kMNR... April 15th, 2005

Get This In Your Email Weekly!

In This Issue:

Always Remember Their Music

Before I get to the newsletter this week, I want to point out that it was three years ago this coming week that the music world discovered they had lost another great Seattle artist.  It was on April 19th, 2002 that Layne Staley of Alice In Chains was found dead in his home of a heroin overdose.  He was positively identified one day later and was projected to have passed away on April 5th, 2002, the same day eight years previous to the loss of another Seattle great, Kurt Cobain.

So, instead of remembering the tragic losses of both these talented gentlemen, let's remember the fantastic music they brought us.  You can also read my memorial issue from last year.  Long live their music!

THE MONSTER CONCERT REVIEW ISSUE!

Here it is.  Just over a week in the making.  We do have a couple of stories for you, but for the most part, this issue is all about reviewing the incredible amount of concerts that have ripped through Calgary in just eight short days.

Before we get right to it, the live action didn't end today.  There is a show tonight that you should check out if you're a fan of punk, a fan of heavy crazy, fucked up rock, or a fan local Calgary talent.  At the Night Gallery, the ever-entertaining Turrettes will be opening up for Collision System with guests Erosion.  Don your black leather studded jackets, put on your shit-kickers and kick some shit.  Tickets are just $5!

Next Friday (April 22nd), you'll want to get yourself over to Broken City as The Rocky Fortune will be opening up for Hot Little Rocket.  Both bands will be sure to entertain the masses and Broken City seems to be one of many places in town to cater to such acts quite well.  Make sure you're a part of it.

And now, on to the reviews...

A Whirlwind Jaunt With DFA1979

I am usually the type who will do what he can to see the opening act to a show, mostly because I love discovering new (at the very least, new to me) talent.  Besides, it's been my experience that if I'm particularly excited about the headliner, the opening act is usually of excellent caliber.

However, due to some prior commitments, I missed most of the opening acts for Death From Above 1979's show at The Warehouse.  I did catch the last two or three songs of fellow Torontonians Controller.Controller, and they were certainly impressive.  Hopefully they'll be back in the near future, allowing me to dedicate deservedly more time.

Although juggling myself on this evening forced me into missing some live music, it seemed perfectly appropriate.  As I said, I arrived in time to catch the end of Controller.Controller and within 15 minutes, was watching Sebastien Grainger and Jesse F. Keeler do their own quick sound-check.  Within moments, they duo returned to the stage and ripped through a 45 minute set.

Although the sound wasn't perfect (at times it was difficult to differentiate the melodies from the distortion and the vocals were often barely audible over the wall of sound), the show contained fierce energy which propelled the crowd.  DFA hammered out fan favourites "Romantic Rights" and "Blood On Our Hands" amongst older tunes such as "Dead Womb".  They didn't hold out on a single song, performing each in what seemed like half the time of it's recorded state.

Despite the auditory downfalls, the show was enjoyable simply for it's sheer intensity.  To witness just two guys make so much noise in an organized yet chaotic fashion is quite the sight.

www.deathfromabove1979.com

"Two Six Three Seven Eight Nine" QOTSA @ Mac Hall Review

As the hours preceding this concert drew on, I became more and more giddy with excitement.  Whether or not that is detrimental to me providing an unbiased review on the Queens of the Stone Age show at MacEwan Hall is irrelevant.  This show was purely amazing, and I challenge anyone to say otherwise.

With the loss of openers Eagles of Death Metal, QOTSA picked a most interesting replacement.  Throw Rag, from Salton Sea, California proclaim themselves the "pioneers of Sailor Rock".  Fittingly, singer Captain Sean-Doe wore a sailor hat for most of the off-the-wall performance.  I say most because the band's set culminated with the Captain removing his shirt and tossing his hat (standard), and finally unbuttoning his trousers so that when he shook his body during their last song, they fell to his feet exposing his red underwear (not-so-standard).  Throw in frenetic drummer Chango Von Streicher, and (especially) washboard/bugle/harmonica player Jacko with his "man-titties" and they made guitarist Dino and bassist Franco Fontana seem strangely normal when they were anything but.  An attempt at describing their tightly played set is an exercise in futility.  All I can say is that they certainly made an impression that you could not forget easily, good or bad.  Judging from the crowd, it was mostly good.

With no disrespect to Throw Rag, most everyone was at Mac Hall to see Josh Homme and company in what would be an evening of musical proportions not yet realized this year.  When the signal was received by the sound-board operators, they cut the break music, the lights went down with a white curtain completely concealing the stage and "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" began to play over the monitors.  Immediately after that, the intro to "Regular John" began, with white and red lights from the rear revealing silhouettes of the band, pulsing in rhythm to the guitar.  When the song hit the mark, the curtain fell and thus began an evening with Queens of the FUCKING Stone Age!

With the absence of on-again/off-again singer Mark Lanegan, I was curious as to how it would play out on the set-list.  Much to my (and I'm certain many other hard-core fans) delight, it translated into a set that didn't reach new material until the seventh song.  Not that I don't like the new material; au contraire.  However, the first three songs alone were pre-"Songs for the Deaf" and considering that album's success plus this tour being in support of "Lullabies to Paralyze", you kind of have to expect less of the old goodies, so this was a welcome surprise.

Homme likes to introduce songs and talk in between.  Early in the show, he pointed out that security had confiscated a camera from a fan up front and asked that the camera be returned.  He then informed security, and the rest of us, that the band doesn't mind people taking pictures.  Of course, the moment that was said, a sea of cameras reached up to snap photos of the stage.  He introduced "No One Knows" with "This song sucks"; proclaimed "Burn the Witch" as his favourite song; informed us that "Monsters in the Parasol" was about LSD and other points communicated throughout the show. 

Joining Homme was the very subtle, yet still amazing Troy Van Leuwen on guitar, who stayed back from the foreground to focus on playing a lot of slide-guitar.  New bassist Alain Johannes was most impressive, especially when he broke out the six string guitar to show us he's not just another bass player.  The man can rip out some serious licks!  Mixing it up on several songs was keyboard player Natasha Shneider who looked to have so much fun.  Most interesting about her was not just her rock-out-with-your-cock-out look, but the fact that she had her keyboard tilted forward so that you can watch her work with ease. 

However, the one who stole the show at various points was drummer Joey Castillo.  It was Castillo's birthday and Homme made sure that everyone knew, asking people to hold their lighters up so that he could blow them out for him.  Castillo simply mastered the kit and dispelled any thoughts that he would be unable to fill one-time QOTSA drummer Dave Grohl's shoes.  He impressed me most when they broke into "Song for the Dead", staying true to Grohl's masterpiece.

For the most part, the set really didn't hit much of a lull until the band broke into "I Never Came" and "The Blood Is Love", both songs off the new album.  Although the former has a song titled which I absolutely love for it's obvious insinuations (although it's possible it's got nothing to do with my naughty thoughts), it slowed the show down.  However, I suppose sometimes you need to take a breather.  The latter was a moody yet determined song that when it reached it's conclusion did so with ferocity, fittingly.  Why?  That's when "Song For The Dead" was delivered to the crowd like a hammer.

The main set ended with "I Think I Lost My Headache" which although delighted me to no end, also surprised me with how well it was translated live.  (The song, which closes the album "Rated R", is intricate and complex with steel drums and an extended finish consisting of various horns.)  The wait for an encore was very short, and when it did begin, we were treated once again to the impressive guitar work of Johannes.  He played a bit of solo work which not only was reminiscent of Led Zeppelin's "Black Mountain ", but was purely amazing.  From there, it was a near-seamless transition into "Long Slow Goodbye".  Thankfully, that song did not end the show as it's title might suggest, because there was the order of performing a song on "Lullabies to Paralyze" which is quietly becoming a favourite to many; "Someone's in the Wolf".  All I can say is, what better song to end an evening with QOTSA.

Although they lacked the flair that Throw Rag displayed, QOTSA simply relied on their sheer musical mastery, which was absolutely fine for me and pretty much everyone else in attendance.  Overall, the show was fantastic and it'll definitely be a candidate for concert of the year. 

Below is the full set-list:

Regular John Monsters in the Parasol
Feel Good Hit Of The Summer I Never Came
The Lost Art of Keeping A Secret The Blood Is Love
First It Giveth Song For The Dead
No One Knows "You Got A Killer Scene There, Man..."
You Would Know Little Sister

Medication

Go With The Flow
Broken Box I Think I Lost My Headache
Leg of Lamb Encore
In My Head Long Slow Goodbye
Burn The Witch Someone's In The Wolf

www.qotsa.com

"While We Get Lost Inside The Moment" ~ Thornley @ Cowboys

That seems to be a fitting lyrical quote for any Thornley show.  This being the second time I've seen them in what are countless visits to Calgary already, I can safely say that about this grinding, ear blasting band.

The boys, who are fronted by Ian Thornely (formerly of Big Wreck) and joined by guitarist Tavis Stanley (previously a bar-band veteran), the mohawk-sporting bassist Ken "The Worm" Tizzard and Sekou Lumumba on drums, always seem to have a smashing-good time on stage and play to the crowd as often as possible.

Although the mix at this show was way too bottom-heavy and the over-use of the ultra-bright pot lights took away from the show, it didn't hamper Thornley's performance.  As far as playing went, they were impeccable.  The show also lacked the level of intimacy that their show at Coyotes last December held.  Again, that didn't stop the guys from putting everything into this night.

As far as their own material goes, they ripped into crowd pleasers "Come Again" and "So Far So Good", destroyed any remaining hearing we had with "Falling To Pieces", and flawlessly delivered my personal favourite of the night, "Beautiful".  Of course, a Thornley show doesn't come without throwing in some familiar Big Wreck tunes.  The second song of the set, "That Song", was accidentally cut off by Ian and he promised to make up for it later on.  Staples "Blown Wide Open" and "The Oaf" were both extended when delivered further into the set.

Those weren't the only 'covers' though.  Ian toyed with the opening Three Days Grace guitar riff for "Just Like You" and intro'd another song by playing a bit of Tea Party (who are also playing at Cowboys on April 25th), both in an apparent homage to fellow Canadian artists.  They even covered Nirvana's "All Apologies" and Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song".  In one last bid to bring the fans some familiar material, when the boys closed the show off, the guitar tech recovered Ian's guitar and ripped through Metallica licks with Lumumba.

Lastly, and once again, I must give acclaim to Lumumba.  Although I am partial to drummers and their talents, it would be a crime if I didn't highlight this man's unbelievable talent.  As he did in December, mid-way through the set he did a little jam-out with Ian, who then walked off the stage and let the man do his work.  The fans were treated to a lengthy drum solo which included self-removal of one tom-drum without missing a beat.  He then had his drum tech bring him a spare snare-drum which he would play away from the kit, again not missing a beat.  He then finished his solo by stabbing his drum-stick into said snare, sacrificing it in front of all to see.  Purely amazing (even the second time around) for a session drummer who Ian bumped into at a studio where Lumumba was living at.

All-in-all, it was a fantastic show that you shouldn't have missed.  If you did miss it, you'll have another opportunity to see these guys as they're scheduled to play at the Coke Stage at this year's Calgary Stampede.

www.thornleyband.com

There's A Reason Why They Sing ~ Rise Against/Alexisonfire @ Mac Hall Review

For a band that hasn't been in Calgary but once in a few years, Rise Against certainly have a fan-base that rivals other big-name acts.  The Hall was packed for their performance, the love was flowing and the punk music of this Chicago based band was fast, loud and non-stop.

The boys (vocalist Tim McIlrath, bassist Joe Principe, drummer Brandon Barnes and new guitarist Chris Chasse) plowed through their 40+ minute set as if they had a train to catch, but this was fitting for their style of punk.  McIlrath did all the talking for the band (unlike the headliners), and was extremely grateful for the fans.  With good reason too, as the fans (who were a healthy mix of young and old) relished every note of their set.  It's easy to pick out highlight songs like "Blood to Bleed", "Anywhere But Here" and "Give It All", but really, every song seemed to be a favourite of countless fans in attendance.

Along with McIlrath constantly expressing his love for the fans, he did keep in line with the band's heavily political view-points by dedicating "State of the Union" to his "brothers and sisters in Iraq fighting a bull-shit war".

Overall, the show was impressive.  Barnes makes his work look too easy at times, and Chasse looked comfortable while reserved, possibly still finding his footing with the band since joining them a year ago.  McIlrath loves to rip around the stage when he's not throwing in some rhythm guitar.  They even had Alexisonfire's Wade Preston adding some guitar and Dallas Green doing a bit of back-up vocals on a song.

Once Rise Against were finished, it wasn't too surprising to see the crowd thin out a bit for Alexisonfire.  I mean absolutely no disrespect to the band as I am one of the few who enjoy their music, despite George Logan's aggressive, screaming vocals.  The fact remains though, that most anyone beyond a certain unknown age (somewhere around mid-20s) just can't seem to get past his screaming.  To me, the screaming serves it's purpose in the music, which by-the-way is incredible for these five goof-balls.  The kids really love it though, and it was perfect for my partner-in-crime and I since we were easily a half-foot taller than most everyone in front of us, providing us a near unobstructed view of the stage.

The band (rounded off by Chris Steele on bass and Rat Beard of Jersey on drums, who is filling in for Jesse Ingelevics) started the show off with little notice, meaning they quietly showed up on stage and started playing ".44 Caliber Love Letter".  The set was almost even with both old and new songs, playing "Pulmonary Archery" and "Water Wings" from their self-titled album, while treating fans to "Accidents", "White Devil" (a song that Logan says is about cocaine), "Hey, It's Your Funeral Mama" and the current hit "No Transitory" from their latest release "Watch Out".

They boys were as equally aggressive as their openers and it was reflected by the kids moshing and creating a number of circle pits.  Logan and Preston love to yuk it up on the mic in between songs, giving the kids some fodder to contemplate in the quiet moments between each storm of a song.  It made them appear goofy, but one should look at their fans, and I also get the feeling that these guys are just being themselves up there.

When the main set finished, the encore didn't take long to arrive as Green re-appeared on stage by himself shortly.  Since Beard has only been with the band for a short time, he had nearly exhausted his repertoire for the evening and Green asked the fans if they minded if he did a song by himself.  He then broke into an impressive acoustic version of "Side Walk When She Walks" which he got the crowd to sing along with him.  It was interesting display of Green's talent, taking a normally edgy song and playing it flawlessly by himself.  The rest of the boys came out for one more song as they played "Control" to cap off the evening.

Overall, a great show from both bands.  Before I finish though, I have to say that AOF's bassist, Chris Steele was probably the most visually impressive individual of the evening.  Usually, bass players tend to either hang back out of the spotlight and/or are fairly stationary throughout a show.  Steele proved to be quite the contrary, as he loved moving about the stage in spastic fashion much like his band-mates.  Always good to see musicians let their own music take them away.

www.riseagainst.com
www.theonlybandever.com

Hot Hot Heat Pickin' It Up @ Mac Hall

The long week of concert madness came to a close last night at MacEwan Hall with Victoria, BCs Hot Hot Heat.  Although I was disappointed to discover that they moved the show down from the Ballroom, I was delighted to hear Steve Bays and company break into "Island of the Honest Man", my favourite song off their new release, "Elevator".

The show was a near perfect 50/50 mix of new and old material, with the old winning out by just one song.  The show was a near constant stream of energy and quirky music, just the way HHH are known to do it.  Backed by his equally stylish band-mates Dustin Hawthorn (bass), Luke Paquin (guitar) and Paul Hawley (drums), Bays didn't let his keyboard anchor him at stage center.  He quickly ditched his mic-stand very early in the show and engaged in woo-ing the ladies left, right and center, periodically returning to the keys, often playing one-handed whilst singing simultaneously.  He also made it clear early on that this was the band's best Calgary show ever.

The crowd was fairly active for most of the show, especially when old tricks like "No, Not Now", "Le Le Low" and "Get In Or Get Out" were performed.  Although they didn't play my personal all-time fav, "Aveda", they did play "Talk to Me, Dance With Me" (containing one of their coolest lyrics "You are my only girl, but you aren't my owner, girl") and I was particularly pleased to hear "Save Us S.O.S.".  When someone screamed out to play "Bandages", the band quickly obliged which probably garnered the biggest crowd reaction.

As far as the new material went, they did a good job of transforming "Pickin' It Up", "Dirty Mouth" and "Running Out Of Time" into the proper live form we've come to expect from HHH, much as I had predicted in last week's album review.

Overall, the show was great, despite it's rough edges.  The guitar, vocals and keys were slightly less than perfect and it was difficult to pick out the bass line, especially in "Talk to Me, Dance With Me".  However, where the minor faults were found, the band made up for it with their usual blend of bouncy beats and edgy sound.

  • Island of the Honest Man

  • No, Not Now

  • Goodnight Goodnight

  • Talk To Me, Dance With Me

  • Ladies and Gentlemen

  • Dirty Mouth

  • Get In Or Get Out

  • Middle of Nowhere

  • Naked In The City Again

  • Oh God Dammit

  • Pickin' It Up

  • Le Le Low

  • Save Us SOS

  • Bandages

  • Jingle Jangle

  • Encore

  • Running Out Of Time

  • This Town

www.hothotheat.com

"Been Hangin' 'round grain elevators"

C - The Guess Who are cool
R - Yes sir.
C - Although I'll never understand why you'd go "runnin' back to Saskatoon"?
R - One of life's mysteries.  Maybe they have good mushrooms.
C - Ah...you know what?  I bet that's it.

Good Jam Comes To Those Who Wait

There's always someone who's just dying for the next album to come out, regardless of who the band/artist is.  However, when the band is Pearl Jam, the anticipation of new material is that much more elevated.

The boys from Seattle are in the studio working on approximately 20-25 songs for their eighth album, according to guitarist Mike McCready.  This will be the band's first album with BMG, and they hope to have it released before year's end so that they can tour throughout 2006.

The songs are reportedly diverse in style with both ballads and heavy tunes (including the fast, punk-like "Crapshoot Rapture" which was recently played by the band at a Seattle benefit concert) and even some songs similar in sound to The Who.

They're also taking a different approach to recording the new material, taking more time to record each song than usual.  McCready stated that they'll take a week to think about each recording which permits them to really think about it and come up with plenty of new ideas to add to the track.

http://www.chartattack.com/damn/2005/04/0802.cfm

At The Drive-In Back...Well, No...Not Really

...but at least it's been confirmed that V2 and Fearless Records will release a best-of anthology called "This Station Is Non-Operational".  The compilation will contain 18 tracks; 11 from the band's four studio releases, two b-sides, "Autorelocator" from the Sunshine split CD, two live covers (Pink Floyd's "Take My Stethoscope And Walk" and The Smiths' "This Night Has Opened My Eyes"), one remix ("Rascuache") and one live tune ("Initiation").

Included in this compilation is a bonus DVD which will contain videos for "Invalid Litter Dept.", "Mettronome Arthritis" and "One Armed Scissor", along with wallpaper and buddy icons for the computer savvy.  The release will hit stores on May 24th.

At The Drive-In split in 2001 and the members went on to form The Mars Volta and Sparta.

http://www.chartattack.com/damn/2005/04/1307.cfm

Satan To Get Behind The Whites

The new White Stripes album has had details forthcoming in a fast and furious manner lately, matching the manner in which it was recorded.

The new album is titled "Get Behind Me Satan" which hits stores here in North America on June 7th with the first single, "Blue Orchid" arriving just over a week earlier (May 30th).  All songs were written on piano, acoustic guitar and marimba.

  • "Blue Orchid"

  • "The Nurse"

  • "My Doorbell"

  • "Forever For Her (Is Over For Me)"

  • "Little Ghost"

  • "The Denial Twist"

  • "White Moon"

  • "Instinct Blues"

  • "Passive Manipulation"

  • "Take, Take, Take"

  • "As Ugly As I Seem"

  • "Red Rain"

  • "I'm Lonely (But I Ain't That Lonely Yet)"

http://www.chartattack.com/damn/2005/04/1204.cfm

Spears Confirms Worst-Kept Secret

That's right folks, Britney Spears is pregnant.  This means that, within the next nine months, the next slutty teen-idol shall be born into this world.  Sorry, I mean...CONGRATS GIRL!

http://jam.canoe.ca/Music/2005/04/12/993907-ap.html

Jersey Call It Quits

The Burlington, ON punk band that first formed back in 1996 has decided to "put a bullet in it" due to a number of issues the band has been facing over the past year.

Jersey have released three full-length albums and three EPs over nine years, and had been writing and recording several songs for the follow-up to 2003's "Generation Genocide".  It's not known what will happen to the recorded material, although guitarist Greg Taylor would like to make them available in one form or another in the future.

http://www.chartattack.com/damn/2005/04/1311.cfm

In Stores Next Week

The list seems to be a bit short this week, but someone out there should be looking forward to matchbox twenty's vocalist Rob Thomas and his debut solo release, "Something To Be".  Fear not though, because Calgary punk-rockers Chixdiggit return with "Pink Razors" on April 19th, their first with Fat Mike's ultimate punk label, Fat Wreck Chords.  You know Fat Mike, that not-so-fat dude from this obscure little punk band, NOFX?  Well, he should know a thing or two about punk, so it's pretty kick-ass that he signed Chixdiggit.

This Week's Albums Reviewed

Leave it to the Chart Magazine staff to tell it how they hear it, and apparently they don't hear much good in new material from Garbage, Better Than Ezra and Millencolin At least they were easy on New Order, The Crystal Method and Soul Coughing.  Check it all out, and more, right here:

http://www.chartattack.com/DAMN/2005/04/1201.cfm

Upcoming Shows

Calgary

April 15, 2005 The Battle of Alberta!  Calgary's Ramblin' Ambassadors, Edmonton's Les Tabernacles Black Swan
April 15, 2005 The Turrettes, Collision System, Erosion Night Gallery
April 15, 2005 Bedouin Soundclash Liberty Lounge
April 16, 2005 Colin Linden, Anders Osborne, David Gogo Knox United Church
April 17, 2005 Motorhead, Corrosion of Conformity Whiskey
April 21, 2005 The Donnas The Warehouse
April 22, 2005 Hot Little Rocket, The Rocky Fortune Broken City
April 22, 2005 Old Reliable (CD Release Party) with Swifty's, The Drangers Bowness Community Hall
April 22-23, 2005 Jeff Healey's Jazz Wizzards Margaret Greenham Theatre
April 23, 2005 Blue Rodeo Pengrowth Saddledome
April 23-24, 2005 The Weakerthans, The Constantines Wyckham House, MRC
April 25, 2005 The Tea Party Cowboys
April 27, 2005 The Killers Stampede Corral

~~ kMNR v2005.062 ~~

If you would like to hear about or if you have any information on a particular band or artist, please email chris_s_a@hotmail.com and I will do my best to cover them.