era of Bob Dylan music. The live recordings are amazing.

9. Napalmpom - The Core Competencies Of Napalmpom
The second album from this Calgary band. Not quite as riff heavy as their first album, but after a few listens this album has it all. Mix all the classic 70's rock bands into one and that is Napalmpom. A very fun record.

10. Beck - Colors
Beck gets back to doing what he does best. A fun upbeat record mixing hip-hop, alt rock and pop music. Another album that grew on me after a couple of spins.

Honourable mentions...Blitzen Trapper, Old 97's, Lowest Of The Low, Father John Misty and Elliott BROOD also put out great music in 2017. Some tough choices to make, but I went with what got the most spins.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Top Ten Concerts of 2017

Well it's that time of year again to list my top 10 concerts of the year. I got out to a lot of shows this year which is making it tough to make a top ten list. I've been thinking of this list for a while now and have decided I can't list them in order of best, instead will just list my favorites in order of date. All shows were in Edmonton unless otherwise noted.

* January 23rd Joel Plaskett with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra @ The Winspear Centre.
Wasn't sure how this show was going to be but Joel pulled it off incredibly well.

* April 6th The Bronx with opener Dave Hause & The Mermaid @ The Brixx.
An awesome double bill. The Bronx killed it and Dave Hause was really good too.

* June 23rd Bash & Pop @ The Brixx.
This show was a last minute decision. Rushed out to this show right after seeing Ryan Adams in concert. I am so glad I decided to go. This show was everything I like about live performances. Intense, loud, sweaty, full of attitude, drama and most of all great rock n' roll. Tommy Stinson ex of The Replacements was in fine form, or maybe not fine form, depending how you look at it, as he was obviously tipsy yet still put on a great show.

* August 17th Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in Vancouver, B.C. @ Rogers Arena.
This show was incredible. Petty on his 40th Anniversary Tour. So full of energy, great setlist, sounded great. And then six weeks later Tom Petty is gone. RIP Tom Petty! So glad I got to see him one last time.

* August 22nd Beck @ The Jubilee Auditorium.
An artist I have had on my bucket list for many years. And he didn't disappoint. A wicked show.

* August 30th Guns N' Roses @ Commonwealth Stadium
This show was so much fun and reminded me of my teenage years. A three and half hour party, with the venue selling beers through out the entire concert. The show started on time, Axl and the band sounded amazing. Just a fun, fun show.

* September 23rd Gene Simmons Band @ The Expo Centre.
Being a huge KISS fan this was a once in a lifetime chance to see Gene Simmons play a solo show with the rest of KISS. Great song selection, Gene was in fine form and best of all myself, my Cuz and my buddy RCD managed to score backstage passes and meet Gene Simmons. An incredible night that I will never forget.

* September 27th Lowest Of The Low with openers Jr. Gone Wild @ The Needle Vinyl Tavern.
A great double bill of two awesome Canadian bands. Wicked show.

* October 24th Roger Waters @ Rogers Arena.
An amazing show as usual from Roger Waters. Classic Pink Floyd songs mixed with new material that worked really well. Worth every penny.

* December 10th Mike Plume @ The Almanac.
One of my favorite singer/songwriters ever in a small intimate venue and a local artist at that. Mike's shows are always so much fun, full of great songs and lots of laughs. I never tire of seeing Mike Plume in concert.

So hard to pick my favorite shows this year as there were others that could have made this list, but I wanted to keep it to my top ten. Honourable mentions go to Leeroy Stagger, Blitzen Trapper, Diamond Head, Elliott BROOD, Nik Turner of Hawkwind and Parker Millsap.

Looking forward to a busy 2018 concert schedule. Good times!!!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Mike Plume Live at The Almanac Dec.10th 2017

Last Sunday night my buddy Buzzard, Char, Cuz, Janis and I went to the Mike Plume show at The Almanac. The Almanac is nice small intimate venue and a great place to see a show. This was my 13th time seeing Mike in concert, and again, it was awesome.

It was a solo show, with no opener, just Mike playing for two and a half hours. One great song after another, it was a great selection of songs with some requests thrown in as well. Mike also broke out a few Christmas songs from his Back Home For Christmas album (available here, as his whole catalog of music). These aren't your traditional kind of Xmas songs, as you can tell from the title of this song that he did "Merry Xmas (To My Ex Miss)", there were sure to be a few laughs during this one, another Christmas song he did that was full of laughs as well was "Gather Round The Christmas Tree".

Other songs played during the show were, fan favourites, "830 Newfoundland", "More Than A Game", "So Long Stompin' Tom", "Dimaggio" and "Hey Hey What D'Ya Say (Coming Home Again)". Then there were some songs that don't always get played unless of course it's a two plus hour show like this one. Songs such as "Life Is Funny", "Half Full Is The Cup", "Live It up Until They Lower Me Down", "Like a Bullet From a Gun", "Make It up as We Go" and "Straight Back Home" amongst many others. There was even an impromptu sing along of "California Dreamin'", Mike had the whole audience singing along to this one. Mike also brought out his wife Jenny for a couple of songs, she too has an awesome voice. The show closed out with Mike covering the Fred Eaglesmith song "Alcohol and Pills". This show was so much fun, so many great songs, lots of laughs and a great way to cap off another year of concerts and this one rates up with ne of the best I saw all year. Good times!!!

Mike Plume at The Almanac.

In concert news...After a successful Western Canadian Tour opening for Corb Lund, Mike will be joining Corb again in February for a southern Ontario tour. Also, watch for a new Mike Plume album coming in the spring of 2018. Can't wait to hear more great songs by an amazing singer/songwriter.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Ben & Noel Haggard with The Strangers Live in Edmonton Nov.10th 2017

It's been a week already since this show, so here is a quick review of the Ben and Noel Haggard show.

Last Friday my buddy Buzzard, Cuz and I went to the Century Casino here in Edmonton for the Ben and Noel Haggard with The Strangers concert. For those that might not know, Noel and Ben are sons of the late legendary outlaw country star Merle Haggard. And backing up Ben and Noel were The Strangers which was Merle's old band.

The night started with a lady opening, I have forgotten her name and really don't have much to say about her set. I found it generic and boring.

After a short break, it was time for Ben and Noel Haggard with The Strangers. Ben who is 24 and Noel who is 54 both have the gift of their fathers voice. Not only can Ben sing like his dad, but he is also one hell of a guitar player, not that Noel isn't good either, but Ben really stood out. Ben has been playing in Merle's band since the age of fifteen, I remember seeing Merle in concert in 2010 at River Cree where Merle had a video camera set up in the tour bus so that we could see Ben playing along with the band, as he was too young to play in the venue. Noel looks a lot like Merle as well. They sounded amazing singing Merle's old country hits. The back up band was superb as well, sadly the bass payer wasn't able to get across the border so a gentleman from Toronto was sitting in. But on steel guitar was long-time Strangers member Norm Hamlet who has been the band leader of The Strangers since 1964. He too sounded great and looked to be having a blast carrying on the legacy of Merle Haggard's music, as did the son's too of course. Their near two hour set had all the hits. Have a look at the setlist for all the songs played.

After the show we got to meet the band and get autographs. Ben and Noel were both super nice guys as was Norm Hamlet. This was a very fun show. Good times!!!

Ben and Noel Haggard with The Strangers at Century Casino.

After the show my buddy Buzzard and Cuz and I got to meet the guys. Down to earth bunch, easy to chat with and it was cool to talk to Norm about being a member of The Strangers for so long and why he still loves playing music with the Haggard family. Very cool!

Autographed setlist from the show signed by Ben, Noel and Norm.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Roger Waters Live in Edmonton Oct.24th 2017

Well it's been two weeks since the Roger Waters Us + Them Tour hit Rogers Place in Edmonton, so I'm a little slow on my review. This is a show that my sweetie Janis and I have had tickets for over a year. I had bought Janis and I tickets for this on her birthday last year, and as luck would have it the show was on her birthday this year. So it was a long wait for the show but worth it. This would be my fourth time seeing Roger Waters in concert. And for the few who may not know, Rogers Waters of course formerly the bass player for the iconic band Pink Floyd. Also this was the first of two sold out shows here in Edmonton.

This time around I was thinking how the hell do you top The Wall Tour. Well, I can say, maybe not topped it, but matched it for sure. Again the concert was a big production through out the two and half hour long show. The show opened with "Breathe" from Dark Side Of The Moon then going in to the instrumental song "One Of These Days" an oldie from the 1971 Pink Floyd album Meddle. This was going to be amazing. Then of course there were the visuals and the lasers, and the political bashing of Donald Trump with all kinds of unflattering pictures of him and some of his stupid twitter quotes projected on the screens.

Roger Waters and his band did two sets with the first set closing out with "Another Brick In The Wall Part 2 & 3". It was during this song that Roger brought out some kids from the Boys and Girls Club here in Edmonton on stage to lip sync and dance around during the song. When the kids first came out on stage their heads were covered in black hoods and wearing orange prison wear like they were prisoners of war, kind of creepy actually. Eventually the hoods and orange tops were gone to reveal the kids wearing t-shirts reading "Resist". It was fun watching the kids up on stage, they looked to be having fun, especially one small girl, she was really dancing and singing along. That had to be a thrill of a lifetime for them kids. They may not realize it now, but years down the road they are going to be able to say they were on stage with a rock icon. How cool is that. Nice to see Roger Waters give kids a chance like that.

After a short intermission it was time for the second half of the show. Starting with "Dogs" then in to "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" from the Animals album. So good! Then three more from the Dark Side Of The Moon album. It was during the second half of the concert that things got more political, with the Trump images and such.

For the encore we got "Mother" and "Comfortably Numb". This show was a great retrospective of Roger Waters career with Pink Floyd. The only solo songs Roger did were from his album Is This the Life We Really Want? that came out earlier this year. Roger's back up band was amazing as well, his guitar players Dave Kilminster and Jonathan Wilson did a great job on original guitarists David Gilmour's parts both on guitar and his vocal parts. The four songs he did from that album seemed to fit very well in to the show. I've have always wanted to hear a few songs from his 1987 album Radio K.A.O.S. but that has yet to happen out of all the times I have seen Roger Waters in concert. The theme of this tour seems to be resistance to authority, which is nothing new for a Roger Waters show.

This was a great way to celebrate my Sweeties birthday. One of the best shows of the year. Good times!!!


Roger Waters at Rogers Arena in Edmonton.

T-shirt front.

T-shirt back.