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Archive for June, 2011

RICH AUCOIN

It finally happened. I finally saw the wonder that is Rich Aucoin live, a bicycling enthusiast, stobe-light loving, dancing music machine. All the things about Rich Aucoin I had heard were true.

His set starts with an instrumental track along with video projected slogans across the back wall, slogans like “London is the best!” “The Old Queen’s Head is gonna rock tonight” etc but then it got weird and the slogans got more personal like “Mar Sellars is the woman” and I was like wtf!?! How did he make a video with MY name in it?? But it goes on and he used all the promoters names, people on his guest list and other bands involved in the show. It’s a really cool personal way to start the show and gives props to the people involved in the show and who’ve helped Rich. Hell it made me smile seeing my name and blog’s name up there! Rock Over London got mentioned about 3 times.

With live drummer PEI native Joel Waddell, Rich launched into his assault (aka live show) on the crowd. He had a portable strobe light, confetti, videos, crowd participation (he gets everyone to sing the choruses to all his songs) but the best was the parachute. “Do you remember playing parachute in elementary school?” he says. “Hell yeah” I think, that was one of my favourite memories ever from school. Rich brings out a rainbow coloured parachute and gets the crowd to hold on to it in a circle we all raise it up and get underneath it making a multi-coloured tent with him dancing in the middle with his strobe.

I was exhausted by the end of his set (he does make you jump up and down quite a bit!!). One of the most open and friendliest things I’d seen in a while was at the very end Rich puts up his personal mobile number on the projection and says if you like his music text him and he will send you a zip file of it all for free. This man isn’t even trying to sell a product. He’s giving away music, good vibes, confetti and a party. So worth it. I’d recommend booking him for any party or club night.

Rich danced so fast he was a blur in most of my photos…

Earlier in the night he climbed up a pole in the middle of the room to check out the projector…

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Weakerthans

It had been about 8 years since I last saw the Weakerthans. They had a different bass player, it was somewhere in Canada and I was probably there for work. They are what I would call a “truly Canadian” band, they sing about curling, bleak Prairie scenes, hockey and their hometown Winnipeg. Describing their sound is difficult, it’s a bit folk, a bit punk (John K was once in Propaghandi), poetic and political at the same time.

They began their career in 1997, 4 studio albums later, a live album, full length documentary and 14 years of live shows they are still in a good place. Having sold out the Garage (600 capacity) I was quite surprised with how many fans the band has in this city and it wasn’t all ex-Canadians. There were actual British people in the audience who could sing along to all the songs and with about 3 encores it was a successful night. My friend Rusty was even along as 5th Weakerthan playing trumpet, extra guitar and keyboard.

I have a thing about friends having “cool” (e.g. geeky and Canadian) tattoos. My friend Scott Ingram (the original Scott Pilgrim) has the “CA” = Chartered Accountant logo tattooed on his arm with flames coming off of it. I used to think it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. Well to add to my collection of friends with ace tattoos here is Rusty’s Manitoba province outline with a heart where Winnipeg is (can you guess where he lives??)

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It’s true after 3 nights in a row at the SAME pub I couldn’t face it again.

Finally saw Brown Brogues though. I loved that the drummer had the most sparse drum kit ever. He didn’t even have a bass drum! Just snare, floor tom and 1 cymbal. Proper dirty, simple garage rock.

The next night was Costa Rican’s Las Robertas who’ve been here for a week playing gigs around the UK (OK just London and gigs in Brighton & Manchester). It was also strangely the Horrors after party for their gig at York Hall. York Hall is an old recreation centre in Bethnal Green where I used to go swimming every week but they also have a big function room with a stage which would be perfect for gigs. The Shacklewell was pumping full of Horror fans, the normal hip clientele and a few Las Robertas fans. It was so crowded we left to go to a house party.

The most exciting gig I went to this weekend though was The Sonics! Who I have loved for many years, I’ve always been in bands who’ve covered the Witch and Have Love Will Travel. They’re from Tacoma, WA and are the premier Pacific Northwest garage rock band and being from the Pacific Northwest it’s in my blood to be a Sonics fan! I’m so glad I just bit the bullet and paid because I really enjoyed it. It was part of Ray Davies’ Meltdown so he introduced them on stage (The Sonics and the Kinks toured back in 60s together). They played 90% 60s stuff as the Sonics were in existence 1960-1968. They only recently reformed in 2008, 40 years later! They played 3 songs from their current EP – The Sonics 8 – which is their first studio recordings since the 60s. My only wish is I could have snuck into their after party and got my picture with the short little bass player! His name’s Freddie Dennis and he isn’t an original member but he totally steals the show!

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July 1st if you are Canadian means a day off work, lots of people waving maple leaf flags, hangovers and probably CBC broadcasting some terrible concert from Ottawa with the likes of Anne Murray or Rita McNeil performing.

Unfortuntately living in London means no day off work, but good news I won’t have a hangover AND we have some better bands playing. Canadian Blast is putting on an alternative Canadian festival on July 2nd at the Barbican featuring GOOD Canadian artists the Hidden Cameras, Chilly Gonzales and Woodpigeon.


More info here: http://www.barbican.org.uk/music/event-detail.asp?ID=12041

And to get into the Canadian celebration mood how about checking out this gig the week before? Surfboard wielding rave-up kid Rich Aucoin is playing ONE UK show on his European tour June 28, 2011 at the Old Queens Head here in London. He actually uses a surf board to crowd surf during his show! I can’t wait!

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Mazes Video-o-o

So maybe a month ago it was a sunny afternoon and my friend Erika texted me saying “do you want to ride bikes around for an hour in a Mazes music video?” Sure thing I said! Little did I know it wasn’t actually warm out, it was the windiest sunny day EVER and we ended up wearing scarves and gloves and freezing ourselves. Somehow the people who made this video have still managed to make it look like it’s summertime (good work!). I think if you squint really hard you might be able to see me in one frame.

Anyway, it’s Mazes’ new single, ‘Summer Hits’, coming out June 20, 2011. The song can also be found on their debut album ‘A Thousand Heys’.

Mazes ‘Summer Hits’ from FatCat Records on Vimeo.

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Tomorrow I’m recording my first radio show for London Fields Radio and it’s a radio show inspired by my Waynes Girls DJ team where we dress up as Wayne and Garth and play metal, classic rock and whatever the boys would like.

I’ve started scouring You Tube for awesome old 80s videos. Here’s 2 from Loverboy that have definitely got me in the mood, first up is Turn Me Loose

And my all time karaoke favourite, Working for the Weekend and it’s LIVE from Expo 86 – bonus!! Watch til the end it’s great! Charles and Diana are there cheering them on! Who knew the royals like 80s rock??

OK back to researching metal bands. This first episode is all about Download Festival, thank heavens they have a pretty stellar old line up – Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick, Thin Lizzy, Twisted Sister and more. So jealous I’m not there.

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DOMINO RADIO

Easily the radio station of the week! Hell, because it’s only going to last this ONE week. It’s Domino Records’ own radio station, found online here: http://dominorad.io/ OR if you are in London you can listen at 87.7FM.

I’ve already been exposed to a plethora of ace 80s tunes during Austra‘s show. You’ve only got until this Sunday June 12 to listen live but don’t fret because you can go back and listen again online anytime. PHEW!

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