Bring on the lists!

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | 7 Comments

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Toronto – Seeing how it’s the end of the year AND the end of decade, you will see a whole lotta best of lists coming out. The blog Largehearted Boy has kept track of many blogs so far, so you can take a look at that.

Everyone’s favorite British hype magazine NME has already declared the Strokes’ This is It to be the top album of the decade. What does everyone think about this list? Probably not the most accurate, but still worth talking about.

1. The Strokes – ‘Is This It’
2. The Libertines – ‘Up The Bracket’
3. Primal Scream – ‘XTRMNTR’
4. Arctic Monkeys – ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’
5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – ‘Fever To Tell’
6. PJ Harvey – ‘Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea’
7. Arcade Fire – ‘Funeral’
8. Interpol – ‘Turn On The Bright Lights’
9. The Streets – ‘Original Pirate Material’
10. Radiohead – ‘In Rainbows’

Review: 2009 Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival

Posted on by Wade in Everything, Theatre | Leave a comment

The 5th annual Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival has come and gone. There is something about entering a dark theatre with a bucket of beer in your hand that tells you that you are in the right place for the evening.

The thing I love about the sketch festival is its accessibility to the audience and the fans who turn out. When you pay your ticket and wait for the show to start, you are surrounded by performers, their parents and other fans of comedy. Everybody around you is on the same level and has the same goal in mind…lets get together, make ourselves laugh, then do it all again tomorrow night. The festival even provided a drop in class on “how to write sketch comedy” for fans who saw a show, became inspired, and wanted to try it out for themselves.

Unlike other music, film, or theatre festivals that happen in the city, there isn’t a strong industry or monetary side to the sketch fest. Sure, other performance opportunities and exposure can come out of being seen at the sketch fest, but nobody is getting rich by performing or putting on the festival. Because of this, everybody you see is approachable, cool, and is there for a good time, just like you. It is that supportive, community feel that really separates this festival from others. Oh, and you can buy buckets of beer at the shows. Did I mention that already?

Now here are some quick reviews of some of the acts I saw last week.

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Concert Review: The Balconies, Nov 5th, 2009, Horseshoe Tavern

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything | 3 Comments

The Balconies are a three piece from Ottawa, who have recently relocated to Toronto to attend school. They consist of Jacquie Neville, Steve Neville and Liam Jaeger. On the CD you can hear the occasional three part harmonies for mostly upbeat, catchy song with super catchy riffs.

The stand out song on the CD has to be Battle Royale. I played this for Ricky and his response to me was “Man, that Balconies song you played for me was awesome”. My response to him was “Yah, too bad it is the only one like it on the album”. That sounds awful since I really enjoy The Balconies CD. It is a solid pop album that sounds like it came out of Sweden, not Ottawa. Other solid tracks include 300 Pages and Serious Bedroom, but really, Battle Royal is a stand alone entity that deserves some attention.

The Balconies were opening up for Immaculate Machine and Dog Day. I spent most of the show sitting down in the back, but I did move up to the front for a couple of songs. While in both locations I overheard two different sets of people say to their friends “Hey, these guys are pretty good”. They were right. The tracks on the CD translated really well at the Horseshoe and they sounded fantastic. They opened up with an extended version of Battle Royal, which was awesome. Half way through the song it became apparent what the story of the show would be. The story of The Balconies begins with Jacquie Neville. She is a rock star. Her beautiful vocals, her hard and catchy guitar playing and her stage confidence reminded me of other Canadian female rock veterans like Emily Hains and Giselle Webber (Hot Springs, /Giselle Numba One) The one part harmonies of Jacquie Neville and her guitar playing are what I remember most from the show. Should they consider ever changing the name of the band, may I suggest Jacquie Neville & Friends?

One thing that was painful was their stage banter. The only time they really spoke to the crowd was when the drummer mentioned that their CD was for sale over on the side table. Even muttering those few words, it was obvious he had never attended a Toastmasters meeting. He started to say something in addition to his rehearsed “buy our CD” line, but he was cut off when one of his band mates broke into the next song. Awkward.

Pas/Cal Broke up!

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | 2 Comments

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Toronto – Everybody’s favorite band based on a coding language – Pas/Cal apparently has broken up. I think a single tear just went down Vik’s face. Fans of the poppy Pas/Cal sound need not fear though, as members of the band have formed a new band – Computer Perfection. With a new band, comes new songs, and here is one of them, it’s called Able Archer. The debut album We Wish You Well On Your Way To Hell is out on Le Grand Magistery Check it out.