Saturday, August 5, 2017

I Mother Earth Live in Edmonton July 28th 2017

Can't believe it's already been a week since Janis and I saw the I Mother Earth concert at Sir Winston Churchill Square as part of the Taste Of Edmonton Festival. Where the hell did June and July go?

I was surprised to see the music line up for the Taste Of Edmonton Fest, they had some decent acts play there over the nine day festival. Bands like Hawksley Workman, Bif Naked, Wet Secrets and many others. Each night was sponsored by a local radio station, so depending on what station was hosting that night, you got that genre of music. We only made it down to the Fest for the one day, as I really wanted to see I Mother Earth again, the last time I had seen them was in 1996. This was my fourth time seeing this wicked Canadian alternative band play. They had their hey day in the mid 90's and it's only been in the past year or so that saw the original vocalist Edwin rejoin the band.

I've always been a fan of I Mother Earth, especially their first two albums Dig and Scenery and Fish. The song writing tandem of Christian Tanna (drums) and Jagori Tanna (guitar) were second to none for alternative music in the 90's. For this show it was the original band minus the bass player, they have a new bassist now by the name of Chuck Dailey.

Opening the show with "Not Quite Sonic" from their first album Dig, wicked guitar playing and the funky bass that grabs your attention and has you swaying, shuffling and raising your fist in the air, not to mention singing along. After that it was into "Like A Girl" from the Scenery and Fish album. I was surprised by how much not only myself but the whole crowd remembered the words and were singing along. There was a great turn out for this show too, mind you it was a Friday night, the weather was awesome and it was free. Their hour and a half long set was all songs from their first two albums. The band sounded great, tight as I remember them being, psychedelic at times, funky and all out fucking rock n' roll. I thought lead singer Edwin's vocals were a touch weak, but not too bad considering it's been a while since anyone has heard his name in the music scene in years. I thought this was a great show and brought back some fun memories of tripping out to their music years ago. Good times!!!

I Mother Earth at Taste of Edmonton.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Interstellar Rodeo Day Three July 23rd 2017

So Sunday rolled around and it was time to get down to the Hawrelak Heritage Amphitheatre for day three of Interstellar Rodeo. I have to admit I was feeling a little rough and was dragging my ass. But nothing a few beers and some good music and company can't fix. Day three of the festival was looking to me like the weakest line up of the weekend. But you never know, so away we go.

The first artist of the day was Leonard Sumner. Leonard as been called one of the most important voices of the First Nation roots music scene in Canada. Leonard is another artist that hails from Manitoba. Ya Manitoba was well represented at this years festival. Leonard's music was a mix of spoken word, hip-hop, country and blues, so kind of all over the place. I didn't mind his set, it was alright.

Leonard Sumner.

Next up was Amelia Curran an artist from St. John's, Newfoundland and a Juno Award winning songwriter. I had seen Amelia once before, in 2013 also at Interstellar, but that time she was just playing solo and was an in between bands act. But I enjoyed her then as I did this time around too. Her music is in the folk/rock category, but she looks to be having a lot of fun on stage and her singing is stronger this time around, and she had a full band with her this time too. Amelia recently released her newest album Watershed on Six Shooter Records. I enjoyed her hour long set.

Amelia Curran.

Calgary folk roots band Northern Beauties were the next band to play. I could not get into this band at all.

Northern Beauties.

I missed the in between artists Ensign Broderick and Mustafa the Poet as I was outside having a smoke. It was while I was out having a smoke that I ran in to Parker Millsap, who had joined in on a circle sharing a smoke with some friends. I got the chance to talk with Parker and tell him how much I enjoyed his show on Saturday. Parker was a super nice guy and easy to have a conversation with. And then he was even nice enough to have a picture taken with me. Parker told us about the next band up JD McPherson who was also from Oklahoma. Parker and his band had stuck around the festival an extra day to checkout his friends performance. So now I was excited about seeing JD too.

Parker Millsap and I.

JD McPherson was up next and just in time as I needed a pick me up with some solid rock n' roll. JD McPherson who is from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma plays a style of rock n' roll that is reminiscent of old vintage 50's rock, but with an edge. His performance was kick ass and just what I needed. JD's hour long set was rocking with a great back up band that was tight. The crowd seemed to be getting off on is music too. A great set and another artist that I will be looking further in to. Good stuff!

JD McPherson.

It was just after JD's set that the weather turned for the worse, the wind picked up and blew in a storm that consisted of some hard rain, with lightning and thunder, so much so that they shut the show down for a while, waiting for the storm to pass through. The pouring rain let up about a half hour later and the thunder and lightning passed. What was nice during this down pour was the staff and volunteers walking amongst the crowd handing out ponchos to those that needed them, thank you very much, as I was one of them that did not come prepared for a storm. Very nice gesture on their part.

After the storm, it was time for California native Suzanne Vega to hit the stage. I really know very little about her and didn't stick around to long to get to know her more. Her music was alright but not something I could get in to. I stayed for about half her set and called it a weekend. I was wet from the rain, cold, buzzed and had about enough. Time to go home, after all I had to work Monday morning on top of it. I had no interest at all in seeing Broken Social Scene, again another band that I have just never got in to. So this was the end of another Interstellar weekend for me. Good times!!!

Suzanne Vega.

This years Interstellar Rodeo looked to be another success, I enjoyed myself as I always do at this festival. Six Shooter Records owner Shauna De Cartier put on a great festival, great vibes, great staff and volunteers, great location as always for the festival and some interesting bands. I thought the line up was a bit on the weak side, but that's just my opinion. I had a great time as usual, and was turned on to some new music. The y made a few tweaks at this years festival site which I think were for the better. All and all another fun weekend. The stand out performances for me were Parker Millsap, Leeroy Stagger, Dan Mangan and JD McPherson. See you next year Interstellar Rodeo. Good times!!!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Interstellar Rodeo Day Two July 22nd 2017

After a good night of rest and feeling revived it was off to day two of Interstellar. This time Janis and Erin came with me like they have the past four years, always the Saturday show for them.

We got there early as we wanted to see all that we could. The day started with a band from Winnipeg called Begonia, another band I had never heard of before. Begonia is lead by Alexa Dirks on vocals, their music is a mix of synth, gospel and folk. I have to say, I wasn't all that big on it.


Next up was Parker Millsap an artist from Oklahoma. I had heard a few of his songs on CKUA and recently had seen an episode of Austin City Limits that had Parker on it. I was looking forward to his set as I was really starting to dig his music.

Well, I wasn't disappointed at all with his hour long set. His mix of Americana music, rock n' roll with soulful lyrics and singing and watching him and his awesome band look like they were having fun up on stage made it a great performance. What impressed me most was the range in Parker's voice, at times a whisper and then all out rock n' roll. The man can sing, very very impressed. I'll be picking up his music and following this artist. Great stuff.

Parker Millsap.

The next band up was The Suffers out of Houston, Texas. Their music I would describe as a mix of soul, some funk and Cajun. They were entertaining and had the crowd up and dancing along. Lead singer Kam Franklin had an awesome voice and really knew how to work the crowd. I also really enjoyed the guitar playing of Kevin Bernier and hell he had a cool looking green jean jacket too. All and all I thought they were pretty damn good.

The Suffers.

Up next was Canadian folk singer/songwriter Basia Bulat out of Toronto, Ontario. While I have heard some of her music on CKUA I have never really been a fan of her tunes. Now after seeing her perform live, I have a lot more respect for her music. She was definitely better live then on record in my opinion. She has a great voice and band. Again I was impressed with an artist I didn't think I was going to like.

Basia Bulat.

I missed some of the in between acts like Christine Fellows and Ken Stead as guy needs to eat and step out for a smoke once in a while.

The next main stage act was Winnipeg's John K. Samson and the Winter Wheat. John is a former member of hardcore band Propagandhi and indie rockers The Weakerthans. I wish I knew more about both his former bands but I didn't really follow either. Nonetheless, his new band The Winter Wheat were quite good. The crowd was certainly into them. I enjoyed his set but like I say I wish I was more familiar with his music.

John K. Samson and the Winter Wheat.

The next act up was Leeroy Stagger doing an in between act set. Why he wasn't booked for the main stage I don't understand, but at least he got to play Interstellar. I've been a big fan of Leeroy for years now and this would be my thirteenth time seeing him play. Leeroy's half hour set was excellent with a lot of people checking it out and getting a great response from the audience. Really enjoyed his set.

Leeroy Stagger.

The last act of day two was Toronto musician Serena Ryder. Her music is kind of all over the place with roots, country, folk and rock influences. She knows how to command the stage and crowd. She was very entertaining and had the audience in the palm of her hands through out her performance. I'm not the biggest fan of her but do have to say she put on a pretty good show.

Serena Ryder.

All and all it was a great day of music, eats, drinks and hanging with good people. Good times!!!