marina and the diamonds

Field Trip Preview: A History of Field Trips

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 1 Comment


This coming weekend, the annual Field Trip Festival takes place at Fort York and it celebrates the best of whatever Arts & Craft could get for this weekend. This has been an annual tradition since earlier this decade, and has proven to be popular enough that other companies have decided to spawn similar weekend festivals in the city. I’m all for music festivals since it allows me to see many bands at once while wearing an Indian headdress and neon tank top.

Surprising enough, this will be my first trip to this Festival and going on a field trip remains me of all the times I went on a Field Trip during my formulative years in Edmonton. Let’s take a trip through memory lane at the Field Trips I remember as a kid and I’ll try to make some metaphorical relation to one of the bands playing at the festival. It’s probably not going to work but you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. That’s something Wayne Gretzky said back in the day. I never liked him because I was Mario fan, but whatever, let’s focus on the music.

1986 – Rundle Park
For kids in the 80s, Rundle Park was the mecca for parks. It had the most enormous park of them all and had some really cool contraptions including one of those things where you hold above your head and then it slides you to another part of the park. Our school had a once a year trip there and it was always a highlight. I think it was at this park that my buddy at the time gave me a birthday card invitation, however, I didn’t know what it was at the time and ignored it. So I missed my first birthday party ever in Canada.

This reminds me of The War on Drugs, because just like missing my friend’s birthday party, I’ve missed the War on Drugs every single time they have played in Toronto. The group put up one of the best albums last year, and so I am very excited to see them.

1987 – Some Farm
I don’t quite remember much details about this field trip. What I do remember was what day it was and how dark the sky was coming back from it. This wasn’t an elementary school trip, but rather one of those summer camp trips your parents put you into during the summer because they are too busy working. The sky was dark when we returned and it was raining a shit load. You know why? that was the day of the infamous Edmonton Tornado. It was one of the most destructive tornados in Canada history and so important that the Rural Alberta Advantage wrote a song about it.

Of all the bands playing Field Trip, it would appear to me that Hamilton’s The Arkells are the band you would most associate with some of the qualities of a tornado. Loud and leaves a trail of minor destruction with their rock music. I’m probably reaching here. Tornadoes don’t last a long time and it appears the Arkells are here to stay.

1988-1992 – Rabbit Hill
One of my favorite trips every year would be our schools annual winter trip to Rabbit Hill. Rabbit Hill was a ski hill about an hour away from Edmonton and every year we would go skiing there. It was good for me because I took skiing lessons as a kid and really enjoyed that trip. I loved the mid day lunch break where I would be able to buy fries and gravy. Rabbit hill was a good beginner hill that had black diamonds that were anything but. It was funny, I thought I could handle black diamonds because of Rabbit hill but then when I went skiing in Banff, then I fully realized what black diamonds were. You don’t mess with that shit.

Purity Ring are from Edmonton, I wonder if they went to the same field trip. I think their slow dreamy synth pop music would be a great soundtrack for night skiing.


1990 – Drumheller
Every kid growing up in Alberta has been to Drumheller. It’s in the Badlands, it’s got the hoodoos and it has one of the best museums for looking at dinosaurs. Part of this trip was for us to meet our pen pals, who were from some random boonie school in Drumheller. My Pen Pal lived on a Bison farm and so I was able to ride on a back of a pickup truck through a bison farm. It was pretty freaking cool and I’m sure it would of got a lot of likes on Instagram if it existed back then.

You know what other pictures would get a lot of likes on Instagram? Marina and the Diamonds. The colorful singer always comes up with colorful outfits and stage setup that is quite pleasing to the eye. I still remember seeing her at Lamberts like four years ago at SXSW, performing her stellar debut album while wearing a onesie. I haven’t listened to the new album Froot yet, but I’m excited because I have no idea what Froot is.


1997 – Calgary
My only high school trip. It was part of our biology IB class trip. Yes, I was in IB. The trip once again took us to Drumheller and then to Calgary for the night. It was super fun because all of our buddies went. Looking back, we were super nerdy. I know this because as teenagers with a free night in another city all by ourselves we chose to do the following
– Watch Austin Powers movie
– Go back to the Hotel waterpark and chill there
– Play Track and Field 64 on N64 all night.

Yes, Tom brought a nintendo and we just played that all night long. It was a classic time. You know what else is classic? De La Soul. I really hope they play Eye Know, which they did not play at NXNE a few years back.

2015 – Fort York
Which brings up to Fort York, this weekend. Surely this is a different kind of field trip, but in many ways, it is the same as the ones we’ve always went to. I’m not going to list the ways, but I expect you to do some deep thinking about that.

Other acts I am looking foward to seeing: Temples, Songhoy Blues, Sharon & Bram.

See you there!

Concert Reviews: Marina and the Diamonds, September 8, Opera House

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 1 Comment

Toronto – It would be unfair to compare the two Marina and the Diamonds shows I have seen this year. One was at SXSW and was in on the second floor of a bbq restaurant, a space smaller then my living room while the other was in the large and cavernous space known as the Opera House. I’ll just get it right out there, obviously the first one was better, since it was way more intimate and the crowd had more of a buzz. Still, Wednesday night’s offering of Marina Lambrini Diamandis was a good representation of her vast talents.

Playing songs off both her debut album The Family Jewels and various EPs, Marina pleased the crowd early with hit single I Am Not A Robot(which inspired a sing-along) and her summer single Oh No. Dressed up in a tight football jersey and a hip hugging tights, Marina definitely charmed the crowd with her posh British accent, good looks and general playfulness on stage. The stripped down piano versions of Guilty and Obsessions allowed Marina to exercise her vocal chords and impress the naysayers with her powerful voice.

I thought there was a bit of a lull in the middle part of the set, as she was getting through some of the filler songs on her albums/eps. The set picked up again when Marina disappeared off stage for a few minutes, came back dressed up with a college jacket, dollar sign sunglasses, two hamburgers and started singing her smash hit Hollywood. For me, it seemed only then did the crowd really take off. Current single Shampain followed but the somewhat stiff Toronto crowded fail to participate to her call and response act, which might have been a downer, but that didn’t stop Marina from pulling it in for the rest of the set. The encore featured an perhaps ill advised cover of 3Oh!3’s Starstrukk. Someone should tell her people that no one likes 3Oh!3. The hour long show wrapped up nicely with Mowgli’s Road.

Overall, the 3/4 full crowd at the Opera House had a great time and everyone was in good spirits leaving the show. I was obviously slightly less enthusiastic given the other time I saw her (or maybe because I was sick), but still, one can’t help but think that Marina and the Diamonds will be heading for bigger things soon with her powerful voice, catchy pop music and made for tv looks. We should be glad that we get to see her in a smallish setting in the meantime.

Shampain by Marina and The Diamonds

Check out the video for her new single, Shampain, as well.

SXSW Review: Marina & The Diamonds, March 18, Lamberts

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Everything, South By Southwest | 1 Comment

panic manual marina and the diamonds

Austin – Shows like Marina & The Diamonds on Thursday nights are the reason why SXSW is so damn fun. Playing in front of a packed crowd on the second floor of the bbq restaurant Lamberts, Marina Lambrini Diamandis absolutely enlighten and enthralled everyone with her show. It was completely awesome.

For some introduction, Marina and The Diamonds is basically Marina, a 25 year old Greek-Welsh singer songwriter and her backing band. They play extremely catchy, dare I say, anthem-ish songs that range from pop ballads to electro-pop numbers. Her album The Family Jewels will be out in the US in May.

Wearing a Planet Hollywood jumpsuit, Marina and the Diamonds took the stage after a lengthy soundcheck session and proceeded to deliver one of the best shows I’ve seen at SXSW. This girl can absolutely sing. She hit all her notes and delivered each song with great authority…yet there was a lot of playfulness to her stage presence. She would dance, pose, wink at people and just looked like she was having a blast. As a result, everyone was also having a blast. The setlist was what you expected, a collection of songs off her EPs and LPs, including sing-alongs to many of her hits including I Am Not A Robot and Hollywood. I was surprised how much better the songs sounded better live then on album, which is always a great sign.

What a show.

Marina and the Diamonds will be playing Fader Fort today and Perez Hilton’s party tomorrow.

SXSW Primers – Bands A to Z

Posted on by Ricky in Everything, South By Southwest | 1 Comment

panic manual awkward handshake

Toronto – Here is an A to Z list of bands playing at SXSW. I’ve even been kind enough to link each band to their respective myspace/website so you can check them out*. Apologies if I missed any letters, English isn’t my first language.

Antlers – I might see these guys again, although it’d be weird to see their depressing music in the clear afternoon light

Broken Bells – Danger Mouse + The guy from the Shins? Yes please. Will this album only kind of change Natalie Portman’s life?

Chew Lips – English dance-pop act has Josh blowing his load with each single they release. Might check them out.

Dr. Dog – Lo-fi folk band keeps on churning out consistently good albums. New album Shame drops sometime in April

Everybody Was In The French Resistance…Now! – I had no idea Eddie Argos (of Art Brut) had a new band. It has to be great. In Argos I trust.

Fanfarlo -They cancelled their show in Toronto in December. I now get to see this London band at a warmer venue. Awesome. Luna is an amazing track.

Gay Witch Abortion – I have never heard of this band, but look at that band name.

Holy Fuck – This time, when I see them, I won’t confuse this Toronto electronic act with Polaris winning Toronto hardcore band Fucked Up

Imaad Wasif – 24 Terrorist character or Canadian born Indian singer songwriter? Check out his show and decide.

Jj – Where did these Swedes come from? From Africa to Malaga was such a good chill tune, but their new album sounds more or less the same.

Kyle Lee – Is this a Chinese Texan hip hop artist? I don’t know, but he has an Asian last name so here’s hoping.

Local Natives – They impressed many people last year, a breakout album later, these guys are ready to rule Earth.

Marina and the Diamonds – I wrote about them already, but she’ll be very good live.

Neon Indian – Hipster ratio will be off the charts for this HRO fan favorite.

Orquestra Contempor̢nea De Olinda РBrazillian worldly music. Gotta check out some worldly stuff for Mark

Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Shoegazey throwback band played about a billion shows last year, I didn’t catch them then. I won’t make the same mistake again. Maybe.

Quest for Fire – No idea who they are but they are the first band with the letter Q in it I see. Clever marketing yo.

Russian Futurists – Had a blast seeing them at Wavelengths despite short set. Should have equal blast at SXSW despite short set.

Spoon – Austin’s favourite band open SXSW at Stubbs with what undoubtedly will be a great performance.

Toro Y Moi – One of the first big discoveries of 2010, this dude will bring some chilled tunes to Austin.

Ume – Frank from Chromewaves really enjoys this bands live set. Who am I to argue.

VV Brown – Wonderfully talented retro pop sounding VV Brown will bring what is surely a great set to SXSW.

Walkmen – 7 or 8 years later, I still love the song The Rat

Xx – They continually seem to have bad luck, hope these guys make it to SXSW

You Say Party! We Say Die! – BC band looks to build on the success of XXXX here in Austin. Laura Palmer’s Prom..what a song

Zeus – Arts and Craft band is about to hit the stratusphere with their debut (?) album.

*(it’s also really good for search engines)