Take Five: My 5th Anniversary

VariousArtists 5th Anniversary Five Years Daydream Nation Mockup“Daydreaming days in a daydream nation,” from “Trilogy” by Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation (1988).  The world of blogging itself is a daydream nation … (Photo and Mockup by VA)

This month marks the fifth anniversary of the My Life In Concert! blog which I started over on Open Salon back on June 3, 2010. For the uninitiated, this blog is a gig-by-gig memoir of my life as an avid concertgoer, chronicling my unabated passion from Roxy Music in February 1975 through until my present day. While I am looking at these shows from my own personal lens, I am writing not just about the music but also the ticks, quirks and details of the larger Music Life experience surrounding these shows, artists or scenes. I also write of other music and media interests on my radar as well. Read the rest of this entry »


Four & (Hopefully) More: My Fourth Blogiversary

BLOGBEST VA 4th ANNIV Judy MASTER“I’m going to get a sip of water.  I’ll be back … Talk to each other or something … Mill around for a second …” (Cover mock up by VA)

NOTE: This anniversary marked my starting the My Life — In Concert! blog over on Open Salon four years ago and much of the text below was written for the then-OS audience.   As I am publishing my previous anniversary posts for the first time over here on WordPress, I am republishing this 4th anniversary today.  My 5th anniversary blog will be up tomorrow.

Four years on from when I started this blog project (initially only on Open Salon), and OS and I are still chugging along. On my third anniversary, I lamented how the site was a shadow of its former self, but on this fourth benchmarker I actually feel more positive and upbeat. Read the rest of this entry »


15 Favourite LPs

VariousArtists Top 15 LPs 16 Covers16 covers?  You’ll have to read to find out why.

Originally published on OS on September 3, 2010 as part of an open call to writers on the site.

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This post was part of an Open Call here on OS for people to list and discuss 15 albums they have their greatest emotional attachments to.  Since I create associations between albums/songs with, well, just about everything, trying to pick 15 LPs that are memorable owing to specific parts of my life or events would be an insurmountable task.  Therefore, I zoomed through my collection, made a (long) short list and picked my 15 favouritesor what passes as such at this momentbut will briefly discuss each more in terms of memories, time and place, etc than as a critique. (The full long list appears at the bottom.)

My Favourite Album

Read the rest of this entry »


176. Lightning: Ottawa Jazz Festival 2013 with David Byrne & St. Vincent and Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, June 23 & 29

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My wristband for the 2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival and Macaulay Culkin sporting an appropriate facial gesture. (All photos and scans by VA.)

176. Lightning: Ottawa Jazz Festival 2013 with David Byrne & St. Vincent, Sunday June 23 / Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Saturday June 29, Confederation Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, $165.00 for a (largely wasted) Festival Pass

Another year, another Ottawa Jazz Festival: more great music intersecting with frustrations.  In other words, business as usual.

This year’s J Fest appeared as a terrific proposition with a stellar line-up anchored by its biggest star, Ms. Aretha Franklin, along with the currently touring collaboration between ex-Talking Head David Byrne and the fabaroony St. Vincent aka Annie Clark.  Sweetness!  Not only that but Willie Nelson, The Bad Plus, Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Mavis Staples, and a few other options. Read the rest of this entry »


20/12: My Musical Favourites and Re/Discoveries of Last Year

2012 BEST OF 8TRACKS BLOG
 (8-Tracks Mock-Up by VA)

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. 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 »