Concert review: Ida Maria, Glasvegas, August 3 at Emo’s

Posted on by Alli in Concerts | Leave a comment

Austin – Monday night felt like SXSW 2009 all over again when I cruised into town to see two of my favorites from the festival earlier this year. When I heard they’d be coming through again I was ecstatic to have a chance to see them play longer than 35 minutes each.

Allow me to set the scene for you: Emo’s is a partially outdoor venue. The stage area and the space directly in front of it has a roof, but the rest of the venue does not. This is Texas, so it was at least 90 degrees F outside, despite it being late in the evening. This means it was HOT AND MISERABLE. To be honest, I was concerned our Euro-based entertainment for the evening was going to have an issue with that, but they seemed to just ignore it. So was it worth sweating and soaking through my clothes just standing there watching? Yes.

Ida Maria came on first; I learned beforehand that while she is Norwegian, everyone in her band is Swedish. Curious, it sounds like a band from LA having a New Yorker rhythm section or something. Whatever works, though. She was not quite as animated and stage dominating as the previous time I saw her due to the aforementioned heat – definitely can’t blame her for that, though. She tore through basically her entire album and the crowd loved it. She introduced my personal favorite “Forgive Me” by explaining “This is a song about an arsehole”, something I’m sure almost everyone there could relate to. Apologies for not having a better photo to post. Emo’s has terrible lighting to begin with and when they don’t bother to use what they have, it’s anything but ideal for amateurs like myself. After her set she parked herself at the merch booth and was chatting with fans and signing CD’s and posters, which was really cool and appreciated by fans.

Glasvegas thankfully started their set on time (sorry, I have a day job and don’t actually live in Austin proper), I glanced behind me and saw that the club was packed and people were PUMPED to see them, including myself. Nobody seemed to mind the heat, I know I was too busy trying not to scratch the growing number of mosquito bites on my legs. Drummer Caroline McKay took her spot standing behind the drums as usual, something I always find to be interesting to watch. They jumped right into the set hitting things off with the hit single “Geraldine”, which easily gets the Most Lovely Lyrics award from me. Swoontastic. Singer James Allan’s long sleeved shirt lasted about 3/4 of a song, removing it revealed his usual black muscle tank; this time adorned with a sparkly version of the Adidas logo. Nice touch. They played for a full hour but it seemed like twenty minutes, I don’t think I will ever be able to get enough of this band. The music just sweeps over and through you and it’s impossible to not be swept away with it. I am really excited for them to eventually stop touring and record a second album after what must be an amazing 2009 for them.

Something I feel I should point out is that I could not go to sleep when I got home, even though I had to be up in 5 hours and was physically exhausted and dehydrated from sweating so much. I couldn’t get all the songs I had heard throughout the night out of my head. I think this speaks volumes for the music these artists write. It matters and affects people. So go see them already!

Hillside Music Festival 2009: Final Recap

Posted on by Brian in Concerts, Hillside | 1 Comment

It’s been a couple of days now since Hillside. We’ve dried off, had some time to reflect, think about what we saw, and come to some conclusions. Here are the acts we enjoyed most (or least) in a number of categories we just made up.

Best Rock ‘n’ Roll Singing Face: The lead singer of Attack in Black.


Just look at that scowl! Top notch. Attack in Black were pretty good. They quite clearly listened to an unhealthy amount of grunge music at a young age, but have a pretty bright future ahead of them if they can catch a few breaks. Read more

Hillside Day 3 Recap: Hoedowns, Rock Stacking, and Rain Soaked Everything

Posted on by Brian in Concerts, Hillside | 2 Comments


A full Hillside Music Festival recap is forthcoming, but since Day 2 got a quick recap with highlights from the festival and from my on-site Tweeting, I thought I’d give Day 3 the same treatment.

Day 3 at Hillside was most notably marked by rain. A lot of it. A whole ton of rain and thunderstorms that threw the scheduling completely out of whack for a while, caused huge puddles at the mainstage, and caused several people to feel a mild electric shock from a lightning strike that was just a little ways away and made the ground shake from where we were sitting. One guy got good video of it, along with some people playing in the mud and rain. If you haven’t seen this video, the lightning strike is at 0:35, take a look.


That view is from just off the main stage, you can see the tents that were in the background to the right of the stage in the picture I took above. We were actually hiding over near the spoken word stage when that happened, sharing my big green umbrella with some dude named Daniel. He seemed like a nice enough guy. We did get soaked, but I mostly got soaked because I went to go to the bathroom just before the hard rain hit, and I stepped out just as it started really coming down. True story, let no one ever say I’ve never used a portapotty in a thunderstorm. I even started to wash my hands in the portable outdoor sink before realizing the absurdity of it. Hey, washing my hands after going to the bathroom’s always been automatic for me, what can I say…

Anyway, our pre-thunderstorm highlight was definitely Dancehall Free For All, a fun six-piece from Guelph who managed to rival Ohbijou for the most adorable act of the festival, despite being much louder with occasional screaming vocals. I also caught the last part of Los Misioneros del Norte, who (and I swear this is true) had people doing an impromptu hoedown in front of the stage during their set. Post-thunderstorm, the biggest surprise was maybe David Francey, who played immediately after the storm on the main stage and proved to be the perfectly mellow, charming folk artist to calm the nerves after getting soaked. Later on, the Great Lake Swimmers put on a very tight set and generally making this whole ‘indie rock’ thing look easy. Patrick Watson…well, I like Patrick Watson and his band a lot, and I hate to say bad things about him, but Patrick and most (if not all) of his band were somewhat intoxicated. Patrick was giggling incessantly, which was kind of fun and kind of disconcerting at the same time. We stayed for the beginning of Final Fantasy but left after a couple of songs once the rain picked up again. We were lucky to be in the VIP parking area near the grounds, because reportedly the main parking area was a complete swamp. Someone else took a great video of Final Fantasy playing in the rain; we left just as he was starting this song, and I really don’t know if he even got back on the stage, or if the Skydiggers, who were supposed to play after him, ever got going.

Once again, some select highlights from my tweets from the grounds:

If a rock band can be labelled as adorable, thats dancehall free for all all over. Fun sound1:31 PM Jul 26th from mobile web

Los misionares are now covering ‘la bamba’. Impromptu hoedown in front of main stage, too funny #hillside1:37 PM Jul 26th from mobile web

Well that was fun. Huge dump of rain, lightning. Everything stopped for a bit and everyones soaked. Programming now restarting #hillside3:14 PM Jul 26th from mobile web

Best line of #hillside by david francey on seeing a man who looked like jesus: ‘holy jesus, it’s jesus’ (say it with scottish accent)3:58 PM Jul 26th from mobile web

Save us from this gaggle of idiot 20 year old girls who won’t shut up during great lakes swimmers #hillside7:33 PM Jul 26th from mobile web

Strong suspicion that patrick watson was not exactly sober during his set. He was giggling and slightly glazed. Funny tho #hillside8:52 PM Jul 26th from mobile web

Final fantasy is cool but the sky is angry again. Positioning ourselves for a dash to the car #hillside9:17 PM Jul 26th from mobile web

I’ll have a final recap of the fest tomorrow.

Hillside Day 2 Recap: Ohbijou, TPC, SPP and Surprising Dryness

Posted on by Brian in Concerts, Hillside | 2 Comments


Since we have no time this morning to post a full Day 2 recap, mostly because we had no energy to write it last night after getting off the grounds at close to midnight last night and passing out shortly after returning to our hotel after a solid 10+ hours of music festing, here is a quick update on Day 2 and what we’re anticipating as Day 3 begins.

The three highlights from yesterday were far and away Ohbijou, Tokyo Police Club and The Sunparlour Players. Delays seemed to hit all three stages, but Hillside tried their best to keep things moving. As a result, Ohbijou and Sunparlour Players appeared to have their sets cut short, while Tokyo Police Club was told at one point they had ten minutes left, then ten minutes later were told they had another ten minutes. Anyway, despite set delays, all three managed particularly tight sets and great performances. Pumpkin ice cream was again a highlight for Trina, and Sausage Brothers italian sausage and grilled corn on the cob was the height of the food fair.

Also, the lineup to enter the festival was not nearly as long as it was Friday night, though arriving at noon might’ve had something to do with that. Leaving the festival was actually not as bad as anticipated, as we waited around in the VIP parking lot for about 20 minutes listening to the new Sunparlour Players album Wave North, giving the crowd a chance to clear, and our strategy worked out pretty well. There was one big dump of rain around 2, but surprisingly, given the forecast, the day was mostly dry.

If you’re not following me on Twitter, here’s some of the highlights:

- Line for coffee far longer than line for beer right now. Already lightly raining could be wet day #hillside – about 23 hours ago from mobile web

- Dozens of people on stage for bruce peninsula. Bruce is apparently some kind of collective hive mind #hillside – about 22 hours ago from mobile web

- Ohbijou best of the day so far, for sure. Great set #hillside – about 19 hours ago from mobile web

- I think i’ve discovered a fetish for girls in rubber boots. Weird? #hillside – about 17 hours ago from mobile web

- If pearl jam grew up in newfoundland they would sound a lot like hey rosetta i think #hillside – about 15 hours ago from mobile web

My phone battery died two tweets after that. Again, if you’d like to follow me at Hillside again, I’m @brianjpike. If you follow me just for this weekend then unfollow, I’ll understand, I promise.

Today, Trina is most looking forward to Rural Alberta Advantage at 6 on the Lake Stage and Great Lake Swimmers at 7 on the main stage, while personally I’m kind of curious how Dave Bidini’s going to sound (Lake Stage, 3:00) and, as always, am looking forward to seeing Patrick Watson again (Main Stage, 8:00).

Forecast is once again for scattered thunderstorms throughout the day, but hey, those are just the risks we take for you people. The work of the independent blog site blogger that somehow got media passes is never done…