Hot Docs – Music

Posted on by Wade in Everything, Hot Docs, Movies | Leave a comment

hot docs

Well the Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival announced its official line up this past week. For those of you who don’t know, Hot Docs is happening in Toronto from April 17th – 27th and is the best film event that happens here each year. Here is why:

1. The films are good
– Truth be told, most people who make documentaries are not film people. They are regular people who have access to a good story and decide to get into filmmaking. Story telling is an art and this festival has stories that you didn’t even know existed.

2. It is accessible and you can afford to go – My suggestion is to get a 10 pass for only $90. This pass is transferable, so you can split the cost with a buddy and you can each see 5 movies for $45. My only suggestion is to get your tickets NOW. Two weeks before the festival, the high profile films will be sold out.

Make sure you check out the full schedule. Take the time and spend an hour reading through the films. You will find a few that will speak to you.

Lets start with some docs about music.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil
At the age of 14, best friends Lips and Robb Reiner make a pact to rock together forever. Their band Anvil, hailed as the “demigods of Canadian metal,” influences a musical generation including Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax. Though Anvil never makes it big, they never stop playing or believing. Following a calamitous European tour, Lips and Robb, now well into their 50s, set off to record their 13th album, This Is Thirteen, in one last attempt to fulfill their boyhood dream.

All Together Now
Music is the star in this dizzying documentary about Montréal-based Cirque du Soleil’s new Beatles-inspired Las Vegas show, Love. After three years of negotiations and with a budget of $180 million, director Dominic Champagne has to wrangle an international cast and crew of 500, and an approvals process that includes the founders of Cirque, the Beatles holding company, Apple Corps Ltd., Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison’s widow Olivia, and Yoko Ono-one wonders how he didn’t have a nervous breakdown. With fabulous archival footage and spectacular performances-this is one behind-the-scenes story you won’t want to miss.

Talking Guitars
Talking Guitars is an engrossing portrait of master guitar craftsman, Flip Scipio, an unassuming Dutchman with an obsession. Based in New York, Flip is revered in the music industry. His clients include Jackson Browne, David Lindley, Ben Taylor, Paul Simon, David Tronzo, Leni Stern and Carly Simon. The film is a musical journey that follows Flip from his quiet, sunny workshop to captivating face-to-face sessions with his famous clients. Watching him at work is as interesting as hearing the musicians play. The film draws you into his world, and makes you want to hear what he hears

Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London
One of the few filmmakers trusted within the perfumed gardens of the 1960s Brit rock illuminati, Peter Whitehead was allowed unparalleled access into the centre of the pop circle to capture the moment for his kaleidoscopic film. With contributions from the likes of Mick Jagger, Michael Caine, Julie Christie, Lee Marvin and David Hockney, Tonite presents a dazzling and intimate record from the very core of the “in-crowd.” With music by Pink Floyd, among many others. “Not a documentary in any ordinary sense,” wrote Variety, “but rather an impressionistic view of the ‘land of mod’ as seen by a sympathetic participant.”

Monterey Pop
This vanguard concert film is an explosive portrayal of the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival at the height of the Summer of Love. Monterey launched the careers of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Otis Redding and ushered in a new era of rock ‘n’ roll. Other performances by artists like Simon and Garfunkel, The Mamas and the Papas, The Who and the extraordinary Ravi Shankar are vividly captured by both Ricky Leacock and Al Maysles, who were camera operators. Monterey Pop lives up to its legendary status, making it as timeless as it is powerful.

Planet B-Boy
Kids in Osaka, Paris, Seoul and Las Vegas are all doing it-B-boying, breakin’, bustin’ moves you’ve gotta see to believe! Planet B-Boy features insane dance performances, unforgettable power moves, impossible synchronization and sweet choreography. The film tracks the evolution of a street dance turned universal art form, culminating in an international showdown. B-boy crews from 18 different countries face-off in Germany at the annual “Battle of the Year” World Championships, eager to reprazent.

Thao Nguyen and Xiu Xiu, Sneaky Dees, March 17

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Everything | 3 Comments


Toronto – Wade wrote about Thao Nguyen about a month ago and we were both quite impressed with the album. So naturally, when Thao Nguyen and The Get Down Stay Down rolled around the dot on Monday, we had to go. It was weird, because neither of us had been able to find tickets for the show. I was under the impression that it was one of doors only shows.


Apparently, this was a Xiu Xiu show, and Thao Nguyen and the Get Down Stay Down was just the openers. BOOOoo. Of course, being the concert veteran that I am, I had expected them to be the main act, so had scheduled my arrival time around 11:00 pm. Well, 10:50 rolled around and I got a text message letting me know the show has begun! Shit. So me and some peeps quickly got there. Still, we missed about half the show, which really sucks. My fault. I liked what I saw. They were quite energetic and played a nice sounding set. Thao had quite the energy for the lead vocal, and definitely played the part well and she was cute. It’s hard to form a good description of the show, since I wasn’t there that long. I did like what I see though and I would definitely see them again. Funny, now that I think about it, I had vermicelli with spring rolls before I went to the show, and then saw Thao Nguyen. All I needed to do was go sing some karaoke and I woulda had a nice little Vietnam themed night.

Xiu Xiu – I have never been into them, they are from San Francisco and seem to be this artsy, ambient / thrash kind of band. I didn’t really like their part of the show, as to me, it just seems to be random noises. The guys singing seemed a bit over dramatic too. To each their own, I guess.

CMW – The Pigeon Detectives, March 08, Lees Palace

Posted on by Ricky in Canadian Music Week, Concerts | Leave a comment

Pigeon Detectives

Toronto – CMW was a lot like the storm that hit up Toronto this past weekend, it was quick, it packed a punch, mostly white and left just as quickly as it arrived. The last show on my slate, and the one I was most excited about, was The Pigeon Detectives @ Lees Palace. Upon making my way to Lees, I had already seen Maybe Smith, Said The Whale and Jenn Grant at the Horseshoe and the Rivoli. Seeing as how there was no streetcar to be seen going up Spadina, cabbing was our only option. w.T.F. These are the times you need public transportation the most, and they weren’t there.

Upon getting to Lees, I was informed that my Media Pass was no good there and that they had already let in 50 passes already. Then a couple of people in performer passes weren’t allowed in. “But we are performmmeeeeeeers!” they cried. NOPE. Rejected. Lees Palace definitely fell about eight notches in my book for their mishandling of this affair. Dejected, I went in there and bought tickets at the door for 15$, or as Id like to say … ‘food for a child in Africa for two weeks’. I then went back to my local bar (The Tap) and complained to my friends about it. No sympathies though.

So around 12:10 we entered the half packed Lees and the band came on. Did I mention the show was half packed, and they couldnt allow anymore passes in? W.T.F. All my bitterness ended when the band came on though. They were exactly what I expected, which was a louder version of their album. They were very energetic and often engaged the crowd to get them going, having them clap and saying ‘Toronto’ and having the crowd sing the chorus for ‘I Found Out’. It was a decent show, the singer was everywhere to the point of stage diving at the end of the set.

They played about 50 minutes and probably exhausted their library of songs. My friend took a video of the show and here is the last song.

Overall, a very good way to end off the night. I am sure everyone who went to the show was glad they had went.


Canadian Music Week Recap

Posted on by Wade in Canadian Music Week, Concerts | 1 Comment

Rickys notes in italics


Ricky and I started the evening off trying to see Jason Collett at Lees’. We quickly got rejected at the door because they were only letting in 50 passes for the entire evening. We had media passes. The only way to get in was with a ticket. As we stood there contemplating where to go, Hayden steps up with 3 ladies, says something to the bouncer, and just like that, they are in. Then this happened:

PM: Hey, are you letting passes in now?
Bouncer: No.
PM: Shit man, why did you let Hayden in?
Bouncer: Who’s Hayden?
PM: You’re retarded

The Lees Palace people sucked a big left nut this Canadian Music Week. More on this in my other post

besnard lakes

Then it was off to get rejected at the Sloan show, then over to the El Mo to watch the Besnard Lakes ask for more vocals before, during and after each song they sang. I’m glad I caught them, but will definitely be checking them out again when they come back through town.

The Besnard Lakes were pretty decent, very atmospheric/droney kind of sound. The lead singer looks like he’s from some 70s rock band. The amount of photographers were crazy.

The Superfantastics

It was a slippery hike down to the Cameron House to have a seat and enjoy the musical stylings of The Superfantastics. And really, I thought they were super fantastic. A cute, snappy dressed, duo from Halifax who pulled off the in-between song stage banter like pros. One might even say ‘charming’

Superfantastics: We just did a Fuse session on CBC radio a few weeks ago.
Audience Member (shouting): Hey, I heard that.
Superfantastics: Really?
Audience Member: Yep.
Superfantastics: Mary, is that you?
Audience Member (Mary) : Yes.
Superfantastics: Hey, how are you doing?

I thought the Superfantastics were great, the in between song banters sounded genuine and showed real enthusiam, the set was full of catchy pop songs. They basically do drums + guitar, but they do it well.


Maybe Smith

I think the Maybe Smith show I saw at the Horseshoe was probably one of the best sounding shows that I have ever seen there. It might have been because the room was practically empty, but still, for a guy who goes on stage at 8:30, Maybe Smith gave it all he had.

Good ole college pub music. Maybe Smith has a really strong voice and I really enjoy sitting down and listening to music. I was just happy to be inside after going thru the 8 feet of snow outside. The place was half empty, but that was expected.

Next up was Said The Whale from Vancouver. Their fans came out but… I don’t know. I just wasn’t into them. On this particular night, they sounded like a cover band playing in a bar that started with the words Firkin &… Sorry guys.

They were alrite. I don’t really remember what they sounded like. Maybe thats not a good thing.

Jenn Grant

After that we headed down to see Jenn Grant at the Rivoli. Aside from the smell of leftover fish at this Nova Scotia sponsored event, it was a good sounding show. Right before she played “Dreams”, she handed out homemade, pasta filled, pastille, Easter egg maracas so that we, the audience, could take part in the show. It was odd though when she stopped to tune her guitar for 5 minutes, then kind of half broke into her next song which wasn’t even really a song, then continued to tune her guitar again for another 5 minutes. I guess she didn’t have anywhere she needed to be.

This show was a bit on the short side. Jenn played around a little too much with her guitar and probably wasted much of her set. Otherwise, it was pretty poppy and a pleasant time. The crowd seemed to be into it and the eggs touch was absolutely awesome. MORE EGGS!

jenn grant eggs

Note: We might have a guest writers writing about the Meligrove Band/Sloan show and the Breeders show

My pics from CMW