Travel Review: Ngong Ping, Hong Kong

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | 7 Comments

Toronto – As I am watching the Beijing Olympics, it makes me realize how much I miss being in Hong Kong, being surrounded by my fellow chinamen, as we compete and scam our way to the top of the world. Of course, when the Olympics are over, us Hong Kong types go back to making backhanded remarks about how unsophisticated and rude the mainlanders are, and pondering why they keep on moving into our city. But, for now, we are one. With that in mind, let me continue my sporadic never-ending set of articles reviewing some of Hong Kong’s top attractions, further cementing the fact that Hong Kong is one of the best places to visit on Earth.

This time I will review the Ngong Ping area.
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Concert Review – Mates Of State, August 4th, Lees

Posted on by Wade in Concerts | 5 Comments

Toronto – My review for this show was written three weeks ago when I bought my ticket. Anybody who read my review of MOS latest CD, Re-Arrange Us will know that I am a big fan (not as big as THIS person, but still big). I was pumped to see Kori and Jason and wouldn’t have missed the show for anything. They would really have to fuck things up to disappoint me. They didn’t. They played a solid mix of old and new songs. The highlight was the unexpected strings and trombone accompaniment provided by opening act Judgment Day. As a two piece, MOS know how to crank it, but with the additional help, the show was cranked up to 11. Here is the set list.

Fraud In The 80’s
Now
Like U Crazy
Get Better
Think Long
You Are Free
Jigsaw
Goods (All In Your Head)
Beautiful Dreamer
These Days (Simon and Garfunkle cover)
Blue And Gold Paint
Ha Ha
My Only Offer
Re-Arranger
Proofs
So Many Ways

I hung around after the show and got Kori and Jason to sign my copy of their 2000 release My Solo Project. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Hey guys, great show. Can I get you to sign my CD?
Jason: Thanks, no problem. Wow, this CD has our old address on it.
Kori: This is when we had a PO Box
Jason: This is one of the Omnibus releases!
Me: Does this give me MOS cred?
Jason: Yah man, you have cred. Hang on to this.
Me: Awesome. Will you two adopt me and raise me as your own?

Here is Proofs from My Solo Project that they played. A much different sounding MOS from Re-Arrange Us.

Concert Review: Bon Iver, July 22nd, Lees Palace

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything | 6 Comments

Concert attended and reviewed by Panic Manual correspondent Karen Parker

(Toronto) I discovered Bon Ivers’ (Justin Vernon) album For Emma: Forever Ago after hearing one of his songs featured on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy……don’t’ judge me. I instantly loved the “sound of a man left alone with his guitar and his memories” (Pitchfork). And when I discovered that he had isolated himself in the woods for four months to write it….I lost my mind. It was like all my fantasies had been rolled into one big one and served in woolly touque. Thoughts of a beefy bearded man in a wool coat ala Gerard Butler, capably chopping wood and foraging for his food by day while nursing a broken heart and healing through the creation of haunting music in front of a roaring fire in the woods by night was almost too much to bear….almost.

At the show my friend Ashley was heard to say:

Mmmm I’ll be your skinny love…..I’ll lose like 25 lbs for you if you let me sit on your face.

He was supposed to go on at 10:15 and as everyone knows bands never go on at their scheduled time. It’s 10:30 and I’m racing from work thinking….I’m gonna make it with time to spare and sure enough…..he went on at 10:13!!!! C’mon Bon! Rock stars make you wait! By the time I got there, got past security and made it inside I had missed most of the show….including Skinny Love! Who plays their best song early in the set anyway? I caught two songs and then two in the encore.

What I did hear was fantastic. The place was packed and more humid than a Brazilian rain forest and speaking of brazilians, clearly I wasn’t the only woman there hoping to witness her fantasy on the stage. He could have done with a bigger venue but I think even he was overwhelmed and surprised by the turnout. And while attractive in his own way, sadly, up close, he doesn’t look like Gerard Butler in a plaid shirt…..but this.

I think I can see his balls.

bon iver
(Pitchfork photo credit)

Concert Review: Rogers Picnic, July 20 2008, Fort York, Part 2

Posted on by Mark in Concerts | 2 Comments

So as Ricky was saying, Animal Collective didn’t really connect with the Rogers Picnic crowd. Fortunately their set was followed up by Montreal-based Chromeo. This band’s dance friendly brand of electronic & guitar sounds was an immediate crowd pleaser. Even though it was raining pretty hard at this point, it was the first time that I felt that people were acting, well, festive, at this day-long festival. Big ups to the fans that wore rubber boots and embraced the mud and rain.

Tokyo Police Club was up next. I really like a few songs from Tokyo Police Club, like “Your English is Good”, and I was glad to hear it live. I’d say this band put on a pretty good show, and got pretty into it. I was very impressed with the sheer energy coming out of keyboardist Graham Wright. I love it when musicians lose themselves in their music.

But the big highlight for most of the crowd was Cat Power. This woman owns herself in way that is both rare and beautiful. Seeing her sing up close was pretty amazing. She puts so much of herself into her music, she seems so vulnerable, yet at the same time, exudes a “this me, this is who I am, deal with it” aura about her stage presence that was fascinating to see.

So, now let me get to my rant about big-screen TV’s and text-messaging. There were two large TV screens on both sides of the stage showing a live-feed of the performers. I suppose this is a pretty standard feature of rock shows nowadays. What was new to me was that the bottom of the TV was reserved for a stock-ticker type deal where people could send text messages and get them displayed in more or less real time. This made for a weird concert experience. Now I admit that sometimes people had really funny things to say, like “no one is safe until nerd prosecution is over”. But by and large, the screens were cluttered with inane texts from hapless youth.

Unfortunately for me, I am eternally enchanted and absorbed with shiny or moving objects. I was transfixed throughout. I just couldn’t help but be engrossed. This, with the addition of my complete inability to multi-task, meant that I spent more time reading the damn stock ticker than listening to the music. So I would say thumbs down on the ticker, but I would say thumbs up that Rogers Picnic seemed to make efforts to make this a green event.

The last show was City and Colour. Unfortunately, perhaps because it was Sunday night, there was a mass exodus after Cat Power. We joined suit, but I left pretty happy with the live music I had absorbed throughout the day.

Vampire Weekend: 4/5
Chromeo: 4.2/5
Tokyo Police Club: 3.8/5
Cat Power: 4.5/5
Stock Ticker: 1/5
Green Policy: 5/5
Rogers Picnic: 3.7/5