(Top Photo montage/doctoring by VA — original photos taken at the downtown Bank St. location of Compact Music here in Ottawa and at Chez Various: Click on photo to see full size image. Below: This and all other labels on the page doctored by VA from my personal vinyl bounty).
After a relatively-weak-year-for-albums 2013, 2014 should have been the antidote for me: seemingly almost every currently working artist that I listen to released a new album while many of my favourite legacy acts put out compilations, archive sets or deluxe reissues.
(Cover by VariousArtists; Pics grabbed from ye olde Internet)
20 Sensational Hits! 20 Sensational Stars!
Here’s some fun’n’hip shakin’ musical accompaniment for the annual Santafest. This splendiferous list mostly avoids the obvious or overly solemn, and should get the gang groovin’ at your seasonal shindig while helping to mask the sound of partygoers vomiting in the bathroom after too many Baileys … or drive everyone swiftly out the door, depending on the circles you run in. (A playlist of this terrific 20 can be found over on my YouTube channel, VATV). Continue reading →
Sunday was Bluesfest-free owing to the small matter of my visiting nephew — known here as Fast & Bulbous — and I going to see the surprisingly still fab Paul McCartney (that entry is eventually coming too, even with my re-focus back on the past). Had “The Cute Beatle”™ not come to town on said night, Continue reading →
My sister’s original copies of David Bowie’s Space Oddity and Ziggy Stardust. I have many fond memories of listening to these albums with her.
My return to the My Life — In Concert! series, this time looking back on seeing David Bowie for the first time, 30 years ago, fortuitously dovetails with last week’s delightful shock that is the release of Bowie’s first album of new material in a decade, The Next Day.
He first came into my orbit 40 years ago in his Ziggy Stardust days, at the dawn of 1973. His ongoing body of work has been a constant presence in my life ever since, in particular, the ground-breaking succession of albums that he released between 1969 and 1980.
Before turning my focus to the show at Toronto’s CNE Stadium, I’ll first write about what Bowie and glam rock meant to me, and my impressions on how his emergence had a broader impact on the 1970s.
Lightning struck twice for me shortly after I turned 10. 1972 was bleeding into 1973, and I was thrilled to now be part of the double-digit-age clique, with that majestic 1 planted firmly in front of the stalwart 0 in all its binary glory. The yellow brick road to Teenageville, and then onto Adultia, stretched out before me like gleaming candy. I was excited to be starting my journey, one with a down-the-line jackpot of any manner of enticing Pandora’s Boxes filled with mature delights — mature as envisioned by my still-naive-yet-overactive Grade Five imagination, anyway. Continue reading →
After a break of several months I’m returning to writing and to the My Life — In Concert! series. But first, my annual recap …
Rarely have I been so happy to put a year to bed as 2012. For me, it was the very essence of the phrase “exceedingly crappadoodles.” So, rather than rehash the family crises, near job loss, triple shooting and homicide a few doors down, car theft, etc. etc, etc., I’ll Instead ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive: it’s a new year that’s off to a much better start; spring is around the corner — and there was a shed-load of great tunes during the past year so that not all my associations with it are bad ones. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →