Sunday, December 07, 2008

Transmission 2008

The third annual Transmission Festival. Yeah! Transmission is my favourite music festival.

It's a place to see some really excellent breaking bands under the best possible circumstances. The sound is amazing, and the staging and lighting are gorgeous.

Betty Bonifassi of Beast
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My favourite show was Montreal's Beast. They are probably best known for Betty Bonifassi's work with Champion a few years ago. The dramatic lighting lent an extra component to the set that was already magical.
Alex Cuba
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Another highlight for me was Alex Cuba. After years of playing with traditional Cuban groups in his native Cuba, Alex moved to Smithers B.C where he's spread his "Go With The Fro" world music vibe worldwide.
Mark Sasso of Elliot Brood
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I'd run out of batteries, so this photo isn't great, but my other favourite band of the fest was Elliot Brood. Kind of a hillbilly Social Distortion?
Shane Nelken of The Awkward Stage
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The Awkward Stage had the, um, awkward opening slot of the evening. I guess I should mention that I only made it Wednesday and Friday's shows. If you went on Thursday, let me know how it was. Anyways, I'd never seen them before, but would check them out again.
Bison B.C
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Bison B.C. is a Vancouver band who I will remember most for the fact that their own brand of Bison beer was served at the fest and featured the warning, "Do not throw this bottle at the stage" on it's label.
Courtney Wing
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Courtney Wing recruited a five piece choral section especially for the show.
Ben Worcester of Said The Whale
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And lastly I present one of my favourite Vancouver bands, Said The Whale. In fact one of my favourite "Christmas" songs lately is This Winter I Retire which I could play on repeat for hours. Download their Christmas EP for FREE HERE!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Gogol Bordello - October 11, 2008 at the Commodore

Eugene Hütz
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I first heard Gogol Bordello brand of "Gypsy Punk" at Bumbershoot 2007. We were wandering around the market place as the stalls were closing, and individually, we each were drawn to the music from the neighboring stage.
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Within minutes we were immersed in the music, a combination of Soviet folk music with polka/punk beats which had has jumping around like crazy people.
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We were pretty excited to see a real show and with two sold out shows, apparently everyone else in Vancouver was excited too.

There was no opening act, just a stage full of musicians playing everything from accordions to fiddles, and all led by bear hat wearing, fire drum playing Eugene Hutz.

Elizabeth Chi-Wei Sun & Pamela Jintana Racine
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The Music was great, just as fun as we remembered. The stage full of musicians included two very hot multi-ethinic chicks who banged cymbals and marching drums and prowled the stage like wild animals.

Sergey Ryabtsev on fiddle

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Much jumping ensued, lots of screaming, and singing. At one point a guy jumped on stage and Eugene wouldn't let security take him away. Instead he let him sing the last verse of "Start Wearing Purple" before watching him leap into the audience.
Thomas 'Tommy T' Gobena
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Was it a little bit over the top? Maybe, but who cares! It was fun! They were having fun! We all had fun and you will to. Go check them out when you get a chance.
Yuri Lemeshev
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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Bumbershoot-Day 1 August 29, 2008

I'm starting with my favourite of the day, West Indian Girl.
Mariqueen Maandig
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Robert James
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West Indian Girl were my second favourite of the entire fest actually. This was my first show at the EMP Sky Church (um, second if you don't count the unmemorable Mono In VCF which is following)
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A Myspace discovery, I wasn't really expecting them to be as cool as they actually were. Mariqueen is actually my new girl crush!
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One of my favourite songs of theirs is "To Die In LA" which was rewritten after recording This new version was slower and missing the cool vibe of the recorded version. Another favourite is Blue Wave which you should totally check out on their MySpace!
Francis Ten
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Okay, now let's try for some order. We started the day seeing Neko Case. I hate the Main Stage, and think I'm vowing not to return unless some serious changes like video screens are added.
Neko Case
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Love her in the New Pornographers, but not such a fan of her country career.
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Then it was off to the Rockstar stage for Seattle's own Barcelona.
Brian Fennell
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After our first Happy Hour of the weekend and well fortified, we started our afternoon in earnest with the Walkmen. I've liked them for ages and have seen them before.
Hamilton Leithauser
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Our next choice was Mono In VCF as they'd had an okay vibe when we checked them out on myspace and we were going to EMP Sky Church anyway for West Indian Girl.
Kim Miller
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Hunter Lee
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Skipping around now, as I've already written about West Indian Girl, are Nada Surf, one of my favourite bands of all times. This is despite the fact that I've never even contemplated suicide.
Matthew Caw
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Nada Surf were great despite the notable absence of bassist Daniel Lorca who was absent due to an inconvenient knee injury. Daniel had also written a hilarious Bumbershoot primer for The Seattle Weekly publication.
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Ended the night with Beck. As you'll see again and again, I hate the Bumbershoot Main Stage and will be forever banning it.
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The sound was awful, and it didn't help hat I've never warmed to Beck's music.

Bumbershoot- Day 2 August 30, 2008

Let's start with my favourite of Sunday, The Shackeltons.
Mark Redding
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They took to a stage that covered with branches, no, LIMBS of trees and a bounty of dahlia's. Dressed in old school military uniforms, they put on one of those shows where you like the band a whole lot more after you see them.
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Lead singer Mark Redding is as much of a performance artist as he is a singer and has a particular affinity for falling, sometimes from a straight standing position.
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Justin McDanel
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Highlights of the stage banter included enticements to purchase CD's with the offer to pinch drummer Sean Hallock's baby fat or the chance to discuss being half black in America with bassist Justin McDaniel.
Sean Hallock
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But topping all the stories was the orgin of the stage forest. Apprently it's a $500 fine for, um, pruning trees in the city limits, so it was a good thing they'd liberated the trees at a location out of city limits.
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Okay, now on to what else I saw. It was a busy day.
Let's see.
Biggest disappoint was Sons and Daughters from Glasglow. Loved them on myspace, hated them live.
Adele Bethel
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Loved them so much that we'd spontaneously break into the opening of the "The Gift" while walking around the Bumbershoot grounds. This was an example of where you like a band a whole lot less after you see them.
Scott Paterson
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Worst of all?? No it wasn't that the sound was awful. It was after all that spontaneous singing, we'd done, they didn't even play "The Gift"!
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Also on the agenda and a band that didn't disappoint were Seattle's own The Blakes.
Snow Keim
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I'd totally go see them again. I think they are great!
Garnet Keim
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Hmm. I'm all over the map here as far as timeline goes. Let's see....we started the day with Lushy who are art of Shag in musical form.
Annabella Kirby
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Mostly percussion, Lushy have a mellow effervescent quality which was fun, especially for the hipster oldsters dancing away in the crowd.
Andrew Sodt
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I don't know what instrument is shown here in this photograph, but I do know that Glen wanted one.

Also, highly anticipated but a bit of a let down, were The Whigs. I was probably a bit (a lot) drunk by this time (love the Seattle Happy Hours) so I should go a bit easier on them.
Parker Gispert
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I especially like the song "Like A Vibration" from their Mission Control album.
Ben Deaux
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Julian Dorio
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Scott Weiland
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Next up, in no particular order, is Stone Temple Pilots. Despite showing up a half an hour late and being escorted directly to the stage in the tour bus, Scott Weiland was in pretty good form.
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Yeah, these photos suck, but I was pretty far away, and you get the picture.
Hating the Main Stage (horrile sound, unmanagable size) we left STP for Tapes 'n Tapes who I'd seen once before at SXSW.
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