Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Santana Live in Edmonton March 12th 2018

On Monday night I went to the Santana concert here in Edmonton at Rogers Place with my buddy Buzzard. This was my first time seeing Santana in concert as I'm not really a huge fan of him. I like him but never really had an interest in seeing him live. My buddy talked me into going to the show as he has seen Santana a couple times live and mentioned I really should go. He picked up tickets so now I was committed to going. Buzzard leant me the Carlos Santana autobiography The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story To Light, which was an interesting read and had me looking forward to finally seeing this legendary guitarist.

Santana are on the road now as part of his Divination Tour. This time around Carlos had a eight piece band with him as he always has a revolving door of musicians he plays with. Playing in the band this tour is Andy Vargas and Ray Greene on vocals and horns, three drummers Paoli Mejias, Karl Perazzo and Carlos' wife Cindy Blackman Santana, David K. Mathews on keys, Benny Rietveld on bass, Tommy Anthony on guitar and of course Carlos Santana on guitar., a great bunch of musicians backing him up.
I've always found listening to Santana albums that I would get bored as I always kind of though the songs all started to sound a like. Carlos has a very distinct guitar sound, there always no doubt who is playing when you hear that Santana guitar sound. But in concert, I enjoyed it much more, didn't feel as repetitive. And that was even after a two and quarter hour long show, with no intermission. It was billed as an evening with Santana, so no opening act, but I thought for sure there would be an intermission, but to my surprise there wasn't, which was fine, cause the show actually went by real quick.

The show opened with the song "Soul Sacrifice" in which we missed as we were still in a line up trying to get into this damn venue, still not a fan of Rogers Place. I thought the place would grow on me, but thus far I can say it hasn't. By the time we got in and grabbed a drink and got to our seats Carlos and band were playing the popular song "Evil Ways" which sounded amazing, which segued into the John Coltrane song "A Love Supreme". A half dozen songs into the show the band played what is probably Santana's biggest hit "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen" that really got the crowd of about 6000 up and dancing. The show was full of guitar solos as that is what Carlos is most famous for which included a version of Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child (Slight Return).

For the encore we were treated to a drum solo by Cindy Blackman Santana who could really bang the shit out of her drum set, I'm not one much for drum solos but I thought she did a great job not only on her solo but through out the whole show. Also in the encore was the huge hit for Carlos the song "Smooth" from his 1999 mega album Supernatural. I hated that song, which originally featured Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty on vocals, but live with Andy Vargas and Ray Greene doing vocals it actually sounded quite good.

After reading the Carlos Santana book, I was expecting Carlos to really go on about spirituality and such as he is a very spiritual man, he didn't do that and just let the music do the talking which was cool by me. The few spiritual/inspirational messages he did have were on the screen behind him. And at 70 years of age not only does Carlos sound good, but he looks healthy and good too. All and all this show was much better then I had expected. Good times!!!

Santana at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Seven Inch Saturday (Fake Problems / Gaslight Anthem)

Today's seven inch single, also works for my cover song of the day. It is the Fake Problems / Gaslight Anthem split single. Side A is the song from the Naples, Florida band Fake Problems, the song being "Songs For Teenagers" from their 2010 album Real Ghosts Caught On Tape released on SideOneDummy Records.

The B Side is a cover of the Fake Problems song "Songs For Teenagers" covered by the New Jersey band Gaslight Anthem. I really like this version of the song as well. The single was released in 2011 and limited to 500 copies on neon green vinyl.

I was lucky too have seen both these bands play together back in 2010 in Edmonton when Fake Problems opened for Gaslight Anthem.

Original version by Fake Problems.

Cover version by Gaslight Anthem.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Seven Inch Saturday (Anthrax)

It's been a while since I have done a seven inch Saturday post, so here we go. I've been busy with listing my vinyl on Discogs that last little while and haven't updated the blog a whole lot. But now that the listing is done I can get back to writing more. After going through all my vinyl, I've come across some stuff I forgot I even had. So I am going to start writing a bit more about some vinyl I have re-discovered.

Today I am starting with a seven inch single from the band Anthrax. This was part of a series of Record Store Day releases (or Disquaire Day in French) from 2016. These releases which also include Twenty One Pilots, La Femme and The Doors are singles that honour the musical connection between France and the USA. All the releases are in memory of those last in the 2015 Paris attack in which 130 people lost their lives in a terror attack. The only one I picked up is the Anthrax single which features the songs "Antisocial" (Trust cover) from Anthrax's 1988 album State Of Euphoria, b/w "In The End" both songs are live versions. The song "In The End" from Anthrax's 2011 album Worship Music is wrote as a tribute to 'Dimebag' Darrell (Pantera) and Ronnie James Dio (Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Dio). This single is a limited pressing of 1500 copies on red vinyl. Both songs were recorded in Tokyo not sure of what year though as there is nothing on the cover or record telling you. I found both live recordings to sound very muffled and muddy sounding, not a very good recording at all, almost bootleg like.

Side A - Antisocial

Side B - In The End

In concert news...Anthrax will be coming through Edmonton again this spring with Slayer and Testament on Sunday May 20th at The Shaw Conference Centre.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Dan Bern Live in Edmonton February 15th 2018

Well it's been over a week already since my buddy Buzzard and I went to the Dan Bern concert at the Almanac here in Edmonton. Dan Bern is a guitarist singer/songwriter and painter from Mount Vernon, Iowa. I was excited to hear that Dan Bern was playing Edmonton having followed him for years especially in the late 90's up til about 2005, it was then that he seemed to fall off my radar. Although he has been busy putting out albums all through the years right up til the present time. And to see an artist like Dan Bern play an intimate venue like the Almanac was going to be pretty damn cool.

Opening the show was local artist Paul Bellows. Paul is another artist that you used to hear his name in the local scene all the time, but again it's been years since I had heard anything about him.

Paul's opening set was pretty good. Though I didn't know his tunes, I thought he put on a good show. But I was there for Dan Bern.

Dan Bern opened the show with a song called "Freight Train Blues" a Doc & Merle Watson cover. And it was right from the first song when I noticed that all those in attendance were big Dan Bern fans, as people were singing along right from the get go. Another big sing along song was "Black Tornado", I didn't realize how popular Dan really was. It was cool to hear everyone singing along with Dan, it even looked like Dan was kind of surprised himself.

Dan was really engaging with the audience, telling some great stories and was funny as hell too. One of the first thing I noticed when Dan hit the stage was the t-shirt he was wearing, which was a Saskatoon Blades shirt. Dan mentioned how it was his favorite t-shirt he owned. The Blades are a Western Hockey League junior team, that surprised me, but would make more sense later on during the show. The show was full of surprises, as I was also surprised by how knowledgeable he was on Canadian culture and politics.

I can see why Dan gets compared to Bob Dylan a lot. Dan has a very distinctive voice and is one hell of a songwriter. Other songs Dan did that I knew were "God Said No", "Shakespeare's Got A Gun", "Jerusalem", "Party By Myself" and "Fascist". There wasn't a bad song played all night, no boring moments or anything, just a stellar show from start to finish. It was about two thirds through the show when Dan invited a gentleman on stage to do a few songs with him, and that man was the General Manager of the Saskatoon Blades Colin Priestner. Colin was actually a great singer as well, who would have guessed. The last song of the night Dan wandered through the crowd singing and playing the guitar and invited opener Paul Bellows out with him where the two of them belted out a song. All and all this was an amazing night of music. A great show. Good times!!!

Dan Bern at The Almanac.

Dan Bern and Colin Priestner.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

METZ Live in Edmonton Jan.20th 2018

After seeing Pal Joey in the afternoon it was time for a nap before heading to the Starlite Room to see METZ in concert.

I got to the Starlite Room in time to catch the first band of the triple bill. The first band of the evening was a local band called The Dead Fibres. I wasn't expecting much as I had never heard of them before, but much to my surprise they were really good. The room was far from full but still a decent crowd to catch the openers. The Dead Fibres are a three piece band that play a grunge/psychedelic/punk mix of music and were loud and noisy and on the chaotic side. Dead Fibres consist of drummer Brandon de Gans, guitarist Zach Mouallem, and vocalist and bassist Kennedy Pawluk. While I didn't know the songs at all and found it hard to understand most of the vocals, I was still very impressed, especially with guitarist Zach, he really left it all out on the stage. All three musicians are top notch. They made a good impression on me.

Dead Fibres at the Starlite Room.

Next up was another local band the Slates. This was my fourth time seeing the Slates in concert. By the time they hit the stage the club was filling up nicely. With the Slates I could at least understand the vocals and lyrics from lead singer/songwriter James Stewart whom also plays guitar. Helps when you have a few of their albums and have listened to the band for a few years. The band played a good selection of songs from their latest release Summery, songs such as "Coyotes" and "Yellowknife". Another local band well worth looking in to if you haven't already.

The Slates at the Starlite Room.

Headliner of the evening was the Ottawa band now based in Toronto the METZ. This trio are touring in support of their third album Strange Peace. This was my first time seeing METZ in concert, and wow, they were amazing. Another chaotic trio of musicians consisting of Alex Edkins on guitar and vocals, bassist Chris Slorach and rounded out by drummer Hayden Menzies. I'm betting these guys lose 5-10lbs playing the way they do. They certainly don't lack in energy that's for sure, these guys don't slow down one bit during the hour long show. Their music is loud, aggressive with lots of distortion. They opened the show with the song "Swimmer" from their second album simply called II. One of the older songs I recognized was "Headache" from the first album. I don't know the titles of the songs but can say everything I heard was excellent. A very impressive loud show. I forgot to bring ear plugs and got caught up in the show and didn't buy any at the venue, so needless to say my ears were a ringing on Sunday. It was worth it though. Good times!!!

METZ at the Starlite Room.


Monday, January 22, 2018

Pal Joey at The Empress Ale House Jan.30th 2018

On Saturday afternoon I made my way to the Empress Ale House here in Edmonton to catch local act Pal Joey. This was my fourth time seeing them play live. Pal Joey don't play a lot of shows, maybe four a year if that, so it's a rare occasion to see them.

I got to the bar just before show time and the place was packed, which was good to see. This time around Pal Joey performed as just a four piece band, as the previous times I had seen them, they had a horn section. I have to say I enjoy them much more without the horns. Just felt more rocking and fun. The band led by Trent Buhler on vocals and guitar sounded really good. Their sound is a little bit country punk, with a little Elvis Costello mixed in. The band still has two original members Trent Buhler and bassist Tom Murray who plays amazing. Cliff Culbert is the second guitarist and is damn good as is the drummer Scott Lingley.

The band played a good mix of songs from their three albums. Songs like "A Little Less Wasteful" from their 1999 album The New Dance. Some songs from their 1995 debut album Tennessee Angels, which is really good. "Down On Me" was played as was "Last Chance for Food and Drink", "Waiting For Lefty" and "Act of God" at least I am pretty sure these were all played. And of course there were some songs from their latest album Lucky Pennies which came out in 2015. I know they played "Five and Dimin'" and "Heartbreak Station" from said album. All and all it was a great way to spend an afternoon listening and watching a great band. Good times!!!

Pal Joey at The Empress Ale House.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Danny Michel Live in Edmonton Jan.12th 2018

Last Friday Janis and my buddy Buzzard went to the Danny Michel concert at the Myer Horowitz Theatre here in Edmonton. This was my fifth time seeing Danny in concert. We missed the opening act local artist Erin Kay as we were out having a few beers before the show. I heard she was quite good, it's too bad we missed her set.

As for Danny Michel, once again he put on a very fun and entertaining show, playing for about an hour and a half. Danny played solo, no back up band. Danny mixed up the set with material from most of his career, playing some oldies like "Tennessee Tobacco" from his 2006 album Valhalla, "Feather, Fur & Fin" from his 2008 album by the same title. Also played were "Wish Willy" and "Who's Gonna Miss You?" from the album Sunset Sea. And of course between almost every song Danny has a story to tell, and these stories most times are fuckin' hilarious. I have heard most of these stories a few times already, but he tells them with such enthusiasm you can't help but be engaged and laugh your ass off. One of the stories he told on this night was one I had never heard before, a story about meeting Paul Simon backstage at a show in Toronto. Another great story full of laughs, if you should ever get the chance, ask Danny about his Paul Simon apple tree. he had the audience in stitches at times with the stories. But it's not the stories that your there for, it's the music, and Danny does an awesome job on those as well.

The subjects of Danny's songs are so full of adventures he has been on, including his latest big adventure on the Russian icebreaker ship Khlebnikov. Danny was invited on this 18 day adventure by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield as it went through the Arctic Ocean. Danny was the music guest among as already said astronaut Chris Hadfield, scientists, filmographer and photographers. The album Khlebnizov is very Russian music influenced as you would imagine after recording this album on the ship. He then brought the recording to a studio and added orchestral arrangements to make a very cool album. Danny did a couple of songs from the album including the song "24,000 Horses". And because the venue had a huge screen behind him on stage, Danny showed some really cool film footage from the adventure. Also on stage with Danny this time was a grand piano in which he did a few songs on, something I had never seen him play before, that was cool.

Danny also did some songs from the recording he did in Belize with The Garifuna Collective, a very Graceland like album called Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me. Songs from that album he did were "What Colour Are You?" and "Sad and Beautiful World".

All and all this was a really great show by Danny Michel, I love how Danny just comes across as a very genuine man and really seems like someone that wants to make the world a better place. Kudos to you Danny Michel! Good times!!!

Danny Michel at the Myer Horowitz Theatre.