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 »


David Bowie 1947-2016: Often Copied, Never Equalled

Scary Monsters Ad NME Sept 27 80

A week after Bowie’s passing and I still can’t quite process that he has gone.

I was pretty gutted when Lou Reed died but Bowie’s death has hit me even harder. It’s impossible for me to think back on my life without the music of David Bowie being an integral part of its soundtrack through the decades. We’ve lost a creative giant and someone whose work touched my life irrevocably. This is a real chapter-closer, severing a big link with my youth.

However, it’s heartwarming to see the amazing reaction the world the world has given him upon his passing. And he went out on top, doing his best work in decades with Blackstar, upping the bar he’d been resetting with Heathen and The Next Day.  I am glad I had three days to listen to and absorb it prior to his death, marveling that, at age 69, he was actually breaking new ground, with Blackstar largely being unlike anything else in his back catalogue. I can think of other music artists doing good stuff at 69, but I for the life of me can’t think of anyone other than Bowie doing something new at that age, and doing it well. That’s inspiring.

I was lucky enough to see Bowie five times and, in writing about the first time in 1983, I also wrote in-depth about what Bowie meant to me and how he impacted my life.  I’ll simply relink to what I have already written rather than further reiterate.

Thanks for everything, David. RIP.  You’ll be missed.

022a: Changes: Bowie, The 70s and Me

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

TorontoStar Cover Shot

© 2016 VariousArtists

 

 


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


056. Stoned Soul Picnic: Laura Nyro, July 15, 1989

LauraNyro Ticket Toronto July 15 1989 variousartists

A night of reverie.

056. Stoned Soul Picnic: Laura Nyro, Music Hall Theatre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Saturday July 15, 1989, $17.50

 Tonight (Saturday April 14, 2012), Laura Nyro will be posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On the occasion of her induction, I would like to ruminate on one of my very favourite artists and her career, and jump into the middle of my series to a magic concert I saw Nyro give in Toronto, on a hot July night in 1989.

I remember seeing Laura Nyro’s name for the first time. It was on the label of my sister’s 45 of Three Dog Night’s 1969 hit cover of her tune, “Eli’s Coming.”

There was something about that name Read the rest of this entry »