Saturday, July 27, 2013

What A Rush!

Original title, eh?  ;)

(So I've been on a bit of a blogging hiatus the last week or so, as you may or may not have noticed.  It's been a busy time, and will continue to be so, so posts may continue to be sporadic for a while.  Wedding planning and all that.  As it turns out, even the little ones are a lot of work!  Oh, but it sure will be worth it!)

But, I digress.  This post is a catch-up post, about a certain little rock 'n' roll show BF and I attended a couple weeks ago. And by little, I mean HUGE!

On the evening of Sunday, July 14th, legendary Canadian rock band, and recent inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Rush, graced us Haligonians with their presence.  It was their first time here in over 25 years, so you know, kind of a big deal, and, well, they did NOT disappoint!

The show began with a weird little steampunk style short film, showing the band members actually being created in a factory.  Both the films and the steampunk theme continued throughout the whole show.  Then the gents came out!

I have to say, the stage production - the films, the light show, the on-stage props, all added up to make the coolest stage show I've ever seen.  Every song had either a gorgeous video in the background or a beautiful light show.  There was never a moment when your senses weren't fully engaged.

 Musically, these guys are still geniuses, tight as ever, and still, clearly having the time of their lives with each other.

As expected, the great Neil Peart provided the crowd with several mind blowing solo performances, always followed up by the audience exploding in eager, and loving appreciation.  If only someone would buy the poor guy a few more drums for his kit. . . .

Never a dull moment!

I don't know how they did it, but the show, despite being the Metro Centre at full capacity, and being pretty darn elaborate and fancy, somehow felt intimate.  Maybe it's because probably everyone there has listened to the band all their lives, and the guys, despite being rock gods, still maintain the kind of personas you can imagine sitting around having beers with.

After a bit over an hour into the show, the gents joked about being "very, very old" and took an intermission break.  Not to worry though, the screens were soon filled with a funny short film starring Jay Baruchel as a tax collector, and the band themselves as gnomes (Alex and Geddy) and a troll (Neil)!

When they returned, they were joined by the Clockwork Angels String Ensemble, the most enthusiastic and rockin' string ensemble you're ever likely to see!

At one point, local celebs, the Trailer Park Boys came out, a visit that was foreshadowed by a brief appearance in the screens behind Alex, earlier in the show.

 They did a weird little brawling skit, cracking Alex up.  As you can imagine, the crowd went wild.

The background entertainment continued too, with the addition of ten smaller screens that added to the giant one at the back of the stage.  Gorgeous animated films were shown, the smaller screens moving around to provide even more visual interest.

During the video shown above, the light show became part of the film, with streams of white lights shooting down across the stage to make it look like the rain in the film was coming right off the screen.  It was breathtaking!

Then there were just really pretty, non-narrative videos as well.

And one of the best light shows I've ever seen.

And some weird and wild stage props, like Bassy, Brainy, Horny and Corny:

You really never knew where to look!  The band themselves, always grinning and grooving and wailing out, the films, the lights, the pyro, the fireworks, even the audience, all stirred up into a blissful frenzy.  My face hurt after the show, from all the grinning and laughing.  Pure entertainment!

I have to confess - though I've listened to Rush seemingly all my life, and always thoroughly admired and respected their musical talents, I wasn't a huge fan of them before the show, but was excited for the experience.  Now?  HUGE FAN!  :)  

Did you get the chance to see them when they were here?  Who are your summer show sure things?

Till next time friends!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Another Saga

A few days ago I picked up the second volume in the Saga series.

If you recall, I read the first one practically accidently a few months ago when I bought it for someone else, and fell in love, not just with this particular story, but with the genre.  Since then I've read a bunch of great comics, but have been waiting enthusiastically for the next installment of the, saga....

In this volume, we get a bit of history, both of the interplanetary war that keeps Marko and Alana's people apart, and of how our heros first met and got together.  We meet several important new characters from Marko's past, and get to know some of the previously introduced characters - specifically the ones that have been chasing the couple down - a bit better.

The entire volume, I felt, was an establishing one, a getting to know you episode, which is fine since there are a lot of characters to keep track of.  Motives are determined, backgrounds revealed.  Writer, Brian K. Vaughn, does a great job with exposition, making it mostly come from natural developments, lines dropped in conversation, dreams, bits of flash back.  It never seems contrived or forced upon you for lack of imagination.

I think I was so drawn to this story because the two main characters, Alana and Marko, seem like people I know, could share a bottle of wine with in the backyard.  They are written really realistically despite having wings and horns, like they are just a couple of smart-ass kids from the North End who happen to fall into some trouble with the law because of other people's judgement and unhappiness.

Once again, it took me about an hour to read this book, and now I have to wait for months for the next one.  The guy at Strange Adventures advised that I try to pace myself in situations like this, but laughed knowingly when my response to that was "PFFTT!!"

So, on the advice of he and a few friends who are fans of Brian K. Vaughn, I am going to be picking up some of his other books soon.  I can't wait!  Keep ya posted!

Till next time, friends!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

St. John's, Part III

On the Monday of our trip to Newfoundland, it was a little rainy and chilly at first. Our plan was to meet my friend D and her lil dear R for a picnic, so that didn't work out, but we met them anyway, inside the school where 3 year old R was participating in violin camp.  You should have seen the cuteness, we could barely deal.

We had a lovely lunch with the world's cutest three year old, R, and D and then went strolling around downtown in the rain.  We had coffee at Fixed, where I spotted Romesh Thavanathan, the cellist from Hey Rosetta!, which, I am not ashamed to admit, made me all starstruck and giddy for an hour after. We did a little shopping in the multitude of great little boutiques and shops, and found a few treasures to take home.

I found this pretty patterned scarf at Posie Row on Duckworth.

We spotted this charming gent at a shop that I think is called Junk, on Water.  I can't seem to find a website for it and I am a receipt tosser, so I am not 100% sure.  But look at HIM!

He's full o' beans.

We went into a great shop, also on Water, called Johnny Ruth, and after we'd been browsing for  few minutes, BF came up to me with this:

In case you couldn't tell, that's Hey Rosetta!'s Tim Baker in pillow form.  Haha!!  As it turns out, it's part of a series called Boy Pillows, a fundraiser for a local theatre company, and proceeds from the sale of the pillows (there are others too, like Mark Bragg and Sherman Downey!) goes to the production of two plays.  Gotta support a cause! ;)

We stopped in at the Duke on Duckworth, apparently a legendary watering hole, for a pint before we headed back up the hill to get ready for supper.  It was pretty cool.  To get there, you go off Duckworth, into a kind of alley, down some stairs and through a big, ancient looking wooden door. Inside is lots of old, dark wood, stained glass lamps, dart boards, and groups of old friends sitting around laughing over afternoon beers.  Apparently bits of the CBC show Republic of Doyle is filmed here occasionally.

After a quick freshening-up back at our St. John's home, we headed back down the hill.  We had a bit of time to kill, so we wandered into yet another gorgeous shop called Home on Water St.  It was one of those shops where the entire time we were there, we were like, "come see this!" and "holy, look what I found."  We ended up coming away with these awesome cook books, two of which we've used already.

The only reason we didn't clean the place out was because we had to fly home and couldn't afford the extra luggage!

For supper, we met an old friend of BF's and her husband at the Gypsy Tea Room.  They have a really interesting menu, and we narrowed it down to tenderloin - pork for BF, beef for me.

The pork came with a roasted sweet potato, parsnip and squash ragout and a sherry and shallot reduction.  Delicious.

My beef came with fingerling potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, green onions and asparagus, and a green peppercorn reduction.  Oh, and scrunchions, of course.

Though I have to admit, the scrunchions were a bit much for me, the tenderloin itself was perfect.  And I am a big snob when it comes to my tenderloin!  Overall, a great supper.

We headed back to O'Reilly's (I suspect if we moved to St. John's we'd be there every night of the week) for some more music.  This time we saw Fergus O'Byrne, another founding member of another legendary (I feel like I've been using that word a lot in these posts) Newfoundland folk group, Ryan's Fancy.

He played a great set, full of songs I remember my folks listening to when I was a kid, and I found myself singing along to many of them.  For his last song, he invited a local star up to join him.  Apparently this guy is in his eighties, and frequently appears at O'Reilly's to do a little dancing.  He even had a sweatband on, in case things got too wild.  Here he is in the middle of his jig.

After he finished up, Con O'Brien came back with a friend and did some songs.

They capped the night off with a beautiful version of Fisherman's Blues by the Waterboy's, which I'm gonna share here with you.  It's not the best quality since I just recorded it with my little camera, but it's so lovely you will like it anyway I think!

Another awesome day.  We love this town!

Till next time!

Friday, July 12, 2013

More Reddit Gold!

Wow am I ever lucky!  Twice in a row I have gotten spoiled downright rotten by a total stranger via a Reddit gift exchange.  The other day, when our lovely mail lady came to the door, she handed me a big, heavy box.  Check this out!

Almost a dozen interesting cds ranging from Thom Yorke to a band called The Record Holder from where my Gifter is from, a few books, a blank notebook, even a box of green tea to sit and sip while enjoying everything else!  Plus, my secret summer santa took the time to write little notes about everything he included.  WOW!

Thanks so much Gifter, you made my day!  Hope someone treated you as well!

Till next time!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Another Night At The Carleton

BF and I saw another amazing show at our fave venue in Halifax, The Carleton, last Thursday.  Canadian pop/rock/folk singer-songwriter Barney Bentall played, as did his son Dustin and his band.

Barney started the show, though he jokingly made sure we all knew he wasn't opening the show for his kid, haha.

He brought friends out too.

The phenomenally talented Kendel Carson:

Dustin joined them on stage:

I think it's safe to say they were having a good time.

Then even more friends joined, including Newfoundland's Cory Tetford from Crush, on guitar.

Then Dustin and his band played.  What a show, such great, exciting tunes!

And these two together, my god it's impossible to get a shot with all their energy!

Barney came back out and jammed again toward the end.

Father and son.

If you ever get the chance to see these guys, do it!  We've seen Dustin several times now and have a few of his albums, and he and his band, The Smokes, never disappoint!  Another great night at The Carelton, thanks everyone.  See you again very soon!

Till next time!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Appointment With The Doctor

Friday night was the first night of the Halifax Jazz Festival, and BF, D and I were in attendance at the opening show, Erin Costelo and legendary New Orleans piano player and singer-songwriter, Dr. John!

(I was way too short to get any good photos, so I have my dear BF to thank for all the Dr. John shots.  Thanks BF!)

Local gal Erin opened with a great set.

Followed by the Night Tripper himself, with his AMAZING band.

We didn't get photos of everyone, but we managed a couple!  

Dr. John mostly plays the piano, but he got up and jammed on his guitar for a while too, the instrument he started off playing back in the day, until he suffered a gunshot injury to his finger while defending a friend.  Yes, seriously.  He can still wail though!

Such a night!  He and his band were tighter 'n a drum and played full out for close to two hours - not bad for a guy who'll be 73 this year!  

Have you checked out any of the Jazz Fest shows?  It's running for the rest of the week, and there are lots of free shows too, so get out there!

Till next time folks!