It’s been twelve years since Hollerado played their first shows, which seems a bit short because I feel like they’ve been around forever. I’ve seen them at least 10-15 times, in every possible setting. They’ve played opening and headlining club spots, festival sets, random parties, you name it.
One of the last few times I shot one of their performances was actually over five years ago at Osheaga. I remember catching their set on the Tree stage, and right before the set was about to finish, they allowed a fan to propose to his girlfriend. She said yes, and luckily the band was prepared with tons of silly string and confetti to celebrate (if you click the image above, the final shots in the gallery are of this moment).
The band has always been a lot of fun to see, and to shoot, which is why it’s a bit sad to see that earlier this week they announced that they will be calling it a day. The good news is that they will be releasing a final album on June 7th called Retaliation Vacation, via Royal Mountain Records (the label they started ten years ago).
Along with the record, they will be touring one last time, with what is sure to be a hella fun final show at The Danforth Music Hall on December 13th. It’s a long ways away still, but tickets for that show go on sale this morning at 10:00 HERE. Be sure to snag yours up to see what they have in store.
It’s been a great run, wishing all the best to Menno, Nick, Jake and Dean.
It’s been over three years since Local Natives released their last album, Sunlit Youth. However, yesterday they announced a new tour, with a stop here in Toronto. On Monday, May 27th, they will be making an appearance at The Phoenix, with support from Middle Kids. Tickets start at $39.50 + fees and go on sale tomorrow at 10:00am, and can be purchased HERE (via Ticketfly & Collective Concerts). With the concert announcement comes promise of new music, to be coming sometime in March, so we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for that.
Above is a photo from the one time I shot the band, playing a late afternoon set at Toronto Urban Roots Festival. I shot the fest for both Beyond the Watch and TURF, and neither site has the photos up anymore, so I will hopefully have the full sets posted at some point in the future, so there’s also that to keep an eye out for (though, less exciting I am sure).
Yesterday was the birthday of Gord Downie. I didn’t get to see any of their dates on the final tour in person, but this is a photo of the last time I saw The Tragically Hip play: a series of 3 song mini-sets at Supermarket to promote the release of Now for Plan A.
I couldn’t tell you what the other two songs were that they played, but seeing “Grace, Too” in that small venue brought me back to being the teenage fan I used to be. It reminded me of how great a frontman Gord Downie was, and also how much of a role that group played in my youth. The Hip made me expect more from a live show than just playing carbon copies of songs from their album. The way Gord would improvise stories in instrumental breaks, or ‘fight’ with his mic stand, or just point to someone in the audience and connect with them for a moment, they always made their audience feel like a part of something. Each night, and show, was a unique experience.
Gord may be gone, but he’ll never be forgotten. Happy birthday.
Growing up in the early 90s, one of the music groups I distinctly remember getting into was R.E.M. In 6th grade, I was starting to listen to music other than whatever was being played on Buffalo, NY’s KISS 98.5. Part of this was making new friends in school that were into different music I wasn’t aware of. Another part of this could also be attributed to the fact that I started watching MuchMusic, when they actually played music videos. But it was around this time that I really started to seek out music. It was also then that R.E.M. released their album Out of Time, and when I got that cassette tape for Christmas, I remember feeling really excited to be starting my musical journey away from Pop/Top 40 radio.
In the summer of 2008, I had the fortunate opportunity to photograph the band on what ended up being their final proper tour. At that point, I had equipped myself with a greater knowledge of their back-catalogue, but my favourite moment of that show was seeing the band perform the song that first drew me in, “Losing My Religion.” The mandolin took me right back and reminded me of why I was a fan in the first place.
The reason I bring this all up is because Dan Mangan, who plays the Danforth Music Hall tonight, released a cover of said song last week. In speaking of it, Dan stated: “I really wanted to try and approach it from a new angle. There’s no point in attempting to sing like Michael Stipe – there is only one Michael Stipe. So I tried my best to let it live in a new light while paying homage to the original.”
Hearing Dan’s version, though different, gave me that similar feeling of discovery. Though very familiar with Dan’s music (this post could easily have been a TBT to Dan Mangan shows) I felt I was hearing something very familiar have new life breathed into it. It’s a lovely cover, and I can only hope that some 6th grader out there hears it and in 25+ years remembers Dan’s music as fondly as I remember R.E.M’s.
Earlier this week Showtime announced that it has acquired the TV broadcast rights to Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men. The first two episodes of the four-part docuseries about the legendary hip-hop group will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 28th, with the docuseries scheduled to air on Showtime in the spring. According to the Showtime website, the series will give us the real story of the Wu-Tang with never-before-seen footage and interviews recounting the obstacles traversed to stay united as one Wu family.
The most recent time I saw one of the members of Wu-Tang was just under four years ago, when I shot the Ghostface Killah & Badbadnotgood show at The Opera House. Though it was just under a week before the release of their joint album Sour Soul, they only ended up performing one song (“Raygun”) from the album. Instead, they leaned heavily into Ghost’s extensive solo and Wu-Tang back catalogue, and threw in a few covers (The Jackson 5, Ol’ Dirty Bastard & Nas, respectively), which suited the fans just fine.
As the year gets underway, and the summer festival lineups are being revealed, I am trying to temper my excitement. In the last ten years, Toronto went from not having any big outdoor summer festivals to a major summer festival destination. One of the festivals that has gone by the wayside, was TURF – Toronto Urban Roots Festival. The fest ran for four years from 2013 through 2016, and was a definite highlight of those summers. I even had the opportunity to shoot the first two as one of the festival photographers, which was exciting to be able to have my photos presented to a much bigger audience than I could get on my own.
Gary Clark Jr. performed at the 2014 incarnation of TURF, and I bring this up because last week he announced he has a new album being released. The album is called This Land and is scheduled for release on March 8th. Watch the video for the politically-charged title track below.
A U.S. tour has been announced through May, with no Toronto date as of yet. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the summer brings us.
So the one thing I have realized this week is that there is a lot of music news, and it’s hard to keep everything I want to post contained to one playlist. There’s just so much content that sometimes you have to split things in half (sort of). That’s why I’ve opted to add a weekly Throwback Thursday post where I can highlight one of the artists from the week that I’ve already had a chance to see/shoot in the past, but also provide some news on them.
It seems that I’m not the only one with a lot of content that I’d like to share. Yesterday came with an announcement that Foals will be releasing new material this year in the form of TWO albums this year, entitled Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost: Part I & 2. They announced this via their Twitter account.
This is exciting, as it likely means we can expect some touring from the band, presumably summer or end of the year, and there’s nothing quite like seeing this band live. The photo above was from one of the most lively & intense shows that I can remember. The band was having some technical trouble, and clearly didn’t want it to affect their show, so they just took out all of their aggression through their performance. The show ended with Yannis making his way through the crowd and climbing on to the bar at the back to sing to the crowd during “Two Steps, Twice.” It was a show/experience that can never be duplicated and I feel very fortunate to have caught that specific performance from them.