Tag Archive: Brasstronaut


I put together a list like this last year and found it quite useful. It helped to get myself organized on which bands I wanted to see. Also, I have yet to make it through a year of Rifflandia without my phone battery dying at least one night, so this is a good way to tell friends where to find me when that happens again.

THURSDAY

Night Stages

8:30 Royal Canoe @ Alix Goolden – Royal Canoe put on one of the best shows I’ve been to this year. They have some really interesting music and their song “Bloodrush” is definitely one of my favourite tracks of 2012. Their music is pretty dancy so I don’t know how this is going to work at the Alix Goolden. Actually the whole lineup at the Alix Goolden on Thursday looks like it should have been in a different venue.

9:30 Data Romance @ Alix Goolden – I’m not too familiar with the duo of Data Romance, but I have heard a few projects that Ajay Bhattacharyya has drummed with. Based on that alone, I’m going to guess that Data Romance will be fantastic.

9:30 Northcote @ Metro Theatre – I had seen Northcote before, but when Matt Goud played a short set at the Acres of Lions house concert back in January I think the whole crowd fell in love with him. I’m not sure if Northcote will be with a full band or going the solo guitar route again, but it would be great to see the full band arrangement.

9:30 Portage and Main @ Wood Hall – Portage and Main were part of the Tracks On Tracks tour that the CBC put together earlier this summer. While I wasn’t able to join everyone on the train, I had the pleasure of seeing Portage and Main perform in a park in Toronto.

9:30 Bonehoof @ Victoria Events Centre – Bonehoof has been one busy band in the past year. The band consists of staff from the Fort Street Cafe and Ditch Records, two of my favourite places in Victoria, and they put on one great rock show. My band had the pleasure of performing before them at the Rock Of The Woods festival this year and I would definitely go see them again. The Thursday night 9:30pm slot seems like it’s going to be a tough choice. Bonehoof might just win for me.

10:30 The Matinee @ Wood Hall – Another band that was part of the CBC’s Tracks on Tracks this summer. I also got to see the Matinee play in a park in Toronto. A video of that afternoon can be found here.

11:30 Good For Grapes @ Wood Hall – I haven’t had the chance to see Good For Grapes yet, but so many of my friends have seen them perform in the past few months and not one of them has come back without a head over heels rave review for them.

11:30 Rich Aucoin @ Victoria Events Centre – People! You have three chances to see Rich Aucoin at Rifflandia this weekend. I would highly recommend that you not miss any of those chances. Hands down, Rich Aucoin has the best live act in Canada. I don’t know how his show is going to work in the Victoria Events Centre with all those tables in the way of the dance party that will surely break out, but I’m sure we’ll figure it out.

12:30 Austra @ Alix Goolden – I saw Austra last year after they made the shortlist for the 2011 Polaris Prize. I can’t say that I was a fan when I walked into that show, I mostly went to see what all the fuss was about, but they totally won me over. The ladies in Austra have some mighty fine pipes and their singing talent blew me away.

FRIDAY

Royal Athletic Park

3:00 The Xylopholks – Here’s what the bio on the Rifflandia website says: “The Xylopholks are a dynamic group of musicians who mostly play novelty ragtime music from the 1920′s (featuring the xylophone!). They do so while wearing furry animal costumes.” Sounds good and weird to me.

3:30 Brasstronaut – If you’ve read any of my old blog entries, you’d probably know that Brasstronaut is one of my favourite bands. I can’t wait to hang out with my friends again.

4:15 Rich Aucoin – Once again, DO NOT MISS RICH AUCOIN IF YOU HAVE THE CHANCE TO SEE HIM.

6:45 Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – I’m one of the whitest girls out there, and you could fill libraries with what I don’t know about hip hop. One of my friends is really into Macklemore though and has been talking him up for months. I’ve heard that a lot of his songs use a trumpet, so I’m sold.

7:30 The Flaming Lips – I’m guessing I don’t need to say anything about the Flaming Lips. They’re who I’m most looking forward to on Friday and I’m sure they’re who you’re most looking forward to as well.

Night Stages

8:30 The Wicks @ Metro Theatre – I first came across the Wicks at Rifllandia two years ago. I can’t believe I haven’t seen them since then and should probably fix that.

10:30 Snowblink @ Metro Theatre – Snowblink play some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard. If you’re looking for a time slot to just sit and chill out, this would be it.

10:30 The Chantrelles @ Victoria Events Centre – I’ve heard nothing but good things about this local band. And they have a horn section? Sold.

12:30 Fucked Up @ Sugar Night Club – It took me a long time to get into Fucked Up. I only just started to appreciate them with their last album David Comes To Life, and it’s a really good one. I’ve heard rumours that Fucked Up might break up after their next album, so I wouldn’t miss what could be one of your last chances to see them live. Plus, what better way to end an evening than by getting sweaty, sweaty hugs from Damian Abraham?

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Arriving at the festival.

Finding a breakfast joint in town with less than an hour wait on the morning of Live At Squamish Day 2 proved to be a bit of a challenge and my group arrived just outside the festival grounds right as Brasstronaut took the stage. I could hear the opening song, Slow Knots, finish right as we made it through security. I was a little annoyed that I missed that song (which happens to be my favourite Brasstronaut song). Watching Bryan play trumpet and bells at the same time at the end of Slow Knots blows my mind every time. It had been a while since I had last seen the band play (almost a year, in fact), and they had written some new material since then. The band mentioned that they were heading to the studio soon to start recording their next album (I’m really looking forward to that release), and they played a couple of these new songs in their set. Two of these new songs, “Opportunity” and “Hollow Trees”, were released on EP just last month. You can get the Opportunity EP for free on the band’s website.

Up next on the Main Stage was Bend Sinister. This band needs to make it over to Vancouver Island again soon. They are one of the best live acts I’ve seen. Now that I think about it, I can’t even pinpoint what makes their shows so great. It’s not like they rely on any gimmicks (other than maybe Dan Moxon’s love of tie dye). They just have so much energy and the group is incredibly polished. I quickly learned from this set and Brasstronaut’s set that the theme of Live At Squamish Day 2 would be “we are working on new material, and here’s some of it”. The last update on the Bend Sinister website was back in July and it said that the band hopes to have some advance tracks from the new album out by the end of summer. Now that we’re halfway through fall, I can only hope that those tracks will appear any day now. I managed to get a couple of videos from Bend Sinister’s set, one is a new song (or at least, I think it’s new) that I don’t know the name of and the other is the song “CT” from their album Stories Of Brothers, Tales Of Lovers. (If you know the name of the mystery song, or can confirm that it’s a new one, please let me know!)

I left Bend Sinister’s set a bit early to catch the “mystery band” in the Live At Squamish lineup. Billed simply as “Panda Watch – a band from Vancouver”, this group drew quite the crowd. The members walked out on stage wearing panda heads, concealing their identities for as long as they could. OK, truth be told, with Twitter it wasn’t too much of a secret who this band was. Panda Watch turned out to be Said The Whale performing a set solely of new songs from their upcoming album. I really enjoyed what I heard from the group that day. The new songs show an evolution to their sound and I don’t know if it was because I was hearing them for the first time or what, but I think that the songs sounded more complex musically than what we’re used to hearing from Said The Whale. I wish I knew the names of the songs they performed, there was a couple that really stood out for me. One in particular that I liked was heavy with drums and seemed to have a bit of a prog rock influence. The new Said The Whale album is set to be released in March 2012, and it can’t come soon enough.

Panda Watch / Said The Whale

After Said The Whale earned thunderous cheers from the audience for their new material, I headed back to the Main Stage to see The Zolas. I’ve met Zach of the Zolas before and I’ve seen him perform with the Vancouver band Henry And The Nightcrawlers, but up until Live At Squamish I had always missed seeing the Zolas when they came to town. This is another band that needs to come to Victoria more often. (Fact: I say that about all bands I like, it just somehow seems like more opportunities are missed when the band is from somewhere as close as Vancouver.) The Zolas really brought their A game to their set. For the last song the band brought out their parents to join them singing backup and playing percussion. And of course it wouldn’t be a festival without members of We Are The City jumping on stage, and they were there too. (Seriously, who haven’t I seen We Are The City perform with?) The set closed with Zach pulling an epic rock star move by leaping off the bass drum (pictured below).

At this point in the festival I hit the wall. The Dudes always bring so much energy to their shows, but it was no match for my tiredness. I spent most of their set charging my phone and sitting down, but I did catch the last few songs. The most important thing I have to say about their set is “that’s a lot of beard”.

The Dudes

It’s a good thing I got a rest before Black Mountain. Otherwise, they might have destroyed me with their amazing rock and roll. Here’s how loud their set was: I could feel my sinus cavities vibrate. I’m always so torn when I see Black Mountain live. I love their music and watching Stephen McBean’s hair fly around is mesmerizing, but Amber Webber has the most subdued stage presence ever. The best part of their set for me, hands down, was “Let Spirits Ride”. It’s one of their strongest tracks on their latest release Wilderness Heart. Other than me internally yelling at Amber “why are you just standing there?!”, this was my favourite set from the entire festival.

As I mentioned before, I’m not the biggest fan of Metric. (I was obsessed with them ages ago, but it appears that I’ve moved on.) Metric’s sound is definitely suited to the large stage though and their hits sounded right at home over the huge speakers with an enormous crowd singing along. It was neat to see them play on both days of the festival. To see a stripped down set one day followed by the full Metric band the next was pretty cool. I’m glad they brought this unique experience to Squamish.

Like many people my age, one of the first CDs I bought was Weezer’s The Blue Album. While I haven’t enjoyed anything of theirs past The Green Album (OK, I might have also liked Maladroit, but that was where it stopped), I was still pretty excited to see Weezer perform. I saw Weezer in concert once before, way back in 2002 for the tour supporting Maladroit. The image I had in my head of the band performing live was frozen back at that concert so my initial reaction to their Live At Squamish set was “Holy crap! Since when did Rivers become such a rock star?!” There was such a difference between the shy awkward front man I saw almost ten years ago and the guy now who was running around on stage, jumping in the crowd to sing. I was relieved to see that their set heavily favoured their earlier material (excluding Pinkerton, of course) mixed with singles from their last few albums, and some really cool covers. One cover was Foster The People’s summer hit “Pumped Up Kicks”. The other cover they threw into their set was the one that really impressed me though – Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android”. Yes, they performed that six and a half minute epic and they totally pulled it off. (In my head I interpreted it as the band saying “Yes, we know we now write really horrible pop songs, but look at this – we still play difficult cool music!”. Well played Weezer, well played.) The set ended with all the members of the band gathered around the drum set wailing away.

Live At Squamish 2011 proved to be a lot of fun. My biggest complaints would be the few occasions that set start times deviated from the schedule and the generic festival food choices. The other annoyance was the video camera arm and stage hands on the main stage. They interfered with my sightlines more often than not, and I found that it really distracted from the performances. Those are all things I can deal with though, and Live At Squamish is definitely heading in the direction of doing more good than bad. I love that they book so many local acts, and the addition of the Green Couch stage this year was great. I also liked that the festival was moved away from the Labour Day long weekend. Travel (especially from Vancouver Island) is always a nightmare on a summer long weekend, and having the festival in the middle of August not only alleviated that travel stress, it provided another excuse to get out of the city during the summer. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Live At Squamish organizers have up their sleeves next year!

More of my photos from Day 2 can be found on my Flickr page.

Leaving the festival grounds.

Victoria Record Club

The Victoria Record Club: We’re a ragtag bunch of music lovers who meet somewhat irregularly at the record store Talk’s Cheap to share our love of music on vinyl. (A shout out to the owner Tiemen for letting us crash his store every time!) For each meeting of Record Club, the members are supposed to go and acquire a new piece of vinyl and then write a review or a story about their album. Since we’ve been a little lax on the review/story part of our meetings, I decided to write a bit here about the albums I’ve brought to record club so far. If you’re around the Victoria area and are interested in joining us, head on over to the Record Club Facebook group.

Meeting #1: September 21st 2010

Album: The Kinks, Give the People What They Want

Tracks played: Around the Dial, Give the People What They Want

Why I chose to bring this: I think this was the very first record I ever bought, so it was fitting that I brought this album to the inaugural meeting of the Victoria Record Club. The first track is all about radio and DJs so it was doubly fitting for the Record Club as our fearless leader is non other than the Zone.fm‘s Jeremy Baker. (Jeremy did I ever tell you that’s why I brought the album?)

Album: Japandroids, Younger Us 7″

Tracks played: Younger Us

Why I chose to bring this: Two of my favourite memories of 2010 involve Japandroids. The first was at the Sasquatch festival. In a weekend that was packed to the brim with excitement, a good friend and I were super stoked to see Japandroids. While waiting for the set to start we met a guy who complimented me on my Dan Mangan “Pac Mangan” t-shirt. Our exchange went something like this: “Where did you get that shirt?!?!” “Oh it’s Dan’s new t-shirt. I just bought it at his show in Victoria. He said it should be for sale on the web soon.” “I’m gonna buy the shit outta that shirt!!!” Thanks to this random guy at the Japandroids set, I still grin every time I dig out the Pac Mangan shirt. To top it off, Japandroids played one heck of a set at the festival. It started off by them saying that their gear was missing in air transit and that they were playing with borrowed instruments, and it ended with thanking the crowd for helping them have one of their better sets as of late. My other Japandroids memory of 2010 was the Ladyhawk / Japandroids show at Logan’s back in October. I had been going to a lot of shows solo around that time but I managed to convince a bunch of friends to go to this one. I even somehow managed to convince a friend from Vancouver to visit Victoria for the first time to see this show. (I’m sure that technically it was Japandroids who convinced him to come for the visit, but either way it was fun times.) It was great to be at a show with so many good friends who were just as into the band as I was.

Meeting #2: November 3rd 2010


Album: Brasstronaut, Mt. Chimaera

Tracks played: Slow Knots, Hearts Trompet

Why I chose to bring this: This is one of my favourite albums of 2010, and I’m a big time Brasstronaut fan. In fact, I think I’ve seen them every single time they’ve played Victoria. Call me a sucker for bands with a trumpet if you will, but this is still a great album. I just bought my vinyl copy of Mt. Chimera when Brasstronaut played Rifflandia and this was our first meeting following the festival. I thought that Brasstronaut would be a group that maybe not many members of Record Club would be familiar with, and I wanted to share my love of the band.

Meeting #3: February 8th 2011


Album: Black Mountain, Wilderness Heart

Tracks played: The Hair Song, Let Spirits Ride

Why I chose to bring this: Picking an album for this meeting of Record Club was infinitely more difficult than what it was for our other meetings. With purchases from Rifflandia, albums bought in the Christmas season, and a stack of records bought off a friend who moved to Ottawa, I had no shortage of choices. Confession: When I left the house the morning of this gathering I actually brought six records with me thinking that I would decide on one eventually. In the end, I felt like listening to something a little on the heavy side, so Wilderness Heart got the spotlight this night. Cool story: I won this record from CBC Radio 3’s Trivia Tuesday with Grant Lawrence. I actually originally won the album in CD format, but admitted to Grant that I had just bought the same CD a couple of days before. Deciding that it would be no problem to find a friend who would like a free Black Mountain CD, I told Radio 3 to send the disc anyways and I’d pass it along to someone. A couple months passed and I actually forgot that I had even won the album. I was totally surprised when the vinyl copy arrived in the mail one day. Thanks so much to whoever at Radio 3 hooked me up! (And sorry to whatever friend was going to get the extra Black Mountain CD, but I’m keeping the vinyl!)

Rifflandia Recap: Day 1

Sunday Buckets at Market Square

Hometown boys Sunday Buckets kicked off year three of the Rifflandia festival Thursday night at Market Square. The stage started off with a few technical problems, but they were quickly fixed and the show was underway. Despite the rain and the early time slot the band had no problem drawing an audience and they seemed really happy with the turnout. Near the end of their set the band threw some merch into the crowd, including copies of their new album. So far, it was a pretty good start to the festival.

Brasstronaut at Market Square

Up next on the Market Square stage was Brasstronaut. If you know me, it’s no secret that I love this band. I can’t wait for the day that people here know them well enough so that I’m not the only weirdo in the crowd singing along to all their songs.

Edo Reminding Us to Vote for the Echo Prize

This was my third time seeing Brasstronaut in Victoria and it seems that their audience here grows each time. I was glad to see that the technical problems from earlier in the evening just meant that the set times were shifted by 15 minutes, rather than having someone’s set cut short. One moment I found kind of funny was when the trumpet player Bryan Davies hit that high note at the end of Six Toes and raised his arms in triumph to celebrate. (You can see that moment at the end of this video.) The band tried out a new song that for now is untitled.

Sam Davidson of Brasstronaut

Before leading into Hearts Trompet the keyboardist and lead singer Edo van Breemen gave us all a gentle reminder that the song is nominated for the fan decided Echo Songwriting Prize and that we should all go put a vote in. If they win, the band plans to put the $5000 towards their upcoming European tour. Brasstronaut closed their set with Slow Knots. I swear, if the album version hasn’t won you over, you need to see them play it live.

I decided to stick around Market Square for a few songs of the next act Grand Analog. Brennan Saul of Brasstronaut joined in on drums for this set. The crowd was instantly into what Grand Analog had to offer and without much prodding everyone was dancing and waving their hands in the air. Throughout the first few songs Grand Analog hinted that he brought his kazoo with him, so I knew that I had to hang around for a bit. The now capacity crowd at Market Square did a fine job of the call and response in Electric City. (“Music makes the world go round, world go round, world go round. Music makes the world go round, we ain’t going nowhere.”) During a break in the song I Play My Kazoo, Grand Analog and his DJ took turns showing off their dance moves. (Air kicks! Handstands!)

Grand Analog at Market Square

About halfway through Grand Analog’s set I decided to try make it to Club 9ONE9 for the last part of We Are The City’s time slot. Unfortunately because the Market Square stage was running 15 minutes behind schedule, I underestimated how late it was and I made it just in time to hear the last chord from We Are The City. Darn. The band currently has no upcoming shows scheduled, so I really hope I didn’t blow my last chance to see them for the next few months.

When I started the evening I wasn’t too sure what to see in the 10:30 time slot. With many venues filling up for the evening I decided to head over to the Metro Theatre and check out local band Forestry. The only thing I knew about Forestry was that they were featured in CFUV’s magazine Renegade Radio this past year and I picked this show based purely on that fact. This is why I love festivals like Rifflandia. Not only do I get to see numerous bands that I’m already a fan of, I also get bands that I might not otherwise be prompted to see live. As it turns out, I really liked Forestry. If Band of Horses ever come back to town these guys would make for a great opening act. The two bands seem to write songs from the same manual where they start off quiet and by the end everyone is rocking out. I was not the only person to rush to the merch table right after Forestry’s set to pick up their album.

Lee Ranaldo at the Metro Theatre

Since I was already at the Metro Theatre I stuck around to see a few minutes of Lee Ranaldo. I mean really, how could I pass up the chance to see one of the founding members of Sonic Youth? Even as the stage was being set up you could tell that we were all about to witness something unique; in darkness a guitar hung from a wire in the middle of the stage giving the appearance of floating midair. Even though Ranaldo is heralded as being one of the greatest guitar players of all time, not once did he play the instrument in any sort of traditional way. Lots of effects were used, and everything from a bow, to fingers, to a drumstick, to a handheld media device was used to get sound out of the instrument. The theatrics of the performance provided just another level to the set. Ranaldo not only played the guitar, he danced with it, sometimes swinging his partner wildly across the stage as video images flooded the backdrop behind him. This was truly an unforgettable performance.

Lee Ranaldo at the Metro Theatre

I finished off the night back at Club 9ONE9 for You Say Party. I arrived partway through their set, but was just in time to catch the band launch into Laura Palmer’s Prom. The night played out much like their set at the Live At Squamish Festival a few weeks prior, and I mean that in the best possible way. The dance floor was in full swing the entire time, and there was a good mix of new songs and songs from their most recent release XXXX, with some old gems sprinkled in for good measure. The band finished off their set with Like I Give A Care, and left the stage with the crowd calling out for an encore. With the applause not letting up after a good couple minutes, lead singer Becky came back on stage and said “aw, thanks, that was our encore”, smiled, waved and left. We were out of luck that night, but what a great way to end Day 1 of Rifflandia.

You Say Party

Up next in Day 2: Treelines, the Wicks, Maurice, Yukon Blonde, Aidan Knight, Great Lake Swimmers, and Shout Out Out Out Out.

Hot off the heels of a massive live-streamed concert at Madison Square Garden (not to mention a #1 album in Canada, the US, and the UK), the Arcade Fire have announced a pile of North American tour dates which fall between two blocks of European dates. Looks like it’s time to get out that bucket list and cross off “see Arcade Fire live”! Calexico, who have been working the summer festival circuit for the past couple months, will be the opening act for all stops on the North American leg with the exception of the Los Angeles dates.

September 22nd 2010 – St. Paul, USA – Roy Wilkins Auditorium

September 23rd 2010 – Winnipeg, MB – MTS Centre

September 25th 2010 – Saskatoon, SK – Credit Union Centre

September 26th 2010 – Calgary, AB – Stampede Corral

September 28th 2010 – Vancouver, BC – Pacific Coliseum

September 29th 2010 – Seattle, WA – Key Arena

September 30th 2010 – Portland, OR – Memorial Coliseum

October 2nd 2010 – Berkley, CA – Greek Theatre

October 5th 2010 – Big Sur, CA – Henry Miller Library

October 7th 2010 – Los Angeles, CA – Shrine Auditorium

October 8th 2010 – Los Angeles, CA – Shrine Auditorium

October 10th 2010 – Mexico City, Mexico – Palacio De Los Deportes

October 12th 2010 – Monterrey, Mexico – Banamex Theatre

Though ticket information is not listed on the band’s webpage, some information is available through Ticketmaster. Tickets for the Vancouver show go on sale Friday August 20th 2010 at 10am with presales starting Wednesday August 18th 2010 at 10am.

The music event that Victorians look forward to all year is nigh! Though an initial line-up has been public for a few months now, this past Sunday Rifflandia 3 announced their full line-up and schedule. With 157 bands playing at 11 different venues over 4 days, it looks like there is some tough decisions to be made on who to check out the weekend of September 23rd-26th. The best part? Wristbands for the entire weekend are only $65! I’m sure that I’ll be making many more posts about Rifflandia in the coming weeks, but in the meantime catch all the festival details at the Rifflandia website.

The Rock of the Woods Festival is relocating to the city and is now being dubbed the Rock of the Hood Festival. The acts initially booked to fill one day of music in the wilderness near Mill Bay, are being spread amongst three nights in Victoria.

From the festival’s website: “Due to a lack of support from the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) and Mill Bay RCMP, the Rock of the Woods festival is not able to take place in Mill Bay this year. Local authorities deliberated the event application for several weeks, and in the end decided to reject it, due to fears about potential safety risks. The Mill Bay region has never hosted a comparable event before and was uncomfortable with it going ahead. The ROTW organizers made several attempts to adjust the event plan to mitigate the municipalities concerns… When this still did not convince the RCMP and municipality that the merits of the festival outweighed the potential risks, Surge Ahead & the Oswego Arts & Cultural Society ( the event organizers), regretfully submitted to the CVRD’s wishes. The show will go on, but in an in-town location.”

Tickets purchased for the initial festival near Mill Bay will be honored for the new incarnation in Victoria, or they can be refunded by contacting the organizers. Tickets for the Victoria shows are still available and go for $45 for the entire weekend, with tickets for individual nights available at the door. Purchase information can be found on the festival’s website.

The line-up and schedule for the festival:

Friday August 20th at Sugar
Brasstronaut, The British Columbians, Sunday Buckets, Acres of Lions, and Smith & Lyseng

Saturday August 21st at Sugar
Junior Boys, Mat the Alien, The Mohawk Lodge, Humans, and Celebrity Traffic

Sunday August 22nd at Lucky Bar
Wrap-up party with Run Chico Run, Espionage, Bloody Wilma, and JP Maurice