5×5: My “Best Of” Musical Round-Up for 2010

5x5 Best of 2010 variousartists

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 post is one of those orphaned Ghosts of Blogging Past that needs a re-debut.

In advance of my Best of 2015 recap (appearing shortly), here is my first year-end music entry from February 2011: 5×5: My “Best Of” Musical Round-Up for 2010.   While I am republishing the list as I saw it at that time, I’ve reconsidered some of my choices in the interim.  Here’s how I would rank 2010 now from a 2016 perspective: Read the rest of this entry »


178a. Magic Chords: Ottawa Bluesfest 2013 (Pt. 1) with The Black Keys, Sharon Van Etten, Femi Kuti, Neko Case, Bahamas, and more, July 4-6

Ticket Festival Pass 2013 Corrected

“Summer’s here and the time is right for …”

178a. Magic Chords: Ottawa Bluesfest 2013 (Pt. 1) with The Black Keys, Sharon Van Etten, Femi Kuti, Neko Case, Bahamas, and more, July 4-6, LeBreton Flats, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The Black Keys, Femi Kuti
Thursday July 4, 2013

For over a decade now, Ottawa Bluesfest has been the musical centrepiece of my summer here in the National Capital Region — it’s one of the geography’s positives. Read the rest of this entry »


175. I’m Your Man: Leonard Cohen, December 7, 2012

leonard-cohen-ottawa-2012-ticket

Yes, it was pricey.  Yes, it was worth it.

175. I’m Your Man: Leonard Cohen, Friday December 7, 2012, Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, $171.04 

“I love to speak with Leonard,
He’s a sportsman and a shepherd,
He’s a lazy bastard living in a suit”
from “Going Home” (2012)

I’ll cut right to the chase: this was one of the very best concerts I have ever seen in close to 40 years of gig-going.  In my all-time Top 20.  Earlier last year,  I lamented not having been able to see Cohen last time around in my 20 Performances I Missed posting, thinking he would not tour again when I wrote it only to find myself holding December tickets by the time I published the piece.

I had good reason to believe he would never tour again. Read the rest of this entry »


022b. Let’s Dance: David Bowie with Rough Trade, September 3, 1983

DavidBowie83

Ten years on from my hearing “Space Oddity,” I finally get to see and hear Bowie live during the Serious Moonlight tour.

022b. Let’s Dance: David Bowie with Rough Trade, CNE Stadium, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Saturday September 3, 1983, $22.50

In Part One, I wrote about what Bowie and glam rock meant to me, my impressions on how his emergence had a broader impact on the 1970s, and explored his musical shape-shifting.
In this third and final segment, I focus on his 1983 comeback via the glossy commercial juggernaut, Let’s Dance, and my thrill at taking in a brilliant set at CNE Stadium — with openers Rough Trade — along with my pal Miss Bennies and 60,000 others over the Labour Day weekend.

Interest ran high for this new Bowie album in my corner of the world. What bold new step forward would this upcoming release portend? What adventurous new direction would his sound take?

In my mind, I had the idea that it would be some kind of merge between synthpop and noisy, angular post-punk experimentation, something like The Human League meets The Birthday Party. Read the rest of this entry »


172. Locked Inside: Janelle Monáe with Roman GianArthur and the David Mott Quintet, June 23, 2012

 Janelle Monae June 2012 Ottawa Ticket variousartists Locked inside, in the great outdoors.

172. Locked Inside: Janelle Monáe with Roman GianArthur and the David Mott Quintet, Ottawa Jazz Festival, Confederation Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Saturday June 23, 2012, $49.

It was the perfect summer afternoon and evening for sitting outside and taking in live music. There was substantial pre-show buzz in Ottawa for this performance, resulting in a large turn out for this night of tunes capped off by an electrifying set from genre-hopping, R&B-based, tuxedo-clad headliner Janelle Monáe and her dynamite backing band of 12 musicians plus + 1 MC. As an artist who topped my current “New Act I Most Want to See Live” wish list, she exceeded all my expectations for what I hope will merely be the first time I’ll be seeing her perform.

Sounds splendid, doesn’t it? Such a shame, then, that the Ottawa Jazz Fest went out of its way to make this event as teeth-gnashing as possible. Read the rest of this entry »


154. We Can Get Together: The Hold Steady, “Night of the Living Dead” Live featuring The Hilotrons, July 17, 2010

Hold Steady, Night of the Living Dead Live, Ottawa Bluesfest Ticket Saturday July 17 2010 The pre-sale was a particularly good savings on this night, owing to a $60 gate cover for headliner Keith Urban, who we made a point of avoiding.

154. We Can Get Together: The Hold Steady, Night of the Living Dead Live, Ottawa Bluesfest, Lebreton Flats, Ottawa, Ontario, Saturday July 17, 2010, $60.

From Finns Neil to Craig, this night concluded (for me) the exceptional run of gigs that I took in during the 2010 Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest. 

This final evening was one part live gig and one part unique event mixing film, theatre, and live performance as a celebration of one of the cult classics, and one of the few horror films I love, 1968’s Night of the Living Dead.  More on that in a bit. Read the rest of this entry »


148. Dr. Feelgood: Aretha Franklin, May 30, 2010

ArethaFranklin10Ottawa

Luckily no balcony falls were incurred.

148. Dr. Feelgood: Aretha Franklin & Her Orchestra, Southam Hall, National Arts Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Sunday May 30, 2010, $116.75.

After 35 years of concert going, there remains a number of acts that currently perform live who are on my Still Must See List (Tom Waits, Stevie Wonder, and U2 among others).  Aretha Franklin has long been on there as well, and with this performance I was able to cross off another name. Read the rest of this entry »