Saturday, July 22, 2017

Bob Dylan Live in Edmonton July 19th 2017

On Wednesday it was another trip to Rogers Place with Buzzard, Char and Janis this time to catch Bob Dylan in concert. This was my eleventh time seeing him live. A man I will see in concert any chance I get.

This time like the last few times I have seen him, his stage was bare, not much lighting and at his warbly best. IN recent years I am finding Bob isn't so much a folk artist anymore as he is jazz. He never plays a song the same way twice and it really seems his back up band which still includes Charlie Sexton on guitar, just follow Bob's lead. Bob didn't touch the guitar or harmonica during this show. He pretty much stood and played the piano and sang, I did see him crack a smile at one point. I had been watching Bob's setlist leading up to the show, and he hasn't changed it at all on this leg of the tour, so I knew what to expect for song selection, yet it's never boring. Now if you are a fan of Bob and expecting to hear songs the way they sound on record, you would be disappointed I am sure. I myself love the way he messes with his own songs.

The night opened with Bob playing "Things Have Changed" and then into "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright", for some I am sure it took a bit to realize what songs he was playing. His version of "Highway 61 Revisited" again was different but still good. I really enjoyed "Duquesne Whistle" from his last original material album Tempest, I actually enjoyed this version more so then the album version. Bob actually did quite a few songs from the Tempest album. He also did some of his versions of old 50's songs from his Triplicate album that came out earlier this year. Old crooner songs as I like to call them.

Tangled Up In Blue which is one of Bob's most popular songs was again very different but great, as was "Desolation Row". As per usual Bob said absolutely nothing to the audience through out the show, not even introducing his back up band, which is not unusual. To close out the night Dylan did "Blowin' In The Wind" followed up with "Ballad Of A Thin Man" and before you knew it the show was done. I really enjoyed the show once again. I wasn't able to get any pictures at the show as there was a no camera policy and security were super tight about it too. My guess for attendance would be about 7,000, they had the upper bowl curtained off. Good times!!!

Bob Dylan setlist for Edmonton show.

Bob's dimly lit stage.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Counting Crows Live in Edmonton July 14th 2017

Last Friday night my buddy Buzzard, Chat and Janis and I took advantage of another Ticketmaster Summer Seat Sale and went to Rogers Place for the "A Brief History Of Everything Tour" which was 90's nostalgia tour that included the Counting Crows and Matchbox Twenty. Now I had no interest at all in seeing Matchbox, but have always wanted to see the Counting Crows, you could call that band a guilty pleasure. Have always been a fan and never seen them before, so for 20 dollars I was in. This was a co-headlining tour, so each band took turns headlining. I was really hoping the Counting Crows would be the opener on this night and as luck would have it, I got lucky and they were, so there was no having to sit through a set by Matchbox.

The Counting Crows played a 75 minute set that was a good mix of old stuff and a few newer songs, and a cover of Joni Mitchells' "Big Yellow Taxi" that was featured on the Two Weeks Notice soundtrack. Of course the band wouldn't get away without playing their biggest hit "Mr. Jones" from their 1993 debut album August and Everything After. When they played this song I couldn't help but remember my buddy Geddy (RIP buddy), he used to sing this song with his own words to it, with him being a huge fan of The Flintstones, his version went like this, instead of Mr. Jones and Me, he always sang "Fred Flintstone and Barney", he ruined the song for me, but with how much that song was played back in the day you couldn't help but make fun of it, it sure makes me laugh like hell now. They ended the show with a great version of "Rain King" for the encore.

I've always found lead singer Adam Duritz's voice soulful and unique and one of a kind, and from what I heard, he still packs a punch with his voice. From where we were sitting which was the second last row of Rogers Place all the guys on stage just looked like little dots as there were no screens showing the band. And holy fuck is the upper bowl ever steep, felt like if I fell there was no stopping me until I hit bottom. So it wasn't til I got home and looked at the pictures I took did I notice that Adam Durtiz is one strange looking dude. There seemed to be a lot of empty seats during the Crows set, my guess would be a crowd of about 10,000 people. All and all I thought this was a great performance by the Counting Crows and well worth the 20 dollars. Good times!!!


The Counting Crows at Rogers Place.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals Live in Edmonton July 13th 2017

On Thursday night my buddy Buzzard and I went to the Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals concert at the Jubilee Auditorium here in Edmonton. This was my second time seeing Ben Harper in concert, the first time being in 2003 in Montreal.

The night started with meeting for a few beers before the show at a local watering hole in the neighbourhood. When it was time to make our way to the show, a wicked storm blew through the city turning the city dark as the clouds turned an ugly green black, wind picked up and the rain came down hard. So we decided to wait the storm out, although we really wanted to catch the opening act Michael Bernard Fitzgerald. But there was no way we were walking in this storm, I guess there are worse places to be stuck then a bar. Well after a half hour wait or so, the storm passed and we made our way. And wouldn't you know it, we got there just in time to catch the opening act. Perfect timing!

The seats we had this show were 20 dollar Summer Seat Sale tickets which meant our seats were way up, and when I say way up, I mean way, last row of the Jubilee Auditorium. Hard to complain though with tickets that cheap.

Calgary folk musician Michael Bernard Fitzgerald did a good set, I had never heard his music before but had heard good things about him, and have to say he put on a good show. It's folk style music, he was on acoustic and had another gentleman with him on electric guitar. There set was about 30-40 minutes, which was just long enough.

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald.

Next up was Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals. Ben's music is a mix of rock, reggae, blues and soul, and the man can play a mean guitar too. I haven't really followed Ben Harper for a while, the last album of his I bought was the one he did with Charlie Musselwhite called Get Up! which is a great blues album. What I found during this show is that I'm just not the fan of him that I used to be. About half way through the show I found myself bored and feeling like the music was all starting to sound the same. I held out hoping to hear my favorite Harper song "Burn One Down" but much to my disappointment he never did that song. Fucking bummer! They did do a couple of songs I was happy to hear, like "Diamonds On The Inside", "The Will To Live" and "Burn To Shine". The show looked to be sold out, and from where we were sitting, we could see everything, when you are in the last row, all you can see is in front of you and there didn't look to be any empty seats. Overall I wasn't all that impressed with the concert. But for 20 dollars I can't complain to much. Good times!!!

Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals setlist.

Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals at the Jubilee.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Worst Days Down @ The Needle July 8th 2017

On Saturday night my Cuz and I went to a show at The Needle. The Needle has started putting on free Saturday night shows promoting local talent, how fucking cool is that. This time around it was Worst Days Down headlining, which was the main reason I came out for the show. The other two bands on the bill were bands I had not heard of before The Peddletones and A Gentlemans Pact.

We got there earlier then we had anticipated, so we ended up catching both openers. First up was The Peddletones. They play a rocking style of country music with an edge. They were actually alright, I didn't mind them.

The Peddletones.

After the Peddletones it was band called A Gentleman's Pact who were celebrating the release of their new album. AGP play a hard rocking style of music with a hardcore influence. They had the dance floor moshing about and dancing, looked like they had a lot of friends at the show. I thought they were alright, a band with a lot of energy and looked to be having a lot of fun performing.

A Gentleman's Pact.

Up next was headliners Worst Days Down. This was my second time seeing the band live. Worst Days Down is led by Ben Sir on guitar and vocals and songwriter. I've been a big fan of Ben since the first time I saw him perform back in 2012 when he played an acoustic set at bar in the hood. At that time he had released an acoustic album called "Money, God and Other Drugs". Actually it might not have even been out yet as after his set I got talking to him, and he gave me a CDR of the album and a t-shirt. Ben is a very nice man and easy to talk to and takes the time to talk with his fans. Well now Ben has got a full band on the go and a new album that came out earlier this year called "Elsewhere", which is an awesome album. Ben is surrounded buy great musicians and a great bunch of guys.

If you are a fan of bands such as Social Distortion, Gaslight Anthem and early Goo Goo Dolls influence, I'm pretty sure you will dig this band. Their live shows are an all out rock n' roll affair with a punk edge. A great tight band, with some catchy songs with great lyrics. On Saturday night the band played to a decent crowd (a bigger venue for these guys) with everyone in to it, and the band was rocking out like they always do. Some of the songs they did from the new album were "Iowa Won't Last Forever", "Fumes", the title song "Elsewhere", "Manatee County" and they even did a new song I believe it was called "Island Night" which sounded great as well. All and all a great show by Worst Days Down. This show is probably their only show in the Edmonton this summer as the boys are hitting the road touring all over North America and then heading to the UK for a tour as well. Busy guys they are going to be.

If you are into tock n' roll with a punk edge this is a band that is really worth looking in to.

Good times!!!

Worst Days Down.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Ayla Brook & The Sound Men at The Works Festival July 2nd 2017

On Sunday I made the trek to downtown Edmonton to catch local band Ayla Brook & The Sound Men play a set as part of The Works Festival. I have seen Ayla play a few times before, solo and with Bombchan but had never seen him with the Sound Men before, so I was looking forward to this. Especially after having bought his new album "(I Don't Want To Hear Your) Break Up Songs" back in December when it was released. A great album has got a lot of play at home and on the headphones.

By the time I got downtown to Sir Winston Churchill Square at noon it was a sweltering hot day, a great day for some cold beers and music. Ayla Brook and The Sound Men hit the stage right at noon, the Sound Men include Ayla of course on guitar and vocals, Johnny Bierot on keyboard and accordion, Sean Brewer on acoustic guitar, Chris Sturwold on drums and rounded out with Brent Oliver on bass.

Their hour long set consisted of lots of songs from the new album, songs such as "Break Up Song", "On Your Right Side", "Gettin' By, By Myself" and "Wasting Time", the band opened the set with an old song "Wake Up Early" from Ayla's 2003 album After The Morning After which was produced by Danny Michel. They play a great blues rock style of music with a little Americana thrown in. Ayla's guitar playing is stellar and some of his slide playing reminds me a bit of JJ Cale. I really enjoyed their set and look forward to seeing them play in a bar setting soon hopefully. All and all good show. Good times!!!

Ayla Brook & The Sound Men.