Tag Archives: Hesta Prynn

Joyride Jams with Hesta Prynn

We asked Hesta Prynn to make a list, well….because we love the list! We didn’t want to put her on the spot and have her ‘hit’ our jams or the jams our readers (I suddenly have a hankering for toast and strawberry jam), but a list of Jams that Hesta Prynn wants YOU to hear.  I’m pretty sure that I’d not only chair and car dance to these tunes, but I might even bust a move on the dance floor, what about you?  Oh yeah…oh yeah….it’s takes two to make a things go right….it takes two to make it out o’ sight…..oh yeah…oh yeah….

1. We Could Fall in Love by Hesta Prynn
2. One Minute Man – Missy Elliot
3. Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani
4. Faster Horses – MNDR
5. The Jump Off – Lil Kim
6. Good Beat – Deee-Lite
7. Circus (Diplo Remix) – Britney Spears
8. Hold On – Holy Ghost!
9. Celebration (Benny Benassi Remix) – Madonna
10. Last Night a DJ Saved My Life – Indeep

Now in honour of the Roxette Show on September 2nd I made a list, a vintage female threesome!!  Roxette is here in Canada playing shows like right now….was in Ottawa on the 29th, the 30th in Toronto and tonight, the 31st in Montreal. Now as much as I loved “Joyride” back in the day I will be opting out of these shows. NYC gets Hesta Prynn as an opener and the three major dates in Canada get saddled with Glass Tiger. Now I won’t stomp on the Tiger, but I will say that if Hesta Prynn was opening at the any of the Toronto dates she’d find better Canadian 80’s tunes to spin for the nostalgic fans, and I would certainly be there!

My list of girl-power threesome jams from circa 1983-1986, you decide which one was mine. I remember these the first time around….comment all you want but leave my age out of it please!

Scandal – The Warrior


‘Til Tuesday – Voices Carry


Love is a Battlefield – Pat Benatar

Happy Labour Day Weekend!!!  Dance like no one is watching!!!

~Lila Lyric

xoxo

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The Business of Being Hesta Prynn

Photo by Randy Scott Slavin

Photo by Randy Scott Slavin

A few months ago, Lila and I heard that Hesta Prynn put out the call to her fans to come up with words to describe her. Having met her on our NYC “No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn” whirlwind adventure, Lila and I took up her challenge, brownosed by turning our words into a bit of art and ended up landing an interview.

Surreal.

The main word chosen for this little project was “Propulsive”. The power to propel. It had a lot of meaning – how both Lila and I have claimed that Hesta’s music makes us run harder, how her music moves us, how when we met her she was like a force. And then we realized just how much velocity this girl has.

Hesta Prynn is an entity. And she knows it. In an industry that is often fickle-minded and self-indulgent, Julie Potash, is a smart and savvy business woman. She is building the Hesta Prynn brand. She recognizes the business behind music, the changes in the music industry and combines creativity with something that many artists rely on big companies to provide them: business smarts.

This was not the interview we expected.

Most people who know me know that I have a decided interest in how the music industry is run. I have a bit of a predisposed skepticism of the need of big record labels and traditional musical marketing methods. I mean, when you work more than a decade in marketing and advertising, you tend to have a healthy skepticism of all mass marketing tactics and the driving force behind them. So I, obviously, was elated to talk to an artist that….well, she gets it. According to her, “I’m like Hesta Prynn, the whole business entity; not just Hesta Prynn – musician.”

And what is more, Julie manages to intertwine business sense with some good old-fashioned idealism without it seeming trite or canned. She’s just real. She wants people to like her music, but more than that, she wants people to share it.

So, when her EP drops today, along with her new video, it’s not going to be in a traditional way. According to Julie, it’s going to be done “more grassroots.” This isn’t a full length record. “In this day and age, I wonder; I explore the idea… if putting an album of music is a dated way to do this. As opposed to, let’s say, putting out an EP quarterly?”

“I started in this business pretty young doing Northern State; it kind of got really big. We did the more traditional things for a hot minute. Then things started to change in the industry at the same time things started to change in the band. By the time I’d done that for a number of years, I was ready to try some other things. Just like any other profession. It was a natural progression.”

Instead of just writing music, putting it out and touring to support it, Hesta Prynn is diverse. She Djs (notably opening the Roxette show on September 2nd, more on that in a bit). She writes for other artists. She creates art and mixes it all together to be a force. Propulsive, indeed.

It isn’t any wonder that she has had the fortune to work with the likes of DJ Muggs (Cypress Hill) and Adam Horovitz (Beastie Boys). And she shows immense gratitude to the lessons learned from those she has either collaborated with or learned from.

These people shaped who I am and the fact that they’ve been generous to me, as an artist, I sometimes can’t really believe that it happened.”

And if you want a prime example of exactly how awesome her collaborations have been, ask her the story of Clown from Slipknot. A story I can’t even begin to do justice here in writing. To get a taste of it, go YouTube Hesta’s “Seven Sisters” video and just watch. Watch and appreciate the sheer creativity that is shared and know that one day, should you have the luck to meet her, that you can ask her to tell the story behind the video. That Clown is a Hesta Prynn fan kind of blew our minds. I think it initially blew hers as well. That we got to hear about the creation of the video, the insights delivered by a metal icon and shared a bit of what Julie was able to experience with him was a highlight. I know, I know.. it’s like teasing by not sharing the entire story here. But trust us, it’s something best heard in person. In the very least, go check out the song and video.. it’s one of our all-time favourites.

But, the EP and video release – the driving force of why we wanted to talk to Julie. What could we expect? Of course, both the music and the video are shared below. And we had to ask if there was a certain satisfaction in pulling all of this together on “her own” (of course, Julie has surrounded herself with a team, but this isn’t big label relase-ish.. this is all her own.).

We Could Fall in Love on iTunes NOW!!!

“If you look at my videos, they are so much better than anything I’ve ever done. Everything is better now, but I have pay it out of my pocket. And that is a little stressful, but I’m running my own business. It’s about investing in your own. I don’t know if it’s more rewarding, but you can do it better (than relying on a label).”

“I’m really doing this one really grass roots. One of the songs is produced by DJ A. One is produced by Teen Wolf. I’m basically going to do it all myself. So we’ll see what happens. And see how much attention it gets. I hope that people that have always supported me, will pass it on to their friends. I’m counting on my community.”

Immediately after the release comes her September 2nd show, opening for Roxette at the Beacon Theatre.

A 45-minute set that she has promised will be a mix of showcasing just who Hesta Prynn is. This show marks the largest she has ever done. She’ll spin, she’ll sing and we’re certain she is going to propel the crowd. It’s her goal. This set isn’t about her, in the typical “look at me” stage artist. It’s about the audience. And she makes that claim without an ounce of false modesty or faked humility. She just really wants people to enjoy her work.

“It’s a really big show for me, the biggest I’ve ever done. I’m doing a DJ set and I’ll sing a couple songs and a video installation and show people what I’ve been doing, what I can do, what my interests are. I would never just show up and play records for 45 minutes, I craft it.  I’m creating it, I’m definitely over-thinking it, for sure. But that is exactly what I was told to do, how to do it. When you’re performing and for people who don’t necessarily know you, you are constantly marketing yourself; selling yourself.  When it comes to performing, my real dream, my real 100-percent-honest-to-god, I want every single person, not just one person, I want EVERY person there at one point in that show to say, “Oh shit, that’s my jam.” If you can make 3500 people say at least once, “that’s my jam”, you know what you’re doing. I literally may die trying.”

And this is why Lila and I are such fans.

I won’t get into this long and overdone concept of “girl-power” and feminist attitude. But just as Julie has shown great appreciation of those she has been able to collaborate with in her life, she shares that by equally giving back to her fans. Sure, we write this blog and review music, but we’ve been long-standing fans of Hesta Prynn that were afforded a greater insight into a woman who, frankly, we both exclaimed we would happily just hang with. For no other reason than… Hesta Prynn is just awesome. She is exactly what she sets out to be. She may not know what your jam is, but she is pretty sure she is going to hit it. She recognizes that Hesta Prynn is the “most outgoing, my most sure, my freshest dopest most awesome version of myself… in my most inspired moments.” And I’m pretty sure everyone has a bit of that in themselves. Their most confident.

She doesn’t expect to be the biggest star at the party. I will never expect her to try be the diva of the ball. What I expect of this EP is just solidly great music that is fun and inspired. Something to share with those I know will appreciate it. Nothing contrived , nothing fake.

So, as we leave you with our sharing of one of our favourite artists here at Beat & Lyric, let us impart the biggest thing we learned from Julie during this process. Her parting moral, if you will:

I think that it’s hard to be your real self in this world. I feel like having another name or persona and a look I think it helps you – I mean, I have to step up to be that. If I’m going to go and perform, I have to show up already knowing this time is going to be good. I really have built this thing that I have. I do feel that when I step into the Hesta Prynn thing, I’m ready to have fun. And I’ll be the coolest girl at the party and I’ll be friends with you. I won’t be the coolest girl and I’m not nice. I’ll be the coolest girl at the party, I’ll be friends with you and I’ll be like ‘get in my car and let’s go.”

Well played, Hesta Prynn. We are more than ready to take a spin with you.

~Betty Beat (with Lila Lyric)

 

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Check out the official Hesta Prynn webpage  www.hestaprynn.com


Seven For Star

This blog post is brought to you by the number 7.
 
For the later half of 2011 the number 59, the time (insert hour):59 seemed to be everywhere for me, with every glance at the clock it was always in the last minute of the hour.  2012 has started with a new number – that number is 7. Last week my lovely husband of just over 7 years recorded the movie Seven (great movie) and since then I’ve put a lot of thought into how numbers can fuck with your head, how you can attach yourself to a number and give it life.  I was born in the early 70’s, I was born on the 7th day of a month, and the 7th month of year is a month that usually spins my head around.  I have a deep attraction to George Costanza, he was also very attached to the number 7.
 
Today is January 7th, and another child of the 70’s whom was born on this 7th day of this month is celebrating a birthday.  Ryan Star – Happy Birthday!!!!! As promised a list just for you, a list of seven.

This list at first started to form around songs with ‘seven’ in the title.  I found six great songs and googled, and searched for that ‘perfect’ #7 song.  I didn’t find it.  I did however find a video which intrigued me.  A CBC show “This Hours Has Seven Days’ and from 1966 and interview with Leonard Cohen, worth watching right to the end.  I am posting this for my own self-indulgence and because I think Ryan may be interested in what Leonard says…no song for the first of ‘seven’ but rather a gift of thought, Leonard’s thoughts.

The remaining six songs of ‘seven’

Song Seven – Interpol

Seven Devils – Florence + the machine

Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes

Seven Curses – Bob Dylan

The Magnificent Seven – The Clash

Seven Sisters – Hesta Prynn

There you have seven for star.  Looking through the ‘seven’ videos I must say that The Clash live would have been one hell of a concert, and why did I think that Interpol where British?  There is no real ‘meaning’  behind the remaining six – bands that stood out while googling ‘seven’, and of course the last video by Hesta Prynn has a great connection to Star, maybe we can get Ms. Prynn to write ‘seven fun facts about carpooling with Ryan Star’….maybe?

Anyways, Happy Happy Birthday Mr. Star, hope the video shoot is going well, Betty and I can’t wait to post it here and make it part of a list/blog someday soon!!!

Cheers,
Lila

 

 


11:59 – A Betty-ful Take

No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn.

This is what I dubbed my NYC trip to see Ryan Star, Gambit, Hesta Prynn and Hot Chelle Rae. Why? Because I existed on such little sleep, I’m actually amazed that I managed to do half of what I did. In a word: adrenaline. Who wants to sleep when they can hit NYC with a great friend and go to see amazing live music by phenomenal artists?

Lila got the details right, so I won’t bore everyone with them again. That said, I’ll add in my thoughts.

My adventure started out incredibly early one morning. I had managed a couple of hours of sleep between getting home from work, finishing packing, my own anticipated excitement and getting my ass to the train to get me to the airport.

Lila summed up nicely the timeline of our day. My take on things goes a little like this:

1. The train from Jersey to Manhattan? Very retro 70s wood panelling. And it smells of strong disinfectant. And it’s hard to sleep. Although I think that has more to do with my happiness in being in NYC and nothing to do with the uncomfortable seats.

2. The NYC subway is crazy. And damp when it rains. Like crazy damp/wet. And dirty. It’s interesting that everything is so old and interesting, but it’s so dirty. And the decay is crazy. And the subway is filled with cops (in some cases, hot cops). And I’m eternally grateful for iPhone apps that help you with the subways because it puts Toronto’s 2-line system to shame. The good thing is neither Lila or I had any moments of panic or anything when we got turned around. It was all very chill and “meh, let’s just backtrack a bit.”

Now all this said, the subway is still impressive, actually. It is this weird mix of history and the present. I don’t want to come off sounding too backwoods. I was in awe that every now and again you would glimpse a snippet of the grandeur that must have existed when the system was originally built. It’s intriguing. And there is no shortage of people to watch. And I never once felt that the decay and dirt impeded how impressive it is. I think it adds to it. Despite being wet and cold.

3. Driving rains and cold temps make for miserable walking. And the people of NYC – their umbrellas always looks kind of like they take a beating. Know why? Because they do. People smack your umbrella with their umbrella, the wind is crazy and you hit scaffolding constantly. My umbrella is now officially looking like a NYC-ified umbrella.

But still, even with the rain, just being there and looking at the shops and wandering around is ultra cool, I have to say. Not once did I think “this is so shitty.” It was more “rain sucks, but let’s wander around.” I jumped over puddles, I watched people, looked at amazing display windows, took in everything and loved it all. How you can go from seeing the super gloss of New York on the street front only to peek around a corner and see a less slick picture. Like what is behind a very pretty mask.

4. Hailing cabs in NYC? Ridiculously easy. There are 625283894 cabs. They’re everywhere. Like Starbucks. Except Starbucks are elusive. They can never be found until you are in the cab and are no longer looking for one. Then they’re all over the place.

5. Madison Ave, Broadway and 5th are all very long avenues. But all very cool. Even in the rain.

6. If you don’t get a good vibe from a restaurant, don’t eat there. Alternatively, if you wait and wander long enough, you happen upon an amazing restaurant find. That’s what happened to us. Attentive wait staff, amazing drinks, nice bathrooms and some of the best Vietnemese I’ve ever had.

7. People look at you funny while you brush your teeth and put on makeup in a Nordstrom’s bathroom. Even in New York.

8. It takes approximately 4 days to get your gloves dry after an entire day of getting them wet.

9. The one Starbucks in the East Village has what I think is the most disgusting bathroom in NYC. It was hideous and scary. Even the decor there was pretty banged up and worn. I was shocked a bit. But it’s busy and interesting and after my first impression, I was far more taken with the atmosphere than how clean it wasn’t. With lots of pretty people to watch.

10. When you are getting ready to go to a concert you’ve been waiting for forever, it doesn’t seem to matter that your clothes that you’ve been dragging around in your backpack all day are damp and cold. But the extra pair of socks you thought to pack? Those are heaven on feet.

11. Webster Hall is uber-hip. As is hanging out waiting to get in for the concert and chatting up random people who happen to know people. I think Lila and I look friendly because people chatted us up easily. Oh, and the bar at the door of Webster Hall charges $1 less for beer than the other bars at the venue. Just so you know.

12. The “It’s $9 beer night” joke from 40 year old virgin movie? I get it now. $9 beer and $12 shots. Crazy.

13. Small venues are the only way I will ever see concerts and this confirms why. High energy, not a ton of people and it feels more intimate.

14. Always bring a ton of cash with you to a concert. I was buying up shit left right and centre. I regret not buying the Ryan Star hoodie.

15. It’s official. I’m a Ryan fan. Maybe not the way Lila is (who could compete?! ), but he is nice. Just straight up a nice guy. And dedicated to his fans in a way most aren’t. He is funny and charming and a hell of a performer live. I actually prefer him live to recorded. His voice quality is stunning.

And he gives a pretty wicked hug.

16. Gambit? What can I say about Lyle et al? Gambit is what got me to NYC in the first place. I rode Lila’s Ryan Star fan coat tail (until I saw him live), but Gambit is why I wanted to go in the first place. And live? They didn’t disappoint whatsoever. Stage energy is always a huge draw for me with any band. And Gambit has it. Meeting Lyle after Gambit’s set was a definite highlight of my evening.

You know the line in “Maybe” that says, “dreaming of a sold out crowd who sang every word he wrote out loud”? That was me. I sang. Loudly.

17. Hesta Prynn. What can I say about her? I was still fairly new to her music when we went and her set confirmed me as a fan. Pepper was, by far, my favourite song of hers. You guys know me. I love a great cover. It’s the one I most often send to people to introduce them to her music when I recommend it. It’s usually followed by sending Seven Sisters. And I have yet to find anyone who doesn’t sit up and take notice. I was transfixed by her set as I often am with strong female artists. My CD was signed “Walk Fast.” A nice counter to Lila’s running comment. Funnily enough, my running has increased and, it seems, Hesta’s music always seems to pop up on a running playlist. Call it inspired.

18. Hot Chelle Rae. I’ll admit to it. I had no idea who they were. But they were cute and fun and light. Again, great live show in a small venue. Funnily enough, months later, I’d hear them on the radio constantly (Tonight Tonight). And I’d smile at the memory. Even better was the day I was watching TV with the oldest “Little Beat” and saw a Mini Pops commercial. What song did they cover? You got it. Tonight Tonight. Leaving me to ponder if having Mini Pops cover one of your songs is a sign of success of the mark of mortification for a band. I still wonder….

19. It’s refreshing to see all bands with such great energy. It makes for a very easy and fun night. Hypnotiq shots don’t hurt either.

20. Ryan Star has a huge teeny-bopper girl following. Some of them are excruciatingly annoying with their bouncy dancing and squealing. At least Lila – as an obsessive fan (ha ha) is cool about it. These girls need to learn subtlety.

21. Hanging out after the show and getting invited to after-parties? Totally worth the cold.

22. I think some people have apartments in NYC and decide to convert them to small bars, because that’s kind of where we were. But it was very kind of dive-bar cool. And it was useful that Lila managed to find outlets for our near-dead cell phones. Impressive, actually, considering the drinks consumed.

23. Vodka-water-bar-lime doesn’t taste as good when it’s NYC tap water.

24. Cab drivers with bad and smelly gas. make me sleepy. Or I was just bagged. Either way.

25. Some people (*cough* youknowwhoyouare) don’t realize you go under water to get to Jersey. Sorry Lindsay.

26. Airport chairs are super uncomfortable. And homeless poets you meet at McDonald’s know to take advantage of super sleepy girls. But not in a bad way. It was a most interesting encounter.

27. Sometimes you have to buy your karma. Giving the above mentioned homeless poet some money got us home in time (which I had to be, luckily, Lila speeds ).

28. McD’s at 3:30 am tastes delicious. For 5 minutes.

29. Porter’s Meal in a Box is my favourite. I heart it. And coffee. I really enjoyed their coffee. In mass quantities. Oh, and the little Wolfgang Puck express place in the Newark airport waiting lounge? Best lemon ginger muffins ever.

30. Stoney is hilarious. And he shares Tic Tacs, which is nice. Serena was a delight. She kept us entertained on our walk and was incredibly hospitable and warm to two complete Canadian strangers. All our encounters that night were just… nice. It was refreshing. No drama, no insipid bullshit. Just really good people who were a delight to meet and chat with.

31. Security doesn’t like it when you joke with them. Alternatively, if you are so tired you can’t think straight, rehearse your information in your head. Because when the guy asks what time you flew out and you utter one “uh” because you’re trying to remember you actually flew out early, but haven’t slept, so your cylinders aren’t all firing.. you get tagged. Customs people have had their seneses of humour permanently disabled.

32. I think my sarcasm amps up when I’m tired.

33. Lila is an awesome travel partner. Nobody freaked out and nobody cried.

 

 

Every moment of sleep deprivation was worth it for this trip. I love remembering it. I said, after re-posting Lila’s 11:59 Part Deux on Facebook the other day that this one whirlwind trip was the catalyst of an amazing year. The driving force behind it.

11:59 Part Goo drops in Erie in about a month. Another trip. This time we hit the road. It will be interesting since Rstar isn’t headlining this, he’s opening for the Goo Goo Dolls. I’m not even a Goo Goo Dolls fan (aside from knowing some classic 90s songs from them…). Debauchery is in the works and Beat & Lyric are looking for trouble… not to mention some great music.

Now, Lila.. give me my damn ticket and stop holding it hostage.


11:59 (Part Two)

For 11:59 (Part One) – here http://beatandlyric.com/2011/07/11/an-1159-part-one/

Apparently the gestation period for blogging about a whirlwind trip to NYC to see a concert you were supposed to see in November is 9 months. I’ve reported the gist of the trip to friends and family, posted the pictures on Facebook for my inner circle to see, the ‘story’ has never been out there for the world (at the least the small part that reads what I write). I’m sure now, 9 months later it has solid lungs, it has 10 fingers, 10 toes and is ready for entry.

I must give credit, where credit is due. It’s all Lindsay’s fault. Chatting one night in October 2010, I mentioned that Ryan Star was playing a show in NYC the same weekend we had contemplated doing a road trip to Montreal (American Thanksgiving). Her response “let’s go there instead”. I had a ‘you don’t have to ask me twice’ light go off in my head and plans were made. Show tickets purchased, flights booked, swanky accommodations arranged. Excitement ensued.

Nine days, seriously nine days before departure news came that the show was being post-ponded until January 18th. I felt like the kid at Christmas that opens a present to find pajamas, the kid that opens the brown paper bag to find a ‘healthy’ lunch – total lunch-bag letdown. I’m not going to dwell on my disappointment as we went anyways and had a great weekend seeing the city.

Our accommodations were extraordinary (thank you Andrew) an apartment on the UWS, a terrace and roof-top access with a view of the park, Starbucks within spitting distance and an awesome breakfast joint perfect for indulging after a run through one of the most famous green spaces in the world. *Sigh*. We went, we had fun but there was unfinished business and I felt it brewing on the flight home.

Refunds for the concert tickets were available, but I couldn’t bring myself to cut the tie. I was willing to eat the cash in hopes that just maybe last minute plans could be made. The internal struggle became a battle in my head. A Tuesday night in January was difficult for me to get to Toronto so NYC was an entirely different dimension. Lindsay was a firm ‘no’ much to my dismay for she was an awesome travelling companion, even with her directionally challenged limitations, as January was her busiest time at work. I contemplated a trip alone, I looked into cheap hotels in the Webster Hall area and then I put it out to my inner circle. I received lots of “oh I would love to see Ryan’s show but it’s too far to travel on a weeknight” or “are you crazy?”

Right before the Christmas holidays I started to concede that this wasn’t going to happen. I was coming to terms with tucking the tickets away and forgetting about the show and continuing with the waiting game for a Toronto or Montreal date. But then a carrot appeared, a shiny golden carrot was dangled in front of me. Gambit and Hesta Prynn were announced as openers. Crawling out from her hole was Betty Beat, she caught a glimpse of the shiny and was in hot pursuit of the light.

Flights booked.

January 17, 2011 – weather forecast for January 18 in Muskoka is bleak. I realize I cannot risk missing a plane because the weather in my area is sucky. I make my way to Toronto a day early to avoid freezing rain and snow. I am eternally thankful for friends like Lindsay who live pretty much right next door to Toronto Island Airport. I arrive in Toronto with no problems, get myself a good night’s sleep and wake up ready for adventure.

Check flight – some delays.

UGH. No f*cking way. The threat of an ice storm in the New York vicinity is causing Porter Airlines to condense their flight schedule. I make the decision to head to the airport and meet Betty there and try and get on an earlier flight so at least we are in the city not worrying one bit if we can’t get out. Works like a charm, and no charge for changing flights either…..sweet!

Security on the other hand isn’t so easy. Porter Airlines is mainly a business class airline shuttling business types between Toronto, Boston, New York and Chicago. Two women travelling with no brief case, no business attire going to New York City for the day is apparently suspicious. We get tagged for full-on body scan and baggage search. They find nothing, because we are good girls and we are on our merry way. Side note: Porter Ginger cookies are the best and not just because they are free.

We get on the plane, get seated and continue to bounce in our seats from excitement. No wait that was turbulence! It was a bouncy ride the entire way to Newark…and not the good kind of bounce. Our descent seemed like eons, I do suspect anticipation was holding the clock still. We get through customs with no real problems, small rookie mistake of being slightly too chatty with the customs officer. I will forever adhere to the First Rule of Customs Chit Chat – THERE IS NO CHIT CHAT. Thankfully dude was as charming as charming
can be when you are in ‘customs’. Again, I suspect anticipation to be the culprit.

The train, oh the lovely retro train into Penn Station, it’s not the clickety clack type train that Sheldon Cooper loves, and likely we weren’t sitting in the optimal seats but we were just lucky to be seated. We arrive at Penn Station. Having been in this location previously I take charge and lead Betty along. Betty’s thoughts upon arrival “The NYC subway is CRAZY. And damp when it rains. Like crazy damp/wet. And dirty. It’s interesting that everything is so old and interesting, but it’s so DIRTY. And the decay is crazy. And the subway is filled with cops (in some cases, hot cops). And I’m eternally grateful for iPhone apps that help you with the subways because it puts Toronto’s 2-line system to shame. The good thing is neither Lila nor I had any moments of panic or anything when we got turned around. It was all very chill and “meh, let’s just backtrack a bit.”

My reflections on those moments leading up to and arriving in New York City now nine months later are strange. I do love the spontaneity but it doesn’t seem like a trip two thirtysomething-year-olds with kids(dogs), husbands, mortgages and that day-to-day life embark on. I think that is what makes it strangely special that it’s seemingly out-of-the-ordinary for woman like Betty and myself to even want to do a whirlwind trip like this, and it takes me back to a ‘moment’ that is significant. It’s an 11:59 moment that I didn’t know I had until reflecting right here, right now. Mrs. Wilson, Grade 11 art class, BCI – she was ‘that’ teacher, her job was to teach me the fundamentals of art, but she guided me creatively, she gave me the foundation for living in the moment. I arrived one day in class with red hair, a nice mahogany. I remember her watching me from across the room and sauntering over as I layered the thick oil paint onto canvas. She put on that art teacher look and examined my work and said “I really like the red” as she looked at the canvas. I was painting with blue. I looked at her from the corner of my eye perplexed and she continued “the hair, not the paint. I see you as the girl that keeps them guessing, just when they figure you out you go and change”. Nothing else was said but that is a moment that will live with me until the day I die, an 11:59. Perhaps my ramblings about Mrs. Wilson’s prophecies are a way of connecting the dots, connecting my youth to those moments on the night of January 18, 2011 more than 20 years later.

As we wandered around Penn Station looking for the train to take us to the vintage store that I had decided would be a fun addition to our day in the city I got a little cocky. Got on the train, the right train, got off at the right location, and then it started to turn. The store was nowhere to be found. Frantically we wander back and forth between a two to three block radius….in the rain no less. I made no ‘notes’ this trip, no intinerary….just Betty, me and my trusty phone. I realize as I look at the website for the vintage store on the small screen of my iPhone – I’m not all that and a bag of chips when it comes to navigation and travelling in a very large city. The store location – Brooklyn – not Manhattan. Lesson learned, Plan B in affect.

Plan B was non-existent, so we improvise. Jump in a cab and head to the area of Webster Hall. Food at this point is necessary. We find a noodle house and stuff our faces, drink a little and dry out (from the rain, we are drinking cocktails). Time starts to get the better of us and we leave, find a place to charge phones (Starbucks), then because this particular coffee house has the most disgusting bathrooms ever we wander again in search of a pleasant facility in order to change. Nordstom’s is the place to be….quite lovely.

We get to Webster Hall, get in line, get into the venue, and beeline for the bar and get a cocktail. Gambit plays first. The energy was amazing and both Betty and I were thrilled to see them live after many many rotations of their songs on our iPods. Lyle chatted with us after their set and thanked us for coming out early to see them. Well of course we were, he sent me stickers in the mail and we tagged Toronto with Gambit QR codes, it was mandatory that we be there in time to see this set. We sing along ‘don’t you keep your feet on the ground’……we live by this everyday. Gambit gives away tunes right now, so I suggest you click here www.gambitofficial.com and download now. Twitter feeds gambitofficial and email teasers suggest new music coming really really soon.

Hesta Prynn, the sexy flaming redhead that can sing, rap and dance, was up next. Describing Hesta Prynn and her music in one word ‘stylin’ – she’s uber cool and can belt it out. She’s describes herself on her website “I’m a child of the ’90s. I take all of these different sounds, influences and genres and come up with something cohesive and tangible. We kept calling it ‘post-everything.’ It’s post-hipster, post-genre and post-pop.” We’ve talked about her many times at Beat & Lyric, and it’s because we love her, she is fabulous. Many HP tunes are on my running playlist and now my EP even says ‘run fast’. Thank you HP, you get me up so many hills. There is much talk of new tunes on her twitter feed @hestaprynnmusic and her website www.hestaprynn.com Please check her out, you won’t be disappointed.

Band # 3, Hot Chelle Rae. While I liked them and looked them up after the show, I must say that they didn’t stick with me. They had a good set and it helped build anticipation within the crowd. I’m still not sure over 9 months later why they didn’t stick, perhaps they are a bit too pop, too much like everything else out there and there wasn’t a connection between me the concert goer and them the band. The other two openers were already on my iPod, they were friends and part of the inner-circle of the main attraction – Ryan Star – so perhaps I am discounting them for lack of knowing. Don’t let me influence you though, check them out www.hotchellerae.com

The main event – www.rstar.net Ryan’s set is EXPLOSIVE. After years of me wondering if I was insane to have this connection the music, always thinking perhaps I was delusional, perhaps it wasn’t as ‘good’ as I thought it was…..there was Betty transfixed and totally being drawn in by the music, by the passion. It was a moment of vindication and I was squealing with delight – it may even have been out loud. The set (thanks @videethis) Brand New Day, Right Now, 11:59, Waiting for Love, Last Train Home, Breathe, Psycho Suicidal Girls, The One You Know, Take a Ride, We Can Work it Out (nice Beatles tribute), Start a Fire, then the encore of Sink or Swim and Back of your Car, although somewhere in there was Losing My Religion came out, I know I heard it. I can’t say I hated any of it (and why would I?), the Beatles cover was a nice surprise but honestly I would have rather one my Youtube favourites that I have seen Ryan pull of – Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows. I suppose too melancholy for such an intense show? If the first three songs were a blur, then Waiting for Love snapped me back to reality, I still feel that song resonate through my ribcage from the night – the anticipation as it began, the arrangement live turns this ‘notsofavouriteonthealbumtune’ into one of the best of Ryan’s in live performance. I want to label this my favourite of the night, I want to but 9ish months later it’s hard to pinpoint, can I get a rewind and play again to make sure? I will remain non-commital.

Here is “Breathe” from that night straight from my iPhone.

Fast Forward to after the set.

Ryan is immediately at the Merchandise table to meet and greet fans (it’s his thing). We sort of stay back a bit but weasel up in a different direction. We are standing there watching him chit chat with others, sign things etc. He’s getting pulled in every direction because there are so many people that are friends, his family is there too. He was very gracious and did what he could to keep up.

At one point when I was standing RIGHT next to him the security person from the venue starts separating the crowd and telling them there will be no more – they want to close. Ryan of course pipes up “don’t yell at them please” then directs his attention to the herd getting booted “stick around outside, I will be out soon and will sign and chit chat more out there’.

My thoughts are no way am I waiting around in the rain so I grab his arm (nicely) and put my hand in his and say “He Ryan, we met back in Toronto when you played there, we flew in for your show tonight”. His jawdrops and he says “you came all the way from Canada?” then pulls his hand out of mine and gives me a hug.

He signs my CD cover, takes a photo, does the same with Betty and then thanks us for coming all that way. At this point I decide to go in for the kill.

Dino, I thank you for this.

I said “Ryan, I’m not sure how much you know about the lecture series that you may have a potential invite for at McGill in Montreal”. He looks at me with intrigue and then I say “my friend is the one that works there and I am the one that had her submit your name’.

Again the jawdrop. He says “THAT WAS YOU? Your awesome for doing that, I love when my fans do stuff like that” (insert giant hug #2 – not that I was counting).

At this point he says “there is an after party, Canada needs to come” pointing at me and Beth. Beth of course got her hugs too….as she was a ‘show virgin’ as he put it. I asked him where the ‘after party’ was and I he said ‘I will let you know’ but apparently he said “I will tweet the address”. He did tweet the address for others, and of course we made our way there.

I’m not going to bore you with the details of the after-party, how we made our way on foot there, or Ryan leading a band of young girls too young for the after-party outside the show in a thrilling rendition of “Oh Canada” but I will say a few things about Ryan’s amazing friends. Stoney is quite the conversationalist and I was glad to chat with him again, Serena is a sweet-heart and I am glad that we still connect online from time to time since this show.

I do want to tell you about our adventure after the after-party though. The cab ride to Newark was stinky, Mr. Cab Driver had the worst gas…..hard to sleep through. Homeless poets wondering the Food Court make for good stories and giving him the last of our US money likely bought us some karma with security coming back to Canada. Canadian Customs are just as suspicious of our travel habits as the guards entering the US. Good girls have nothing to worry about, even if they don’t declare the concert shirts and CDs they purchased (well one was a freebie).

A new adventure is on the horizon. Betty and I are making our way to Erie Pennsylvania to see Ryan open for the Goo Goo Dolls, shopping will happen this trip and we will subject two friends (if I can find any that don’t suck) to an RStar show, we will make them drink the cool-aid.

I leave you with a promise, a promise that Betty Beat will post a list, a giant list of her thoughts on the NYC overnight R-Star adventure. I know she will, and if she doesn’t then I will sell her ticket to the next adventure to the highest bidder 😉

~Lila Lyric


Running To Stand Still – my playlist nightmare

Today is a holiday in Canada.  I have no idea why but for some people it’s a STAT day, some others it is not.  I have today off with pay (my boss is da man – woot woot).  I may have mentioned previously in a post that I’m a runner.  I’m not a fast runner, nor am I a seasoned runner but I run.  In the spring I trained for a half marathon and I completed it.  Tough, I hung my shoes up and took a sabbatical until today.  Bad idea. 

My Run Lila Run Playlist was out-of-date.  THE HORROR!!!!!!!!!  While my feet may have picked up speed when Queen’s Fat Bottomed Girls came on, and I tried to keep my ‘feet off the ground’ for Gambit it just seemed a little forced and if I’m going to keep running I need a new playlist to boot.  If I’m being honest, this running gig is a bit more about vanity than anything.  I have set a goal to drop 10 pounds (plus the few I put on during my sabbatical) and yes, sure it’s for the health of it, but I have a tripped to Cuba, a wonderful cruise around the island booked in December.

So here I am hoping that Betty and maybe some other quiet but friendly blog readers out there will suggest a tune or two for my playlist.  I’ve also seen the wonders of iTunes Genius playlists, but my good I’d have to dedicated a week or two to sort and fix my iTunes library, everything needs to be categorized!  I wish I had the time, as the Genius feature is well….genius.

Here’s my start:

  • Juliette &  The Licks – Hot Kiss
  • RHCP – Taste The Pain (staple on my run)
  • Hesta Prynn – You Winding Me Up
  • Ryan Star – Start a Fire (power song)
  • Florence + The Machine – Dogs Days are Over
  • Shake it Out – Manchester Orchestra
  • Company of Thieves – Death of Communication
  • Marlena Shaw – California Soul
  • The Naked & Famous – Young Bloods

Thanks in advance for your input, here is a taste of my new fave song and one that I hope will be great to run to next time I’m out.  I’m still waiting for iTunes Canada to pick up this album, in the meantime I’ve ordered a hard copy.  Enjoy!


An 11:59 (Part One)

Today I spend less time worrying about what people think of me. I’ve realized there are few on this earth that get me and those that don’t I hope don’t judge and those that judge are insignificant in my life and won’t likely make my circle.

I like the word hipster, it sounds like someone I’d want to know, even though I think labels are useless the word hipster appeals to me. I’m not a hipster, I’m ok with that. I admit to giggling at the non-trends that so-called hipsters follow, it’s now trendy to be non-trendy and it’s always a competition to find the coolest most exotic and weird things out there, especially with music. I’ve been caught in that trap and I listened to some horrible tunes because they were perceived as cool. I’m done with that. It’s all about me now.

I’ve decided to let my ears, my heart, and my urge to chair dance dictate my likes and dislikes in music. The category that the tunes fall into is irrelevant and only will be used to search out the song to purchase it for replay. If my right butt cheek starts to bop up and down while seated, if my shoulders begin to sway, if my foot begins to tap and my head begins to bob then the tune is worthy in my little world. There is no shame in listening to Top 40 tunes and no shame in listening to country (really did I just type that?)….the only shame is listening to song you don’t like because of the perception of being cool. My ear is my own and I will own my preferences. I’m 38-years-old and the lesson has been on-going since I hit about 30, I’m finally passing with an A+.

In 2006 I tuned into yet another reality type TV show, Rockstar Supernova. I did so to support a Canadian artist who had made the cut. My quiet Canadian patriotism always comes to the surface when a musician or artist is showcased on the American airwaves. The other reason I watched – Jason Newstead – major teenage crush and love of long-haired bass players. What evolved while watching this show was not what I expected…at.all. I did not expect to become so attached to a musician that I become a cheerleader for him. Episode Two was a hook, line and sinker moment. I did not expect to put myself out there on websites and fan pages looking for voting to keep this guy on the stage. I joined Rockband Lounge – a website dedicated to the show where fans could get to know each other and chat and find out more about the artist they loved. Much to my surprise I found that the musician’s friends and family were joining in the chat and putting themselves out there with support. At this point I had already ordered previous CDs and found every tune on the internet and joined the musician’s forum on his website. I was quiet at first…but by Episode 5 I became vocal.

I want to say Ryan Star had me at ‘Hello’, as that would be witty and funny but he didn’t cover that song, his buddy David Cook did – but that’s another story. Ryan had me long before ‘oh life is bigger’…but that is the moment where I went from ‘oh this guy is cool’ – to – ‘oh this guy is freaking phenomenal’. I remember even Mr. Lyric was impressed and he was a hardcore Dilana fan (don’t get me started).
I don’t feel the need to go into the history of the show or jump into what happened from there, it’s pretty irrelevant in the grand scheme of this blog. It served a purpose, it introduced me the rstar world and am forever grateful. After Ryan was eliminated he toured. He toured extensively. Thankfully Toronto was a stop on the tour.

That first show, and meeting him and chatting with him prior to the show at the radio station and HMV where he gave an in-store performance solidified the ‘obsession’. Yes I recognize the obsession. He became real at that moment. Chatting with his friends and support team wasn’t just about being a fan, it was about meeting truly genuine people who were supporting a friend and intrigued by the droves of people there to see this phenomenon. I sensed that they got it, that they were privy to how it worked and treated each and every fan accordingly. I sensed no fakeness, no pretentiousness from anyone on the rstar team.

I have this quirk when meeting people, mostly meeting people that have some sort of notoriety. People like Ryan Star meet fans and new people every single day of their lives. From my limited experience it seems he is pretty good at being genuinely interested in each and every person, but I realize that most of them will be forgetful or that the faces and stories merge into one. I have this urge to stand out, this urge to be remembered. Natural I guess, but it’s something I am constantly striving for and it almost crushes me when someone I have met before (in any walk of life) says ‘oh I don’t remember meeting you’. It something I don’t understand, perhaps it’s my photographic memory and having a great ability to remember names and faces. The quirk to be remembered is that I plant a seed within that person so that the next time I see them or speak with them I can reference that seed. Sometimes the seed grows, sometimes it withers and dies. The first time I met Ryan he asked if we had any requests for the show. I dug the hole and planted the seed right then and there. I blurted out ‘Rainbow Connection’. I think I threw him for a loop. Here he is north of the border in Canada and some random chick asks him to sing the song from the Muppet Movie. He did the puppy dog head-tilt and look at me and said ‘how did you know that’. Michelle, his friend and part of his crew started to laugh and said ‘you must be on Rockband Lounge’. She of course had posted months before about Ryan liking to cover songs like ‘Rainbow Connection’ and other out-of-the ordinary tunes at his shows. He indulged me and sang a line from the song – he however did not sing it at the show that night. What I hoping for in that seed is that perhaps next time around I will be able to say ‘I’m the girl who requested Rainbow Connection at your Toronto show way back when’ and it will spark a memory. Silly, yes, but it makes me feel better knowing that I am remembered in some eensie weensie bitty way.

The Toronto show that night at Lee’s Palace (iconic Toronto venue – but somewhat stinky place, literally) was amazing, the energy was intense, but now we need to fast forward. The megafandom did not fade with time, it did not fade with the waiting and waiting and waiting (yes were all waiting) for the official release of 11:59. Each step that Ryan took was out there in cyber world from the day he left the show to being signed with Atlantic, to jumping on tour with David Cook, to the day the cd finally hit the stores.

The way artist promote and keep in contact with fans today is a phenomenon, it’s a life unto itself and it amazes me. Perhaps it my age and living through a major twist in how music comes to fans, but the connection between fan and artist is totally different than 20 years ago. When I first picked up Pearl Jam’s Ten it was all about seeing Eddie Vedder on Much Music and in video form, there was no website to stalk, no twitter feeds to follow, no Facebook group to LIKE. Ryan and the rstar team have their finger on the pulse as the beat of the rstar fan vibe strengthens. I attribute their touch and their connection with us fans as what keeps that beat going. I’m sure it’s a tough world to live in being on the verge of the ‘big time’.

From my perspective I see Ryan’s journey as a marathon, the first one out of the gate doesn’t win the race, it’s not even a race to win really, it’s about going the distance and pushing yourself forward. The pace he has set, the pace his team is keeping him on is all the momentum that is needed ‘right now’.

I write this piece to do my part in the momentum and hopes that even one follower of mine will see what I see, hear what I hear.

I leave you now with a promise of posting the “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” adventure where Betty & I take a whirl wind trip to NYC to see Ryan Star and friends (Hesta Prynn and Gambit) perform at Webster Hall. Promises of ice storm adventures, Porter Flights in the dark of night with free wine, bad navigational skills, yummy food talk, expensive shooters, great great music and energy, meeting all the right people, and even some poetic justice in the Newark Airport at 4:00am.
Ciao,
Lila.


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