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 »

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169. Do U Lie?: Prince, December 3, 2011

Prince Ticket for blog

One of the most frustrating experiences in 36 years of concert going.

169. Do U Lie?: Prince, Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Saturday December 3, 2011, $165.24.

“Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” — Johnny Rotten/Lydon at the end of the Sex Pistols’ final concert at the Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco, January 14, 1978.

As someone who’s been an avid live concert-goer since seeing Roxy Music when I was 12 in early 1975, there’s only a handful of non-recent acts left who are still out there playing who I have yet to, and very much want to, see. Tom Waits. Leonard Cohen. Stevie Wonder. U2.

And, up until this December show, Prince would have been on that list.

… Although I’m not sure if I can actually say I have seen him following this exceedingly frustrating experience. Read the rest of this entry »


158. Better Things: Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, May 11, 2011

Sharon Jones Ticket BLOG Sharon Jones kissed me!

158. Better Things: Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings with Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, Bronson Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Wednesday May 11, 2011, $34.

 It’s a given that every generation is going to throw up its own pop flibbertigibbets. While we may grouse about “Beiber Fever” or the vexatious Ke$ha, it’s wise to not overdo it and constantly go on one of those “darn kids today and their crap” harangues. The reality is that teen-targeted moppets are simply part of a never-ending conveyer belt that will always exist as long young’uns and a corporate marketplace are both table guests at the dinner party of pop culture. 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 »


020b. Waiting In Vain: 20 Performances I Missed, 1980-2011

nxtc handbill london 1980XTC at Centennial Hall, London, Ontario, Monday November 24, 1980. Too bad the show never happened (Thanks to MZ for the scan of her handbill).

You’ve got the warm ticket in your hot little hands, anticipation is building, and you just know it’s going to be a great experience and a fun night out.

But it doesn’t always work that way.  Shows get cancelled or artists are pulled from advertised lineups owing to illness or personal emergencies.  Or ticket demand is too high — or too low.  Or shows go ahead but it is you that is ill or can’t afford to get yourself there (as you’ll see, that’s a popular one for me during my university years). Or the weather turns crap. Or rides vanish. Or someone joins a cult. And on it goes. Read the rest of this entry »


170. The Shape I’m In: Etc #7 2008-11 with Rush, Austra, Stephen Malkmus, Cyndi Lauper, John Hiatt, Levon Helm, Carole Pope, & Margaret Cho

170. The Shape I’m In: Etc #7 2008-2011 with Rush, Austra, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Cyndi Lauper, John Hiatt, the Levon Helm Band, Carole Pope and comedian Margaret Cho.

NOTE: Over the course of this series, I will occasionally be publishing compilation pieces that are a collection of encapsulated reviews covering gigs I am not writing full entries for. This 7th iteration of the Etc. round-ups is appearing first, owning to my back entries not yet having caught up to Etc. #1.    Read the rest of this entry »


168. Trees Outside the Academy: 2011 Ottawa Folk Festival with Thurston Moore, Bright Eyes, Tom Morello/The Nightwatchman, & The Little Stevies, August 27-28, 2011

Bright Eyes The Nightwatchman, ticket, Ottawa Folk Festival 2011, variousartists

The retooled Ottawa Folk Festival — now under the auspices of the Bluesfest crew — arrives in late August … along with some fallout from Hurricane Irene. 

168. Trees Outside the Academy: 2011 Ottawa Folk Festival with Thurston Moore, Bright Eyes, Tom Morello/The Nightwatchman, and The Little Stevies, Hog’s Back Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, August 27-28, 2011, $39.50 per night.

The Jazz Festival and Bluesfest kick-start the Ottawa summers; the Folk Festival ends them. However, 2010 almost marked the end of the Folk Festival. Read the rest of this entry »