Category Archives: Concerts

Dave Grohl Takes Canada

Foo Fighters

“When I was young I cut off the tip of my finger in a shop class accident, so I have to wear plastic tips,” says Dave Grohl, the leader of the Foo Fighters, on the morning of Summersault 2000’s first show in Vancouver.

His guitar playing is remarkable considering his disability so you’ll have to get real close to the stage to tell if what he’s saying is true, but it’s the cross-Canada tour he’s really excited in talking about. Going on at length about his favourite aspects of Canada, you just want to give him a little hug, hand him a toque and jug of maple syrup and give him a free “Good through all of Canada” bus pass.

Here’s what he had to say:

Getting excited about the tour yet?
Dave Grohl: I’m excited to do it. I’m really looking forward to it. The Deftones are playing today and I’m extra looking forward to seeing that. I’ve never seen them play and I really do like their record a lot. And, um, everybody else can go fuck themselves.

What’s the deal with the “Foo-B-Cue”?
We brought a barbecue tech with us on this tour. We are traveling with our own barbecue on this tour. So we’re going to set up right outside our bus and have a barbecue at every stop on the tour. We don’t have a pig on a spit or anything but, I wish…

Are you gonna play Molly Hatchet at the barbecue?
There’s gonna be a whole lotta Skynyrd, Foghat and a lot of fuckin’ death metal while we eat ribs.

Shouldn’t you eat the ribs raw for death metal?
We’ll just eat each other’s hearts or something.

So what’s it like to be back in Canada?
We were actually just here with the Chili Peppers a couple months ago. Canada to us is one of the best places to play only because, for whatever reason, they’ve embraced our band here more so than almost anywhere else in the world. The audiences here are greatly enthusiastic, so I’m looking forward to it. There’s a lot of things I like about Canada… not only is it beautiful country, the people seem to be genuinely, nice.

Now you’re sucking up.
I’m serious! There’s few countries in the world where people are actually warm and receiving. There’s Italy, there’s Spain and then there’s Canada.

How’s dealing with Our Lady Peace?
I don’t deal with anybody and you know what? We’re the easiest fucking band in the world to negotiate with because we just don’t give a shit! We don’t care! All we need is a barbecue and Crown Royal. That’s it. And some Coors Light.

Well, you are in the home of Crown Royal.
I know, that’s why I’m fucking psyched! This tour’s gonna be great!!

What do you think about Canadian chicks?
Canadian chicks are fuckin’ hot!

…As you say that winking.
Yeah. I know a Canadian chick that’s REALLY hot.

Ever heard the Fred Schnieder & The Shake Society song “Monster?”
I haven’t heard it. But anything Fred does is solid gold anyway.

It goes [singing] “There’s a monster in my pants/And he likes to jump and dance/When he comes into the room/People hit it with a broom [chorus] Oh no monster, Oh no monster…”

Wow!! Swe-eet! We have a song called “Watershed” and we went to do it acoustic on radio once but on record it’s this wild, fast, screaming punk rock song and we tried it acoustic and I realized there was no way I could scream over it. There wasn’t really any way I could sing it so I thought that I would tell a story in the voice of Fred Schnieder. The story was actually about coming to Vancouver.

More and more Canadian angles!
See what I’m talking about! I love Crown Royal! Canadian chicks are hot…

At what point do we have to declare you an honorary Canadian?
I guess whenever I get my green card. Do you have those here? I guess once I become spokesman for Crown Royal.

You could get your bus in the shape of a Crown Royal bottle.
Now that’s going a little too far man, c’mon. I don’t want the kids drowning themselves in Crown Royal every night. I’ll just wear a fuckin’ crown every night, how’s that?

That could work.
And I could make a cape out of all those purple bags! I think all the Crown we’ve drank in the last six months we could probably make a blanket or something.

What are your favourite Canadian cities?
I really like Montreal a lot and I really like Vancouver. Montreal’s good if you want to score some sticky and hang with death rockers.

Yeah, Montreal’s big on that.
I know. I love it. One of my favourite bands ever was this band Voivod. I worshipped them when I was a kid.

Iron Maiden and Rob Halford played here a couple days ago.
Hey, run to the hills everybody.

In honour of Iron Maiden and Rob Halford I stole this idea from a website called Metal Sludge. I’m going to give you a list of records for you to rate, 1 being something you should burn to keep from the ears of children and 10 being a record that’ll make you want to bust stuff in a real cool way:

Motley Crue Shout At The Devil
I give that probably about a 7.

Heart Dreamboat Annie
Ooh. That’s a fuckin’ 9!

Culture Club Kissing To Be Clever
That’s a 1.

Iron Maiden Powerslave
I’m not too familiar with that, but because it’s Maiden I give it a 6.

Judas Priest Turbo
That’s probably gonna have to take a fuckin’ 8. He was comin’ out record by record. It was gonna happen. Everybody knew, everybody fucking knew, but all the dudes that liked the music didn’t want to admit it to themselves. “He’s not gay, this rocks. No way man, no way, he’s not a fag.”

Depeche Mode People Are People
I give it a fuckin’ 2.

WASP The Last Command
2. I hate WASP.

Styx Kilroy Was Here
That’s gonna get a fuckin’ 8.

David Lee Roth Eat ‘Em And Smile
10 baby! 10 right there! That one never goes away. Did you ever hear the Spanish version of that record?! It’s so hilarious.

Foreigner Double Vision
Dude. That gets a fuckin’ 20! That’s off the chart! You can’t get any cooler than Foreigner. On that list Foreigner’s the baddest! There are legions of Foreigner fans in America.

This interview was originally published August 4, 2000 via Chart Communications.

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The Many Questions About The Roy Orbison Hologram Show

Roy Orbison In Dreams hologram show

Roy Orbison In Dreams hologram show

It was with some intense curiosity that Sarah and I recently attended a performance of the Roy Orbison “In Dreams” hologram show.

Would the show be good? Would the music be good? How realistic would the hologram be? These were all obvious questions going into the show.

These were not, however, the questions Sarah ended up pondering at length after watching the whole thing.

She wrote on all these questions in a piece for Medium.

To search for answers go here.

 

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10 Best Before They Die Concerts Of 2018: Neko Case Is #1

Suicidal Tendencies live in Toronto.

Suicidal Tendencies live in Toronto.

Those closest to me know I’ve been on a years long quest to see live performances from a meticulously curated list of musical legends and personal favourites “before they die.”

Said list, which has a 100 active acts on it at all times and is prioritized based on 1) how much I love an act, 2) how soon I think they’re going to die, and 3) how rarely they tour, has guided me on numerous adventures and (mis)adventures over the years. Mostly, though, it has allowed me to witness a lot of music greats doing musically great things.

For the first time ever, I’ve compiled my 10 best Before They Dies of the year. Here they are:

10) Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra @ Scotiabank Arena, August 18, 2018 (#52 on list)

Lynne isn’t exactly a dynamic frontman, but the band was excellent, the stage and light show was a trip and the music was undeniable, even though the setlist was surprisingly front-loaded. I had an alternating mix of “Showdown” and “Evil Woman” in my head for weeks after this. Always a good sign.

9) The Horrors @ Horseshoe Tavern, June 19, 2018 (#76 on the list)

One of the key things I’ve learned about The List over the years is that when an act from overseas is in town, you do your damnedest to make sure you go see them. Technically, there wasn’t all that much to “see” at The Horrors’ show — they’re mostly a bunch of Edward Scissorhand silhouettes swaying in low light obscured by fog machine smoke — but that made what was heard all the better. Live, there’s added nuance to the band’s lysergic goth rock, revealing itself in a bold synth line here, a guitar squelch there and in a vibe that makes you feel you’re experiencing masters of their craft.

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The Horrors!

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8) Fleetwood Mac @ Scotiabank Arena, November 5, 2018 (unrated)

I didn’t know I needed the Mac in my life. This, because as a Stevie Nicks devotee who had already seen Nicks solo and witnessed her sing “Rhiannon” I naively thought I had already experienced the best of the Mac. I was wrong. The best of the Mac might be when the band decided to reclaim their blues roots and perform the Peter Green-written “Black Magic Woman” with Nicks in full, glorious witch-rock mode. It’s an amazingly macabre look that I didn’t know Fleetwood Mac had in them and I’m completely turned around on them because of it.

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The Fleetwood party and dance band.

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7) Nick Cave @ Scotiabank Arena, October 28, 2018 (#93 on the list)

I get the Nick Cave devotion now. I mean, as a concept I’ve always thought Cave was cool, but his records never moved me all that deeply and the film he wrote (The Proposition) had probably affected me more than any song he’d ever sung. Seeing Cave live, though, is a far different experience. It’s like a Springsteen rock ‘n’ roll communion, except for sort of people who own complete Leonard Cohen poetry collections. Live, Cave’s an intuitive, showy, sleazy, Vegas-y, hearty and genuine showman who’s personal connection to his audience is amazing to behold. Also, the bold noise The Bad Seeds make feels like they’re subverting the whole idea of “arena” rock, which is delicious in its way.

6) Destroyer @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, January 22, 2018 (#103 on the list)

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this show, but I was very pleasantly surprised by what it was — an eight-piece jazz/prog/lounge art freakout that featured Dan Bejar flanked by a saxophonist and trumpeter who took turns adding their own wig outs throughout the set. The set list was mainly the new album ken and Kaputt so I was pretty keen because those are the two best Destroyer albums. It was all around a totally rewarding night.

5) Frank Turner @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, September 20, 2018 (unrated)

There are a lot of acts out there trying to pull off the Springsteen working man rock thing. Unfortunately, most of them only rate as photocopies of photocopies of The Boss. Turner’s not like that. He’s got his own rock-punk posi-gospel thing going down and, paradoxically, because of that Turner’s show is probably the closest to a Springsteen-like musical sermon I’ve seen from the younger generation.

4) The Pursuit of Happiness @ Supermarket, October 4, 2018 (unrated)

In the last few years I’ve managed to catch a number of ’80s Can-Rock heroes (Northern Pikes, Crash Vegas, Slow) I had never listed because I never realistically thought there’d ever be a chance to see any of them ever play again. When TPOH got back together to play a show to support the reissue of their perfect Love Junk album I put on the rare (for me) industry hustle to get into the small club show. It worked and I got to witness some of my all-time favourites (“Consciousness Raising As A Social Tool,” “I’m An Adult Now,” “Beautiful White”).

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Consciousness raising as a social tool.

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3) Suicidal Tendencies @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, July 25, 2018 (#34 on the list)

This was supposed to be a fun nostalgia trip where I could celebrate listening to “Institutionalized” and “Possessed To Skate” some three decades ago, but it ended up being far more than that. It turns out I had internalized many of these thrash-punk-metal songs far more than I had ever realized. I hadn’t listened to songs like “You Can’t Bring Me Down” in almost 30 years, but the righteous rage behind them came right back.

2) John Mellencamp @ Meridian Centre, St. Catharines, October 7, 2018 (#6 on the list)

Pursuing this list over the years has given me a special kind of clarity about what I’m willing and not willing to do in order to see a desired show. Things like cost, whether it’s a seated or standing venue, the weather, and whether I’ve got other social obligations are just some of the factors that go into a decision-making stew to cross-reference against The List. For John Mellencamp I was willing to ruin Thanksgiving. Well, not my Thanksgiving, so much as my attendance at my in-law Thanksgiving, which I skipped in order to see the man formerly known as Cougar. And it was worth it. I cried like five times and was pretty choked a half-dozen others. All those songs I loved from the Scarecrow album still hit and still have all the gravitas of back when I first discovered them — “Minutes To Memories” was heavy, “Small Town” fucking killed… it was all hits with heart. Also, the new songs were soooo woke. It was probably the first and only time an audience of old white people from St. Catharines would ever be confronted with a song about Black Lives Matter and were forced to consider it. Same with issues like immigration and racism. Basically, Cougar came into this backwoods city and preached. Also, it’s remarkable now that I can see it more clearly how much the politics of a record like Scarecrow shaped my world/political/moral values some decades later. Shows like this are why The List exists.

1) Neko Case @ Danforth Music Hall, September 24, 2018 (#25 on the list)

Technically, I’ve seen Neko Case a number of times already, although all of those times have been as a member of The New Pornographers. Which is weird because I enjoy her solo work far more than the Pornos. That said, when I finally got to see Case on my birthday this year I wasn’t expecting to have it affect me as deeply as it did. What’s clear is that Neko is a glorious, unique voice and no matter what she was singing (this night’s setlist skipped handfuls of my personal faves) she has the ability to turn each song into magic. “Maybe Sparrow,” “Margaret vs Pauline,” “Deep Red Bells,” “Look For Me I’ll Be Around”… I just have to look at that list and I not only can remember how wonderful they were, I can almost feel them again. If that’s not a sign of having experienced something beyond, I don’t know what is.

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Smashing Pumpkins Play Supposed Farewell Toronto Show

Smashing Pumpkins

Smashing Pumpkins

By uncompromisingly kicking-off this small venue gig with the 10-minute epic “Glass And The Ghost Children,” Billy Corgan and his Smashing Pumpkins crew set the tone for the rest of the night — they may be a huge rock band, but they’re still going to do whatever the hell they want to, when they want to and how they want to.

Regardless, two-plus hours of music and 20-some songs (considering the last third of the show deteriorated into a noodling session of cover songs and medleys) the Smashing Pumpkins proved they were not only ace rockers, but also ace facilitators of what could be described as a drunken goth-rock parody of a Promise Keepers convention.

Whether it was through pummeling the crowd with a sped up “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” or through the irony-fist-pump posturing of “Heavy Metal Machine,” it was obviously Lord Billy could do no wrong this night. It also would seem that we were witnessing the next step in Billy Corgan’s evolution from angsty grunge god to a mellower Buddha rock god, if you’ve got the comic book sensibilities to follow.

Corgan’s profuse bowing to the audience, “god blesses” and such would seem crass coming from someone of his elevated status if he hadn’t seemed so damn genuine when he was doing them. And it was ultimately this genuine affection which helped ensure the Pumpkins got over this night. The actual show was somewhat spotty, what with the aforementioned noodle-jam off going on between Corgan and fellow guitarist James Iha and the Pumpkins’ collective slavish devotion to meddle and alter their songs.

“Zero” was viciously rendered, but “Cherub Rock” seemed to be one of the few songs where the Pumpkins acted like they were just going through the motions.

Perhaps the highlight of the night came when Corgan performed a solo acoustic cover of Rush’s “Limelight.” All I’ll say about that one is that when you think about it, it’s shocking how many people know all the words to the average Rush song.

When Iha did a twisted take on Them’s “Gloria” instead as “Canada.” (“C-A-N/A-D-A/Cannnn-ada”), the crowd were more than happy to take the bait, not in small part because it gave them an excuse to shout their catcall flatteries to new bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur.

Much less the foil-for-the-frontperson she was in Hole, Auf Der Maur still managed to blow a few kisses and throw out the goat horns on multiple occasions.

Much less flattering however was what could be called the “Tribute To Howlin’ Wolf Set To The Tune Of Crawling King Snake.” This probably represented the musical low-point for the evening, despite the fact a sizable segment of the audience were actually howling along with Corgan when he’d “HOOOWWWLLL!!” into the mic.

Still, despite whatever low-lights there were, for any devotee of the Pumpkins, this was undoubtedly a night of music bliss. They pulled out old classics like “I Am One” and blistered through new tunes like “The Everlasting Gaze.” And the bonus outpouring of affection from Corgan to the audience proved that love is truly all you need.

This story was originally published March 22, 2000 via Chart Communications

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Samaritan News 10 Pack: Metallica, Hayden And More

Metallica

Metallica

My contributions to the charitably-minded entertainment site Samaritanmag continue. Here are some pieces I wrote in the summer:

City And Colour, Barenaked Ladies Headline Hayden’s Fifth Dream Serenade Charity Concert

Third Annual Autism Rocks LA Concert Aims To Raise Autism Awareness

PETA Wants Aretha Franklin’s Fur Coat Collection for Repurposing Campaign

Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, Steve Earle, Graham Nash Tour To Support Refugees

Donate To Metallica’s Charity, Earn Chance To See All Their Shows

Danforth Strong GoFundMe Page Established for Shooting Victims

England Players Have Been Donating World Cup And Related Tournament Fees To Charity Since 2007

Xavier Rudd and Emmanuel Jal Release Song to Spread Love

Rae Sremmurd Use New “Guatemala” Video To Support Country After Deadly Volcano Eruption

Metallica Donate Polar Prize Proceeds To Three Charities

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