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June 24, 2009

And Coldplay makes me deliriously happy

If there’s any band out there that reminds people that music is an art form, it’s Coldplay, four British boys that never fail to knock all the socks off 16,000 people in an arena.

It should have come as no surprise to me, given the use of a famous Delacroix painting on the cover of last year’s stellar Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends and the painterly design of their promo, but I was pleasantly surprised and had perhaps forgotten the level of their artistry.

My face brimmed with a smile and my eyes nearly welled up the moment they bounced onstage with sparklers, behind a sheer black screen that then created a layered shadow show. I felt a bit like a Beatles fan overcome with emotion as my hands clasped my face but it wasn’t because it was Coldplay as much as because it was just incredibly beautiful. And that beauty would not cease the rest of the evening.

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June 18, 2009

Toronto’s Gentleman Reg gives me dancing feet

Gentleman Reg by blurasis on Flickr
Photo by blurasis via Flickr at the band’s Ottawa show, April 22nd, 2009

Last Wednesday night saw the return of Toronto-based 5-piece Gentleman Reg, barely a month after their previous Vancouver date at the Commodore. This time, touring more suitably with A Camp (the last tour was with The Stills), they brought their infectious pop to the ill-fated Richard’s on Richards. I had expected a crowd even more keen on dancing than the passionate group at last month’s show, simply because of the difference in the headliners’ genres (A Camp, I expected, would draw a different crowd with music considerably more “dancy” than The Stills). I wound up disappointed with the lack of dancing, although the two girls in the front near me were rocking out pretty hard. (Frontman Reg Vermue enjoyed that so I tried to be less self-conscious about my own moves.)

The set included a stirring cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” that showcased guitarist François’s talent. They ended the evening with the catchy, sing- or clap-along “Boyfriend Song” for which Reg put away his gorgeous black guitar to tap out the beat with a tambourine. If you’re not bouncing to that one, there’s something wrong with you.

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April 11, 2009

UBC Farm Trek: a huge, fantastic, musical success!

Save the Farm banner

Imagine, if you will, your favourite summer street festival or an indie parade. Add a joyous rallying cry, one amazing cause and 24 beautiful hectares of farmland in a wild corner of Vancouver. This mix of music festival and protest march made Tuesday’s Great Farm Trek to UBC Farm the highlight of my year so far, on the most gorgeous spring afternoon we could possibly hope for.

When I got off the bus at UBC, finding the Student Union Building wasn’t too difficult: I followed the drumming noises (percussion ensemble Sambata) and the hum of a thousand voices gathered in the square. I was pleasantly stunned to see how many people turned out.

The opening speaker began soon after I arrived. Ben recorded a video of the inspirational speech by Shane Pointe (Musqueam Nation). I recorded some of it but his view was better. The crowd exploded in cheers when he encouraged us. I fell into awe and silence during his song.

The gathering outside the SUB

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April 4, 2009

April events rundown: Earth Run, films, music, art and political events

April’s looking great for activities and the weather is improving too. I think I’ve compiled everything I know of for the month. There’s something for everybody.

This weekend

East Coast Music Awards recipient and Great American Songwriting Competition winner David Myles plays the Rio Theatre with Jill Barber tonight. Doors at 7:30.

The Projecting Change environmental film fest continues through Sunday at Fifth Avenue Cinema with a screening of Blue Gold tonight and a second screening of End of the Line tomorrow, among others.

UBC Farm Trek

Tuesday: Save the UBC Farm: the Great Farm Trek

Speaking of which, The Great Farm Trek 2009 is on Tuesday, April 7 at 3:30 pm. It’s a big, fun-filled festival and a walk that follows this route to the farm. More info including entertainment details. I have never been to the UBC farm so I’m really looking forward to this!

Wednesday

The next Vancouver Bloggers Meetup is Wednesday at 6pm. Location TBD. Sign up for updates and RSVP at Meetup.com.

Stop Gateway has organized a protest at Kevin Falcon’s constituency office. Wednesday 3pm – 5pm at the sidewalk adjacent to his office at 17700 No. 10 Highway (56 Ave) in Cloverdale. And if I still lived there…

Kevin Falcon is BC’s Environmental Enemy #1. His massive highway, port and airport expansions collectively pave more than 7,000 acres of BC’s finite farmland.

He destroyed the environmentally sensitive wetlands and raptor forests of Eagleridge Bluffs, and his South Fraser Perimeter Road is poised to seriously harm Burns Bog.

While he is pouring public funds (that BC taxpayers cannot afford) into paving away our aspirations for a livable region, he is chronically underfunding public transportation.

This is a rally for farmland, wildlife habitat, fisheries, clean air and a healthy, livable region.

Saturday, April 11

Rail for the Valley and Gateway to What? team up for Highway 1 Day of Action, 11am – 1pm. More info at the Facebook event page.

Hard rock and metal fans: my friend Dan plays the 5/4 time in ODDCHiLD, which plays the Red Room with Macula and Drums of Autumn. Doors at 8pm, show at 8:15, $10 cover.

Continue reading April events rundown: Earth Run, films, music, art and political events »

November 2, 2008

Those Finns sure rock!

I’ve been to many a great concert, and I’m considering ranking this one the best EVER. And it has nothing to do with theatrics like lasers or massive yellow balloons or even hi-tech video screens. In fact, the show had none of the above… but I didn’t even notice their absence. The lighting component was elegantly simple and effective. Between the white lights and grey and black set, predominantly black clothing and greyscale backdrop, the scene would have been almost devoid of colour were it not for the musicians’ elegant cellos and some deliciously bright blonde hair. No, this time it was their impressive musicianship and unique style if not genre unto itself that made the concert so exceptional and captivating.

I am speaking, of course, of Finnish band Apocalyptica, who returned last Saturday night for a sold-out show at Vancouver’s historic Vogue Theatre.

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June 16, 2008

Car-Free Vancouver Day

Car-Free Vancouver Day on Main Street

Photo by Rob_ on Flickr

Yesterday I joined my sister and my little nieces to one of several Car-Free Vancouver festivals. It was almost surreal to see a chunk of Main St. filled with people, “dancing in the stree-eet,” with absolutely no cars. The warm air was filled with various music, voices, children’s laughter, and sometimes the crashing and bumping noises of skateboarders on the half-pipe. We enjoyed a live performance from a guitarist/singer + DJ/violinist duo that would probably be called lounge jazz pop? The kids had some fun dancing to it. While the next band set up some dancers moved to, I think it was flamenco music, with various dance props (ribbons, etc.) The girls had their faces painted — a butterfly and a lovebug (ladybug on one cheek, heart on the other) — and posed for some adorable photos!

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