Tag Archives: nostalgia

The Art of RSTAR

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I spend the better part of my days having typical conversations, in a typical world of ‘checking in and out’.  For that reason I have key people in my life that I go to so they can push me beyond the mundane and trigger the art within me.  On Earth Day nonetheless, I sat down virtually with Ryan Star, hoping and craving that he would indulge me with an “atypical” conversation rather than just another interview.

 

“I’m a fan of not-typical – like you – I’m not interested in checking in and checking out and checking in…” he says which elevates my confidence in the ‘interview’ format I chose for today’s conversation.  In this last month as the winter slowly comes to a close here in Muskoka (it takes a while in these Canadian parts) and spring starts to peak out from the dirt I start to ponder new indulgences into my own creativeness.  I’m not one to share my ‘art’ in the traditional sense; I don’t give it out willingly like a musician shares music with fans or a painter having a show at a gallery.  The ebb and flow of creating in any medium can be a struggle. I’ve always been curious how Ryan stays inspired to write songs and create his ‘art’.  I ask about his people and how it seems from my view that he surrounds himself with artistic characters:

 

“All the colours and the people come into my mind of who I’m thinking about….I like the uniqueness and specialness of people, when I watch Seinfeld and Kramer comes in the door like that and rockin’ through – in real life people are ‘like that fucking guy, the neighbor is so annoying’ – well I love it, I embrace that, that’s different, that’s fun, that’s special – it keeps it fresh.  With my friends, the people I surround myself with, they are atypical, they don’t fall into that standard, but the other thing is they aren’t off-the-wall crazy creative where they can’t function in reality creative”

 

“the creative ones pop up and I use them – but more importantly I’ve learned from an early age that just because the guy has a Grammy or a credit or whatever to his name doesn’t make them better than my friend who lives next door who’s just fresh and doesn’t care. I see talent in people and when I see that, I try and harness it”

 

This attitude is genuine and ‘very refreshing’ (tm Kramer); if I had a Junior Mint nearby I would have offered one to Ryan.   As an artist I truly believe that Ryan has an interesting way of seeing his world, it has a huge influence on how he has developed his craft over the last three albums.  I don’t believe he sees anything he’s done as a mistake “I willingly did things outside of my comfort zone to test the boundaries of what I’m willing to do and who I’m willing to be as an artist.…I went far and it was interesting. I now understand that.  But I like this more and I’m going to stay in this world more.  Legends can tell you that it’s the third record that they realize who they were.  It takes a second of going left and right until you finally bowl that strike.”

 

Ryan describes what he is doing now with Angels & Animals as a “modern version of Elephant”. He speaks passionately saying “I call it Nineties 2.0 – I’m proud of bringing back a rawness in such a computer world, try to bring back the heart, the same reason why kids want to hear records on vinyl, bring back the experience of listening to music.  I didn’t sign up to play musak or just one single, I didn’t sign up for that……I didn’t make this record thinking I should go play the game.”  As a fan, and one that follows closely, I will speak for the lot of us – we are glad Ryan isn’t playing the game – we want to hear what he wants to play.

 

Ryan goes on to say “the cool thing is I have you [fans] on the other end…when you are first starting you do it for yourself. Then you do it for the potential audience, and now I have an audience – it doesn’t matter small or big, I know who I’m singing to now.”  I interrupt and let it be known that we want him to do it for him – that’s what we want to hear.  Ryan poignantly jumps in and says “but at least I know what you like and it helps me get confident in what I like, because what you like happens to be what I like.  It’s very simple and it’s awesome….a lot of this record was done like that.  The rule was – if we think it’s good – it’s good.  If I like it, that’s it, I like it.  There was no editing, no 10 takes, you have one take to get this, but I’ll give you three takes.”

 

The refreshingness continues and I long for a Junior Mint.

 

He is very much a visual artist who translates what he sees into his music.  ‘This is How I See It’ is one of those sayings that is a constant reminder to me and one that pops up in my life often – it is the title of the biography of artist and photographer David Hockney, who has been a huge influence on how I look at my world.  Environment will influence and impact anyone’s life – creativity, mood, and general well-being, whether it is the Canadian Shield, or the pristine lakes of Muskoka in my case, or the Manhattan skyline Ryan gets to see every day, or the street art flanking the buildings in Brooklyn.

 

When asked about the ‘art’ that Ryan gravitates towards outside of music:

 

“Lately it is street art, and we talked about creative persons and this is someone that didn’t fall into my lap – I had to will to find this person.  His name is Pixote…he’s a street artist around Brooklyn and if you come here you will see his shit everywhere (themrpix on Instagram).  Every building has his tag.  It’s not what he is painting, it’s how he’s doing it and where he’s doing it.  There is something to it…it’s very tribal.  I literally looked up one day and thought  – I have to find this guy.  Next thing I know he’s doing the art with me on the album and has become a friend.  It also turned out that he was in a rock band that opened up for my band Stage years ago, the connections were pretty incredible.

 

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Pixote is the epitome of underground NYC subculture, and Ryan has gone back the basics with Angels & Animals releasing this album without major label support: he says ‘the music consistently follows my environment more than I create the music’.  The artistic connections between these two artists goes beyond the inner 12-year-old boy and his skateboard.  They are both purists with their art forms, indie musician and elusive graffiti artist.  The collaboration on Angels & Animals has these over-lapping subcultures creating a raw version of the rstar entity that jumps back to ‘elephant’, and at the same time launches Ryan Star miles forward.

 

What is good and who decides?  I’m in the midst of an ABC Playlist project and how could I not ask Ryan to contribute?  As my list is a work in progress there was no harm in skipping ahead to R – for rstar.  We decided that he’d give me five songs – what he’s listening to…what he can throw at me in this particular moment.  Of course he defers to songs on the cover challenge and we agree those are a good start but he still needs to give me five.  Here they are….

 

R is for RSTAR

  • Frank Ocean – Bad Religion
  • The National – Fireproof
  • Bon Iver – Perth
  • Band of Horses – No Ones Gonna Love You (although he gave me the choice of this or Is There A Ghost – both equally great songs)
  • Matthew Good – Strange Days “for the Canadians” he says. We had a lengthy discussion about our mutual love of Matt Good.  Strange Days is the song that led Ryan to MG (not his favourite, which he never did divulge)

 

And the songs from the cover challenge if you aren’t familiar with it…..

 

Challenge Songs

  • Tori Amos – Crucify
  • Pixies – Where is My Mind?
  • Pearl Jam – Black
  • Tool – Sober
  • Lorde -Team
  • Chvrches – The Mother We Share
  • Bastille – Overjoyed
  • The 1975 – Chocolate
  • Imagine Dragons – Demons
  • Leonard Cohen – If It Be Your Will

 

If at the end of the cover challenge Ryan says ‘fuck it I’m covering xxx’ then you know that he took to heart my granting him permission to rig it.  Blame Canada – it’s been done before!

 

The challenge talk turned into full-on music chat about The Pixies and the fact that they were one of the first bands I saw live way back when, loving the music we grew up on and trying to engage the younger generation.  Ryan says “I’d love to talk to the 16-year-olds right now and get them into cool shit” and he speaks with excitement about showing his younger cousin the way with artists like Jeff Buckley.  The generational connection we have is clear – we like many of the same artists, support the same causes (see dog rescue information below), and we see the world around us uniquely.  Perhaps this is the Gen-X way of living in 2014?  The years in which we came of age shaped us all into the people we are now – connecting us all with the music, art and lifestyle from our past.  Nostaglia is present, and when you experience the full circle – second time around effect – you see how it was the first with clarity and the phenomenon of ‘enlightenment’ is very refreshing. (I just couldn’t help myself with that one)

 

The conversation turns into an all-out Canadian geography lesson explaining the location of cottage country and the venue “The Kee To Bala” where Matt Good plays every summer. “I love Matt, he’s my favourite.  He’s amazing.  I chatted with him on the phone for a few hours.  He knows more about American politics than I do.  We were talking about him producing some songs off Songs for the Eye of an Elephant and then I went on a TV show.  Sliding doors, you know”  GAH!!!  Imagine that, a MG/RSTAR collaboration.  Maybe someday?  A girl can dream…..

 

“You need to say ‘Ryan wants to come hang’ next time we are in the area. We’ll make a detour, I really want check it out….I need to get a gig at The Kee, that would be sweet”  is how Ryan closes the conversation.

 

I’m holding you to that, Mr. Star.

 

Cheers,

 

LisaO. @lila_lyric

 


Playlist Progress

I’m nearly there naming all 26 alphabet playlists. I wanted to share with you my 80’s playlist which isn’t actually part of the alphabet playlist (yet) but spawned from a fun night on facebook with new and old friends throwing out their fav 80’s tunes. The plan for the 80’s playlist is to morph into the N spot – Nine – this is me in Grade Nine, which will me more of an early high school playlist of late 80’s tunes.

But for now here is the playlist that I call ‘Pynx’ after the all-ages night club I went to and heard some of these songs for the first time!

Alphabetical Order of course!!

ABC – Poison Arrow
Alphaville – Forever Young
Animotion – Obsession
Asia – Heat of the Moment
The Bangles – Hazy Shade of Winter
The Beastie Boys – She’s Crafty
The Beastie Boys – Girls
Blondie – One Way or Another
Bonnie Tyler – I need a Hero
Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart
Bootsauce – Masterstroke

Bow Wow Wow – I want Candy
Boys Don’t Cry – I Wanna Be a Cowboy
Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy
Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA
Buggles – Video Killed the Radio Star
C&C Music Factory – Gonna Make you Sweat
The Cars – Drive
The Cars – My Bestfriend’s Girl
The Church – Under the Milky Way
Cindy Lauper – True Colours
Cindy Lauper – Time After Time
Cindy Lauper – Girls just Wanna have Fun
Concrete Blonde – Joey
Corey Hart – Sunglasses at night
Cowboy Junkies – Misguided Angel

Crowded House – Don’t Dream it’s Over
Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
The Cure – Pictures of You
The Cure – Just like Heaven
The Cure – Why Can’t I Be You?

Cutting Crew – I Just Died in Your Arms
David Bowie – Heros
Dead or Alive – You Spin Me Round
Debbie Deb – When I hear Music
Deee-Lite – Groove is in the Heart

Depeche Mode – Behind the Wheel
Depeche Mode – People are People
Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence
Devo – whip it
Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come on Eileen
Duran Duran – Rio
Duran Duran – Hungry Like The Wolf
Eddie Murphy – Party all the Time
The English Beat – Mirror in the Bathroom

Eurythmics – Would I Lie to You?
Flashdance – What A Feeling
Footloose – Let’s Hear it for the Boy
General Public – Tenderness

The Go Go’s – Our Lips are Sealed
The Go Go’s – We Got the Beat
Grandmaster Flash – The Message
The Gruesomes – Hey
Heart – Alone
Heart – What About Love
Howard Jones – No one is to Blame
Huevos Rancheros – Get Outta Dodge
In a Big Country – Big Country
Iron Maiden – Run to the Hills
Jackson Five – I Want you Back
Jane Siberry – Mimi on the Beach

Janet Jackson – Nasty
Jefferson Starship – We Built this City
Jesus & Mary Chain – Just Like Honey
Joan Jett – I Love Rock n’ Roll
John Cougar Mellencamp – Jack and Diane\
John Cougar Mellencamp – Crumblin’ Down
John Waite – Missing You
Kate Bush – Running up that Hill
Kim Wilde – Kids in America
Love & Rockets – Ball of Confusion

Madonna – Crazy for you
Martha & the Muffins – Echo Beach
Men At Work – Who can it Be Now
Michael Jackson – Billie Jean
Micheal Jackson – Wanna Be Startin’ Something
Midge Ure – If I was
Midnight Oil – Beds are Burning
Modern English – I’ll Melt with You
Mr. Mister – Broken Wings
Nena – 99 Luftballoons
New Order – True Faith
New Order – Bizzare Love Triangle

New Order – Temptation
Oingo Boingo – Weird Science
Olivia Newton-John – Physical
Pat Benatar – Love is a Battlefield
Patrick Swayze – She’s Like the Wind
Paula Abdul – Rush, Rush
Pet Shop Boys – Always on my Mind
Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes
Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight
Platinum Blonde – It Doesn’t Really Matter

Platinum Blonde – Not in Love
The Pointer Sisters – Neutron Dance
The Police – Can’t Stand Losing
The Police – Don’t Stand so Close to Me

The Police – Every little Thing She Does is Magic
Prince – Let’s go Crazy
Prince – I would Die 4 U
Prince – Purple Rain
Prince – When Doves Cry
Prince – 1999
Pyschedelic Furs – Heaven
The Pursuit of Happiness – She’s So Young
Queen – Fat Bottomed Girls
REM – Superman
REM – Radio Free Europe

Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock – It Takes Two
Robert Palmer – Addicted to Love
Run DMC – It’s Tricky
Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet – Having an Average Weekend
Sheena Easton – 9 to 5
Sigue Sigue Sputnik – Love Missile F-11
Sigue Sigue Sputnik – 21st Century Boy
Simple Minds – Alive and Kicking
Simply Red – Holding Back the Years
Sinead O’Connor – Mandinka

Slade – Run Run Away
The Smiths – The Queen is Dead
The Smiths – This Charming Man
The Smiths – How Soon is Now?

Soft Cell – Tainted Love
Spandau Ballet – True
The Spoons – Nova Heart
Specials – A Message to Rudy
Split Enz – Romantic Traffic
Sugarcubes – Birthday
Talking Heads – And She Was
Talking Heads – Burning Down the House

Talking Heads – Once in a Lifetime
Tears for Fears – Change
Technotronic – Pump up the Jam
Thomas Dolby – She Blinded Me with Science
Thompson Twins – Hold Me Now
Til Tuesday – Voices Carry
Tina Turner – What’s Love Got to Do with it
Tone Loc – Wild Thing
Tone Loc – Funky Cold Medina
Toto – Africa
Toni Basil – Mickey
U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday

U2 – With or Without You
Ultravox – Dancing with Tears in My Eyes
Van Halen – Jump
Violent Femmes – Blister in the Sun
Wall of Voodoo – Mexican Radio
Whale – Hobo Humpin Slobo Babe

Wham – Wake Me up Before you Go go
XTC – Dear God
Young MC – Bust a Move


The Art of the Album

Feeling the nostalgia bug again this week.  I’m sure it stemmed from weekend conversations with friends.  I remembered yesterday that I wanted to touch on what an ‘album’ is in this day and age.  The digital music revolution has changed how we listen to music, how we talk about music and how we obtain and distribute music.  What is an album?  Is it a collection of music on either a ‘record’, compact disc, cassette tape, 8-track or other such media?  Is the new album that you download an ‘e-album’ the same way you read an eBook?  I get so confused by this ever-changing terminology.  A ‘record’ to me is vinyl visually….but maybe a record is a ‘recording’ and the medium on which it is ‘recorded’ can be all different formats.  I assume yes.

This train of thought leads me a conversation with Ryan Star.  Of course I made my way to his two shows in Montreal and Toronto over the last extended weekend.  Of course I did.  My short show review = fabulous but way too short, I’m in need of another headline show.  But this isn’t about the show, the set list, the energy, the rstar vibe, it was all there and I’m thrilled that I was in the house for both Canadian dates.  This blog today is about song listing on albums (I’m calling the collection albums because it makes the most sense to me).  Ryan took the time to chat with myself, Betty and our fabulously fashionable and cool friend Deb (@realyeo) outside Lee’s Palace in Toronto.  I think being in that neighbourhood, being in that venue sparked some serious nostalgia vibes for me, its crazy how fast memories of shows and crazy nights in the Annex come wafting back so very very fast.  I’m trying to remember if it was Dinosaur Jr. or Buffalo Tom I first saw at Lee’s.  Maybe it was neither…maybe it was both…..I don’t really know.  I do know that I danced my ass off at the Dance Cave upstairs…..that I know for sure.

The conversation with Ryan turned to his intentions with his future recordings.  He mentioned his love of the vibe of ‘Elephant’ (his first solo ‘album’ – Songs for the Eye of an Elephant) and how he wants to get back to that place with the next record.  He also mentioned how painful it was to take 4 years to put out 11:59…..dude we know we waited with you!  From this I took to mean that he wants a more raw approach to his recordings, showing more vulnerability.  I’m thrilled as this is who he is and who I see him as and why I’m drawn to his music.  Don’t get me wrong 11:59 is a great collection of songs and I love it but what I’m about to touch on as the art of an ‘album’ doesn’t quite apply, at least as I see and experience it.

The first time I heard ‘Elephant’ all the way through from Track 1 to 20, I was driving.  I had received the CD in the mail and popped it into my car stereo before a lone road trip south to Toronto.  The first leg of my drive is somewhat remote, I love this part because I can zone out and listen to tunes.  

What I love most about listening to a collection of songs in the order the artist placed them is when it becomes less about the individual song and more about the album as a whole.  A great album captures you and keeps you entranced from beginning to end.  ‘Elephant’ did this for me, I may have sped that day, I may have made it to my destination in record time…..my god I love driving fast, and it’s usually the fault of good loud music that drives me lead foot.

A blog wouldn’t be a blog without a list.  Right?  I’ve added a list of albums that have gripped me, grabbed me by the throat and choked me so that I have to breathe through my ears.  Each note, each word sung from beginning to end, enter into my brain, my blood, and my breath.  I look at these albums and see an entire book, each song plays a part, each song is a chapter and the story isn’t complete with one missing.  For me these artists have mastered the art of the album.  I’d like to see Ryan strive to take his next album to this level.  I believe it is there, that Elephant was the beginning, 11:59 has it, but The America EP proves the art is in him.  I can’t wait to see what is next.

So here is my 12, some old, some newer, some classic and in no particular order.  Please comment and add your own as I would love to discover more albums that choke me.

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon

 

I don’t think anyone will argue with me on this choice.  Pink Floyd are masters of the concept albums and Dark side of the Moon does not fail, beginning to end it is a masterpiece.

Radiohead – The Bends

Radiohead take art rock to a new level.  Thom Yorke doesn’t right songs, he writes albums. This 1995 release is hands down my favourite Radiohead album and gives me a cosmic release as I listen; it is an orgasm for my ears.  In Rainbows should be on this list too, but in choosing between Radiohead albums I have to give it to The Bends.

Buffalo Tom – Let Me Come Over

Let Me Come Over is a rollercoaster ride.  The track listing is up down and all around, that by track 6 I’m out of breath and then Larry hits you in the chest.  Best Buffalo Tom song ever, right smack in the middle of the LMCO, perfect.

Dinosaur Jr. – Where You Been

J Mascis squeals from beginning to end with his voice, and with his guitar.  Dino Jr. isn’t for everyone, but they’ve kept my attention for 20 years and WYB and Green Mind are albums that need to be listened to from beginning to end to appreciate the wonder of J Mascis.

Florence + The Machine – Lungs

This is the most current album on my list.  Florence stabbed me in the ears early on with Cosmic Love and I didn’t actually acquire the entire album of Lungs right away.  I downloaded Dog Days as a single and soon after realized what I was missing.  Lungs is a brilliant album and Florence is an album artist, Ceremonials their second album release does much the same.

Pearl Jam – Ten

Do I really need to explain?  1991 seems like such a long time ago.  I wouldn’t change a thing on this album but it seems the band would love to remix it…..leave it alone please please please.

Portishead – Dummy

Clearly ‘Dummy’ is more an album than the songs are songs individually.  The album really leaves you ‘numb’ and ‘it could be sweet’ so don’t be a ‘dummy’ and go down the ‘roads’ and listen intently from beginning to end or I will kick you in the ‘glory box’.

Moby – Play

Play is weird.  Weird is good.  If you listen to only one song weird will just be well…..weird.  Play is a story of weird and Moby is the lead character.  Throw in a Gwen Stefani and you’ve got a hit, even if she’s a minor minor character. 

Peter Gabriel – Us

 ‘Us’ might not be people’s first choice in PG album. The narrative is so personal and not listening to the album in its entirety is being rude to Mr. Gabriel, he’s pouring his heart out and giving you a piece of him so listen and feel or I will punch you for him.

The The – Dusk

Don’t ask me anything about The The.  I know who they are, where they are from a bit about their history but this is the only album I have any connection to by the band.  It just sort of fell into my lap and became the late night dark room music of us budding photography students way back in 1993.  The melancholy here was perfect, the gloom is actually uplifting at least for me as an avid beginning to end ‘Dusk’ listener.  I cannot pick a favourite track on this album, I just can’t do it.  This is my perfect example of the art of the album, and I will go out on a limb and make it my #1.

Jane’s Addiction – Ritual De Lo Habitual

If you don’t see the genius that is Perry Farrell than stop reading.  Ritual is actually two stories, if you originally bought this on cassette….part one was on side one and part two was well…side two.  There is a distinct break in the album after track 5.  It still warrants a full listen.  I don’t think anyone will ever ‘get’ Perry Farrell and/or get this album but you certainly can feel the story and the anguish of his life at that time.  This album has many layers, those layers may be laced with hallucinogens but that is all part of the story.  Indulge in this again if it has been awhile, so worth repeating.

The Smiths – The Queen is Dead

I have always resented the ‘slit your wrist’ mind-set that label The Smiths.  Johnny Marr makes an appearance here as he does with The The, follow him on Twitter he’s interesting.  It doesn’t surprise me that he wrote quite a few of the songs on this album.  This album takes me back earlier than the others, even Dark Side of the Moon which I did not listen to until much later in life (shameful I know).  Morrissey is a story-teller and this album delivers a story.

 And for your listening please….Larry by Buffalo Tom

So there it is a blog with a list, a blog with rstar content, predictable Lila Lyric style.  Now give me your top ‘albums’ that need a full listen.

~Lila


11:59 – Part Goo

I’m sure if you’ve been following along and casually reading Beat & Lyric you will sense a recurring theme. Well it isn’t exclusively ‘Ryan Star’ but he does play a major role, and so does bacon. Bacon I will however leave to the quirky foodie Betty because that is right up her alley.

Ryan Star shot by Marti Taylor-Dee, Erie PA 11-13-11

It’s all about connection, a connect-the-dots drawing that is a map of creativity that crosses paths, builds bridges between minds, colours blending and emerging in light and sound. Betty & I are sharing the sound, sharing our words and thoughts here and with every show we see, or trip we take the map gets larger, the paint on the canvas thickens, and the connection(s) electrify.

Erie, Pennsylvania is an interesting city, the lake city as it is sometimes known on the southern American shore of Lake Erie. Erie the next destination on the Beat & Lyric concert tour. This trip, the second cross-border trip, the third with Betty by my side was a true road trip. In the car early on Saturday morning, drive-thru for a caffeine fix, playlist made and plugged into the car, Google maps printed and in the hands of navigator Betty Beat.

The trip focus was of course a show. Sunday night, November 13th we had tickets to see The Goo Goo Dolls close for Ryan Star. This is how we ‘fanatical fans’ of Ryan were referring to his 6 week tour with Buffalo bar-band gone big time The Goo Goo Dolls. Thinking back to my ‘cd’ collection I did recall purchasing ‘Superstar Carwash’ in 1993 and enjoying the entire album, especially ‘we are the normal’. I would have to dust off the collection and look through, I could own ‘A Boy Named Goo’ & ‘Dizzy up the Girl’ but I’m sure that anything after Iris would be unrecognizable to my ears.

I don’t think I have to reiterate the love that both Betty & I have for Ryan, his music, and his entourage. I think we have established that in the three previous 11:59 blog posts. The trip was uneventful for the first part of Saturday morning, we made record time to the border, but it seemed that every Canadian uber shopper was heading into the USA for ‘deals’. An hour weight time at customs, luckily we had taken advantage of the Duty Free Bathrooms on the Canadian side and scored a sweet deal on fancy bacon-flavoured vodka.

Shopping in the USA is different than Canada, especially outlet shopping. There is a sense of urgency and if you don’t break the ice early with a purchase you lose momentum. Betty scored boots at a very reasonable price in the first store…..I however did not. At that point I should have realized that my very narrow perimeters for the style, colour and feel of the boot I was after, would be my downfall in finding a deal. Hence I came home bootless. I did however nearly complete my Christmas shopping for the plethora of nieces and nephews my siblings and sibling-in-laws have blessed me with, that was the goal.

Just before we embarked on the second leg of the road trip, something worth mentioning – running into people in a mall in another country hours away from home that we know, well that Betty knew. A friend /co-worker of Betty’s with his wife were at the outlet mall, and she spotted them from across the busy food-court. Not a strange coincidence as the place was likely packed with Canadians, but still a chance meeting all the same and another ‘connection’ to solidify the recurring theme. I wonder if they like bacon?

Leg#2 – driving from Niagara to Erie. Playlist = Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials. We both had been skipping around the new album at home but never listened from beginning to end. We did on this leg of the journey and the conclusion is that both Betty and I have different favourites but have the same dislikes about the album. We arrived in Erie after listening to many different tunes, and we found out that both have a love of Dinosaur Jr. and car-danced to Start Choppin’, what a great driving tune. I think I may have even peaked Betty’s interest when Buffalo Tom came on in the rotation, we went from brand new to kickin’ it old school in a matter of hours. Every good road trip playlist needs a great mix of old and new….if only we could get our hands on some good soul music, anyone have a Gerald Levert mp3 they care to share?

I’m going to fast forward here as we arrive in Erie, checked into hotel, found a rather unassuming chain-type restaurant to eat, and then crashed. Noteworthy is the hotel in downtown Erie – sketchy place but dirt cheap and there is bacon and it’s free!!!!!! Seriously free bacon makes you overlook the downsides of a cheap hotel – the copious amounts of pigeon shit in the parking garage, the broken elevator, the stained carpets and sketchy bedspreads, and the gaggle of drag queens hanging out in the lobby (I did really like one of the gal’s boots, perhaps I should have found out where she got them).

Sunday was about Target, but not before we indulged in the free bacon buffet in the hotel restaurant. Target didn’t know what hit them, and when we returned to the hotel our room was littered with red-dotted plastic bags (keep in mind we will be reusing these bags and that in Canada they are recycled so we lugged them home to do our part.)

The afternoon and evening was spent twittering with other rstar fans in hopes to meet up for drinks before the show. We managed a dinner near the venue and a few cocktails to liven us up, and then off to the show. The Warner Theatre is a gorgeous old venue, and much reminds me of the Capitol Theatre in my hometown – nostalgia crept in. We found our seats and were pleasantly surprised by the view we would have of the stage. Old theatres really don’t have a bad seat in the house.

Tradition has been started and typically it is an ‘expensive’ shot/shooter at the venue bar, weren’t we mildly delighted when the bartender poured us double-shots and only charged us $10! Suddenly Erie, PA went up a notch!

The opening act – well, he was fabulous. When the set first started it was only Betty & I along with only a few others in the crowd standing. We didn’t care, we were here to see Ryan and there was no way I would/could sit through it. By the end Ryan had them on their feet! The sound in the theatre was great, or at least from my seat it was great…we sang, we danced, we grooved…..it was all too short. I was thrilled to be able to experience ‘Stay A While’ live so I give you a video of that night’s performance. Thanks to my twitter peeps for posting this one.

Set list – Brand New Day, Right Now, 11:59, Last Train Home, Psycho Suicidal Girl, Breathe, Stay A While, Start A Fire, Back of Your Car

After Ryan’s set we meandered out to the lobby knowing that he’d be at the Merchandise table to meet and greet. We had already chatted with the lovely Michelle pre-show and it was nice to re-connect in person after meeting her all those years ago in Toronto. My one regret from the NYC show is not making my way over to chat with her, there was so much going on that night that I never really even had a chance to say ‘hi’. She’s a doll, so if anyone out there hasn’t chatted her up, take the time, she doesn’t bite!

We caught some of the Goo Goo Doll’s set and it was lovely. Didn’t hate, didn’t love….but like I said earlier they have been off my radar for some time so my opinion on them is irrelevant, the venue was packed and their fans were rockin’ so that to me is a testament that they’ve had staying power.

We made our way out and chatted with the rstar crew. I was thrilled to get a giant hug from Serena, another absolute doll in the rstar crew, I imagine that I if I lived in NYC that we’d be sharing cocktails and cupcakes on a regular basis. As the show let out and people were milling about in the lobby it felt like a cocktail party. Mingle with people, chat with old friends kind of cocktail party. We managed to meet only half the band, Artie & Eli, as Dan & Dallin were perhaps meant for the next show. Artie is a character and he made me laugh, I’m not sure if his telling me my proper use of the word ‘loitering’ was a compliment or not?!? Marti, a friend of Ryan’s and a twitter peep was also great person to finally meet – she’s an artful soul with a great creative vibe – she was kind enough to give me permission to post one of her shots of Ryan from that night’s show (see top of this post) http://martitaylordee.com/

Betty and I were lucky enough to get some great face time with Ryan – we chatted like old friends and I believe he truly appreciates each and every fan new and old. He’s a man with no pretentious bones in his body and I have a feeling that I will be rocking to his tunes for years to come – firstly because I love his work and secondly but he’s a gracious creative soul that connects with the people around him on another level.

~Lila


A night of velvety goodness…

Typically I don’t get to see many shows unless I travel south.  So when my good friend Nom sends me a message about an art gallery (The Bohemian Gallery in Bracebridge) she is affiliated with is hosting musicians now for small intimate gigs then I jump at the chance.   Nom and I share many music likes (and dislikes) and she fits in with the groove that Betty Beat and I dance too.  I trusted that she wouldn’t take me to some off-the-wall artsy fartsy gig, and she didn’t.  Tammy at The Bohemian Gallery is a sweetheart and makes a mean cup o’ Joe, I will return.

The gig consisted of two young folk musicians.  Two cute Canadian boys from British Columbia, travelling across the country playing their tunes for anyone that will really listen, well I really listened.  I love their vibe, I loved their gumption to just travel and play anywhere.

First up – My Boy Rascal – Nom gave me a bit a background as she had youtubed to get a feel for what we were getting into that night.  She was bang on – he did have a Ben Harper vibe.  He played an eight song ‘unplugged’ set and I was a fan right at the first tune “OK”.  Nom and I had been chatting and prior to the show about cover songs, about the new show Cover Me Canada and about Betty’s previous blog post about covers and over-played music at her  job.  We were talking Alannah Myles and Black Velvet.    My Boy Rascal softly says after he played three original songs ‘this is a cover of a Canadian Classic, I think you will know it’.  I leaned to Nom and said ‘Black Velvet’ before one note was even played.  I nearly spit coffee across the gallery when I heard “Mississippi in the middle of a dry spell’.  Seriously, I must be musically psychic.  I loved it, even if I couldn’t look at Nom as she was red-faced and on the verge of tears.  It was a funny moment for us, but in an art gallery immersed in the mellow vibe of an amazing musician we had to contain it, we did and all was good.

Next up – Folk Thief – The first note in gave me the chill, the chill of nostalgia and he is clearly influenced by the country folk twang of Johnny Cash.   As I’ve blogged before, JC is a huge reminder of my Grandpa Smith, and I always appreciate the memory.   I didn’t just love Folk Thief’s tunes – the nine song set was completely original music, but his interaction with his intimate audience (and vibrant wee babe) was charming and entertaining.  The shoe stompin’ on the guitar case, the squeal of the strings all added to the great set. 

The final was a song where both My Boy Rascal and Folk Thief played together and it was a great close to the evening.

I’m a fan, and I will follow these boys virtual as the finish out their tour.  Look them up and give them a listen.

My Boy Rascal – http://music.myboyrascal.com/

Folk Thief – http://folkthief.com/home.cfm

And keeping in the ‘if you post/tweet it, I will listen’ theme of things, I found My Boy Rascal had posted a youtube video of ‘Black Velvet’

~Lila

 

 


The Condiment Struggle

I have a hard time seeing Smashing Pumpkins and any early 90’s Grunge as retro.  It dates me, and you know what I am female please don’t date me, that’s rude.

Smashing Pumpkins are far from my favourite from that era, but I don’t think anyone will contest that they were an integral part of the scene.  I always thought of Billy Corgan as a smug twit and perhaps that influenced my medicore love of the Pumpkins.  I followed them, but I did not FOLLOW them.  I’m sure someone (like Betty Beat) knows what I mean.

Mayon(n)aise is my song for today.  Why?  Because I hit shuffle and it was the first song/artist that came up that hasn’t been blogged before by myself or Betty.  The title makes me sad.  Not on a ‘want to slit my wrist level’, but on a ‘I’ve developed an egg allergy in the last two years and can never eat it again’ level.  Mayon(n)aise is a delightful condiment.  I hearted the Hellman’s (Miracle Whip is not Mayon(n)aise) up until it started to break me out in hives and close up my throat.  The song, oh yeah the song.  It makes my Top Ten for off-the-wall titles spelled without the second ‘n’.  There is so much substance and richness in the song.  I read that Billy said the lyrics have no meaning that the song was just thrown together.  I call bullshit, there’s that smugness that I see in him.  Bullshit your lyrics don’t mean anything, but I digress.

The song is one that takes on meaning for the individual, much like many songs. I see it as an internal struggle much like the condiment again.  Mayon(n)aise is on the inside of the sandwich and it compliments but almost struggles smashed between the bread the meat and the cheese, it is more a lube than anything.  Mayon(n)aise the 9th of 13 songs on Siamese Dream is that lube that holds the album together, in my opinion, perfectly placed and helps establish the collection of songs as a perfect mix.  Siamese Dream doesn’t need a ‘shuffle’ setting, it’s one of those albums that was thought out and put together as album and not just thrown together.  Oh the lost art of the album.  Sigh.  Mayon(n)aise is in the right spot, the song itself struggles with being a ballad with it’s guitar riffs, but it is a ballad nonetheless and mayonnaise the condiment will leave the tang to Miracle Whip and the bold to mustard, they are both destined to be mellow


Challenge – Song #6

Song that reminds you of somewhere.

PEI (Prince Edward Island), summer of 1993. The Land of Anne, Bud the Spud and of course bright red mud. I was there for three months for an accelerated photography program through Ryerson University. I was one of 16 students living in an old bible camp converted to photography school, surrounded by potato fields and steps from the Gulf of St Lawrence. There are many ‘loves’ that developed that summer – lobster, tomato soup with dill, puns, and musically The The’s Dusk which was released earlier that year.

I don’t remember who actually owned the copy that was blared nightly in basement darkroom, much to the dismay of Natalie and Leanne who slept in the bedroom above. I’m sure they have a long-standing hate on for Matt Johnson. The CD was played constantly from beginning to end. I was familiar with The The but never captivated enough to call myself a fan. I do hear that this CD was much different from their earlier work which included Johnny Marr. You may also remember that 1993 was the year that U2 released Zooropa, which became a joke for us that summer. Funny that just this week U2 announced a re-release of the album alongside Achtung Baby. Why Zooropa?!! That one confuses me, even if I do love me some Lemon.

Back to Dusk – it’s hard to pick a favourite song from the album as I truly love it all, Lonely Planet is a great song to live by as is Stronger Than Death. Dogs of Lust stands out, it is a great tune and defiantly a top contender and I will post the video here. I do suggest you find more online if you wish to indulge in some glorious 90’s tunes.

Thanks for tuning in!

~Lila


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