30 years in and James is still producing great pop tunes with ridiculously catchy anthemic choruses. What’s their formula? I’ll never know. This track is a song off their new record, La Petit Mort. The album doesn’t deviate from the standard James sound, which is comforting. I don’t really expect them to change much these days. Let’s hope they tour live soon.
You know, it’s funny they ran Britpop nostalgia week a few weeks ago on BBC when there are clearly still some bands from that era going strong. Manic Street Preachers have a new album out this year, Gruff Rhys and Damon Albarn just released solo records and then there’s James. The Manchester band has never really stopped making quality music (save for a few years in the 2000’s) and will have 14th(!) album this year. The lead single is Moving On and has some typical James traits – soaring choruses, uplifting vocals and a wonderful sax bit. It’s enough to get you excited for the new release, which will hopefully be followed by a North American tour. Check it out!
This week, the 2012 music festival season officially kicked off with Coachella making their lineup announcement. This, of course, was followed by your Facebook newsfeed being bombarded with comments about people who are “so going this time” and the other people saying “I’ve already been there, and the lineup was better in (fill in year)”. Whether you decide to go or not is of no interest to us, but being in the amateur music promotion industry, we figure we would provide you with some reasons to get excited about this annual Palm Springs party.
10. Jimmy Cliff doing Rancid Covers
When people think of Jimmy Cliff, they thing of the song I Can See Clearly Now, a cover of a Johnny Nash song that was on the soundtrack of surprise hit movie Cool Runnings. What people don’t know is that Jimmy Cliff is more or less a reggae legend with ties back to the 60s. Last year that Jimmy Cliff worked with Tim Armstrong, of all people, and released an album of covers called Sacred Fire. One of the tracks he covered was the Rancid track Ruby Soho. Guess what? Both Jimmy Cliff and Tim Armstrong are on the bill for Coachella. Should be quite the show.
Did you know Palm Springs is close to Hollywood? Every year, Coachella is populated with endless young celebrities, frolicking about the campgrounds and trying to pretend they are normal. Just check out this popsugar or ONTD article of people at last year’s Coachella – Twilight actors, reality tv stars, the Transporter, Iron Man. They are all there. If you worship celebrities and enjoy music, there’s no better place of convergence. Plus, if you are lucky, you can hold up Tara Reid’s hair while she vomits.
Of all the bands reuniting to play Coachella, Refused are probably one of the least likely, but also one of the most anticipated. With their seminal record The Shape Of Punk To Come, they really did innovate the sound of punk/hardcore and even though they’ve spawned countless inferior imitators, it doesn’t really take away from the impact of that record. This will be the set a lot of people will be buzzing about afterwards.
7. At the Drive In
Like Refused, another unexpected reunion that will attract hordes of fans who didn’t manage to catch them the first time around along with those who did and want to relive the moment.
One of my favorite bands – James is playing Coachella. I’ve seen them a bunch of times and there’s no denying that they will steal whatever time slot they get. I salivate at the thought of them playing the track Laid live in a massive field. Everyone will sing along, it will be bonkers.
What’s even MORE salivating is this fact: American Reunion is released April 6, Coachella is a week after. Now as you know from this American Pie trailer:
Jame’s Laid is prominently featured in the trailer and for better or for worse, will forever be associated with this song in North America. Given the movie’s release date and the date of Coachella, can’t you imagine some kind of crazy cross promotion thing happening? Wouldn’t it be cool? Not sure if the Hollywood people are that smart though.
Anyways, James will be absolutely amazing either way and would definitely be a reason to get excited about Coachella. I was just staring at that picture of American Reunion and was wondering..what happened to these guys? I mean, that movie was huge in the 90s and you would think their careers would have gone somewhere big after that. I don’t think it has. Let’s take a look at the careers of the people in that picture (starting top left, going clockwise)
Rookie of the Year – That dude starred in the dumbest baseball movie in a long time (which was a hit) but then I don’t think he did anything after American Pie. I don’t even know his name.
Mena Suvari – Might have pulled the topless card too early in American Beauty, but that movie was a big hit and people thought she was going to be a big star from then on. Hard to believe Annette Benning/Chris Cooper has had the best post-American Beauty career of all the prominent actors involved in that one.
Guy who sleeps with Stiffler’s Mom – Where is he now? is he even an actor or someone’s best friend who landed a part? I don’t know.
Chris Klein – I remember he starred in some lame ass tragic rom com where he or his girlfriend has a terminal disease or something. His career faded faster than his hairline.
Stiffler – playing the same role over and over must be fun.
Tara Reid – Tabloid fodder. I don’t recall her being in any other movie besides Big Lebowski. However, she is a good lesson of what the harsh Hollywood party scene can do.
Jason Biggs – I think he was in some CBS sitcom last year with the girl from Scrubs, can’t really remember anything else he did.
Alyson Hannigan – By far the most successful one here, Lily from HIMYM, Willow in Buffy.
So basically, only one out of 8 had a decent career. Let’s not even count the meth addict who was found in a dumpster somewhere a few years ago in New York. Where am I going with this? I don’t know. Let’s move on.
5. Bands frolicking about during the week in between shows
Since Coachella is taking place over the course of two weekends, the question that needs to be asked is: What the hell are bands doing the week between shows? Some may play other shows around California/Arizona/Nevada, but there’s gotta be a fair amount of bands staying in Palm Springs for some chill times. If you are in Palm Springs for the week, it would definitely be interesting to see when you run into a band member. Maybe M83 goes bowling? Maybe you’ll run into the Black Keys at Walgreens. You might run into the Weeknd at the liquor store. The possibilities are endless.
4. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg
The ultimate west coast rappers playing the ultimate west coast concert. Expect the two hip hop veterans to pull out all the stops for this show. If you have ever wanted to experience what it’s like to get high via second hand smoke, just stand in the middle of the pit for about fifteen minutes.
It goes to show you just how great Radiohead is that they are once again headlining Coachella. Here is a band that has never broken up/reunited, has never had long periods between records and still, the mere mention of seeing them live sends shivers up most people’s spines. An excellent model of consistency partnered with an excellent discography that is unlike any other. Radiohead always brings their A game to the stage and there is no reason to believe that Saturday night’s headlining slot will once again fill the desert sky with the ethereal sounds coming from one of the premier bands on Earth.
I’m not sure if this will be their stateside debut, but you can be sure there will be a few thousand people in Palm Springs who have waited a long time to hear Pulp live. This will be followed by surely the most epic singalong of Coachella. That of course, will be Common People, a timeless song about class struggles that will still hit home for people listening to it for the first time fifty years from now.
1. TO BE REVEALED
In true Hollywood fashion, we will play this one out and reveal this next week. (Trying to get ratings)
Toronto – Eight years ago today, I packed up my bags, bought a one way ticket, flew across the country and moved to what I think is the greatest city in Canada – Toronto. It was a pretty easy decision to move from Edmonton, I had grown increasing bored with the city. I had originally wanted to move to go to other universities but my inability to go to high school classes consistently and pay attention to University submission deadlines put a disruption to that plan. However, after I graduated, I was able to find an acceptable job doing web development and thus started saving money to make the move. Toronto was always the idea because they had really good concerts, was a big city and I had some distant relatives there who I could probably get a free meal out of if need be. Since settling down originally at the glorious corner of Yonge and Finch, I have moved no less than four times and now find myself comfortably living on the west side of the city. It’s been a pretty good ride so far.
Anyways, long story short, here are my eight favorite Toronto concerts, in no particular order.
Franz Ferdinand, Horseshoe Tavern, February 23rd, 2004
This was my eighth show in Toronto, but first show that was like ‘holy crap, there’s this crazy up and coming band playing the Horseshoe’ show. Take Me Out had just barely come out and over the course of the few months after the song would elevate Franz Ferdinand into indie rock stratosphere. It’s been such a long time since that song came out but people forget how absolutely awesome that track and the entire album was. Take Me Out‘s staccato guitar line breakdown/build up was utterly the most amazing thing you heard when you listened to that track for the first time and it still sends goosebumps whenever this track is played at a club. The Horseshoe was sold out and brimming with excitement that night and the band seemed to feed off that excitement and just absolutely rocked the house. I’m sure if twitter was around at the time, it would have exploded the internet with all sorts of ‘killing it’ statements. I’ve seen Franz three or four times since, but none have matched the excitement of that very first show.
Morrissey, Hummingbird Centre, October 12, 2004
It’s freaking Morrissey. I think he started off the set with Bigmouth Strikes Again. As crazy as the man is with all his anti-everything stances, Morrissey puts on one hell of a show. I think half the amusement of seeing a Morrissey show is to see all the people climb up on stage trying to touch the guy. One of my friend, Dan, was able to go up and get a hug while one of his friends, whose name now escapes me, got strong armed by security just out of arms reach. Neverless, the man sang many classic Smiths tunes as well as some solo stuff. Can’t beat listening to There’s a Light That Never Goes Out live.
James, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, September 30, 2010
Another one of my favorite bands, I’ve seen James four times now and this show was the best of the bunch. Forget that I arrived at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre half drunk from an open bar Nuit Blanche launch party, James started the set with an acoustic version of Sit Down while walking through the crowd! They then played a hits filled set that included one of my favorite songs of all time – Tomorrow as well as a stage invading version of Laid. Few bands can build a connection with the audience as sincere as James can, and that fateful night in September was a perfect example of that. Original review here.
Arcade Fire, Massey Hall, May 15, 2007
The Arcade Fire play exceptional shows. Anyone who has seen them live can attest to that. Combine that with the legendary Massey Hall and you have one hell of a show. Even better was the fact that I was within 2 feet of the stage, The unrelenting energy of the Arcade Fire is rarely matched by other bands and they do a great job of making you feel that at that particular point in time, there is no other place on Earth you would rather be. Here was my original review.
Manic Street Preachers, Phoenix, October 5, 2009
This might have been my favorite Toronto show of all time. I absolutely love Manic Street Preachers so it would make complete sense that I would go nuts when the Welsh trio took the stage at the Phoenix and started with Motorcycle Emptiness. Who starts a show with one of their best songs? The Manic Street Preachers do. The rest of the 90 minute was pure sing along awesomeness, and I’ll never forget James Dean Bradfield standing on the speakers playing A Design For Life as the crowd sang along with arms in the air. Here was my original review.
Flaming Lips, Molson Amphitheatre, July 8, 2010
This Flaming Lips show was so good both Paul and Allison felt compelled to write reviews of the show. A Flaming Lips concert isn’t just a concert, it’s an experience that hits you on all senses. The Oklahoma band was simply on top of their game that night, obliterating your mind with an army of confetti, mascots, psychedelic video and Wayne Coyne’s insatiable lust for love. There are very few songs that are done better live than Do You Realize? and once you’ve seen that song played live in all it’s glory, you will always get goosebumps when that song is played anywhere. Pretty sure all music fans should go see the Flaming Lips, so that they can have a good barometer to judge a band against when they are claiming someone is “killing it” . Allison’s review is here
Patrick Wolf, Mod Club, NXNE, 2009
An absolutely chaotic and insane show featuring one of the more talented individuals to come onto the scene in recent years. Patrick Wolf‘s semi home coming show was a combination of amazing music, theatrics and temper tantrums that made for an unforgettable opening night at NXNE. While many others were at the Arts and Craft showcase watching friendly Canadian bands playing friendly Canadian music at the Courthouse, we decided to see the eclectic Patrick Wolf, who just released a stunning album in The Bachelor (part one of two, the second of which has still not been released). There was costume changes, violin duels and great music. Dealing with sound problems all night, Patrick Wolf at one point threw down his mic and left the stage for a good twenty minutes before returning triumphantly to play the rest of his set. Probably best summed up in pictures, of which Gary captured many. Read here.
Belle and Sebastian, Massey Hall, October 12, 2010
Expected awesomeness once again delivered as my favorite twee band Belle & Sebastian played my favorite large capacity venue at Massey. This was the second time I had seen Belle & Sebastian at Massey but this show had the luxury of not having some random women show up on stage halfway through the set to sing a song she wrote (that happened in 2003). I also had the luxury of having second row seats. You could do worse than hearing Sleep the Clock Around in it’s full glory at a favorite venue. Review Here
So there you have it, eight of my favorite shows in the city I now call home.