Archive for the ‘Music’ Category
Thursday, August 16th, 2012
I understand why Doc thinks it’s a great thing that Guns N’ Roses are doing a residency in Las Vegas. See, that way, if you happen to be in Vegas at that time, you can just mosey on over to the GNR show and watch some rock n roll and then get back to your gambling and beer drinking and hookers and buffet. I think it probably appeals to Axl Rose for the same reason.
This is in no way an indictment of Guns N Roses, the band, as they are currently constituted. I know a lot of people hate Axl Rose, and hate on the band, and make fun of them for their lack of class, authenticity and punctuality. I might agree. But this is more about Vegas, the place where bands go when it’s time to be put out to pasture.
For example, we would all be very excited if AC/DC decided to come to Ottawa to play in the parking lot for the opening of a Stittsville supermarket, wouldn’t we? AC/DC is coming here! We barely have to get up and we can go see them! True. But at the same time, wouldn’t you find it a little bit sad?
It’s supposed to say “Spinal Tap”, THEN “puppet show”!
So rejoice, those of you who might take in a Guns N Roses show if you happened to be in the same city they were on a night they were playing and had nothing better to do. There are all kinds of opportunities for entertainment in Vegas, and you can now take in a giant buffet, Guns N Roses, Carrot Top, Air Supply and Donnie and Marie, all in one day!
My point is simply this – hard rockers in Vegas should be a one-show, one-night deal. You know, as part of a tour. Motley Crue did this in February, but really who cares about what Motley Crue does? Elton John is in Vegas. He fits in. Celine Dion is in Vegas. That makes sense. As does Air Supply and Cirque Du Soleil and David Copperfield. But GNR? This just means it’s the beginning of the end.
Vegas, remember, is where Elvis went to get fat. And then, it’s where Fat Elvis went to die. It’s the final rest home stop for artists that are too big to ever go to Branson Missouri. And while I understand that Fat Axl may want to follow in the footsteps of Fat Elvis, dead at 41 35 years ago today, and he likes the idea that he can play shows without having to get up and move around between them, this is the beginning of the end.
There’s a story in the news today about a guy who won $232 million in a British lottery, and joked that he wanted to spend the money reuniting the original lineup of GNR. I would suggest that he save his money. Axl Rose has finally destroyed everything that the original lineup stood for, and with their move to Vegas, he has sounded the death knell for all that Guns N Roses ever was. See you at the buffet!
Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
#5 – Bucket listers
Yeah, I know that Iron Maiden was at a recent Bluesfest. And that Alice Cooper has played Ottawa nine times in the last six years. And that John Mellencamp has been here recently also. But not everyone can go to every show they want to see, and there are still a ton of people in Ottawa who would very much like to check out one or all three of those acts. And the beauty of Bluesfest is this – Alice Cooper and Iron Maiden are on the same night – and it’s a Saturday! (Also playing between their sets is blues singer Marcia Ball, who’s been here before also but is still on MY bucket list.)
#4 – Hip-hop hooray!
One of my fondest memories of Bluesfest is watching Ice Cube play an afternoon show in front of people who didn’t really know who he was, or what they were in for. This year, we get everyone from Snoop Dogg (who will just be a bonkers show) to hip-hop supergroup Deltron 3030 (starring Del The Funky Homosapien, also known for the group Gorillaz).
The one I’m looking forward to the most is former Jurassic 5 rapper Chali 2na. I was heading over to see him play last year when the stage blew over and the Bluesfest organizers rushed the crowd inside the war museum. I saw him walking through the crowd there, talking to people, shaking hands, and towering over everyone else. Now, I finally get to see him perform!
#3 – Allman connection
Two of the real great blues acts at the festival are Trucks and Tedeschi – Guitar wunderkind Derek Trucks, who started out with the Allman Brothers band, and his wife Susan Tedeschi, one of the great blues singers in the world. Also playing this year is The Royal Southern Brotherhood, a band fronted by Gregg Allman’s son Devon.
#2 – Cult classics
The very first day of the festival includes two of my all-time favourite cult music acts, Fishbone and The Melvins. Both sort of defy categorization…which is what makes them cult acts, I suppose. The Melvins are likely a little more familiar to people, as one of the big inspirations for Nirvana and the rest of the grunge scene. Also cult-tastic…Billy Bragg, Mastodon, David Gray and Charles Bradley.
#1 – Decisions decisions
It’s one of the greatest things about Bluesfest. Do I watch Alice Cooper to the end, then check out the Bright Light Social Hour before Maiden? Or do I leave a little early, see Marcia Ball, then duck back in time for Maiden’s second song? John Mellencamp or the Sheepdogs, who play at the exact same time? Do I go see dubstep superstar Skrillex, easy-listening 70s icons 10cc, or the heavy sludge metal stylings of Mastodon? I don’t know – I have to pick just one! Or two at the most! However will I decide?
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
Due to a scheduling conflict with current tour dates, Eliades Ochoa’s April 27th show has been postponed to a later show in the fall. Date and time of the fall show is yet to be announced, I will keep you posted on all the details.
For all of thsoe who have purchased entries in the CHEZ Nation draw, your points will be refunded.
If you’re still looking for something to do Friday the 27th, though, I can recommend coming to see me at Kanata Honda from 2-6…fill out a ballot and get a really great shot at one of TWO keys for Toys For Boys! I’ll also be at Chinook Hot Tubs this Friday from 3-7.
Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
Just a reminder – music legend Eliades Ochoa comes to Ottawa April 27th, at the museum of Civilization to play among the totem poles. And I get to go! And so do you, if you like – enter the promo code “corporate” to get $10 when you buy tickets here. And another reminder why the Buena Vista Social Club veteran is awesome:
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012
It’s not every day that a musical legend comes to Ottawa, and it’s even more rare that I get the opportunity to actually meet him and host his show. So I’m terrifically excited to be bringing Eliades Ochoa, the legendary guitarist and singer of the Buena Vista Social Club, onto the stage at the Museum of Civilization Friday, April 27th.
Now, some of you may have been to a show at the museum of Civilization before. I have hosted several Comfortably Numb shows there, which have been terrific in the theatre. But this show is not in the theatre area – it’s actually going to take place at 8:30 in the Grand Hall, in among the totem poles with his 8-piece band. Now that’s pretty damn cool. For those of you not familiar with Cuba’s legendary Buena Vista Social Club and Eliades Ochoa, here’s a video:
Tickets are available at ticketmaster, by phone at 1 855 985 5000 or online here http://www.ticketmaster.ca/Eliades-Ochoa-tickets/artist/771017 enter the promo code “corporate”, for a $10 discount!
Thursday, September 1st, 2011
Thanks to Steve Colwill for forwarding this to me – as I think he knows I am an enormous fan of all things aggressively mediocre (as my complete collection of Steven Seagal movies will attest). See, there was once a band called the Shaggs. I heard of them back in the 90s, when Nirvana was huge and Kurt Cobain expressed an affinity for their work – but then, he was all over a ton of obscure artists (Daniel Johnston, for example) and I never bothered to seek out their music.
Until now. A musical is being created based on The Shaggs, considered by many to be the worst band that ever existed. Their album, Philosophy Of The World, recorded in 1969, is certainly one of the absolute worst offenses against music ever committed to vinyl – none of the instruments seem to be interested in playing the same rhythm, the drummer is barely competent, and the singer is dreadful. But the lyrics – the lyrics! They are hilarious! What makes this so amazing is that they’re actually trying!
This reminded me of one of my all-time favourite CDs (though it IS one I rarely play). It’s called Murder On The High C’s, and features the “finest” work of the woman who may be the worst singer in the history of the world, Florence Foster Jenkins. In 1909, Jenkins inherited a huge sum of money that allowed her to do whatever she wanted in life – and what she wanted, more than anything, was to be a famous soprano. And…amazingly…she succeeded! In the fame part anyway. Despite a complete lack of timing, pitch and vocal ability, she went ahead with her dream. Just like William Hung. But in the 1920s.
Remember William Hung?
God bless him, he’s trying! I love them all. Now, who is the worst artist in here – Hung, Jenkins, the Shaggs, or…
Monday, July 18th, 2011
I went to Bluesfest last night to take in the final day with my family – my dad, my wife, my sister and her boyfriend Abdullah. This was my dad’s first huge concert event, outdoors at Lebreton Flats, even though he has been a resident of Ottawa for thirty plus years. Abdullah, who is Omani and lives in Kuwait, has been in Ottawa nine days. This was his third trip to Bluesfest. Dad needs to catch up!
My sister wanted to see Lupe Fiasco, a rapper who was playing the Claridge stage at 6:00. He was pretty good, engaged with the crowd and even though I’m not a fan of his music I found him very entertaining. He played around (as Peter Frampton did) with the popcorn-on-a-stick, and kept wondering why no one ever told him Ottawa was the Hottest Place On Earth. Yesterday afternoon, it was.
With the heat so intense, it was no wonder that Lupe Fiasco had to stop his show a couple of times to direct paramedics toward women who had passed out in the crowd. That, of course, was nothing compared to what was about to happen.
We moved over to watch Cheap Trick, and were going to stay at the MBNA stage for about half an hour before moving to the National Bank stage to catch Chali 2na (formerly of Jurassic 5), the guy I most wanted to see. From there, we would take in some of Galactic and some John Butler Trio and maybe catch a bit of Satriani on the way home. At least, that was the plan. My sister took this photo of me, my wife and my dad at about 7:20.
The sky seems…threatening, no? Seconds after this picture was taken, my wife suggested we get the hell out of there, fast. I scowled and said a little rain never hurt anyone, and it’s an outdoor concert, and stop being a sissy. Even my dad and sister were not worried at all about getting wet. I’m not sure about Abdullah. But then, he doesn’t speak English much and couldn’t complain anyway.
We started to make our way over to the National Bank stage, away from the MBNA stage, to catch the beginning of Chali 2na. As we got to the corner, the wind hit. Sand was blowing in our eyes and the rain was obviously coming hard and fast. Normally you can look across the river and see trees and buildings on the other side. Now, you couldn’t even see the river.
We turned away from the stages and ran toward the bus stop. People along the route were already hiding under the trailers that lined the road. Before we could get to the street though, Bluesfest volunteers were blocking our path and directing us down into the parking garage of the War Museum which had been opened to accomodate people. As we ducked inside, we heard the last few notes of Cheap Trick, then a crazy BOOM. I thought it was some strange-sounding thunder.
We made our way through the parking garage, up to the main lobby of the museum. People were milling about, and no one seemed to know what was going on – there were occasional announcements asking people to move away from the windows and move to the parking garages, but it was almost impossible to get through the crowd.
I saw a guy moving through the crowd from a distance – he was easy to spot, as he was a good head taller than everyone else. He had an entourage around him, and people were snapping pics as he moved through. It was Chali 2na, whose show (along with everyone elses’) had just been canceled. He waved off his security detail, and shook hands and posed for pictures with everyone who crowded around. That was pretty cool.
After a while, the sun seemed to be back out, the rain had slowed to a trickle, and we were able to leave and make our way to the bus stop with everyone else who was being evacuated from the festival. Only then did we notice that the MBNA stage was – gone! It had been blown over backward onto the trucks parked behind it. Thankfully, it hit the top of those trucks and so did not trap anyone underneath.
Early reports are that three people were taken away in ambulances, and one is seriously injured. Cheap Trick are fine (they got off the stage EIGHT seconds before it collapsed), but their bus driver suffered a broken leg. Having seen the wreckage of the stage, and every paramedic and fire truck in the city flying in, it’s miraculous that injuries were not more widespread and that no one was trapped under the stage.
We made our way to the bus stop, wet but safe – now we’re checking the news all morning, hoping everyone is OK.
Thursday, June 16th, 2011
The Foo Fighters are likely the coolest band in the world. And they just keep getting cooler every time they do something new. This time, it’s their tour rider, released yesterday by The Smoking Gun. It’s a huge colouring book that also features word searches and mazes. Help guitarist Chris Shiflett get through the maze to the beautifully-appointed banquet table! Finish the word search by finding all the words (smurfs, daschund) to spell out a helpful hint (it involves bacon)! And the section on “Ice Cubes: A Primer” is absolutely hilarious.
Also included (and this is just “Part Seven”) are pictures of delicious breakfast (bacon, eggs, hash browns) vs. bad breakfast (a croissant), good salad (fresh veggies) vs. bad salad (out of a bag), and good entrees (steak) vs. bad entrees (rocks and a sandwich). The other part that has been posted makes a series of bonkers pop culture references (Jeffrey Dahmer, Tiger Blood, Anne Frank, Bucky Dent, Chewbacca and dozens more) in a sort of brilliant stream-of-consciousness piece of insanity. Check this out, it’s amazing.