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Shimmering Stars

I had the pleasure of watching and interviewing Vancouver 3-piece Shimmering Stars last night who are over on their first trip to the UK / Europe right now. They’ve got one more date in London, Friday August 26 at the Shacklewell Arms – PLEASE GO if you are in London. They’re the nicest dudes and their music is so dreamy and full of wonderful hooks and melodies.

I have a soft spot for the band, being originally from Vancouver myself. The video above has got to be one of the saddest videos I’ve ever seen, I almost wanted to cry at the end, but I love the fact it’s shot in Strathcona and around East Vancouver. They also have a song called East Van Girls with references to the Value Village on Hastings Street. Even if you’ve never been to Vancouver, you’ll appreciate this band. Trust me. Constantly referenced to the Everly Brothers (who I love) you can’t go wrong really…

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The highlight of my Field Day last week was meeting Omar Souleyman. The man’s a legend in Syria and most of the Middle East and now the Western world as well. He doesn’t speak a word of English. I got him to do an IDent for Field Day Radio through a translator.

But the best thing of all was I got to see what he REALLY looks like. Here’s what he looks like on stage and in all his press shots:

Omar Souleyman

And now here’s what he really looks like when he’s just hanging around:

That’s right, trackie bottoms, slip on crocs, a baseball hat AND the icing on the cake a hoodie which says “MALIBU” haha. Amazing !! I heard a rumour that he was going to Primark on his day off after Field Day but don’t quote me on that one.

I have been busy and not getting enough sleep which means I’ve been neglecting to “blog” about my life. I went to Latitude, ATP and Cardiff in the past 2 weeks.

It was my 5th Latitude to date. I only missed the first one (they’ve had 6). It’s kind of my favourite festival but this year had their lamest line up to date. Paul Nutini!?! Still I went, I partied, I enjoyed.

I think my highlight was definitely seeing Adam Ant. Been a fan for years and years, and though he may be 56 and have man boobs now, he was still the best. I have to say I think he’s sleeping with one of his backing singers as they had WAY too much chemistry on stage – lots of grabbing, winks and smiles. Haha. Prove me wrong! He didn’t play my favourite songs but he did play LOTS of hits, so it was perfect.

I went with my buddy Jen Long and her fellow BBC Introducing buddy Ally McCrae from Glasgow. He was the tallest/skinniest man ever. Look how funny we look together!

Last weekend I got the coach to CARDIFF ! First time in Wales this year (and won’t be the last, going to Green Man in a couple weeks). Jen’s moving house so it was theee last infamous house party gig. Four bands played in the kitchen including – Deaf ClubCut RibbonsDrains – Dancers (third gig ever). For the last song EVER played we put an impromptu band together at the end (Mike, Jen and I) and played one Racket song haha was so funny.

Caught the coach back early Sunday morning and went straight to ATP Portishead at Alexander Palace. Holy crap! Never been up that way before (in my 7 years of living in London) but WOW best view in London. Totally blown away by how beautiful it was, also it was a lovely sunny day so that helped. You could see all of London. The festival itself had a few problems, nothing major, but as it was the first ATP at that location they are working on ironing out the kinks. Truthfully I was so exhausted I only made it to the end of Grinderman and then retreated back home so actually missed headliners Portishead. Sometimes sleep is more important than music.

Sonisphere

Right, so on Friday I made my way for the first time to Knebworth for the Sonisphere festival. The Big 4 were playing – Anthrax, Megadeath, Slayer and Metallica. I convinced Stacey we should leave “early” and get a 1pm train (even though the bands weren’t starting til 3pm). Lucky I did or we wouldn’t have seen ANYTHING !! We got to Stevenage station at 1:30pmish and there was a massive queue for the free shuttle bus and a shorter taxi queue. The guy warned us the shuttle bus queue would take over an hour so we were like “oh let’s get a taxi for sure then” – BAD idea. We queued for over an hour for a taxi. They were soooo slow!

Finally we got to site and it was another 30 min walk to the other side of the site to the guest list box office. We got there and yet again there was a massive long queue. We queued for another 1.5 hours and finally at 5pm – 4 hours after we left London we had our wristbands to the festival. Woooo!

Sadly this means we missed Anthrax, but we got to see Megadeath. Here’s my amazing view of SLAYER:

We came across about 100 people standing outside this truck, just standing around. Turns out Metallica soundcheck in this tiny truck behind a black curtain right before they go on stage. Haha. Here’s a picture of them emerging:

I have to say this could have been a reeeeally excellent festival and though I had a good time and was with nice people, it had a LOT of flaws. Transport between the station and the festival needs to be organised better (more coaches and taxis), definitely more people manning the box office (no one should have to queue for 1.5 hours to get a wristband!!), though saying that I did walk through the entire backstage with no wristband or pass – so security is pretty lax. Also what was with the TV screens being so incredibly low on the mainstage? They are there to help people standing in the back see but when they are lower than the stage, um, that doesn’t help out.

Good things though: clean toilets with loo roll, nice security guards and fast free transport back to the train station. Also it’s only 20 mins from London.

SUMMER TIME

So much to write about, I’ve been to Wireless Festival, Sonisphere Festival and a million other gigs!

But instead of writing that all up, I’m gonna leave you with this video for Gob’s Soda. I just updated the Rock Over London podcast and I played this song as it’s the song that ALWAYS gets stuck in my head when I’m too hot. “I just want to jump in a lake, like Gob”

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…

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??)