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Live music galleries

Live music galleries: Julien Baker [2018]

(I got the idea for this series while sifting through the ‘piles’ of digital photos on my laptop. It occurred to me to share some of these great pics from some of my favourite concert sets from time to time. Until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts page.)

Julien Baker live in Toronto, 2018

Artist: Julien Baker
When: August 4th, 2018
Where: Fort York Commons, Toronto
Context: It’s hard to believe that only four years have passed since the summer of 2018. Indeed, it feels like a millennia has flown by since those days but I guess the calendar doesn’t lie. That particular summer, I forewent the usual big festival pass at both Ottawa Bluesfest and Montreal’s Osheaga in favour of a couple of smaller lineup shows in Toronto that boasted some pretty great fare. The first was Arts & Crafts’ annual June weekend, Field Trip. And the second was a stacked card headlined by The National at the height of summer, that also included Father John Misty, Jenny Lewis, Julien Baker, and Dan Edmonds. My friend Mark and I spent the afternoon beforehand sampling the wares on the patio of Bellwoods Brewery. After being satisfied that all their beers were good products, we ambled down to the lawn of the Old Fort York historic site just in time to catch the back end of the opening act’s set. Julien Baker was on next and I had definitely wanted to catch the whole of her set given my successful explorations of the two albums she had released to that point. She was only supported by violinist Camille Faulkner but her stage presence and honesty had me (and a boatload of others) rapt on that warm August afternoon. I became a fan in that 30-40 minutes. Of course, Baker has become much bigger since then, partially because of her association with Phoebe Bridger and Lucy Dacus and partially because of her incredible third record, “Little oblivions”, released in 2021 and will now likely be a bigger draw at future festivals.  For this, I am thankful I got to see such an “intimate” performance.
Point of reference song: Appointments

Julien Baker
Camille Faulkner on violin
Julien Baker looking cool in shades
Julien and Camille entertaining the early evening crowd
Categories
Live music galleries

Live music galleries: The New Pornographers [2022]

(I got the idea for this series while sifting through the ‘piles’ of digital photos on my laptop. It occurred to me to share some of these great pics from some of my favourite concert sets from time to time. Until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts page.)

The New Pornographers live at Ottawa Bluesfest 2022

Artist: The New Pornographers
When: July 8th, 2022
Where: River stage, Ottawa Bluesfest, Lebreton Flats Park
Context: The second night of Ottawa Bluesfest 2022 offered me a second opportunity to see Canadian indie rock collective, The New Pornographers. I had previously seen them in October 2017 at the Bronson Music Theatre on their Ottawa stop in support of their seventh album, “Whiteout conditions”. What with the nature of the group and the various members’ busy schedules, you never know which version of the band* you’ll get to see on any given night. As it turned out, the lineup this time was very much similar to the previous show, except of course, with the subtraction of founding member/keyboard player Blaine Thurier, who had departed the band the previous year, and the addition of touring vocalist/percussionist, Nora O’Connor. They started off with “Falling down the stairs of your smile” (below) off their most recent record and roared through the rest of the one-hour set touching all of their eight albums at least once. Crowd pleasing and fun, this group really does do their shows right. I would never hesitate to the see them again given the chance.
Point of reference song: Falling down the stairs of your smile

Cool Kathryn Calder
Joe Seiders on the drums
John Collins, full of smiles
Todd Fancey
Nora O’Connor, current touring member
Carl Newman in the bright lights
Nora O’Connor and Todd Fancey
Carl, Joe, and John in duplicate
Joe Seiders
Carl, John, and Kathryn
Kathryn Calder close up
Carl Newman at the mike

*I still have yet to see a show by them with Neko Case or Dan Bejar performing… maybe someday…

Categories
Live music galleries

Live music galleries: Crash Test Dummies [2022]

(I got the idea for this series while sifting through the ‘piles’ of digital photos on my laptop. It occurred to me to share some of these great pics from some of my favourite concert sets from time to time. Until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts page.)

Crash Test Dummies live at Bluesfest 2022

Artist: Crash Test Dummies
When: July 14th, 2022
Where: SiriusXM stage, Ottawa Bluesfest, Lebreton Flats Park
Context: So I jumped back into live music with both feet over the last few weeks. It was my long-awaited return to Canada’s largest outdoor music festival, aka Ottawa Bluesfest. I had bought a full festival pass back in March 2020, just before everything went to hell, and when that year’s edition was cancelled, I just transferred my pass to the next. And then, the next – this year. I ended up attending five of the ten nights and saw plenty of great sets by acts as diverse as The New Pornographers, Lucy Dacus, Garbage, Run the Jewels, and Rage Against the Machine. But my favourite of all? A side stage headline set by Crash Test Dummies. It was partly nostalgia, I admit, but they really did put on an entertaining show. I had their debut album, “The ghosts that haunt me”, on cassette tape back in high school and I near wore it through with the amount of times I played it on my Walkman. And though it was good, I wasn’t as big a fan of their sophomore release, mostly because they were floating away from the folk-rock sound that I loved from the debut. So I never did see the group perform live. A wrong I definitely righted a week ago tonight. The set was heavy on that sophomore release, it was their biggest success, of course, but I was extremely happy to hear them pull out four tracks from that debut, including the cover song below and their big Canadian hit, “Superman’s song”. For many moments on that night, I was seventeen again and screaming along to lyrics I had never forgotten.
Point of reference song: Androgynous” (Replacements cover)

Three of the original dummies – Brad, Dan, Ellen
Mitch Dorge on the drums
Marc Arnould, touring keyboards
Ellen Reid and Dan Roberts
Stuart Cameron, touring guitarist
Ellen rocking the accordion
Brad Roberts at the microphone