Song Of The Day: Chris Hillman – Wildflowers

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day | Leave a comment

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During his time in The Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers and several other bands, Chris Hillman pretty much invented the folk rock and country rock sounds, thus cementing his place in music history.

That history continues with his latest release Bidin’ My Time, out on Rounder Records. Produced by the late Tom Petty, the album finds Hillman revisiting some old Byrds tracks (“Bells Of Rhymney” and “She Don’t Care About Time”) as well as contributing his own version of Petty’s “Wildflowers” which naturally adds a touch of bluegrass to the arrangement. Check it out below:

Concert Review: Dream Theater, November 12, Sony Centre

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | Leave a comment

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You know you’re at a bona fide prog show when the singer disappears from the stage for extended periods of time while the band does its thing. This is not to say that Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie is any less vital than any other member of the band, just that he knows when to get out of the way and let the band rip out some extended solos and show off their instrumental prowess. And the band did just that over the course of pretty much three hours, much to the delight of their dedicated fanbase.

Dream Theater are currently on the Images, Words & Beyond Tour, celebrating 25 years since the release of probably their best known album, Images and Words. Along with playing that album in its entirety, the band also played a few selections that were written around the same time as the songs off that album and closed the show off with an encore of “A Change Of Seasons,” which was recorded at the same time as Images and Words.

Following the first part of their set, the band took a short break and returned to the stage to showcase the album they were touring behind, with the opening trifecta of tunes from that album – “Pull Me Under,” “Another Day” and “Take The Time” – standing out as the highlights. But before they took to the stage, a short medley of hits from 1992 played over the speakers and it really highlighted how Dream Theater stood out from the music of that era. Sir Mix-a-Lot, Billy Ray Cyrus, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, En Vogue – some of the biggest hit makers of the day and none of them really had much in common with Dream Theater. Sure, “Pull Me Under” did manage to make it into the Top 10 on the rock charts back then so I guess it was also a bit of a hit, but you couldn’t exactly say that Dream Theater were peers with any of these other artists and they certainly weren’t among the most popular acts at the time. Then again, the kind of progressive metal that Dream Theater trades in has never really been considered all that cool, which is probably why it still holds up today.

Concert Review: Bully, Aye Nako, November 9, Lee’s Palace

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Before offering up any sort of greeting to the crowd, the first thing spoken into the mic at Bully’s Thursday night show was a request from Alicia Bognanno for the stage lights to be turned down if possible. This could have been because the lights were a bit too bright for her comfort (likely) or it could have been a sign that the band didn’t really want to be seen. Luckily this wasn’t the case and soon enough the band was sufficiently amped up and rocking out for a fairly packed house at Lee’s Palace. Crisis averted.

Bognanno, who proved herself to be an engaging frontwoman, also shared with the crowd that she’d been to Tim Horton’s earlier and gave a shout out to Tim’s pretzel bagels. There’s loads of better places she could have eaten before the show, but hey, when in Canada, I guess you’ve gotta go for some Timmies.

Aye Nako opened the show with a set focusing on numbers from their latest Silver Haze. The band has described their music as “Sad punk songs about being queer, trans and black” and definitely seems to mine its songwriters’ pasts for subject material, with Jade Payne offering up that one song was about growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness, while Mars Dixon introduced another as “a sad song about my childhood” before adding, “I’m happy now.” The band’s personal lyrics and ’90s-referencing guitar riffs made for a potent mix and an impressive live show, despite the fact that they played to a significantly smaller crowd than the headliners.

Concert Review: Luna, Nov 8, Great Hall

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | Leave a comment

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Meeting up with Luna at the Great Hall on a chilly Wednesday night is like meeting an old friend that you haven’t seen in a long time.

You are all a bit older, so the meeting takes place in a well lit and moderately classy environment (Great Hall) instead of an old dirty bar.

You meet a little earlier (start time at 9:30 pm) than you would in your roaring twenties, when you would pre-drink and meet before the stroke of midnight.

It’s been awhile, so you exchange updates on what’s been happening (Luna released a cover album this year)

But really, you are there to relive old times and the days of glory (classic Luna material)

While it may seem a bit formulaic, it’s a proven formula that works and Wednesday night was another successful application of this formula. In town for their first time in two years, Luna once again put on an enjoyable show. Performing in an extremely well lit Great Hall, the band played a set list that mixed up new and old, with the new mostly coming in the form of the covers that are on their new record, A Sentimental Education. In between songs, they (mostly Sean) traded banter with the appreciative crowd about the venue, the neighborhood and the previous city they were in – Detroit. As for the new material, of course I had no idea that some of the new songs were covers, since Dean Wareham has a tendency to pick pretty obscure songs to cover. Still, the covers flowed into that Luna sound that has carried them successfully for the better part of the past twenty five years.

Obviously the hits portion of the set had the crowd going and after playing hits like “23 Minutes in Brussels” and “Chinatown,” the enthusiastic crowd forced the band to do not one but two encores, with the track “Indian Summer” ending off the night. A bit ironic given that Toronto was plunged into a deep freeze for Wednesday night, but I guess it was just a little something to warm our hearts.

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