Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Melissa Etheridge Live in Edmonton July 12th 2018

Last Thursday I went to the Melissa Etheridge concert here in Edmonton at the Winspear Centre. I had no intention of going to this show but my buddy Buzzard picked us up tickets, so I guess I was going now. At a 100 dollars a ticket, there are a lot of other shows I would rather have gone to, but hey what the hell, a show is a show. This would be my third time seeing Melissa in concert and first time since 1992, so I was due to see her again.

We missed the opening act which was a local artist by the name of Amy Van Keeken.

By the time Melissa Etheridge and her full band came on I was surprised to see that the Winspear was maybe half full if that, and it only holds maybe 1600 people or so. But then with such expensive tickets maybe I shouldn't have been shocked. Melissa and her stellar band opened the evening with the song "No Souvenirs" from her second album Brave and Crazy then into "Similar Features" from her debut album, five of the first six songs were from her first couple of albums, which was cool by me as after her third album I pretty much lost interest in her. The other songs in the opening songs were "Let Me Go", "You Used To Love To Dance" and "Chrome Plated Heart".

Over all the show was quite rocking, with Melissa taking some time to mention that she and her wife had spent two days in the city walking around the river valley and checking out the Street Performers Festival saying how beautiful Edmonton was, but did mention all the construction around the city and the venue which is in downtown Edmonton.

Some of the other songs I recognized were "Yes I Am", "You Can Sleep While I Drive", "Bring Me Some Water" and "I'm The Only One". A pretty damn good setlist, lots of songs that I knew. Those that were in attendance seemed to really enjoy the show. All and all a pretty good show, but I think I could go another 25 years before I need to see her again. Good times!!!

Melissa Etheridge at the Winspear Centre.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Altameda Live in Edmonton July 1st 2018

Last Sunday my buddy Buzzard and I checked out local rockers Altameda play at the Legislature Grounds as part of the Canada Day celebrations. This was my sixth time seeing Altameda play live and again they were incredible. Like I have said many times before this is a must see band if you are a fan of rock n' roll in the style of The Boss, Tom Petty, Ryan Adams and such. I have wrote about these guys more then a few times in the past two years.

They were the first band of the day on the Alberta Discovered stage and had a really good turnout for their performance which was great to see, well deserved. Their hour long set was rocking from start to finish and the crowd that was there were digging them from what I could tell. The band just recently sold out of their first LP Dirty Rain on vinyl, but of course it is still available through their Bandcamp page. The band currently have a new album ready to release and are hoping for a late summer, early fall release, as they are shopping it around to labels.

Watch for Altameda in your area as they are doing the summer festival circuit with upcoming dates on July 14th in Vancouver at the Red Truck Stop Brewery Concert Series in Vancouver Saturday July 14th, and two dates in Calgary Sunday July 15th at the Calgary Stampede and then again on Saturday July 28th and Sunday July 29th at the Calgary Folk Music Festival.

Altameda in Edmonton Canada Day.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Social Distortion Live in Edmonton June 15th 2018

Ya, I'm really late on this review but here it is anyways!

After a really rough week, I was some happy that I had a concert to go to Friday night. Nothing like unwinding at a Social Distortion concert. This show was the second of two sold out shows in Edmonton at Union Hall. This would be my fifth time seeing Social D in concert. On tour with Social D this time around were a couple of artists I had not heard of before, they would be Jade Jackson and Aaron Lee Tasjan.

I made sure to get to the venue early as I really needed to have some beers and hear some live music and was very interested in checking out the two openers.

First band of the night was Jade Jackson. Jade is a singer/songwriter out of Santa Margarita, California. Jade was backed up by a full band and plays a alt-country style of music with some punk grittiness mixed in. I thought she had a strong voice and a lot of energy. Seemed those that were already at the show were digging her as well. Overall I thought she put on a great performance. Jade Jackson's new album Gilded was just released in May on Anti-Records. You can also checkout her music on her bandcamp page by clicking here.

Jade Jackson at Union Hall.

Next up was Aaron Lee Tasjan again backed up by a full band. Aaron is a singer/songwriter from New Albany, Ohio. I really enjoyed these guys, Aaron is a great songwriter and his guitar playing is top notch, I thought he kicked ass, as did his other guitar player Brian Wright. There sound is a mix of southern rock, a hint of jam music with lots of emotion and passion. At times they reminded me of Parker Millsap, The Sadies and Drvin' N' Cryin', which makes sense as Aaron has played in Drivin' N' Cryin'. The guitar dueling of Aaron and Brian was like watching and listening to Dallas and Travis good of The Sadies, very impressive. I didn't know his music at all when I saw him but I was impressed enough that I picked up his last album called Silver Tears. One of the songs from that album he played called the "Hard Life" was excellent as was "Refugee Blues". Aaron has a new album coming out on new West Records at the end of August. I'll be sure to be picking that one up as well. This show made me a fan.

Aaron Lee Tasjan at Union Hall.

Headliner of the night Social Distortion hit the stage with the attitude and presence that we have come to know from lead singer Mike Ness. I loved the 1-2-3 punch of "Reach For The Sky", "Highway 101" and "Don't Take Me For Granted". A great way to start the show and the crowd was eating it up.

You know what you're getting with a Social D show, a meat and potatoes rock n' roll show. Social D is almost like a classic rock band now, but only punk rock. Having not released a new album since 2011's Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes. There was at least one new song that I had never heard before, I believe it was called "Over You" about of course a relationship break up. Other songs played that I recall were "Don't Drag Me Down", "Machine Gun Blues", an oldie "Mommy's Little Monster" and "Bad Luck". What disappointed me about the show was that I thought it could have been a better setlist. Mike Ness was in great form I thought. Missing was "Prison Bound" and two songs I really wanted to hear as they are very dear to my heart "Angel's Wings" and "Live Before You Die". It was cool to see Jonny "2 Bags" Wickersham playing in Social D, he did a great job, again if only they had played "Angel's Wing's" which was co-wrote by him. Jonny also used to play in the Cadillac Tramps another band I was a big fan of. All and all this was a good show and a great way to unwind from a tough week. Good times!!!

Social Distortion at Union Hall.

Aaron Lee Tasjan album I picked up at the show.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

David Byrne Live in Edmonton May 20th 2018

Sunday night was the David Byrne show here in Edmonton at the Jubilee Auditorium. I went to this show with Buzzard, Char and Janis. This would be my second time seeing David Byrne in concert. Sadly I had to miss the farewell Slayer concert that was held the same night, but I guess you can't see them all. As much as I want to.

The opening act for this show was an artist from Edmonton, London England by the name of Benjamin Clementine. I had never heard of him before but read a bit about him and he sounded like he would be interesting to check out.

His show started out with just him at a piano singing with a female and child mannequin at the front of the stage surrounded by mannequin body parts. Ok this is weird. He started out alright, I didn't mind the first song. Then another musician joined him on stage, a bass player that also played a little bit of keys and did some vocals.

Then things just got really weird. I'm not even sure how to describe his set. I'm always up for strange/weird music, but this was like something I have never seen or heard before. The music was out there, and then he carried around the child mannequin while singing a song I believe was called "Turkish Boy", by the end of the song Benjamin had carried the mannequin to the side of the stage and dropped it down the stairs to the right side of the stage with it shattering all over the place, weird. Then there was a song that went on forever where Benjamin and his bass player chanted something, not exactly sure what it was. But it went on and on, just when you thought it was done they would start it up again, some people in the audience started laughing, and some just got up and left. It had crossed my mind to leave as well, but I was waiting for him to just say ha, jokes on you. I was enthralled watching, like looking at a car accident. This was one very strange performance. I did stick it out to the end. This was more like performance art then musicianship, in my opinion anyways. Some fucked up shit that's for sure. Way over my head.

After his set while outside during intermission it was some funny listening to people talk about Benjamin's performance. Most people were like myself going what the hell was that. Some had checked out about ten minutes into the set. From what I heard and the people I talked to didn't much care for his set, but it certainly had people talking that's for sure. Very weird.

Benjamin Clementine at the Jubilee in Edmonton.

Next up was David Byrne whom is most famous for being the front man and lyricist for the band Talking Heads, though he much more then that. David Byrne has also worked in film, photography and an author, a very interesting man he is. On this night he is on tour promoting his first solo album in 14 years called American Utopia. The last time he played Edmonton was in 2009 when he was touring for his album he did with Brian Eno. I was never a fan of the Talking Heads or his music until I saw him in concert the first time. So I was looking forward to seeing him perform again.

The show started with just David on stage sitting at a desk with a model of a brain in his hand. This wasn't your normal stage set up. There were no amps to be seen, no drum set, and the three sides of the stage were just beads covering all the sides. David started the show with a new song called "Here", at first I as thinking the music was canned music, but then through the beads came his 11 piece band one member at a time all playing cordless instruments. Drums and keys strapped to each member and a couple that did a whole lot of dancing through out the whole show.

David's setlist was comprised of music from his whole catalog including a good mix of Talking Heads songs, and lots from his American Utopia album, which went over very well. I find that usually when you see an older artist doing new stuff that you are always waiting for his old music, but that wasn't the case with this show. The new music was excellent as is the album. He even did a song from his album he did with St. Vincent, a song called "I Should Watch TV". He probably did about half the "American Utopia" album live. A highlight from the new album a song called "Everybody's Coming To My House" was amazing live too. He closed his set with the Talking Heads song "Burning Down The House" which had everyone singing along. His eleven piece band was amazing, not once through the whole show was there a slow moment, everyone was always moving and dancing, the choreography in the dancing and such was very cool. It was almost like watching a musical.

For the first song of his encore he did the song "Dancing Together" which is song from his album he did with Fatboy Slim in 2010. Then it was another Talking Heads song "The Great Curve". For the second encore he did a song called "Hell You Talmbout", which is song wrote by Janelle Monae. I knew nothing about this song, until now, after researching it. It is a protest song about African American people that have died in encounters with law enforcement. During the song each band member would shout out a name of a person that has been shot by an officer. I didn't much care for the song as it seemed to go on forever, the whole band were in line and drumming along and shouting out the names. I found it to be very long and boring, but figured ok after this things will pick up again, but no, that was it show over. I have to say I was very disappointed with the way the show ended. I thought we would get to hear a couple more Talking Heads songs. Sadly songs like "Psycho Killer", "Take Me To The River" and "Life During Wartime" were left out of the setlist. Other then that complaint, this was a very good show. Just wish I could have heard them songs instead of the way it did end. Have to say though David Byrne sounded great and was in fine form being his quirky weird self. All and all a very entertaining show and well worth checking out. Good times!!!

David Byrne at the Jubilee in Edmonton.

T-shirt front.

T-shirt back.