8 x 11: My “Best of” Musical Favourites from 2011

Best of 2011BLOG Photo

(Photo/Graphic by VA)

NOTE TO READERS: Owing to the March 2015 closure of OpenSalon.com — which was my primary publishing platform, where I initiated this blog and concert series project, and was where most of my pieces were accessed — I need to plug up a few blog-holes (i.e., post-up here a clutch of early Open Salon blog entries that I never transferred to this cyberabode).  This here post is one of those orphaned Ghosts of Blogging Past that needs a re-debut.

In advance of my Best of 2015 re-cap (appearing shortly), here is my second year-end music recap from February 2012: 8 x 11: My “Best of” Musical Favourites from 2011.   While I couldn’t order my fave long players and tracks at the time, I can certainly do so now from the perspective of four years on.  My revised lists would now be …

Read the rest of this entry »


Picture This: VA Poster Collection Highlights

PosterBanner

Howdy to those of you on both Open Salon and WordPress … I’ve had another OS/WP absence owing to a few reasons: life stuff, some needed household re-arranging, and a spell of writer’s block.  I was also having too much damn hot fun in the summertime as of late, seeing a slew of great gigs over the past two months.

Well … that fun seems to have unblocked things. Read the rest of this entry »


174. Walk Like A Giant: Neil Young and Crazy Horse with Patti Smith, November 24, 2012

Neil Patti 2012 Ottawa Ticket

Tonight’s the night … to walk like a giant.

174. Walk Like A Giant: Neil Young and Crazy Horse with Patti Smith, Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Saturday November 24, 2012, $73.11.

You can never be sure which iteration of “Neil Young” you’re going to get when you see him live — or which segments of his fanbase will predominate at a given show.  This was my sixth time seeing Neil in four decades and most of those gigs have certainly been distinct from one another, with sometimes decidedly different patrons at the fore. Read the rest of this entry »


KA-CHING-A-LING: Christmas Advertising Highlights 1949-2011

VariousArtists presents, KA-CHING-A-LING: Christmas Advertising Highlight 1949-2011

Season’s Greetings from Schlitz.  And Joan from Mad Men (Life, December 1960) .

NOTE: I am pausing from my series to bring you a series of Christmas-related posts, a few of which were initially published on my OpenSalon blog.

Christmas is the season of peace, good cheer, and jollity … and maxing out your credit card; stressing over what to buy everyone in between bouts of insomnia as you try to recall if you bought Uncle Walt a similar pair of McGregor socks last year; rock’em sock’em parents giving each other a sharp right hook as they fight over the last (insert latest toy fad here) on the shelves while dodging pepper spray; abused, overworked sales staff squaring off against exhausted, overheated shoppers to discern who’s more fed up; mall patrons launching law suits following multi-car fender benders after a downpour of freezing rain has turned the parking lot into a fiesta of black ice … Read the rest of this entry »


173. Hold On Me: Esperanza Spalding with Gretchen Parlato, June 28, 2012

Esperanza Ticket 2012 This was one hot show, in both good and bad senses.

173. Hold On Me: Esperanza Spalding with Gretchen Parlato, Toronto Jazz Festival, Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Thursday June 28, 2012, $48.25.

It was less than one week after experiencing the brilliant Janelle Monáe under unnecessarily difficult circumstances thanks to the intuition-challenged burghers of the Ottawa Jazz Festival, and here we are five hours south at the Toronto equivalent. Staged right downtown at the feet of City Hall, Cublet and I were here to hear the similarly-brilliant Esperanza Spalding and her big band wail away, showcasing her new release (and one of 2012’s very best), Radio Music Society. Read the rest of this entry »


157. Monkey Gone To Heaven: The Pixies perform “Doolittle,” April 16, 2011

Pixies Ticket 2011 BLOG.jpgFarewell, Civic Centre.

157. Monkey Gone To Heaven: The Pixies perform Doolittle with Imaginary Cities, Ottawa Civic Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Saturday April 16, 2011, $45.

1989. I was 26 and remember it as a pretty good year for me personally and, as you shall see down the line, the one wherein I attended the most number of shows ever within a calendar 12 months.

I would also rate it as one of the 1980s’ better years for album releases, encompassing a number of titles that I loved both then and now: Read the rest of this entry »


156. It’s the Year Two Thousand & Ten: Broken Social Scene, December 16, 2010

BSS Dec2010 Blog  2010 draws to a close, re-capping a key soundtrack for my year.

156. It’s the Year Two Thousand & Ten: Broken Social Scene with Here We Go Magic, Bronson Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Thursday December 16, 2010, $41.

In the course of being a multi-decade gig-goer, there are several acts I have ended up seeing five times or more. David Bowie, Sonic Youth, Neil Young, and Rufus Wainwright among a few others are part of my “five or plus” club, and with this December gig at the Bronson Centre, Toronto-based collective Broken Social Scene are now members in good standing. Read the rest of this entry »