Concert Review: Shamir, Nov 20, Mod Club

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | Leave a comment

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It’s been awhile since I wrote a concert review. Hell, it’s been awhile since I’ve been to an actual concert. Having taken a step away from it all, I’m now starting to wonder. Just what is it that a reader hopes to get out of reading a concert review? I guess most people usually read these under a few circumstances:

a) you too were at the show and want to see other peoples’ opinions
b) you want to know if the artist is good live at which you google concert review, and then searched about fifty pages and landed here.

Either way, having identified that these are two of the main criterias for reading this, I’m just going to skip the usual artist introduction preamble and skip straight to the point.

The concert friday night was good. As you would expect, the place was poppin. Shamir’s disco worthy tracks jumped to life with the backing live band and the live instrumentation added a nice pop and unpredictability to his music. I’ve always been a big fan of electronic/dance acts that perform with a live band, and this time around was no different.

The crowd was a very diverse crowd of all demographics. There were people way younger then me and it appears, there were people way older then me. I think they were all pro-refugeee though, sorry right wing conservatives, although really, they wouldn’t be at a Shamir show.

I think a lot of dance acts of Shamir’s nature would have incorporated some sort of choreographed dancing into the set. This was not something Shamir did and I liked the natural carefree nature he moved around the stage. The dude’s got an amazing voice that can easily translate into cheesy Celine Dion style ballads if he wants. We are just lucky he wants to dance, because we already have Celine Dion for cheesy Celine Dion ballads.

Overall, an energetic show that had you moving. Can’t ask for more, unless you are a greedy fucker.

OH yeah, if you want to know what songs he played, he played the ones you want, and no, he did not cover hotline bling.

Concert Review: King Crimson, November 21, Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | Leave a comment



As I was making my way out of The Queen Elizabeth Theatre after Saturday night’s King Crimson show, I overheard someone behind me remark to his friend, “Well, we Crimmed.” I wasn’t aware before this that “Crim” was a verb, but I suppose it makes sense. King Crimson has built up a dedicated fanbase over the course of their career and those fans, many of whom surely thought they’d never get another chance to see the band after Robert Fripp announced his retirement a few years back, were ready to experience something. This experience can apparently be described as “Crimming.” (Which actually sounds a bit dirty now that I think about it … but I digress)

For their part, King Crimson are keen to make each show an experience, as the audience became aware in the lead up to the show, the last in the band’s three night stand in Toronto. Before the show, ushers were informing people of the band’s photo policy, which was clearly stated on signs up on the stage and posted around the lobby.

Though they asked the crowd to refrain from using any devices during the show, the band did offer a reasonable compromise – when they stopped playing and bassist Tony Levin took out his camera, this was a signal that fans would then be allowed to take pictures. It was actually kind of amusing and endearing to watch Levin and Fripp snapping photos of the crowd, although some part of me suspects that this was also about Fripp turning the tables and taking the piss out of photo happy crowds – a “let’s see how you like it” move. Something else tells me that the crowd liked it just fine.

As for the show itself, King Crimson is an impressive force. Though each member of the band are masterful players, perhaps the most impressive element of the show (and certainly the most visually striking) was the trio of drummers placed at the front of the stage. Bill Rieflin, Pat Mastelotto, and Gavin Harrison’s interlocking rhythms were a thing to behold and at times they almost seemed to work as one drummer with six arms – kind of like that squid in those old Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Other highlights from their career spanning set included “The Construkction Of Light,” “Epitaph,” and the set closing “21st Century Schizoid Man.” And as they ended their set and a few more photos were snapped, we went on our way, having satisfactorily Crimmed.

Concert Review: Young Rival, November 15, Slim’s

Posted on by Celeste in Concerts | Leave a comment


There’s pretty much nothing better than a trip to San Francisco filled with painted ladies, animal style fries, ninety degree angled hills with beautiful views and sushi. It doesn’t get much better than that – or so I thought until I stepped into the Bay Area’s own Slim’s and found myself facing the three young gentlemen who compose Young Rival – a drummer, a guitarist and a bassist – all decked out in eye-dazzlingly sparkling muumuus.

The most impressive thing was that they weren’t even matching – these were clearly three different glittery muumuus bought on three separate, independent trips. The bassist was rocking a full on poncho-esque, gold, disco-ball style piece, the guitarist had a silver and gold long jacket type and the drummer was flaunting a more subdued, tasteful, black and red shimmering style one (more of a cocktail style glittering muumuu, you know?). I can only hope that they didn’t even coordinate it – in my mind when you spend massive amounts of time with your band buddies in the van that’s the kind of thing you can just sync up on – “Oh you wore your disco-ball style muumuu/poncho tonight as well? That figures. It felt like that kind of night.”

The Canadian indie rockers from Hamilton, Ontario were opening for Born Ruffians, touring on their 2015 album Interior Light. They focused mostly on the new songs for their set. Crooning into flower-clad mics (which with the impressive beards that were onstage gave off a kind of hippy-flower power vibe), the group went through “Where’s It All Going” as well as title song “Interior Light.” Lead singer Aron D’Alesio’s nasal croon (the second I hear it all I could think of was Brooks Nielsen of the Growlers) was couched perfectly in a bed of skuzzy, dizzying, catchy guitar riffs. Overall, just an utter delight for the ears and the eyes both.

Travel Review: Chobe National Park, Botswana

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

A photo posted by Ricky Lam (@panicmanual) on


The stuff of dreams. When you were a kid, you most definitely wanted to go on a safari. So now that you are an adult, why don’t you? This was a question I asked myself as I was planning my vacation and the answer was always “yea, why don’t I!”

My Africa trip featured a lot of safari’s. I think over in Africa, they call them game drives. My first experience with this was in Chobe National Park. Not only is it fun to say (pronounced CHOOO BAAAY), Chobe National Park is home to one of the highest concentrations of animals in Africa, making it a great destination to visit.

So basically what happens with these game drives is this: you leave your tour bus (if you are not doing a self drive) and enter an open air 4×4. Then the guide takes you on a tour of the area. Guides are important because you quickly realize a few things when going on a safari, mostly:

- Your vision sucks
– Animals have camouflage for a reason
– You haven’t a clue where to look

So guides are important. They can spot an antelope in a bush five hundred feet away while driving 30 km/h. This is something you cannot do. These drives usually last a few hours but feel like a few seconds. So what were some of the highlights of my Chobe safari?

Elephants – Chobe is home to one of the largest populations of Elephants in Africa, with an estimated 50,000 Elephants calling Chobe home. Seeing Elephants in the wild is completely different then seeing them at a zoo. When you see a herd of thirty Elephants, you can see how they interact freely with each other and who their leader is and what not. They are fascinating and you really never get tired of watching them.

Crocodiles – We also did a cruise on the rivers of the national park. Crocodiles are actually really boring. They just sit there on the banks chlling. If you get a bit too close, they might open their mouths and show you their teeth. If you go closer, they’ll slip into the water and disappear, further reminding you that Africa is not a place you jump into the water because it’s hot outside. It is one of the greatest shames of Africa, that you just can’t jump into a river, because it is really really hot in Africa.

Gemsbok, Springbok, Impalas, Orix, etc – Despite the fact that most of these are beautiful creatures, antelopes and other herbivores of that variety are also kind of boring. They are really skittish (for obvious reasons) and frankly, you spend most of the time wondering what they taste like (more on that in subsequent posts). I think the exception to the rule would be the Sable Antelope. We saw a few of these and they look motherfuckin royal with those horns and mane. Here’s a picture from the internet, because my iphone camera sucks.

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I used to think Hippos were pretty cool. I mean, they have the word hip in it, but then I found out they kill more humans then basically any other animals out there and suddenly, hungry hungry hippo takes on another meaning. From the safety of a large boat, these animals are quite fascinating, but you usually only see them with their heads peering out of the water, waiting anxiously for you to slip and fall over so they can kill you, probably. Fuck those hippos.

Forever awkward, there’s really no other way to describe a giraffe. They are everywhere too. You get pretty tired of seeing giraffes in Africa after awhile. It is always funny to watch them drink water though

Now I know you are asking, where are the lions?

I didn’t see any in Chobe, but they will come another time. Overall, Chobe was pretty amazing, there were a ton of animals everywhere and that’s all you can ask for.

Instagrammibility: 5/5

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