Local show review, Ainsley McNeaney with Eleanore Altman and Glass Passenger (Casa del Popola July 20, 2011)

Wednesday night I finally got up and out to a local show. I hope to do so more often, and profile great local music, as the world knows, Montreal is producing some great music!

Plus, this show was at the very well known local venue Casa del Popolo.

Eleanore Altman opened. She played the piano, and was accompanied by an acoustic guitar player. She has a nice voice, not too high, but it can get up there on occasion. I liken her voice to be somewhat Tori Amos like. Her fairly short set was all original material, save for a Radiohead cover of “A Punchup at a Wedding”, or the full title/subtitle, “A Punchup at a Wedding. (No No No No No No No.)”. With just acoustic guitar it definitely sounded different, sans the bass, electronic, and other elements. Had she not said, I cannot say as I would have recognised it for sure. She said the Radiohead song is about having received a bad review, something she knows all too well she said. Well, being that it was the first time I saw her, not being too familiar, I would not give it a raving review, but definitely promising!

Glass Passenger played next, they played an interesting mix, they started with a couple of up-tempo rock leaning songs that were pretty good, and then mellowed out for the rest of their set (which was good, as I was too close to the lead vocalist’s amp!). The lead singer stated they are still a new band, finding their sound. Despite that, they sounded fairly good, playing folky rock if I remember correctly.

Ainsley McNeaney took the stage with seven people performing, her usual band, including guest violin and trumpet players. Her set also was not too long, but it made up for it in quality. With all of the musicians behind her, playing her original material. All of which was also arranged by her. It made for a very nice and entertaining show. She plays mostly pop, more traditional pop (as in not your typical mainstream pop!), albeit with a nice mix of various genres as well. Those genres include some jazz (via drum and bass rhythms), and even a polka number! If I had to say what her voice sounded like, I think I would go with my original though when I first heard her online, that being a mix of great Canadian female vocalists, that being a good thing! but Very much recommend checking her out.

To steal a little from her bio, and give a better idea:

Montreal indie musician AINSLEY McNEANEY began developing her own musical style while still a classical percussion undergrad at the University of Toronto, fusing traditional piano, voice and orchestral techniques into a pop music setting.

She has quite a few Montreal shows coming, including a weekly set at Le Dépanneur Café every Wednesday from 1 – 2PM. Check her MySpace out for some music, and a few other ways as well:

Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

Also, the openers can be found on MySpace as well:

Eleanore Altman

Glass Passenger

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Warped Tour Montreal 2011 (Two thousand and one, and one) review

Okay, I will admit it, I am a Warped Tour veteran. I could go on, but there is nothing to brag about, I was into punk rock in the mid to late 90s (and I am to this day, but that was when I first started listening). Now I only know approximately a half-dozen bands attending! And it is safe to say who they are knowing that I am into late 90s punk rock sound. They would be Unwritten Law, Less Than Jake, The Planet Smashers, and although they have not been around as long, Street Dogs (Boston Street Punk), and The Aggrolites (Los Angeles Dirty Reggae).

One of the underlying principles of punk rock is unity. Both among punk rockers, and the world. I cannot say what the majority of the new acts that play the Warped Tour are like, message wise, lyrics wise, etc. Heck, I cannot even nail down the genre as a whole! Regardless, my point is that Warped Tour remains a positive place, in that it does not matter who you are, misfit, outcast, nerd, little person, and so on, we are all equal. At least that is the way I still feel, and the vibe I still get from the tour. That is, the vibe while in attendance at the Warped Tour.

And, best not to get me started on corporate sponsorship (I intentionally left out the ‘Vans’ from my post title, although they apparently are made in a well ventilated facility, so I hear, hopefully true, and well paid workers, regardless, there are no doubt companies that do not adhere to such standards.), however, I can see both sides, in that it does get money to the bands that deserve it (and keeps ticket prices to a reasonable price given the sheer number of bands, 65+!). Many of them down the road will likely go back to leading everyday lives, if they do not already, save for the Warped Tour. Plus, there are many good causes to be found at Warped Tour. PETA for one. Klean Kanteen had a set-up next to the water refilling area with their own water refilling area (the water came from the same source it seemed, but presumably is filtered to some extent). They were sold out of water bottles when I found them, however I already have one of their water bottles, as plastic water bottles suck, bar none!

I digress. My overall feeling about the Warped Tour remains very much positive! I love checking out the bands I know, and I love discovering new acts! The Warped Tour remains very diverse, bands, and performers from way more than punk rock, and whatever the majority of bands are today that the young ‘uns enjoy! Maybe not going back to the very start, although it is possible (I do not feel like researching right now), there have been many different acts to be seen. Eminem played in 1999! I was disappointed, as Alien Ant Farm were supposed to have played, but did not make it. I think I may know why, but I also may be confusing another band, so no use going into it.

To add to the bands I was looking forward to, were Sick of Sarah, an all-girl band, ya gotta give it up to them! Paramore as well. River City Extension, DC Fallout, MC Lars, and Yelawolf were some acts I thought about checking out only after looking into them on YouTube the night before Warped Tour. I only did get to see the former two, both seemed quite nice (see two pics below, actual punk rock!)! Word of mouth had me interested in Lucero, and Foxy Shazam (who I have heard of prior, but I do not believe I have ever heard). Also, if I am not mistaken, the lead singer of Street Dogs gave a shout out to Larry And His Flask, so he/they sound interesting (something to look into in the not too distant future). I also heard that Juliet Simms, the singer from Automatic Loveletter, was doing an acoustic set. I did check out some of Juliet Simms, and it was enjoyable, just her and an acoustic guitar. (Writing this sentence, turns out I did see Lucero, going through my photos, and comparing the photographs time stamp with the schedule… Welcome change I said to my good friend with me! Obviously not knowing who they were at the time! So, pic follows!)

Lucero performing at Warped. L to R: pedal steel guitar + guitar + drums + guitar + bass + keyboards = nice!

DC Fallout merch tent, actual punk rock, almost a rarity nowadays!

I basically saw every band I just mentioned, save for the word of mouth ones. I watched the entire Paramore set, a little disappointed they did not play “Brick by Boring Brick”, but they did lead-off with “That’s What You Get”, which I played in Rock Band around 24 hours earlier! I drummed by the way (no way I can sing like Hayley!).

Scott Russo, lead singer/guitarist for Unwritten Law, one of two original members alongside guitarist Steve Morris

I also saw the entire Unwritten Law set, most of the songs I did not know, as I need to listen to their post 1998 output. I do not believe I ever heard Elva. My favourite album being Oz Factor. They just released a new record, Swan, in March. Their first since 2005s Here’s to the Mourning. They invited fans to meet and greet them (not Scott Russo’s words) after the show. I meant to say hi, and ask if they still kept track of their number of shows played, but I forgot! I saw them on Warped Tour a few years back, at that point, if my memory serves me (which it is possible it does not!), that show was somewhere in the 800s. Not too shabby I say.

I heard the entire Less Than Jake set. I watched most of it. They still deliver! Great to hear one of my favourites, “All My Best Friends Are Metalheads.” Hard to believe the album that is from, Hello Rockview (1998) is only their third! Less Than Jake is another band I have to listen to more of their musical catalogue!

I saw most of Street Dogs, I got there when lead singer Mike McColgan was donning a Boston Bruins jersey! Off topic, the Vancouver riots made the win easier to take, in the end it is just “a kid’s game” (Propagandhi, “Dear Coach’s Corner“. Caught most of The Aggrolites set as well, hats off to dirty reggae! They have a new record out as well, Rugged Road.

Sick of Sarah rocking out!

Sick of Sarah was the first band I saw from the list of bands I wanted to see. They play fairly straight forward pop, with some nice melodies, making it very easy to enjoy. I even thought the lead singer, Abisha sounded a little like Tegan and/or Sara, and lo and behold, they (Tegan and Sara) are listed in the second sentence of their Wikipedia article! I met a few of the girls afterwords at their merch tent (it’s always nice when bands hang out at their merch tent post show!), and picked up their latest offering, 2205. Shout out to them (Abisha, Jessie, and Brooke most notably!) if they read this, as I plugged my blog/Twitter with them! They were really cool, again, very nice to see in bands!

The Planet Smashers closed the day on the main stage. As Matt stated, it is the first time they have played the main stage, and first time playing Warped Tour in a few years (Montreal was their only Warped date, hence Montreal being the best crowd on the entire tour, Matt said jokingly!). These guys have quietly become a staple in the world of third wave ska. I do not know how well-known they are outside Canada — but similar to Sloan — they deserve to be known, globally! No surprise, these guys just cannot disappoint! And they literally released a new record, Descent Into The Valley Of The Planet Smashers, this past Tuesday. Their first since Unstoppable from 2005. Hats off to whoever decided to put them on last.

I eagerly, yet patiently (living in the present tense is very important) await Warped Tour 2012.

More pictures after the break.

Continue reading “Warped Tour Montreal 2011 (Two thousand and one, and one) review”

All Saints – Studio 1 (LP of the Week)

Following last week’s LP of the Week (Alien Ant Farm’s truANT), another great record for summer, albeit a different genre!

At this point in time, although it is pretty much impossible to know, Studio 1 stands as the last All Saints album. Of course I’d like to hear a new album from them, but at the same time, it is good to go out on a high note. From start to finish, Studio 1 is a solid release, possibly their best of three releases.

The album starts of with the first single, “Rock Steady”, which is highly influenced from Jamaican music, including, but not limited to ska, rocksteady (as the song title may imply), 2 Tone and reggae. Could the album title be an homage to the influential Jamaican record label Studio One? I would not be surprised. “Rock Steady” is not the only track that has elements of the influential genres listed above. “Scar” has somewhat of a dub feel to it, while “Not Eazy” also has a dub feel, after staring off with a bit of ska/reggae.

The album flows surprisingly well, going from a somewhat darker R&B track about being cheated on (“Hell No” penned by Shaznay Lewis and Karl “K-Gee” Gordon) to an up-tempo summery song, about being happy in a relationship (“One Me & U”) on one instance to “Chick Fit” (up-tempo club leaning track) going to “On & On” (more ballad-esque leaning).

A few tracks may be close to being called filler, but even then, it is more solid than the weaker tracks from their debut 9 years earlier.

The album closes with the terrific “Fundamental”, easily one of the strongest tracks on the album. The song crescendo’s pretty much most of the song, and peaks with vocal harmonies, including layered vocals, and piano.

This album was of course a result of the Saints reuniting after having split, and as it stands they are not officially disbanded, however there is no music release scheduled anytime soon. With that in mind, no better time to check out what could be their last album.

Follow me on the Twitter (my two year Twitterversary!)

So today marks my two year anniversary on Twitter! 2536 Tweets and counting! Assuming Twitter keeps statistics accurately! Hard to say given all the times the fail whale has made an appearance!

I am not the best at self promotion, but I’ll try.

Follow me on Twitter: @tmmblog.

I was going to increase the font size, but I left it as is. My self promotion obviously needs some work.

By following me on Twitter, you can get my musical insights (if you can call it that!) much more often, discover plenty of great new music, get music news, and also watch the daily Music Video of the Day, hand picked by yours truly, and soon nearing a year’s worth of videos! Check out the #MVOD archives, and all my other favourite’d Tweets: @tmmblog favourite tweets. Bla bla bla.