Mini Show Reviews: October 2016

Bastille – October 5


I’ve seen Bastille twice before this (and have tickets to see them next March) and they never fail to put on a fun show. While their most recent album Wild World is fairly mellow, they’re so full of energy on stage. Singer Dan Smith was especially impressive this time – they’d cancelled their New York show the night before ours because he strained his voice, but he was still able to perform for us, hitting all the high notes with minimal effort. The first 3/4’s of the show was basically their album (minus a handful of songs), including “Send Them Off!” and “The Currents” (both of which I really like) and it was cool to hear because it gave me a better appreciation for their new material. Of course, my favourite part was when they broke into their last three songs,pulled from their debut album, Bad Blood, including my fave “Pompeii“.

This Wild Life – October 8


I’ve seen This Wild Life before (briefly at Warped 2015 and then opening for Mayday Parade), and, while their songs (which are mostly acoustic) can be very mellow, they put on a really fun show. Lots of energy and sing-a-longs, and the band members seem like genuinely nice dudes (we saw them hanging out outside the venue before their set). Opening bands Movements and Have Mercy were pop punk-y fun (I realized belatedly that I actually know a Have Mercy song, “Two Years“). This Wild Life’s set was just over an hour long, during which they performed some of the new songs from their recent album, Low Tides (such as “Hit the Reset“), as well as fan favourites from previous releases like “Pink Tie” and “Concrete” (which is really good live). My sister compared them to an acoustic version of twenty one pilots, which is accurate, and I hope more people start paying attention to them.

Sum 41 – October 18


Even though I JUST saw Sum 41 at Warped this summer, I was still pretty excited to see them headline. Opening band As It Is was as energetic as ever (I still can’t take Patty Walters and his constant tongue-sticking-out move seriously, but they were fun), and Senses Fail was also pretty good (their songs tend to blend together for me, but that’s just because I’m waiting impatiently for “Can’t Be Saved“). Sum 41 burst onto the stage and played for about an hour and forty minutes (longer than I expected), with a set that was a nice mix of new songs from their recent album, 13 Voices and “classics” from their 15+ years as a band (“Motivation“; the heart-breaking “Pieces“, which I forgot about but still love; opening with “The Hell Song“). Deryck Whibley has a surprising amount of stage presence which I didn’t really feel at Warped, probably because the stage was so far away, but in a sweaty venue, it was exactly what you want in a punk show. Obviously the highlight was “Fat Lip” (which they closed with) because MAN, that’s such a good song!

The Wonder Years – October 24


Our last show of the month was super pop-punk – just the way I like it. Seaway opened the show, and, even though I just saw them at the end of July, they were still very entertaining. I had been looking forward to Knuckle Puck’s set, but, unfortunately, they couldn’t make it across the border after getting into a fender bender (with a DEER)…instead, I put all my energy into jamming the heck out to Moose Blood (they played my two favourite songs – “Gum” and “Knuckles” – back-to-back, which means I almost died). I don’t know what it is about RealFriends, but I just can’t get into them (I’ve tried like 4 times), so I didn’t really pay attention to their set.

The Wonder Years is the type of band that I forget I enjoy until I randomly hear a song or catch them live. They have such great lyrics – my fave off their recent album, No Closer to Home, is “I Don’t Like Who I Was Then” – and, especially now that I’m 26, I love screaming along to “Passing Through a Screen Door”. They put on a solid performance (not every band can get away with starting a set with an acoustic song), and their encore of “Came Out Swinging” was everything a pop-punk fan could want.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books & Music


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s prompt is Books and Music. These are two of my favourite things, but I rarely put them together (except for the thing I wrote here). So I’ve decided to make a list of songs that are based on literature/authors and/or make literary references.

I know there are a lot more out there – especially David Bowie and Radiohead and The Cure and whatnot – but I limited the list to songs I’m really familiar with.

1) “Resistance” – Muse; based on George Orwell’s 1984

2) “Time to Dance” – Panic! at the Disco; based on Chuck Palahuick’s Invisible Monsters

3) “Legendary” – The Summer Set; references J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan

4) “Painting Flowers” – All Time Low; references Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

5) “Weight of Living (Pt. 1)” – Bastille; based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

6) “To the End” – My Chemical Romance; based on William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily

7) “Win Some, Lose Some” – You Me At Six; references Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games

8) “Back to Life” – Paradise Fears; references S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders

9) “Bukowski” – Moose Blood; refers to the author, Charles Bukowski

10) “Sowing Season” – Brand New; the second verse is inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”, and the title of the song comes from Stephen King’s Secret Window, Secret Garden

I’m positive I’m missing really obvious ones from my music collection, but those were the ones I came up with (of course, there would have been more if I repeated artists, such as All Time Low’s “Somewhere in Neverland”, Bastille’s “Icarus”, and Paradise Fears’ “Stories in the Dark”, etc).

Let me know in the comments if you think of other songs that could make this list!

Best concerts of 2014

This year, Ro and I hit 30 concerts. 30!!!! This was a personal best for us, and it was our goal for 2014 (we were unbelievably excited when we bought tickets for that last show). There were a couple of duplicates – some favourite bands that came to town on more than one tour – but we also saw a few bands we’ve never seen live before.

This list is pretty much in order, but the lines sort of blur once you get past the top ten. Yay live music!

1) Bring Me the Horizon – December 5 (Wembley Arena)

2) Panic! at the Disco – February 1 (Sound Academy)

3) You Me At Six – October 13 (Phoenix)

4) Fall Out Boy – June 25 (Molson Amphitheatre)

5) The Maine – March 1 (Hard Luck Bar)

6) Paradise Fears – August 12 (Mod Club)

7) Twin Atlantic – December 10 (Rivoli)

8) Taking Back Sunday – April 8 (Kool Haus)

9) Andrew McMahon – November 5 (Opera House)

10) The Ready Set – October 30 (El Mocambo)

11) The 1975 – May 6 (Kool Haus)

12) Nick Santino – November 10 (Hard Luck Bar)

13) Bastille – October 15 (ACC)

14) Deaf Havana – February 15 (Rivoli)


Riot Fest – September 6-7 (Downsview Park)

I’m so ready for the 2015 concert season. I can’t wait to see what our total will be this year!

But if you close your eyes…

Continuing British Music Week, here’s a short (but hopefully sweet) review of last night’s Bastille show.

According to my review from the last September when we saw them for the first time, that show had also been on a Wednesday. I continue to find Wednesday night shows to be weird yet wonderful.

Opening band Grizfolk sounded like a cross between Kings of Leon and Imagine Dragons (oddly enough, I saw both bands earlier this year at separate shows…). They were somewhat mellow, yet also had some solid beats.

I thought there was supposed to be another opening band, but apparently not: Bastille went on at 8:30pm. I, for one, am not complaining, because last time, they went on at 10:15pm and it was very difficult to wake up the next morning.

Fact: Bastille is a very fun band. They’re bouncy and catchy and danceable. Dan – the singer – has a deeper voice than you would imagine from looking at his picture (he’s the guy beside the long haired guy aka the drummer) and, despite not being as chatty as some other frontmen, he’s still engaging. During “Flaws”, he ran around the ACC (the perimeter of the GA floor), while continuing to sing. In fact, he only faltered once and that – I found out this morning – was because a crazy fan grabbed his face and kissed him. Sidenote: it’s never cool to assault a musician, especially when they’re performing. And especially not with a kiss because they don’t know where your mouth has been – what if you have some sort of disease?!

During “Of the Night”, Dan also encouraged the crowd to dance along, claiming that he’s a bad dancer and needed everyone to help him out so he wouldn’t feel embarrassed. He’s not a terrible dancer, but his style involves more leaping around the stage than any actual dance moves.

They closed with “Pompeii”, which I absolutely love. I don’t know if it’s my favourite Bastille song or if it’s just because I get it stuck in my head for days and can’t stop singing it, but MAN, it’s the perfect song to get your body moving.

Top 10 (but actually 15) of 2013

For my last Music Monday of 2013, I thought I’d do something different. Lots of music publications have been sharing their “End Of The Year” lists over the past couple of weeks, so I put together my own top 10 albums, limiting myself to albums I actually (physically) own.

Thus, in no particular order, here are my top 10 releases of 2013 (including my favourite song from each – sorry that I’ve used some of these songs in past Music Monday posts):

1) Save Rock & Roll – Fall Out Boy

When FOB announced their return after a 4 year hiatus, my heart (and Twitter feed) exploded with excitement. Save Rock & Roll is a fantastic album that combines classic FOB with their newer, somewhat more mature outlook on life and music in general.

2) Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die – Panic! at the Disco

P!ATD can do no wrong in my book, and their 4th album continues their trend of always surprising their fans by never sticking to one sole genre and experimenting with different musical elements. They’re still as charming as ever, though!

3) Forever Halloween – The Maine

A little more mature, a little more rock & roll than their previous efforts, The Maine never fails to delight me. Plus the amount of time and effort they spend on making new music for their fans is incredible: 2013 also saw the release of their “Imaginary Numbers” EP, approximately 6 months after their full length album dropped.

4) Sempiternal – Bring Me The Horizon

One of the more recent bands for me (I’ve been listening to them for about a year and a half, maybe less), this album allowed singer/screamer Oli Sykes a chance to use clean vocals (whereas before it was all screaming all the time), and it made them more accessible to people who aren’t necessarily metal fans.

5) Battle Scars – Paradise Fears

I love these guys and they consistently put out great songs, whether it’s a cover of a current pop hit, or something as deep and meaningful as this album’s title track, “Battle Scars”.

6) Legendary – The Summer Set

This third album from the Arizona quintet features songs that combine fun danceable jams with slightly more serious undertones – for example, the title track, “Legendary”, which touches on the idea of growing up and also references “How I Met Your Mother”.

7) Burnout – Anarbor

Seeing Anarbor at Warped this past summer made me realize that a) their singer, Slade, got a lot better looking and b) (on a less superficial note) they may have disappeared for a while between albums, but they’re still as fun and refreshing as ever.

8) Old Souls – Deaf Havana

Though it technically won’t be released in North America until mid-January (I picked up a copy in London at the beginning of December), this album continues Deaf Havana’s shift from semi-screamy to alternative-but-still-catchy-as-heck.

9) Genuine & Counterfeit – William Beckett

I love anything WB touches and his first full length solo album is no exception.

10) Wild & Free – A Rocket to the Moon

As sad as it was to see ARTTM split up shortly after the release of their long-awaited sophomore album, they went out with a bang!

HonourROble mentions (aka albums that my sister Ro owns):

1) Opposites – Biffy Clyro

Their SIXTH album helped solidify them as a certifiable rock band and one that everyone needs to see at some point because their live shows are crazy-energetic.

2) Bad Blood – Bastille

So catchy, so fun, so good to see live. These guys are talented and I hope we see more of them in 2014 and beyond.

3) The 1975 – The 1975

Ditto. (though for some reason, these guys get more recognition than Bastille, even though they probably fall into the same genre).


EP: The Pop Underground – Andrew McMahon

Remember when I said I love everything William Beckett touches? The same goes for Andrew McMahon, including his first solo EP. I’m pretty sure I listened to “Synesthesia” on repeat for over an hour when it first came out.

Re-Release: Don’t Panic, It’s Longer Now – All Time Low

Just when I thought 2012’s “Don’t Panic” couldn’t get any better, ATL re-released it and included 4 new songs, as well as 4 acoustic tracks. I had a hard time picking between “A Love Like War” and “Canals” as my favourite new song, but I absolutely adore this video (if I was making a list of favourite videos, this would probably be numero uno).

Plus, I didn’t even consider Mayday Parade’s Monsters in the Closet because I’ve only listened to a handful of songs. And just this past weekend, I bought Pierce the Veil’s Collide With the Sky and The Wonder Years’ The Greatest Generation, but they both need another 2-3 listens before I can pass judgement.

Here’s hoping 2014 brings even more fantastic albums!

Ticket stubs and your diaries

Wednesday night concerts are a weird, yet wonderful, phenomenon. It seems so random to go to a show in the middle of the week – and yet, that means you break up your week in the best way possible.

As you can probably guess, I went to a concert last night. It was Bastille’s FIRST EVER CANADIAN SHOW (they’re British), and it was excellent!

I’m incapable of rating shows in a normal way (i.e. my emotions pretty much range from “I LOVED IT” to “I LOVED IT SO MUCH I CAN’T TALK”), so this isn’t a review so much as a recap.

Will, Chris, Dan, Kyle (I may have mixed up Will/Kyle. I apologize).

When Bastille first announced their show earlier this year (probably in the spring), we contemplated going. By the time Ro and I made up our minds, they had sold out the Opera House. We were disappointed until we found out that demand was so high, they moved the show to the Phoenix…which then sold out as well (thankfully after we got tickets).

I’ve been to sold out shows at the Phoenix before (The Maine has played there 3 years straight and sold out all 3 times), but this show was huge! Maybe it’s because we were further back than usual, but the audience was crazy-packed – and so enthusiastic (which was nice because there’s nothing worse than an unenthusiastic crowd). They barely stopped screaming from the time the lights went off (before Bastille came on stage) to when the lights came back on after the encore.

There were two opening bands: Nightmare & The Cat, who were okay even though the singer was a little creepy (sparkly button-down pseudo-disco style shirts should be left in the 70s. Also swinging your hips doesn’t work for everyone. I’m sorry), and Little Daylight (who insisted on a three minute long instrumental introduction even though they just the opening band).

This is sort of what Little Daylight sounded like, except the lead singer was a girl.

Bastille didn’t go on until 10:15, but it was worth waiting! They only have one album (this year’s Bad Blood), which meant they played almost every track plus two covers, “What Would You Do” (City High) and “Rhythm of the Night” (Corona). One of my favourite moments was “These Streets”. I love the song to begin with, but Ro and I agreed that it was AMAZING live.

They didn’t talk much, and I have to admit I missed half of what Dan did say, but they were fantastic entertainers! During “Flaws”, Dan left the stage and sauntered along the bar counter, heading towards the over-19 area at the back of the club. One girl jumped up to sing with him and he graciously didn’t push her away (which is what I would have done), but also didn’t let her get in his way as he walked the entire length of the counter. When he reached the end, he jumped down into the crowd (he was only a few feet away from us!) and tried to walk up the stairs to the upper level balcony but his microphone wire stopped him short. Instead of walking back over the counter to the stage, he purposely walked through the crowd. Needless to say, people lost their minds.

The incredible thing was, his singing didn’t falter. Not once during the entire walk back and forth, even when he was (probably) engulfed by giddy fans. It was impressive.

The things we lost in the fire fire fire.

I always feel somewhat honoured when bands say it’s their first time in Canada, and I would definitely see them again.

SIDENOTE: one of the highlights of the journey home were the two transvestite hookers who were actually standing at a corner in heels and short skirts. I thought that just happened in movies. But they were real and they were fascinating.