After 25 years performing in the metro, Greg Dunlevy has seen some terrible musicianship. “You get a lot people who … bang on pieces of wood,” Dunlevy said. “They go out and get themselves a cheap guitar, they buy themselves a harmonica or a recorder, and they blow in it and they can’t do anything with it.
When Lady Gaga first entered the pop music scene back in 2008, I forced myself to take a second look. Her lyrics were symbolic of both the feminine mystique and female empowerment, she wore avant-garde and provocative clothing (or a lack thereof), and she had the strong ability to capture the attention of millions by dominating the music charts for weeks on end.
This spring, Toronto-based singer-songwriter Jason Collett and indie bands Zeus and Bahamas unleashed “The Bonfire Ball” in North America. The three-in-one tour has been travelling across the continent since the beginning of March, and has even been as far south as Mexico City, playing a show for the one-year anniversary of record label Arts & Crafts’ expansion to the region.
The National is a quaint theatre, the ambience a familiar one, ideal for Regina Spektor. The singer/songstress stepped onto the stage with a glittery shape in her hair and smiling red lips, her very presence giving the room a soothing glow. She began an acapella wonder and the crowd became entranced.
Studying and an urgent need to pick up dry-cleaning in time for Thanksgiving may have deterred many from attending this year’s Future of Music Policy Summit, held for the first time away from its birthplace of Washington D.C., in McGill’s own Schulich School of Music.
Well before Shout Out Out Out Out even stepped on stage Thursday night, their presence was felt among the crowd. Flocks of college kids gathered outside the venue and later filled the moderately sized La Tulipe to the brim. The level of excitement was palpable, setting the bar of expectation for the evening very high.
I wish I could make it that everyone who sees the Soft Skeleton has to drink Guinness, says Emily Haines, Metric’s cool, commanding and completely sexy front woman, as she takes another swig, “but it’s okay if you’re having, like, a vodka soda. I just don’t think you’ll totally get what we’re doing, but that’s okay!” Despite the absence of Guinness anywhere in the general vicinity, last Monday night’s show at Le National ThéÃ¢tre was not lost on many.
What does Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, a 75-year old country folk guitarist, have to do with Pop Montreal, the city’s ecstatic embrace of the “next big thing”? Perhaps the most significant asset that Elliot’s Wednesday night set at the Ukrainian Center brought to the festival was authenticity.
Montreal-based Plants and Animals’ newest release La La Land is a fun, upbeat record that showcases why the band has been gaining recognition in the indie music scene for a few years now. Their first full-length album, Parc Avenue, was nominated for two JUNO awards in 2009 and was short-listed for the Polaris Music Prize in 2008.
BjÃ¶rk and Sigur Rós may have put Iceland on the musical map. But Seabear – the seven-person collective that just released their sophomore album and made their North American debut at South by Southwest – have proved themselves to be the most promising new Icelandic indie export.