Saturday, October 14, 2017

Trapped Under Ice Live in Edmonton Oct.7th 2017

After the Change Of Heart show it was a quick scoot next door to catch the last two bands at the Needle Vinyl Tavern. The show at the Needle which were also part of the UP+DT Fest were bands of the hardcore punk genre. I caught the Edmonton band E-Town Beatdown and Baltimore, Maryland band Trapped Under Ice. I had no intention of going to tis show until talking with JFK a few weeks before the show when he told me to come out to the show as he would put me on the guest list for it. I wasn't sure if I would be able to make it as I already was going to a show that night. But after looking at the UP+DT schedule, I saw that I would be able to do both shows that night, so I took him up on his offer. Thank you JFK, much appreciated! So off to the show I go.

I got there in time to catch E-Town Beatdown, a band which JFK (guitar) plays in as well as a buddy of mine guitarist Ben Sir, whom also plays in Worst Days Down. So I was interested in checking them out. While I'm not the biggest fan of hardcore, I did want so hear them live. I thought they were pretty good, the crowd certainly was into them, hometown crowd after all. I didn't know their music at all not owning any of their music, but thought they were pretty good. A tight band, decent vocals and lyrics with a positive message.

E-Town Beatdown at The Needle.

Headliner of the night Trapped Under Ice were up next. I had listened to one of their albums in the week before the show and thought they might be cool to checkout. I'd heard good things about them and didn't mind the album I had listened to. Their music was fast and hardcore to the bone, short songs and lots of breakdowns, which really got the kids doing their weird hardcore dancing of swinging their arms like mad men and swinging their arms. You surely didn't want to get in the middle of that by accident, looked like a karate workout to me. I myself just find the whole hardcore dance thing a little weird, but then I'm old, so I guess it's for the younger crowd. The band had a tonne of energy, and the vocals were actually understandable which I don't always find in a lot of the hardcore music. All and all I thought they were alright, just not really my jam. I'm glad I went to the show, but it's not something I will rush out to purchase or see live again. The rest of the crowd, which wasn't a huge crowd by any means, but those that were there were into it big time. Good times!!!

Thanks again JFK for the invite!

Trapped Under Ice at The Needle.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Change Of Heart Live in Edmonton Oct.7th 2017

On Saturday night I attended the Change Of Heart, Napalmpom and Whitey Houston concert at the Rocky Mountain Icehouse as part of the UP + DT Music Festival. This triple bill was going to be a loud night of rock n' roll.

The first band of the night was Edmonton's Whitey Houston, a two piece band that is made up of Whitey (Lyle Bell) on bass and Gravy on drums, also on stage with them is Kim Rackel on maracas. Lyle and Kim are also play in the band The Wet Secrets. This band is super bassy, loud and fun. And with Kim on stage shaking the maracas and dancing and whipping her hair around actually adds to the stage show.

Like I say they are a very loud band for only two musicians, so much so that it was about four songs in to their set that a wood paneling on the roof in front of the stage that had a spotlight on it came crashing down. The panel with light attached to it smoked a lady in the head. Luckily she didn't look to be hurt too bad as I saw her later in the night still at the show, but this could have been much worse then it was. After that incident I was sure to watch where I was standing the rest of the night making sure I wasn't under something that might come crashing down on my head. You could say the band certainly rocked the foundations of the Rocky Mountain Icehouse.

Whitey Houston's half hour set was excellent. They closed out the set with the song "I Got Fucked By Liberty Mutual". This was a great band to open this triple bill. Especially because they don't seem to do a lot of shows lately. Was great to see they still have it.

Whitey Houston at the Rocky Mountain Icehouse.

Next up was Calgary rockers Napalmpon. This was my second time seeing the band live and holy fuck, did they ever kick ass yet again. Napalmpom's music is like a mix of all the greatest classic rock and punk bands wrapped in one. Think AC/DC, Thin Lizzy riffs, MC5 and a band having a whole lot of fun up on stage performing. So much energy and full on giv'r mode. They played a good mix of songs from their two full length albums 2017's The Core Competencies Of Napalmpon and The Unconditional Love Of Napalmpom. Not a slow moment through out their whole 40 minute performance. These guys never disappoint.

Napalmpon at the Rocky Mountain Icehouse.

Headliner of the evening was Toronto's Change Of Heart. This was my third time seeing the band live, having seen them years ago opening for the Tragically Hip. I'm so much more a fan of the band then I was back then. So I was really looking forward to seeing them play again. This time around Change Of Heart have reunited with the original line up of Ian Blurton on guitar and vocals, Rob Taylor on bass, Bernard Maiezza on keyboards and Glenn Milchem on drums (whom also plays in Blue Rodeo) for some shows in Ontario and Alberta, celebrating the re-release of their album Smile which came out twenty-five years ago. They were doing the album in its entirety, so this was gonna be another loud performance. I have been a huge fan of lead singer and songwriter Ian Blurton for years now, liking all the projects he has done which include not only Change Of Heart but also Blurtonia, C'mon and Public Animal.

Their show was loud as all of Ian's bands are, but it wasn't so loud that you couldn't understand the lyrics, all the musicians kicked ass. I especially enjoyed watching and hearing Rob Taylor on bass, he was incredible. Ian Blurton hasn't lost a thing either, his guitar playing was spectacular, the old gritty sound that I love and his singing was bang on as well. The rest of the band were no slouches either. Just an amazing night of rock n' roll from all three bands. Good times!!!

Change Of Heart at the Rocky Mountain Icehouse.

Change Of Heart t-shirt front.


After the show I got the chance to chat with Ian Blurton and tell him how much I loved his music in all the bands that he has played in. He was nice enough to autograph my Public Animal/Napalmpon split 12 inch vinyl. Thank you very much Ian!!!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Steve Earle and The Dukes Live in Enoch, AB Sept.29th 2017

Wow, a week already since the Steve Earle concert here in Edmonton (Enoch actually about 10 minutes away) at the River Cree Casino and I still haven't done a quick review. Well, here it is. I went to this show with Cuz and my buddy Buzzard. This was my tenth time seeing Steve Earle in concert, so ya, you could say I am a big fan.

This time around Steve Earle is on tour for his album So You Wannabe An Outlaw. With openers The Mastersons, the same band he played with last time Steve was here. I get it that two of the members of The Mastersons (Chris Masterson and his wife Eleanor Whitmore) play in The Dukes, but it would be nice to see a different band open this time around. So to say the least, we didn't bother with the openers this time.

Steve Earle and The Dukes hit the stage to a sold out crowd opening with the title song So You Wanna Be An Outlaw from his latest album which he out on tour supporting. He then followed that one with another new song called "Lookin' For A Woman". A great album and great way to start the show. The Dukes are rounded out with Chris Masterson on guitar, Eleanor Whitmore on fiddle, Kelly Looney on bass guitar, Chris Clarke on keyboard and steel guitar and Brad Pemberton on drums.

The two hour show flew by with one great song after another. I was surprised to hear him play "Guitar Town" early in the show, that got everyone on their feet for the rest of the night. Some of the new stuff he played were "Sunset Highway", "Walkin' in LA", "Fixin' To Die" and "The Firebreak Line". About half way through the show he played his biggest hit "Copperhead Road" followed with three more big songs "Taneytown", "Hardcore Troubadore" which he and the Dukes rocked the fuck out of that one, and then "Transcendental Blues". I could have left then and there having heard so many great songs already, but there were still more classics to come. A cover of "Hey Joe" that was made famous by Jimi Hendrix, that sounded amazing, and in the encore Steve played "The Devil's Right Hand". All and all this was an outstanding concert. Another cool thing that happened at the show was my buddy Buzzard who rarely gets excited at a show, rare that he even claps after a song actually came with me to the front of the stage for the encore. Hell he was even raising his fist and singing along. Nice to see finally. Obviously he was enjoying the show as much as myself.

About twenty minutes after the show Steve Earle came out to the merch booth and did a meet and greet with all the fans that stuck around. Such a cool and classy thing to do. The line up was a bit long for me and I have met him before therefore I didn't stick around. If only more musicians would care about their fans like Steve Earle does. A fun fun night! Good times!!!

Steve Earle and The Dukes at River Cree Casino.

T-shirt front.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Lowest of the Low Live in Edmonton Sept.27th 2017

Last Wednesday my buddy Buzzard and I went to the Lowest of the Low concert here in Edmonton at the Needle Vinyl Tavern. I was excited about this show for several reasons, for starters I have always been a big fan of LOTL since their debut album Shakespeare My Butt that was released in 1991, and they haven't played Edmonton since 2002. Not only that but local rockers Jr.Gone Wild would be opening the show. Talk about a great double bill of two awesome Canadian bands. There was also another local band on the bill called Short Of Able.

The evening started with Edmonton band Short Of Able. I had never heard of the band before but thought they were actually alright. Apparently they have been around since 2011, but have just recently ramped things up again with more gigs and a record released last year. Kind of an indie pop rock style of music. I thought they did pretty good actually.

Next up was Jr.Gone Wild. This would be my tenth time seeing them play in concert, a band that never lets me down. Their hour long set was filled with lots of new music. I believe there was eight new songs in total and five of which I had never heard before. The newer songs that I hadn't heard before were (hope I got song titles right) "Girl In The Crowd", "Five Million Songs", "Dodge", "Mars" and "What Can You Do". All the songs sounded great with the classic JGW sound. One of the songs, I can't recall which one was the song that the band stole some of the lyrics from Chi Pig of SNFU (Dodge maybe). As lead singer Mike McDonald went on to say it was a little pay back for SNFU stealing some of his lyrics many years ago. Another new song they did called "Warren's Van", a song they have played a few times before was an absolute rocker. The band really seemed to speed this one up from the last time I saw it performed. Of course the band also played some of their older stuff as well. A great show by Jr.Gone Wild and looked like the crowd was enjoying their set, even the new songs, with people dancing and singing along to the older stuff.

I had the chance to talk to lead singer Ron Hawkins of Lowest of the Low a bit at the show and he had mentioned that JGW was a big influence on the band and especially the debut album of theirs Shakespeare My Butt. Ron said this was a double bill that had been 25 years in the making. The guys from LOTL were out amongst the crowd watching Jr.Gone Wild's set.

Jr.Gone Wild at The Needle.

Headliner of the evening was Toronto band Lowest of the Low. It was nice to see the band finally make it out west, they have been doing shows out east in the Toronto and Buffalo area off and on for a few years now. But now they were out this way and with a new album "Do The Right Now" under their belts. Their first new album in thirteen years, which is damn good by the way.

Lowest of the Low opened the show with the song "Powerlines" from the new album, also played from the album were "Gerona Train", The title song "Do The Right Now" and "Something To Believe In" all the new songs went over very well, but nothing like the response songs from the Shakespeare My Butt got. And they played a great selection of songs from that album. That album Shakespeare has been voted as one of the best Canadian albums recorded over the past 30 years. When Ron Hawkins and the band tore into those songs the crowd was singing along word for word. Songs like "Kinda The Lonely One", "Letter From Bilbao" "Salesman, Cheats and Liars", "So Long Bernie", "Just About The Only Blues", "Henry Needs A New Pair Of Shoes" and more ending their set with "Rosy & Grey" from said album. I was also very impressed with Lawrence Nichols all the harmonica, he was wailing all night. There were even a few songs from the album Hallucigenia. Ron Hawkins was in good form too as was the rest of the band. An awesome night of music by three great Canadian bands. Good times!!!

Lowest of the Low at The Needle.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

R.I.P. Tom Petty

So yesterday around lunch time I got a text from a buddy asking me if I had heard about Tom Petty, whether what he was reading was true or not. Instantly my mind went to worse case scenario and started looking into it myself, well the rumours were flying that Tom Petty had passed. Instant sadness hit me. Then a few hours later word came out that Tom Petty was still clinging to life after a hear attack and going into a cardiac arrest. So there was still hope, please pull through Mr. Petty. By the time I went to bed I still had not heard anything more.

Well this morning I woke up to the shitty news and confirmation of the passing of Tom Petty at the age of 66. This death hits me hard, it came out of nowhere. I had just seen Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers play Vancouver in August on their 40th Anniversary Tour. Everything seemed so good six weeks ago, a great show, Petty looked to be healthy and in good spirits. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers put on an incredible show. So good!

I count myself very fortunate to have seen Tom Petty in concert four times, and everyone of them shows were awesome. The first time I saw Tom Petty was when a buddy and I made the trip to Pemberton, British Columbia for the inaugural Pemberton Music Festival July 2008 in which Tom was headlining the Saturday night.

The second time I saw Tom Petty play was weeks later on August 12th playing in Edmonton at Rexall Place with Steve Winwood opening. Again, a great show.

The third time seeing Petty play was in Edmonton again at Rexall Place on June 16th 2010 with Joe Cocker opening the show. And now neither one of these artists are with us anymore.

And sadly the last time I got to see Tom Petty play was just this summer and mere six weeks ago or so in Vancouver at Rogers Arena August 17th 2017. This time with The Lumineers opening. I knew Petty wouldn't be doing full on tours anymore after this 40th Anniversary Tour hence why I made the trip to see him again. But I surely didn't think this would be the last time ever. A very sad day this is and has hit me like a tonne of bricks. Very thankful I got to see him perform as many times as I did. Also very thankful for all the great music he has put out over the years with The Heartbreakers, Mudcrutch, Traveling Wilburys and his solo albums. Thank you Tom Petty for the great music and live performances. Your music will live on for many years to come.

Rest In Peace Tom Petty