Concert Review: Hot Chip, April 16, The Phoenix

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 10 Comments

Toronto – Hot Chip live is awesome. Awesome awesome awesome. Theres really no other way to review this concert. The opening act – sucked. I don’t know who they were, but they seemed to think that rhyming in front of some electro beats can get it done. NOPE. They also ended one of the songs with one of those really large distortions of sound or something that was absolute rubbish and made me want to go cry for mama. Thank god they were done rather quickly.

Hot Chip came on some time after that, the break between the opening act and them was not very long, and that was great. From that point on, for about an hour and 20 minutes maybe, it was pure mayhem. Consisting of maybe five people or something, the band came on stage, said hi to everyone and proceeded to just rock it. I think they started out with ‘Shake a Fist’. I can’t recall. Either way, they went to ‘Hold On’ right afterwards and the concert shifted from a wow to a WHAAAAAAAAAAT. Their album material is nothing compared to their live show. The energy, the beats, the seamless transition from one song to the next – they had most people in the Phoenix moving (it is Toronto, town of the non mover mans).

By the time the faint beats of ‘Over and Over’ started churning thru the system halfway thru the set, they pretty had reach the point where you are like ‘THIS IS AWESOME’ to random strangers around you, and yes, that song sounds better live (I know, its possible) then it does on album.

Anyway, I could go on, but I am thinking you get the idea already. Hot Chip is spectacular live, you can not miss them if they are visiting your village. I think I danced so much I lost half the weight I gained while dining on fabulously great food in Asia. So that’s another bonus.

5 / 5

You can tell a concert is great when you are still pumped about it the next day. Now that’s a good time.

Grand Theft Bus, April 12th, El Mocambo

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything | 4 Comments

(Toronto) This past Saturday night, the well established Fredericton band, Grand Theft Bus, made an appearance here in Toronto for a CD release party at the El Mocambo for their latest, Made Upwards. As soon as I walk into the bar with my entourage of transplanted Frederictonians, I was greeted by fellow Frederictonian #84873, Chantelle Moobear, and her crew of transplanted Frederictonians. We gave each other the secret handshake and bought ourselves several rounds of Keiths. The night was off to a good start.

The last time I saw Grand Theft Bus live, some time in 2001, I remember them having a jammy, musical improvisation feel to them. Seeing them at the El Mocambo on Saturday night, I didn’t get this feel so much. They were tight, loud, a bit poppy, but still had the funk feel that I remembered. They were so funky that I found myself shuffling amongst my fellow Maritimers on the always sticky El Mocambo floor. The stand out performance of the night came from their shirtless drummer, Bob Deveau, who I was informed by several members of my entorage that he is one wicked drummer. Grand Theft Bus have some mad drums. Enough said.

If you ever find yourself on a bar stool somewhere between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia looking to make some conversation with the locals, throw out the name Grand Theft Bus and see who you hook.

Have a look for Grand Theft Bus in Halifax this Friday, April 18th, at the Seahorse.

Thanks to Kyle at Forward Music Group (more on them later)

Travel Review: Ocean Park, Hong Kong

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | 1 Comment

Hong Kong – Yup, this blog covers anything and everything. This is your one stop shop. Obviously, I just spent the past three weeks in Asia so most of my posts will be Asia related. Lets take a look at Ocean Park in Hong Kong. I will pretty much say this, Ocean Park is a top notch tourist attraction. One of the best I’ve been to, and I have been to both Sea Worlds, Disneyland, Disneyworld, Universal Studios in Florida and LA, MGM, Six Flags and Fujiama Park in Japan among others.

A little info first – Ocean Park is both an amusement park and an aquarium. It has two main areas, and the areas are separated by mountains, so you can take a cable car ride from one to the other. The cable car ride is spectacular, as you get a good view of the South China sea:

cable car

So what makes it so great? Well, its got a bit of everything. Lets take a look at the animal side – We got the freakin Pandas, which are arguably the cutest animals on Earth. You can literally stare at these things for hours and not be bored. I don’t even know why.

Then there is also a Jellyfish exhibit, Dolphins, Sea Lions, Seals, Sting Ray, Shark tank and a very impressive aquarium. The aquarium is crazy good, and has all kinds of massive fish, manta rays and sea turtles in it. Its hard to describe how many fish they have in that thing. I was wondering what they would taste like, but thats me. The jellyfish exhibit is great. At first I wasn’t even sure if I was watching a tv or was it an actual tank. As far as animals are concerned, the only thing they lack is a Killer Whale, otherwise there is not much u can complain about. They even have Parrots, Owls and Hawks and stuff like that.

The picture above shows you some of the amusement park rides that the park houses. There are several more and while they aren’t the craziest rides, you do still get some excitement. Think about it, these rollar coasters (theres 3) are all on the side of a frickin mountain over looking the ocean. So when you are up at the top, you feel as if you are higher then you are. I think they are building a really really big rollar coaster as well, so it’ll be improved.

The lineups can get a bit long at times, so go early. Theres a lot of shows to watch (dolphin show, sea lion show, bird show, feeding of the sharks) so make sure you have time for that too. The food there is decent, and for the non experimental people, theres a mcdonalds in the amusment park for you.

This place is a definite must go for all tourists to HK.

5/5

Black Mountain and Ladyhawk, Commodore Ballroom, April 6

Posted on by Vik in Concerts, Everything | 4 Comments

bm

Vancouver, who says The New Pornographers are the only good band to come out of the west coast? After attending last nights show Vancouver proved itself as not only an incubator of prime bud, but some kick ass rock and roll as well.

I arrived at the venue at 10:00 just in time to catch Ladyhawk’s opening song. I was disappointed when I found out that I had missed the first opener Nordic Nomadic from Toronto, featuring ex-Deadly Snakes (R.I.P.) member Chad Ross. I gave a few of their tracks a listen on their Myspace page and they seemed like an appropriate enough band to kick things off.

Now I must confess that I’m not familiar with Ladyhawk’s entire album so you must forgive me for the absence of track names, so if any of you fine folks happen to have the setlist, please do post it in the comments section. I made my way to the back of the floor and managed to find a nice comfy pole to lean against, this actually became a prime location to not only watch the entire show but also observe the sold out crowd. The first thing I noticed was the dancefloor was 75% full, which I found pleasantly surprising. It seems like the Ladyhawk has quite a following in Vancouver and the fans were well into the performance from the get go. They rocked the entire set and proved to be the perfect primer for Black Mountain not only by banging out some great tracks, but also because Amber Webber and Josh Wells of BM contribute vox, percussion and organ on their album Shots, although they unfortunately did not make an appearance during the ‘Hawk’s set.

11:00 pm, Black Mountain quietly saunters on to the stage to the roar of the sold out crowd. The lights dim, Amber takes center stage, tambourine and maraca in hand while Josh plucked a few strings. Amongst the haze of artificial fog and plenty of smoke a deep rumble and a haunting chant billowed through that reverberated through the entire venue. ‘Stormy High’ was our introduction to this adventure that would take us from the icy plateaus of Valhalla and into deep space. One can’t be deceived by listening to only BM’s popular tracks. This band isn’t just about rock and roll. I found myself grooving to more than a few tracks at the concert that I would have never expected to after listening to the album. ‘Evil Ways’ was a perfect example. It has a dash of funk to it. ‘Stay Free’ kept my foot slowly tapping – a perfect song to listen to while hanging out on the porch in the Bayou. The set came to a perfect ending when we heard the familiar head banger intro of ‘Don’t Run Our Hearts Around’. There were goat horns a plenty. The Gods of Rock, Funk and Hillbilly music were pleased.

Special thanks to Ken.

5/5