Concert Review: Scorpions, Megadeth, September 22, Budweiser Stage

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | Leave a comment

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A late September show at an outdoor amphitheatre can often mean that you’ll be bundled up in layers, trying your hardest to keep from freezing, yet some unseasonably warm weather for this time of year meant that the Scorpions show at the Budweiser Stage felt more like the middle of summer. The heat didn’t deter some members of the band from wearing leather pants though – they are in a German heavy metal band after all.

Megadeth started things off with a bit of a greatest hits set, delivering classics such as “Sweating Bullets,” “Hangar 18,” “Peace Sells,” and “Symphony Of Destruction” during their roughly hour long set before the headliners took the stage. While Scorpions already had the crowd on their side, they threw in a bit of pandering for good measure, flashing a Canadian flag backdrop onto the screen early on in the night and it made me wonder if they do this for every country they play in. Do they have another version that features silhouettes of the band playing in front of say, the Uzbekistani flag or do they just get really excited about playing Canada? I was also left wondering why singer Klaus Meine pulled out a handful of drumsticks and just started tossing them into the crowd while they played “The Zoo.” To be fair, he did later use some of these sticks to play the cowbell, but it still seemed kind of odd for him to just start throwing a seemingly endless supply of drumsticks out there, especially when I thought for a second that he was pulling them out from inside of his jacket.

Speaking of drums, one of the highlight of the night was seeing new drummer Mikkey Dee, formerly of Motörhead, launch into an impressive drum solo right after the band played a cover of his former band’s “Overkill,” a solo that featured his drum kit rising high above the stage on a hydraulic lift. Other highlights of the night included “Blackout,” “Big City Nights,” “Rock You Like A Hurricane,” and that sweet whistling intro to “Winds Of Change. The band also played a few numbers off their latest album Return To Forever, including set opener “Going Out With A Bang.”  While that title (and the fact that, in some form, these guys have been playing together for around 50 years – yeah, they’re no spring chickens) would seem to suggest that this could be the last Scorpions tour, I am reminded that they pretty much announced that they’d be calling it quits a few years back and that didn’t seem to stick, so we’ll take it with a grain of salt.

Concert Review: Coast Modern, Salt Cathedral, September 22, U Street Music Hall

Posted on by Celeste in Concerts | Leave a comment

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What do you call a surf rock band with a big splash of reggae, a tiny pinch of hip hop, and just a dash of Tenacious D silliness? You call them Coast Modern. The LA based duo came to DC on Friday to play a sold out show at U Street Music Hall.

The night started out with Salt Cathedral, a Colombian-born, NY-based global pop duo. The twosome might have been small but they were mighty in their stage presence. Lead singer Juli, rocking a red bandana with some kind of towering bow, crooned to the audience while Nico maneuvered his way around a guitar and a synth, creating alternately ethereal, catchy, and mellow sounds that buoyed the crowd along. The clear highlight of the set was a rollicking rendition of “Say My Name” that was very enthusiastically taken up by the crowd.

Next up was headliner Coast Modern. The main duo, Luke Atlas and Coleman Trapp, were joined onstage by a drummer and bassist, and bounced, hammed, and rocked their way through their 2017 self-titled debut album. Clear crowd favorites were “Guru,” “Dive,” and “Hollow Life,” which all became enthusiastic sing-alongs immediately. The group has an interesting mix of dark, introspective songs mixed with feel good, silly tracks (take a listen to “Cute”, literally just a three and a half minute ode to a cute girl including the lyrics “I choose you like a Pokemon.” Another gem from “Guru” is “Got some scruff on. Gotta shave it. Get my diet on. No more eating bacon.”) The group looked the part of the amalgam of genres they embodied, with the lead singer sporting a head of beachy-blond-wavy hair, the guitarist looking super clean cut and crisp, and the bassist wearing a Bob Marley tee (but interestingly looking like Jack White from the neck up). Whatever unique mixture the group has going on they make it work, and the band makes for a delightful Friday night.

Song of the Day: Hercules & Love Affair Featuring Faris Badwan – Through Your Atmosphere

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

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It’s only fitting that on the day of the release of the new Horrors album, we post a song featuring their lead singer. “Through Your Atmosphere” is one of two collaborations with Hercules & Love Affair on their new album Omnion. It’s a solid dark dance tune and just adds to an already impressive summer resume for Faris Badwan.

It’s been a long time since I loooooooooved a Hercules & Love Affair song (probably not since “Blind”) but this one I love. It’s got this moody yet beaty vibe to it. Probably a track that goths dance to. Check it out.

Polaris Prize 2017 Gala Review: Lido Pimienta wins!

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

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Surely by now you know that a shocked Lido Pimienta won the Polaris Music Prize this year, beating out the likes of Feist, Leonard Cohen and Gord Downie. Surely by now you also have read about the expletive laced speech Lido gave after her initial speech about the sound guy that somehow is overshadowing the fact that the Polaris Prize once again went to an underdog artist, proving once again just how diverse the Canadian music industry is once you are willing to look away from skinny white boys with guitars.

Let’s not dwell on those facts, lets talk about the gala itself.

Taking place on a warm September Monday night, the gala took place at the prestigious Carlu, which really is one of the cooler chic places to have a gala. I do wonder why it’s on a Monday night instead of a Friday, but I guess that’s the cheapest night to rent a place like this. Then again, for musicians, maybe Monday is like a Friday to them. I know this is the case for bartenders.

Let’s move on to the important things. How was the food? Here’s a brief review of each food item, all of which I ate two of.

Fish Tacos – nothing special. I think it was on a flour tortilla. Obviously this is a mass feeding situation so the fish didn’t feel like it was fresh out of the fryer. A fish taco’s real strength is blending the crispiness of the fried fish with the sweet, tangy notes of the supporting ingredients. Without that crispiness, the fish taco cannot achieve the level of tastiness that you would strive for. So in order words, average.

DIY Caesar Salad bar – Very good. A surprise entry, the DIY sat quietly in the corner but don’t let the non-prime placement of this station fool you, it was very tasty. The things that you could use to build your salad were:
– lettuce
– croutons
– gran padano cheese
– fried lentils (weird, I know)
– pickled quail egg

The pickled quail eggs were amazing. Tiny sour bites of unborn bird that packed quite a punch. Im guessing its the umami contribution to the salad that is a solid substitution for anchovies. An innovative contribution to the night, for sure.

3 Kinds of Grilled Cheese – Something I was looking forward to, but ended up a disappointment. Grilled cheese is best piping hot off the stove top, and this catered situation did the chefs no favor. The bread was lukewarm by the time they served it and the cheese wasn’t cooked into the gooey goodness you expect. Even the three kinds did it no favor, it’s kind of like when you go to those shitty big box franchise restaurants and they offer you 100 things on the menu. This was more like a warm cheese sandwich than anything.

Meatballs – Very good. It’s hard to mess up meatballs and tomato sauce, and these little packets of meat were flavorful and the sweetness of the tomato sauce complemented each bite nicely. This was Paul’s favorite thing of the evening and tied with the salad for mine.

Overall- Better than last year.

Drinks – Considering most people in the music industry are raging alcoholics and a large amount of those people are piss poor (because they are in the music industry), it seemed kind of cruel to serve wine at 9 dollars a glass and beer at 8 dollars for a tiny pour. Maybe what they were really doing was pricing up the alcohol (more expensive than last year) so that people don’t get wasted. If that’s the situation, then I guess that’s okay. All I know is next year will be flask city.

Performances

Lisa LeBlanc – It’s always tough to open an award show because most of the people are still busy networking or trying to score deals or something. However Lisa LeBlanc played a nice two song set that really showed off her versatility as an artist. The first was a rock number while the other was a whimsical almost folk song that provided some much needed humor in a year where a lot of artists took a very serious route.

BBNG / Tribe Called Red / Gord Downie / Leonard Cohen
They were no shows (some had good reasons, like being dead). This was always going to leave a gap in the night and we were all curious as to how they would tackle this. Polaris (or CBC) decided to handle this by playing either music videos or recorded live performances. Bad move, if I wanted to watch youtube videos, I would have done it at home. The music video portion of the night took a lot of momentum away from the show in terms of energy. Hopefully next year they can address it better. Holograms, I say.

Tanya Tagaq – A powerhouse performance that captured the room in it’s entirety. It was a very metal performance (she performed Rape Me) but boy, was it super intense. Tanya Tagaq’s an artist that grabs your attention from the moment her set begins and doesn’t let it go until she decides to. The song ended with many women in the crowd standing up while wearing a red dress, showing solidarity for the REDress project, a project that focuses the many many missing or murdered Aboriginal women across Canada. Find out more here.

Leif Vollebek – I’ve heard a lot about Leif and this was the first time I found out what he looks and sounds like. It was pleasant and less Starbucks then I thought. That’s all I gotta say about that.

Feist – Perfectly pleasant. Feist has a nice voice. I kind of wish Siri had her voice.

Lido Pimienta – Brought her A game to the show, despite some sound issues (as she noted post award), Lido’s voice sounded great and filled the room. Accompanying her was a whole brass or horn section and a slew of dancers. It’s great to see someone put so much effort into delivering just one song.

Weaves and Tanya Tagaq – By this point of the night, I was lamenting the fact that there wasn’t a whole lotta rock music tonight. Then Weaves came on and ended that complaint. Unfortunately, the fifteen minute wait (to fix sound issues) did the band no favors as people were anxious by then. Still, the band sounded solid and have grown a lot since I last saw them.

Last but not least, the host.

Raina Douris was by far the most professional host that I have seen at Polaris, but I thought she was too professional. I kinda like some of the amateur hour stuff they did in the past because it was less smooth. Perhaps some more humour during the show would have been nice. However if you had asked me during those times maybe I would have asked for a more professional person so who knows.

All in all, a good night.